The Ground Handling Blog

Mototok's blog for Hangar Professionals

Written by Mototok on December 6, 2021 // 12:00 PM

All About the Alligator


In the high stakes and high-pressure world of aircraft maintenance repair and overhaul, along with flight operations departments, having the right tool for the job is imperative.

Typically speaking, the best tool for the job in MRO is the tool that reduces the workload on existing manpower, while being a safer and more capable tool. We believe that the best way to streamline your operation is to pair down existing equipment by adding far more capable machinery to the operation, machinery that can do more and requires less. In this case, it is the Alligator, our ultra-low-profile tug that is designed from the ground up (or maybe down) to be one of the lowest-profile aircraft tugs in the world.

What Is So Special about the Alligator?

The Alligator is our first super flat tug, designed to be able to navigate underneath and around aircraft that are themselves low-profile, or that have additional equipment attached namely FLIR pods, cameras, lights.

So, why make a flat design when we already produce so many other revolutionary products? Because there is a demand for it.

For instance, we already have a strong position with our products for corporate jets and even medium and heavy airliners. We also are making inroads in the manufacturing and MRO industries with our automatic guided vehicle (AGV) capabilities, where our units can carry two major structural components through a warehouse, even synchronizing multiple units for large structural components (wings, fuselage, etc.).

Our line of tugs operate in all weather conditions, proving to have excellent traction in wet conditions, snow, and all temperature environments. Our products handle anything from 15 tons to 250 tons.

We have made considerable inroads in the helicopter market, creating the premier skid-helicopter ground movement system, the Helimo. There has never been a piece of GSE designed specifically for the movement of multiple brands and types of skid helicopters.

But this still leaves a hole in the market: what about low-profile aircraft that have an extensive array of external hardware on them? Or just low-profile aircraft altogether? We at Mototok saw an unanswered demand to provide our outstanding product to a demographic that is underserved.

What is the Alligator Made For?

The Alligator is sort of a Swiss Army knife of remote controlled aircraft tugs. As we like to say, it is extremely flat-extremely flexible. Don’t let its diminutive stature fool you: it has a capacity of 50 tons, making it more than adequate for aircraft all the way up to a Gulfstream V or Bombardier Challenger 5500.

But it is much more than that. It is designed for wheeled helicopters that have radar and antenna arrays, as well as fixed wing aircraft with extensive additions to their fuselage.

This may seem niche, but this is exactly why we made this a durable and highly sturdy platform, one which can service your entire operation, from the wheeled helicopters to the medium business jets.

Who Is Going to Want the Alligator?

Who exactly is best suited for the Alligator? A number of operators come immediately to mind.

Military Units

The military is a great fit for the flexibility that the Alligator brings to your operation, particularly transient alert facilities that handle a wide variety of different aircraft types.

Transient alert is much like the FBO service at any standard civilian airport and has to be on the ready for any aircraft that might land, usually having only a 24-hour advance notice prior to arrival. Since they can receive any aircraft in the entire inventory of the U.S. military, along with a host of allied nations, they need to be equipped to handle those aircraft.

On any given day, they might handle an MC-12 with its extensive antenna arrays, a UH-60 and any of its many derivatives, a low-profile Cessna Citation (UC-35) or Lear 35A (C-21), and then on to a T-6 trainer with a single propellor driven turbine, an F-16, and so on. In short, they have to be ready for anything. Also, with high deployment cycles and fast operations tempo of military air operations, the availability of a single piece of equipment that can free up multiple team members for menial tasks (namely aircraft ground movements) is of utmost importance. This might be the difference between being able to conduct a maintenance engine run in a timely manner or having to put it off because of personnel restrictions.

Military units will also benefit from the flexibility of the Alligator, and especially the simplicity. With the constant shortage of personnel and inherent simplicity of the Mototok design, there is no reason why the flight crew cannot pull their aircraft in and out of storage for use rather than depending on ground crews for those simple services.

Fixed Base Operators

The FBO at any executive airport will benefit tremendously for the flexibility of the Alligator. The Alligator is about as simple of a machine to operate as you could ever ask for in conducting complex movements. This is not to imply that anyone off of the street could or should, but the learning curve of operating our machines is far less steep than learning to operate a tow tractor attached by use of a tow bar.

For one thing, though, the Alligator is simple enough that owners and operators of aircraft parked in bay hangars can easily learn to use it and maneuver aircraft in and out of the way to get their own aircraft out.

Since the Alligator uses a unique capturing system to load and secure the aircraft, it makes very little difference what types of aircraft are in the hangar at that given moment. The Alligator is built to accommodate single wheels, dual wheels, and any wheeled helicopters, whether they have traditional configuration (tailwheel), or tricycle gear. It requires no additional tools or knowledge at all; you simply put it in position and load it.

Oil Rigs and Ships

Space on oil rigs at sea and ships at sea is obviously at a premium. Thankfully, the Alligator was made for just such conditions.

First and foremost, the Alligator is a sealed unit like the rest of our machines. It is made to handle the worst that nature has to throw at it and then take some more. It is made for the safest movement possible, so it is not light; light weight has its place but seldom does it produce any benefits in an aircraft tug. Through our precise remote control system, you can move the aircraft extremely slow, making braking a breeze. Our units are also much smoother than a diesel tug since our tugs employ constant velocity motion, there are no gears to move between in the range of motion, producing a far smoother process.

Let’s Talk Dimensions

The Alligator is a powerful machine, capable of moving jets up to 50 tons! But we have made a big deal of its diminutive size, so just how compact is it?

Obviously there must be a balance. If you have too much torque but too little weight to ballast it, the cargo will literally push the tug around during braking or worse, while attempting to turn the aircraft.

However, the genius of the Mototok design is that by loading the nose (or tail) landing gear on the unit, the practical weight of the unit during movement is far heavier than the actual unit itself. While it is no featherweight at 5,070lbs, it actually becomes a 15,000lbs tug when the maximum nose wheel weight of 9,921lbs is loaded.

A traditional tug must be made far heavier to do the same thing because it has effectively no loading at all from the aircraft on it when the towbar is attached to the pintle. The towbar itself has no load on it at all, either.

However, our design distributes weight across all of the tires on the unit, creating an incredibly stable platform during acceleration, braking, and turns.

Our Alligator measures in at a scant 12.60 inches in height. This translates to a barely perceptible height, which leaves ample room for basically any radar or antenna arrays imaginable. Not only does it make for a unit that can move aircraft with special arrays, but it also makes for a much more compact unit in storage. Obviously, this translates directly to the oil rig and seaborne operations more than anywhere else, where space is an absolute premium, but it has its place in every hangar. Why not do more with less?

As with all of our units, the Alligator is built to be nearly indestructible, using puncture-proof Vulkollan tires. Also, our units meet ATEX directive 94/9/EC standards for explosion-proof machinery. Our units are equipped with restricted breathing enclosures, as well as spark protected remote control units. There are simply no safer units available on the market.


There is nothing at all like the Alligator on the market today. Nothing else can move the diverse variety of aircraft that it can, going between highly modified aircraft to helicopters to corporate jets with no modifications, no specialty tools, just a remote control and the Alligator does the rest. It is also one of the easiest units in the world to store in locations where space is a premium. It is designed to work in all environments, from bitter cold to blistering heat, and is sealed from the harmful effects of salty air. The Alligator will be the hardest working GSE in your fleet, so contact us today to get started!

Request Your Free Consultation


Not sure if this tug fits your specific aircraft?
Let’s have a look!

We will get back to you within one business day. (Probably quicker, we’re German.)