The ubiquitous shipping pallets that most civilian goods are transported on can support up to 4,600 pounds and are made from wood or plastic. They are designed to be transported from point A to point B via forklift.
Civilian-use pallets are unsuitable for military applications, which require greater durability, higher weight capacities and a more compact storage size. Thus the standard air cargo pallet for both the U.S. Air Force and the UK's Royal Air Force is of a very different design and made from different materials:
That's the 463L (also called the HCU6/E) military air cargo pallet. Rather than wood or plastic, it's made from aluminum extrusions formed into a grid, skinned in aluminum, and bordered by aluminum extrusions that support tie-down points.
The 463L can support 10,000 pounds, and while it's wider than a civilian pallet (88" x 108", vs. 40" x 48"), they're far flatter (2.25", vs. 6") and feature no wasteful negative space, making them more efficient to store on racks.
Airman 1st Class Sanna Shabbir, 60th Aerial Port Squadron cargo processing specialist, at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., installs a Radio Frequency Identification tracker onto a 463L pallet Nov. 28, 2012. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Patrick Harrower, via Travis Air Force Base
Separate side and top nets have been designed for the 463L...
Note that the loading floor is kitted out with rolling tracks.
Members of the Royal New Zealand Air Force load a 463L pallet of supplies on a C-141B Starlifter from the 8th Airlift Squadron, McChord Air Force Base, Washington. Image by SRA Jerry Morrison, Jr., USAF.