According to the Natrick Soldier Center, High altitude, precision airdrop is expected to be a key enabling technology for the Future Force. Allowing transport aircraft to safely stand off the combat area and exposing troops to less danger during retrieval are just a couple of advantages of a precision airdrop capability.
JPADS Parachute Delivery System
Natrick Soldier Center conducts research and engineering on military personnel parachuting and cargo airdrop systems. This includes management of the Joint Precision Airdrop Systems initiative for development of autonomous delivery of cargo from high altitudes and significant standoff.
Para-Flite, a military ram air parachute system developer, has the 10,000 lb DragonFly and 2,000 lb FireFly JPADS systems and is currently developing the US Army’s 30,000 lb (13.600 kg) Joint Precision Airdrop System (JPADS). Para-Flite’s systems are capable of delivering equipment loads over 30km horizontally from a release altitude of 25,000 ft.
JPADS systems use a GPS receiver and a specialist flight algorithm to independently fly equipment to a designated target point. The flight algorithms can be programmed, even en-route, with weather forecasts, terrain details and environmental threats.
Ram-air parachutes, as used by Para-Flite, are self-inflating airfoils, known as parafoils, that provide control of speed and direction. They are typified by twin layers of fabric joined and divided into cells by fabric ribs. The ram term comes from the pressurization of the cells to shape the canopy.
The accuracy of Parak-Flite’s Precision Airdrop Systems was demonstrated at the 2005 Precision Airdrop Technology Conference and Demonstration in Yuma, Arizona. Average distance to target was less than 175 meters.
The US Army’s 30,000 lb Joint Precision Airdrop System has been, named MegaFly by Para-Flite, has recently been successfully test dropped. When operational it is expected to be dropped from altitudes up to 25,000 ft and fly autonomously via GPS guidance for distances up to 40 kilometers to the drop target. Para-Glite believe MegaFly is the largest ram air parachute ever flown. It is a 9,000 square foot, fully elliptical, gliding parachute with a wingspan of 170 feet falling only 20 feet short of the Boeing 747′s wingspan
Although being developed for military purposes, like many other technologies with such a development route, precision GPS assisted parachute delivery has civilian applications such as food aid deliveries in areas where landing are not possible being a prominent example.
Categories: GPS Technology