The US Army Is Testing Airbags To Guard Cargo Throughout Parachute Jumps

At the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, the US Army is testing a brand new reusable parachute system that’s 25% quicker to deploy and 40% quicker to take away after touchdown, permitting troopers to shortly exit the drop zone and get out of the air. Danger.

Developed throughout World War II, airdrops have turn into normal process for supplying troops or delivering humanitarian support to inaccessible areas. But even with parachutes, pushing giant pallets of apparatus or fight automobiles out the again of an plane may end up in a nasty jolt upon touchdown.

To mitigate this, drop chute programs use a number of inches of honeycomb-like cardboard on the ground of the metal pallet. Upon impression, the honeycomb collapses and absorbs the power as an alternative of transferring it to the load.

It works, however it takes time to rig the cardboard honeycomb together with the parachutes and restraints, and it is mainly a one-off system. After the autumn, the cardboard should be stripped from the pallet and disposed of with axes, shovels and picks earlier than cargo akin to a jeep might be cleared for motion. This will not be solely labor intensive, but in addition takes up valuable time that troopers choose to make use of to get beneath cowl earlier than enemy troops present up.

The RRDAS descends

US Army

To alleviate this, the army is testing a number of choices, together with the Rapid Rigging De-Rigging Airdrop System (RRDAS). This replaces a lot of the cardboard with a set of cloth airbags folded beneath the pallet. These unfold and inflate beneath ambient strain after the load drops, absorbing the impression via collapse. According to the army, the baggage are reusable, might be inflated to a peak of solely 750 ft (230 m), and may deal with a great deal of as much as 22,000 lb (10,000 kg).

In assessments, the honeycomb lowered rigging time by 25% and rigging time by 40%. In addition, RRDAS contains outriggers to maintain the load upright because it hits the bottom if it’s a bit prime heavy.

The airbags used to absorb the impact
The airbags used to soak up the impression

US Army

Testing is scheduled to proceed this yr with full discipline testing beneath real-world eventualities to observe in US fiscal yr 2025 to regulate the design.

“We will be able to increase the load capacity and the length of the platform so that we can drop heavier and longer items,” says Maj. Matthew Rohe, Assistant Product Manager for Cargo Aerial Delivery within the U.S. Army Program Executive Office Combat Support and Combat Service Support. “We will be testing occasionally at Yuma for years to come.”

Source: US Army


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