By Maj. Allison AguilarNovember 30, 2016
What does the phrase "if it fits it ships" mean to most people? For the 647th Quartermaster (Corps Aerial Delivery) Company, "if it fits it ships" describes the precision capability behind the Joint Precision Airdrop System (JPADS).
On November 16 and 17, the 647th QM Co., part of the 264th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, conducted JPADS operations on Normandy Drop Zone (DZ), Ft. Bragg, N.C. with the support of the 94th Airlift Wing from Dobbins Airforce Base, Ga. This event showcased the precision capabilities of the JPADS system, as well as provided the 647th QM Co. the chance to validate a system that has not been tested on Ft. Bragg since 2013.
The JPADS is a GPS guided high-altitude airdrop system that integrates a cargo pallet, an A-22 Cargo Bag, tactical parachute, and precision guidance interface to create a system which can accurately drop air delivered supplies to within 50 meters of the Point of Impact. When used in conjunction with the Air Force's Mission Planner program, the JPADS can compensate for aircraft release point errors and factors real-time weather data into the release point and flight paths. The purpose of the JPADS system is to meet the combatant commanders' requirement for sustaining combat power. Utilizing JPADS, commanders can resupply forward units with supply packages onto drop zones as small as 300 meters by 300 meters. All classes of supply can be delivered utilizing JPADS, "if it fits it ships" is the catch phrase used for this system.
Due to the nature of the GPS guided Modular Autonomous Guidance Unit (MAGU), multiple JPADS can be released from one aircraft at a single release point and delivered to multiple drop zones. Additionally several JPADS can be released from multiple aircraft at different release points all destined for the same drop zone. The systems used during this operation were 2K JPADS and can be deployed at a max altitude of 24,500 ft. with a payload weight of up to 2100lbs.
The operation on November 16 and 17 achieved stellar results. The 7 drops on both days all landed between 18 to 157 meters of the target. In a tactical situation, that accuracy is invaluable for commanders providing needed supplies to troops.
Leaders from 3rd ESC, 264th CSSB and the 2d Transportation Battalion, a Marine unit from Camp LeJeune, N.C., were on hand to view the operation. The 2d Transportation Bn also trains on the JPADS. The JPADS operation provided an opportunity for further coordination between the 647th QM Co. and the 2d Transportation Bn. on future joint training opportunities.
"JPADS provides a delivery capability that is unmatched by any other capability in use by the military", said Capt. Brandon Alford, the Commander of the 647th QM Co., "It allows Commanders the flexibility and precision to resupply their formations to always have what they need to fight and win."