Precision Airdrop Technology

Wednesday December 17, 2008

What is it?

Precision airdrop technology enables rapid, strategic and tactical deployment of just-in-time resupply globally. The Joint Precision Airdrop System (JPADS) is a family of autonomously guided high altitude (25,000ft.) airdrop systems linked to a common JPADS Mission Planner that collects and integrates mission weather data. Combatant commanders in operational theaters like Afghanistan also have an immediate need for a low altitude alternative airdrop capability for rapid, precise, low-cost delivery of supplies. In partnership with the Logistics Innovation Agency, the RDECOM, Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center (NSRDEC) developed the Low Cost Low Altitude (LCLA) Aerial Resupply System. The LCLA was designed to be flexible and simple enough to be quickly rigged without specialized training and airdropped from commercial or military fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters or unmanned aerial vehicles.

What has the Army done?

The RDECOM, NSRDEC technology developments enable accurate delivery to 150m and the safety of resupply operations through technology developments for the JPADS and the LCLA systems. Since JPADS was fielded in 2006 over 1,000 combat airdrops have been made, delivering 18 million pounds of supplies. The LCLA was rapidly fielded in 2007 to support Operation Enduring Freedom missions and has been used in over 2,300 missions delivering over 2.4 million pounds of supplies from delivery altitudes as low as 100ft above ground level.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

NSRDEC continues to develop technology in response to theater requests and transition technologies to PM-Force Sustainment Systems and other programs of record. Major efforts are focused on improving accuracy for the JPADS family of weight classes through a number of technology improvements to parafoils, guidance navigation and control software and hardware, and advances to the JPADS mission planning software. In addition, both lower cost and higher weight LCLA initiatives are being developed and transitioned.

Why is this important to the Army?

We empower our Soldiers with and through high technology. We must sustain the technological superiority of our Soldiers by developing state-of-the-art technologies to create unprecedented capabilities for our current and future force. The JPADS and LCLA supply delivery systems are vital to sustain high tempo operations in remote and austere environments to enhance operational response and reduce risks to Soldiers.


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