Demonstration of the latest parachute technology at Yuma

MAY 26, 2021 – All kinds of parachute tests are taking place at the US Army’s Yuma Proving Ground (YPG). The spacious and instrumented ranges are large enough to accommodate even the largest cargo parachutes in the world.

Swiss Post has long been up to date with the latest air drip functions and, after three years of development testing, recently completed the evaluation of a large number of state-of-the-art air supply systems.

The tests were part of the Demonstration of Autonomous Capability Technology for Deploying and Refilling Air in Dense Urban Complex Terrain (AAIRDUCT). YPG’s extensive evaluations of the system included the precise delivery of payloads between 50 and 2,400 pounds of units in urban settings and included the use of an existing replicated urban complex as the new drop zone.

“The intent of all technology is to supply small units,” said Jose Ramirez, test officer. “It consists of four different top-level technologies: JPADS, HAARS, MADS and a payload placement system that is tangent to JPADS.”

JPADS (Joint Precision Aerial Delivery System) has been tested at YPG for almost 20 years and traditionally uses Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology and on-board computers to steer payloads within meters of their target, even when they are from a distance of several kilometers fall ;; However, the AAIRDUCT tests used a camera and vision-based navigation to operate in non-GPS environments. The High Altitude Aerial Resupply System (HAARS) can deliver a similar capability faster by dropping a payload at the same altitude but in free fall for much longer.

“The HAARS is an inexpensive drogue fall system,” said Ramirez. “When the payload comes off the plane, it’s under a small parachute to stabilize the system. This system has a preset pressure sensor that is set to the altitude at which the main parachute is to be activated. “

The Multi-Use Aerial Dispersion System (MADS) is a one-time, disposable parachute that can be used to drop humanitarian aid packages or leaflets into an urban environment with minimal risk to civilians. All three systems have been extensively tested to ensure that they can accurately drop even in an environment where GPS service is compromised or completely denied.

The new drop zone was located in YPG’s Joint Experimentation Range Complex (JERC), which was established in the early 2000s as a technology test site to counter the destructive capabilities of roadside bombs that American soldiers were exposed to in Iraq. The highly instrumented complex includes hundreds of buildings, dozens of kilometers of paved roads with bridges and overpasses, and telephone poles and power lines. Using the area as a dropping zone required many months of surveying and safety assessments.

“This was the perfect place to simulate an expeditionary unit operating in a dense urban setting,” said Ramirez. “We were able to test the risk avoidance and maneuverability of the system through hazards such as power lines and buildings.”

The regular availability of a wide variety of aircraft at YPG, from UH-60 helicopters to large cargo planes like the C-130 and C27J, was also important to testers.

“In addition to the availability of aircraft, it would be very difficult to determine the actual range and airspace that we are using here,” said Ramirez. “We also have a simulated expedition area that is very similar to the location on site.”

YPG is the army’s main personnel and parachute tester with heavily instrumented ranges and decades of institutional knowledge in the assembly and evaluation of these complex air drop systems. YPG’s nearly 2,000 square kilometers of confined airspace and favorable weather make it an ideal location for air drop testing.

“They chose YPG because of the experience of our test officers and riggers, as well as our facilities and airspace,” said Carlos Anaya, team leader. “Our workforce is very flexible and can handle the trial and error that comes with development testing.”

Story by Mark Schauer
US Army Yuma Proving Grounds

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