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Officials clear C-130J container delivery system

by 1st Lt. Brooke Davis
Air Force Flight Test Center Public Affairs

2/11/2005 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFPN) -- Eight back-to-back flights flown in five days on a stretch C-130J Hercules tested it for the container delivery system's ability to carry about 40,000 pounds of bundled equipment.

The stretch C-130J is 15 feet longer than the C-130J and can drop more equipment.

The system is used in combat to deliver the "bacon and bullets" to warfighters in the field. Of the 24 bundles released during the recent test here, none were damaged and testers attained a 100 percent survivability rate.

The testers' objective was to assess the damage rate to the released bundles to calculate how much extra equipment must be dropped so that warfighters on the ground receive the serviceable amount needed, said Michael Berard, the 418th Flight Test Squadron C-130J program manager.

The 100-percent survivability rate during this test means the stretch C-130J does not have to carry extra equipment and supplies for the Army, he said.

Testers rigged together 55-gallon drums of water to create the pallets weighing as much as 2,300 pounds. The pallets -- including the rigging and parachutes -- were evaluated for structural survivability after the drop, Mr. Berard said.

In previous tests four years ago, the aircraft's center of gravity changed during drops, said Maj. Scott Dickson, a 418th FLTS project pilot.

"During the drop, the pilot has to maintain the aircraft's pitch since (the system) uses gravity to extract the bundles from the aircraft," Major Dickson said. "It's critical to maintain a tight tolerance so the bundles don't bunch up and damage each other while the extraction occurs."

The pilot is now aware of the problem and can anticipate this movement, he said. The recent bundle drops evaluated the pilot's technique when overcoming the aircraft's pitch and how much variation can be allowed.

Test results could save about $5,000 per bundle drop by reusing the pallets for training purposes.

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