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C-130J testers accomplish first five-bundle sequential airdrop

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

4/22/2005 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFPN) -- Developmental test and evaluation on the J-model C-130 Hercules came to a head when testers successfully completed the first five-bundle sequential low velocity airdrop here recently.

As part of the test program, 418th Flight Test Squadron Airmen tested software upgrades by rigging five bundles aboard the stretch aircraft and releasing them on a range area.

The bundles weighed 40,100 pounds and landed 1,000 feet apart and only five yards off the planned impact point.

Before this test, the capability was limited to four bundles, said Tech. Sgt. Jason Kunkel, a 418th FLTS loadmaster.

"Right now, we're doing everything we need to do before the aircraft graduates to operational testing," he said. "By working closely with the contractor, we were able to identify and fix deficiencies to ensure the Air Force received a workable system."

Airmen spent the summer working with the contractor to make sure the software upgrades corrected the aircraft's operational limitations, Sergeant Kunkel said. The software upgrades enhanced the cargo-handling system, as well as advancing the communication, navigation and identification systems.

Testers are evaluating how the upgrades affect other systems, officials said.

"The EPJS is a safety system that keeps the loadmaster from having to go behind the load if it doesn't extract from the aircraft," Sergeant Kunkel said. "If a load doesn't extract, the largest parachutes can produce 50,000 pounds of drag for the aircraft."

The system was successfully evaluated April 19 under an extraction load of single 28-foot parachute bundles, and the system worked well, Sergeant Kunkel said.

Overall, the J-model aircraft increases cargo delivery to the warfighter, decreases aircrew needs and has an increased sortie reliability rate, Sergeant Kunkel said. Deployed units will be able to accomplish in one day what older models can accomplish in two.

The test program is scheduled to graduate to operational test and evaluation at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., in October.

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