500 foot Low Velocity Airdrop Delivery System
Low Velocity Airdrop (LVAD) is a type of airdrop for platform loads where the load is extracted from a C-130 air vehicle at 140 knots, from C-141, C-5, C-17A air vehicles at 150 knots by extraction parachutes at an altitude of 700 feet or more. Recovery parachutes are attached to the load to slow the descent and to allow an impact velocity of less than 28.5 ft/sec.
The 500-foot LVADS reduces heavy equipment airdrop altitude from a minimum of 750 feet to 500 feet. Survivability studies indicate airdrop altitudes above 500 feet place aircraft at a significantly greater risk to anti-aircraft systems. A reduction in airdrop altitude of up to 60% will enhance the accuracy of aerial delivery operations, reduce load dispersion on the drop zone, and increase aircraft and equipment survivability.
Current technology supports a 500-foot LVADS capability. The 500-foot LVADS-Medium has the potential to drop cargo between 2,200 and 22,000 pounds. The 500-foot LVADS-Heavy has the potential to drop between 20,000 to 42,000 pounds gross rigged weight cargo when deployed from aircraft at speeds of 130 to 150 KIAS. LVADS combines standard airdrop components (Type V platform, parachutes, and associated hardware) augmented with technology enhancements, to achieve precision airdrop at low levels.
In addition to the parachute opening shock load (for platform suspended payloads), airdrop platforms are subjected to landing velocities of up to 28 feet per second during Low Velocity Air Drop (LVAD) delivery.
The US Army Soldier Systems Center, Product Manager - Force Sustainment Systems, Natick, MA, has a Apr 10, 2002 requirement for a cargo parachute that will enable cargo aerial delivery operations, using standard low velocity airdrop extraction techniques, from an altit ude of 500 feet Above Ground Level (AGL). It is intended that this new cargo parachute will replace both the G-11 and G-12 cargo parachutes. This new cargo parachute, used in either a single or clustered configuration, shall have the following performanc e characteristics: capable of delivering combat loads having rigged weights between 2,520 pounds through 22,000 pounds (objective) (15,500 pounds (threshold)); capable of deploying/recovering from military cargo aircraft traveling between 130-150 knots ind icated air speed (KIAS); deliver loads in ground wind speeds of 17 knots (threshold) (21 knots (objective)); maximum rate of descent at ground impact shall not exceed 28.5 ft/sec; provide a successful airdrop completion rate of 92 percent without a system abort; capable of being used in mass formation airdrops of supplies and equipment, singularly, and sequentially using current tactics for delivery of Strategic Brigade Airdrop (medium) loads; deliver loads in fully mission capable (FMC) condition with mini mal modification to standard airdrop rigging (threshold) and FMC condition with no change to the airdrop rigging (objective); capable of being packed and rigged in a time greater than the time required for current comparable LVAD loads with like capacities (threshold) or a time equal to or less than that of current operations (objective); be fully compatible with existing airdrop components (i.e. Type V platform and associated airdrop hardware) (threshold) or with new or modified components (objective); capable of operation and storage in the same climate categories (hot, basic, cold, and severe cold) as current LVAD operations; be supportable by the standard Army logistics system, and maintainable by MOS 92R rigger personnel at organizational level; must land the airdropped cargo within a low circular area of probability.
It is desired that this new cargo parachute be compatible for application to all platform and container low velocity cargo airdrop, including C-17 Dual Row Airdrop Capability (DRAC) and the developmental Enhanced Container Delivery Capability (ECDC). Emphasis on durable lightweight materials and low/simplified maintenance is highly desired. Proposals that discuss existing systems, which demonstrate substantial compliance with 500' LVADC p erformance requirements, will be favorably considered than entirely new designs or engineering approaches.
Upon completion of DT/OT testing, a Production Delivery Order (OPTION - Firm Fixed Price) may be issued to meet the Army's initial estimated fielding requirements of approximately 1,165 cargo parachutes. Follow on production contracts may be awarded, based on the TDP, to acquire the remainder of the Army's estimated fielding requirements of approximately 10,481 cargo parachutes.
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