Tactical Tailor

Archive for the ‘Parachuting’ Category

Operation Market Garden Commemorations

Monday, September 18th, 2017

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1500 paratroopers jumped Saturday, during day one of the four day long Operation Market Garden Commemorations.

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US Army Paratroopers Testing Airborne Tactical Assault Panel 

Monday, September 4th, 2017
The Airborne Tactical Assault Panel (ABN-TAP) rigging configurations. (Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of PEO Soldier)

The Airborne Tactical Assault Panel (ABN-TAP) rigging configurations. (Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of PEO Soldier)

Fort Bragg, North Carolina — For the first time since their inception, Army Airborne forces will soon be fielding a new fighting load system tailored to the paratrooper’s unique requirements.

“The Airborne Tactical Assault Panel (ABN-TAP) was developed with the paratrooper in mind and will allow the paratrooper a greater degree of comfort, mobility and safety during static line airborne infiltration operations,” said Rich Landry of the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center laboratories in Natick, Massachusetts.

Rich Landry of the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center laboratories in Natick, Massachusetts, demonstrates key design features included in the Airborne Tactical Assault Panel (ABN-TAP) based on Soldier input. (Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Natick Research laboratories)

Rich Landry of the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center laboratories in Natick, Massachusetts, demonstrates key design features included in the Airborne Tactical Assault Panel (ABN-TAP) based on Soldier input. (Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Natick Research laboratories)

Typical Airborne troops say the legacy load carrier systems have some drawbacks.

Previous designs must be worn under the T-11 parachute harness, which is less than optimal because it does not allow for a proper fit of the main parachute harness, and moves the T-11 reserve activation handle further away from the paratrooper’s grasp.

ABN-TAP enables Soldiers to rig the fighting load under the parachute harness but below the reserve parachute.

Soldiers from the 57th Sapper Company, 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, assemble the Airborne Tactical Assault Panel (ABN-TAP) during New Equipment Training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, before putting it through operational testing. (Photo Credit: Jim Finney, Combined Technical Services, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)

Soldiers from the 57th Sapper Company, 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, assemble the Airborne Tactical Assault Panel (ABN-TAP) during New Equipment Training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, before putting it through operational testing. (Photo Credit: Jim Finney, Combined Technical Services, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)

“This will allow paratroopers to properly adjust the T-11 parachute harness to their specific sizing requirements and keep the T-11 reserve parachute handle well within reach,” said Sgt. 1st Class Ian Seymour, Test NCO from the Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate (ABNSOTD) here.

The ABN-TAP design actually draws its lineage from the older Load Bearing System (LBE) used with the T-10 and MC1-1 parachute systems by paratroopers for decades.

Soon after the Global War on Terror began, all branches of the armed services rushed to modernize field equipment to meet the rigors of modern combat and allow for the constant presence of body armor, according to Mike Tracy, deputy test division chief at ABNSOTD.

“With the vest/plate carrier systems seeing overwhelming Soldier acceptance, the task of providing the paratrooper with a modern design compatible with current parachute systems is challenging to say the least,” Tracy said.

Paratroopers assigned to the 57th Sapper Company, 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, Fort Bragg, N.C., practice "buddy rigging" the Airborne Tactical Assault Panel (ABN-TAP) at the 82nd Airborne Division Advanced Airborne School during New Equipment Training. (Photo Credit: Michael Zigmond, Audio Visual Production Specialist, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)

Paratroopers assigned to the 57th Sapper Company, 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, Fort Bragg, N.C., practice “buddy rigging” the Airborne Tactical Assault Panel (ABN-TAP) at the 82nd Airborne Division Advanced Airborne School during New Equipment Training. (Photo Credit: Michael Zigmond, Audio Visual Production Specialist, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)

The ABN-TAP bridges this gap by providing both new and old capabilities to the paratrooper.

Tracy explained that ABN-TAP allows not only for rigging under the parachute harness and reserve, but can be rapidly adjusted to serve as a “chest rig” design upon landing.

“Ground troops consider this to be the most efficient design under current operational conditions,” said Tracy.

“Operational testing using Airborne paratroopers, collects data which truly allows the Army to evaluate the suitability and safety of the ABN-TAP when worn during static line Airborne operations and follow-on missions,” Tracy said.

Before testing Soldiers participated in New Equipment Training (NET), which included familiarization with the system, fitting and proper rigging of the ABN-TAP with the T-11 parachute system.

Following NET, Soldiers conducted live parachute jumps from a C-17 high performance aircraft at 1,250 feet above ground level over Sicily Drop Zone here.

More senior Soldiers participating in testing were optimistic about the proposed rigging procedures.

“Having jumped the LBE system earlier in their careers, this proven rigging method signals a simple approach to a complex problem,” said Leon Price, senior ABNSOTD test officer.

“I think I benefitted personally by being a part of this,” said Spec. Aaron Adams, a Combat Engineer with the 57th Sapper Company, 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade. “I enjoyed participating in the testing because it allowed me to provide direct input into the test and I will get to see it once it is fielded to the Airborne force.”

“Any time Soldiers and their leaders get involved in operational testing, they have the opportunity to use, work with, and offer up their own suggestions on pieces of equipment that can impact development of systems that future Soldiers will use in combat,” said Col. Brad Mock, the director of all the Army’s Airborne testing.

Upon completion of testing, the ABN-TAP could potentially be issued to Army Airborne forces worldwide, signaling the first steps in modernizing the combat loads of thousands of paratroopers.

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The U.S. Army Operational Test Command is based at West Fort Hood, Texas, and its mission is about making sure that systems developed are effective in a Soldier’s hands and suitable for the environments in which Soldiers train and fight. Test units and their Soldiers provide feedback, by offering input to improve upon existing and future systems with which Soldiers will ultimately use to train and fight.

The Fort Bragg, North Carolina-based ABNSOTD plans, executes, and reports on operational tests and field experiments of Airborne and Special Operations Forces equipment, procedures, aerial delivery and air transportation systems in order to provide key operational data for the continued development and fielding of doctrine, systems or equipment to the Warfighter.

Larry Burrows – Combat Photographer

Saturday, August 19th, 2017

This photo is of Larry Burrows, a British photographer for Time. He covered the Vietnam war from 1962 until his death in 1972 when the helicopter he was a passenger in was shot down over Laos. 

Happy National Airborne Day

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017


When did you earn your wings?

Filson Presents “Fighting Fire With Fire” Honoring The US Forest Service

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

Filson produced this video in honor of the US Forest Service’s 112 years of commitment to our nation.

They’ve also introduced a line of products which includes clothing, bags, and this watch. If you’re interested, they are at www.filson.com/usforestservice/collection.

Finally, Filson has assembled a photo essay captured by photographer Cole Barash of the USFS. Visit www.filson.com/usforestservice to check it out.

US Army Conducts Airdrop Testing Of Integrated Head Protection System

Friday, August 4th, 2017

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Successful implementation of new body armor technology requires more than just engineers designing prototype systems in a lab. Feedback from Soldiers who will be using the technology is critical to ensuring that the U.S. Army continues to field world-class technology for its fighters.

The new Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS) is configured with mandible and visor without ballistic applique for "Rough Terrain" static line parachute jump operations. (Photo Credit: Rebecka Waller, Audio Visual Production Specialist, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)

The new Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS) is configured with mandible and visor without ballistic applique for “Rough Terrain” static line parachute jump operations. (Photo Credit: Rebecka Waller, Audio Visual Production Specialist, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)

Recently, Airborne Soldiers here played a vital part in the feedback process when they recently jumped with a groundbreaking new Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS) during operational testing.

Soldiers from the 57th Sapper Company, 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, geared up to work with the U.S. Army Operational Test Command’s Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate to test the new armor.

1st Lt. Christopher Lillie, assistant jumpmaster with the 57th Sapper Company, 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, wears the new Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS) helmet with mandible, while shouting commands to position the number one jumper in the door of a C-17 aircraft. (Photo Credit: Barry Fischer, Audio Visual Production Specialist, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)

1st Lt. Christopher Lillie, assistant jumpmaster with the 57th Sapper Company, 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, wears the new Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS) helmet with mandible, while shouting commands to position the number one jumper in the door of a C-17 aircraft. (Photo Credit: Barry Fischer, Audio Visual Production Specialist, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)

“Operational Testing is about Soldiers. It is about making sure that the systems developed are effective in a Soldier’s hands and suitable for the environments in which Soldiers train and fight,” said Col. Brad Mock, director of ABNSOTD.

The IHPS is one of the six components of the Soldier Protection System (body armor), providing a larger area of protection for the head and face, and includes a system to measure head trauma.

Soldier configured with the new Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS) without the mandible, while wearing combat equipment. (Photo Credit: Rebecka Waller, Audio Visual Production Specialist, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)

Soldier configured with the new Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS) without the mandible, while wearing combat equipment. (Photo Credit: Rebecka Waller, Audio Visual Production Specialist, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)

According to Leon L. Price, a test officer with ABNSOTD, the purpose of operational test using Airborne paratroopers is to collect data to evaluate the suitability and safety of the IHPS when worn during static line Airborne operations.

Overall, IHPS is only a little lighter than the current Army Combat Helmet, while including numerous accessories, like a mandible, visor, night vision goggle attachment device, rails and a modular ballistic applique (not attached during airborne operations).

Soldier configured with the new Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS) with the mandible, while wearing combat equipment. (Photo Credit: Rebecka Waller, Audio Visual Production Specialist, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)

Soldier configured with the new Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS) with the mandible, while wearing combat equipment. (Photo Credit: Rebecka Waller, Audio Visual Production Specialist, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)

During the test, Soldiers participated in New Equipment Training, which included familiarization, fitting, and suspended harness. All this was followed by a live parachute jump from a C-17 high performance aircraft at 1,250 feet above ground level over Fort Bragg’s Sicily Drop Zone.

“I gave fair, honest and comprehensive feedback on the IHPS helmet,” said Cpl. Samuel Emling, a Combat Engineer with the 57th. “I enjoyed the testing. The test personnel were extremely professional.”

Soldiers from the 57th Sapper Company, 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, exit a C-17 aircraft over Sicily Drop Zone, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, while performing operational testing wearing the new Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS). (Photo Credit: Jim Finney, Combined Technical Services, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)

Soldiers from the 57th Sapper Company, 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, exit a C-17 aircraft over Sicily Drop Zone, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, while performing operational testing wearing the new Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS). (Photo Credit: Jim Finney, Combined Technical Services, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)

“Soldiers and test units have the ability to impact the development of systems by training while executing doctrinally-realistic missions, and then provide direct input to the combat developer of the system,” said Lt. Col. Vinny Intini, executive officer at ABNSOTD. “Their feedback is invaluable.”

Test Manager Steve McNair, of Program Manager Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment out of Fort Belvoir, Virginia, said the Army is expected to field 7,000 systems to separate brigades during fiscal year 2018 before moving to full rate production for fielding across the force.

“I think I benefitted personally by doing this,” said Spec. Aaron Adams, another Combat Engineer with the 57th. “It helps me with being comfortable jumping with new equipment. I enjoyed participating in the testing because we were the only Airborne unit to do so.”

Soldiers participate in suspended harness training to ensure the new Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS) is suitable when performing canopy control and emergency procedures during operational testing. (Photo Credit: Michael Zigmond, Audio Visual Production Specialist, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)

Soldiers participate in suspended harness training to ensure the new Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS) is suitable when performing canopy control and emergency procedures during operational testing. (Photo Credit: Michael Zigmond, Audio Visual Production Specialist, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)

“OTC is the U.S. Army’s only independent operational test organization,” Mock added. “Any time Soldiers and their leaders get involved in operational testing, they have the opportunity to use, work with, and offer up their own suggestions on pieces of equipment that can impact development of systems that future Soldiers will use in combat.”

“Operational testing is OTC’s opportunity to contribute to readiness; anything less compromises the Army’s ability to provide the forces that fight and win the Nation’s wars,” added Intini.

Bobby Salazar, from Program Manager Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment, out of Fort Belvoir, Virginia, discusses proper fitting of the new Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS) during New Equipment Training. (Photo Credit: Michael Zigmond, Audio Visual Production Specialist, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)

Bobby Salazar, from Program Manager Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment, out of Fort Belvoir, Virginia, discusses proper fitting of the new Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS) during New Equipment Training. (Photo Credit: Michael Zigmond, Audio Visual Production Specialist, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)

The U.S. Army Operational Test Command is based at West Fort Hood, Texas, and its mission is about making sure that systems developed are effective in a Soldier’s hands and suitable for the environments in which Soldiers train and fight. Test units and their Soldiers provide feedback, by offering input to improve upon existing and future systems with which Soldiers will ultimately use to train and fight.

The Fort Bragg, North Carolina-based ABNSOTD plans, executes, and reports on operational tests and field experiments of Airborne and Special Operations Forces equipment, procedures, aerial delivery and air transportation systems in order to provide key operational data for the continued development and fielding of doctrine, systems or equipment to the Warfighter.

Leapfest 2017

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

www.leapfest.com

Corps Completes Final JPADS Delivery to Marines

Friday, June 30th, 2017

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Virginia— Marine Corps Systems Command fielded the last of 162 Joint Precision Airdrop Systems to the fleet in April, turning the page from acquisition to sustainment of the system for the Corps.


Marine parachute riggers with 1st Marine Logistics Group and a crew chief with Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron-22 (VMX-22) prepare to deploy a palletized load from above 10,000 feet during the Joint Precision Airdrop System testing Aug. 1, at the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground. The JPADS systems use GPS, a modular autonomous guidance unit, or MAGU, a parachute and electric motors to guide cargo within 150 meters of their target points. Marine Corps Systems Command fielded the last of 162 JPADS to the fleet in April, turning the page from acquisition to sustainment of the system for the Corps. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Reba James)

When the JPADS 2K was introduced to the Marine Corps in 2008, it opened the door to a potentially life- saving capability for Marines on the ground and in the air. In 2013, the Corps upgraded to the 2K-Modular which included an improved modular autonomous guidance unit called the MAGU. JPADS 2K-M improved accuracy over traditional airdrops while simultaneously enabling aircraft to conduct drops at higher altitudes and longer distances from the drop zone.

“JPADS brings an important capability to Marines,” said Capt. Keith Rudolf, Aerial Delivery project officer with Marine Corps Systems Command’s Ground Combat Element Systems. “It’s not the answer for every situation, but the main goal is to keep people off the roads in an [improvised explosive device] environment or when small units are in locations that are not easily accessible by traditional logistic means.”
JPADS is ideal for cases where it is easier and safer to deliver equipment and supplies to ground units from the air versus using a convoy, Rudolf said.

“An average combat logistics patrol in Afghanistan that’s running behind a route clearance platoon may travel at only five to six miles an hour,” he said. “Depending on how much supply you have on there, you may have a mile worth of trucks that are slow-moving targets. [JPADS] negates a lot of that.”

The system also helps keep aircrews out of harm’s way.

“From the aircraft perspective, [JPADS] can be dropped from up to 25 kilometers away from the intended target, while still landing within 150 meters of the programed impact point,” Rudolf said. “Throughout testing, the systems often averaged much greater accuracy. That means the aircraft does not have to fly directly over a danger zone where they could be engaged with small arms or enemy threats on the ground. They can fly outside of that and because the system is autonomous, it will fly its best path down to where it needs to go.”