Tactical Tailor

Archive for the ‘Parachuting’ Category

Raytheon Technologies Introduces OXYJUMP NG Oxygen Supply System for Military Parachutists

Wednesday, May 10th, 2023

Advanced technology provides advantages for special operations missions – enabling longer glide duration on higher altitude jumps, maximizing oxygen use and reducing system weight

TAMPA, FL (MAY 9, 2023) – Collins Aerospace, a Raytheon Technologies business (NYSE: RTX), introduced its  OXYJUMP™ NG oxygen supply system for use in high altitude jumps by parachutists. The OXYJUMP NG system’s breakthrough technology enhances mission capabilities with a longer gliding distance, improves jumper safety, is easy to use and contains significant size and weight advantages over legacy systems.

Existing oxygen supply systems are limited in extended high-altitude operations, restricting the effectiveness and reach of parachute missions.

Utilizing Collins’ oxygen pulse technology – already certified by one NATO country – the OXYJUMP NG system provides customers with a smaller, lighter weight solution which automatically adjusts oxygen levels to enable longer mission profiles.

“The OXYJUMP NG system gives allied armed forces the stealth, readiness and safety necessary to complete the most complex jumps on earth,” said Brad Haselhorst, vice president and general manager of Military, Safety and Cargo Systems at Collins Aerospace. “The OXYJUMP NG system not only keeps up with the evolving nature of combat jumps, but it’s ready for use today.”

Designed for comfort and ease of use, the OXYJUMP NG system operates automatically and includes an ergonomically designed mask to comfortably and securely fit against the face, giving users peace of mind and keeping them focused on their most critical tasks.

Collins Aerospace’s OXYJUMP NG system will be on display at SOF Week in Tampa, Florida at booth L910.

National Guard, Canada Conduct Tactical Arctic Insertion

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023

NUNAVUT, Canada — Thirty-seven U.S. and Canadian soldiers were tactically inserted by way of an LC-130 Hercules on Arctic Ocean ice just east of Little Cornwallis Island in Nunavut, Canada, during exercise Guerrier Nordique 23 on March 15, 2023. The multi-country and joint effort is the first ever platoon movement of its kind.

The New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing is the only ski equipped tactical C-130 with flying missions focusing on snow and ice landings, which is made possible by multi-capable Airmen trained to build and groom those runways. The LC-130H is equipped with 4-by-20-foot feet skis that make landing possible on specially built skiways and ski landing areas.

“We’ve been flying missions in Greenland and Antarctica for over 30 years, and this is the first time we’ve ever conducted a tactical insertion with Canadian reserve soldiers,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Sala, officer-in-charge of the 109th Airlift Wing’s Polar Camp Skiway Team and Ski Landing Area Control Officers. “This is just the starting point for us to build from. We hope to expand our capacity and have more training missions like we had here with Guerrier Nordique. This exercise demonstrated the LC-130s full capability to infill and exfil tactical forces providing Arctic agile combat employment while also incorporating valuable training to our multi-capable airmen,” said Sala.

Soldiers and Airman loaded the LC-130 at the Canadian Armed Forces Arctic Training Center in Resolute Bay. They were flown northwest to a location just east of Little Cornwallis Island. Airmen from the 109th had groomed a ski landing area on the Arctic ice, which is where the aircraft landed. The location was previously secured by a small section of U.S. Soldiers, Canadian Rangers, and a Canadian Pathfinder.

After landing, soldiers disembarked and set a security perimeter 100 meters from the landing zone. Dressed in overwhite camouflage, soldiers established their security positions. Soldiers were equipped with individual weapons, machine guns and everything they needed to sustain themselves for up to three days in the Arctic.

“This is only the beginning,” said Canadian Army Lt. Col. Andre Morin, land component commander for Guerrier Nordique. “The partnership between the Canadians and Americans is invaluable. I would like to see this exercise grow from here and make it bigger and better. We have now confirmed that we have the ability to deliver Soldiers in a very difficult environment. Eventually, in the future, I hope to have a Canadian battalion and a company from the United States.”

Guerrier Nordique is a cold-weather training exercise for the Canadian Army that takes place in a different location each year. Resolute Bay is one of the few places that is located above the 60th parallel or the Arctic Circle. The Vermont National Guard has participated each year since 2012 and hopes to continue well into the future.

“This is my sixth time participating in Guerrier Nordique and it’s gotten bigger and better each year,” said U.S. Army Maj. Matt Hefner, officer-in-charge for the U.S. Soldiers during Guerrier Nordique. “This year the 105th and 109th Airlift Wings took part in the exercise and we certainly hope they continue in this multi-national and now joint training. The sky is truly the limit.”

Most of the U.S. Soldiers delivered came from the National Guard; Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Utah were all represented. The 11th Airborne Division out of Fairbanks, Alaska, also sent two Soldiers. Canadian Soldiers taking part in the exercise are also mostly reservists from the 35th Canadian Brigade Group based in Eastern Quebec. Canada also sent Soldiers from the 34th Canadian Brigade Group, 4th Health Services Group and from the Canadian Rangers. In total, 235 soldiers and airmen participated in Guerrier Nordique.

“Almost every single soldier and airman here are from the National Guard or a reservist in the Canadian Army,” said Hefner. “Organizing and executing this task has been a challenge, but seeing the Air National Guard, Army National Guard and Canadian Army Reserve work together to execute this exercise has been an awesome experience. The Hercules landing and those Soldiers coming out in close to 50 below was awesome.”

By CPT Mikel Arcovitch

US Army, Thai Paratroopers Supported by US Air Force During Cobra Gold 23

Friday, March 17th, 2023

PATTAYA, Thailand — The U.S. Air Force’s 15th Wing successfully supported a personnel drop operation while in an eight-ship formation on Mar. 3, 2023, during one of the largest multilateral theater security operation exercises in the Indo-Pacific.

Operation planning took place on Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory, from Feb. 27 to Mar. 2, 2023, before dropping over a combined 600 U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division and Royal Thai Army soldiers over the Kingdom of Thailand as part of Exercise Cobra Gold 2023.

U.S. Army Col. Todd Burroughs, commander, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, mentioned that nearly 150 Thai soldiers were integrated to jump alongside the U.S. army.

“They are very proficient and they are ready to roll as part of Task Force Falcon,” said Burroughs.

To support the 82nd Airborne Division, aircrew assigned to the 535th Airlift Squadron and the 204th Airlift Squadron coordinated flight and personnel drop plans for the aerial operation, creating the majority of products needed for the event within two days.

“For an operation of this size, the planning timeline is typically nine months long,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Mike Hank, 204th Airlift Squadron chief of tactics. “The Air Force planning team, in conjunction with the Air Mobility Division, accomplished this in 20 days.”

Of the eight C-17s that arrived on Diego Garcia, three were assigned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; two to Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina; and three to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

“We’ve amassed seasoned pilots and loadmasters across all of our jets, and we have a robust maintenance team with participation from both the active duty, guard, U.S. Pacific Air Forces, Air Mobility Command, and integrated support from the Joint Communications Support Element and the AMD,” said Hank.

A joint mission brief was held the morning before the operation, highlighting important information needed for all participating parties, including weather conditions, aircraft rosters and drop zones.

“It’s in our DNA as air droppers — from joint forcible entry operations into Iraq in 2003 to the annual swift response exercises on our eastern flank — delivering the 82nd Airborne Division’s global response force concept is our bread and butter,” said Hank. “This time we get to conduct with the 82nd Airborne Division and our allies, the Royal Thai Army, always delivering our promise of anywhere, anytime and on time.”

Cobra Gold, now in its 42nd year, is a Thai-U.S. co-sponsored training event that builds on the long-standing friendship between the two allied nations and brings together a robust multinational force to promote regional peace and security in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

By SSgt Alan Ricker, U.S. Air Force

US Army Tests Cutting Edge Parachute System

Friday, March 3rd, 2023

YUMA PROVING GROUND, Ariz. — In a combat theater, ground troops in the most isolated areas depend on airlifts for resupply. In the worst conditions, time can be a matter of life or death.

U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground is home to all manner of parachute testing, with spacious and instrumented ranges large enough to accommodate even the world’s largest cargo parachutes.

YPG has long been on the cutting edge of developmental and operational testing of new airdrop capabilities, including the Rapid Rigging De-Rigging Airdrop System, or RRDAS, which promises to get Soldiers out of a drop zone and into the fight with the equipment they need faster than ever.

Conventional cargo payloads are typically cushioned with a honeycomb-like cardboard material between the vehicle or other heavy item and the steel palette that carries it from an aircraft to the ground. Even with good cargo parachutes and a perfect landing, multiple layers of the honeycomb will collapse upon impact with the ground. RRDAS, however, dramatically reduces the amount of honeycomb necessary to dissipate the force of impact with 10 reusable airbag modules. The self-inflating airbags can be utilized as low as 750 feet above ground level and carry loads from between 5,000 and 22,000 pounds.

“When it flies through the air, ambient air pressurizes all of the fabric-based airbags,” said Maj. Matthew Rohe, Assistant Product Manager for Cargo Aerial Delivery at the U.S. Army Program Executive Office Combat Support and Combat Service Support. “When it hits the ground, the airbag modules cushion the payload, so we don’t need as much honeycomb as in the current design.”

The reduced use of honeycomb should lower rigging time by 25%, but testers are particularly excited about reducing de-rigging time by 40%, which gets Soldiers out of harm’s way faster.

“The end state is that it will reduce the de-rigging time by about two and a half hours primarily through the reduction of the use of honeycomb so Soldiers on the drop zone won’t have to use axes, shovels and picks,” said David Emond, operations manager for Product Manager Force Sustainment Systems. “Currently, once the vehicle crushes the honeycomb Soldiers have to cut out all the honeycomb around the vehicle’s tires to be able to drive it off.”

The system also boasts features to ensure an airdropped vehicle will land upright.

“The system has deployable outriggers on it,” said Rohe. “If it is a high center of gravity load with a chance of tipping over when it hits the ground, these outriggers kick out and will stop it from flipping over.”

Though developmental testing of RRDAS is scheduled to end later this year and full fielding of the system to troops is expected in Fiscal Year 2025, intermittent testing at YPG based on feedback from operational testing at Fort Bragg, North Carolina should continue for two years after that.

“We will be able to increase the load of the payload and the length of the platform so we can drop heavier and longer items,” said Rohe. “We’ll be testing on and off at Yuma for several years to come.”

YPG is the Army’s primary personnel and cargo parachute tester, with decades of institutional knowledge in both rigging and evaluating these complex airdrop systems, as well as coordinating multiple sorties safely. The post’s nearly 2,000 square miles of restricted airspace and favorable weather make it an ideal location for air drop testing.

“We always use YPG because of the test assets available,” said Emond. “It is safer and cheaper to conduct developmental testing here: it is the most reliable and dependable place to get the aircraft that we need to fly test missions.”

By Mark Schauer

Airborne Operation Experimenting with an Exposed Weapon Padding Kit

Sunday, February 26th, 2023

Jumping the MC 6 parachute out of a CH 47 helicopter and experimenting with a padding kit for the M-4 carbine. It allows quick access to the weapon upon landing, but protects the optics and muzzle (The weapon is not lowered). The combat equipment consists of the A-TAP fighting load carrier, and the MOLLE 4000 Rucksack.

– R Geardesign

317th AW Brings Tactical Airlift to Battalion Mass Tactical Week

Tuesday, February 14th, 2023


The 317th Airlift Wing supported Battalion Mass Tactical Week at Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina, Jan. 22-28.

BMTW is a week of training simulating a U.S. Indo-Pacific Command 24-hour response scenario. Three C-130J Super Hercules from the 317th AW alongside three C-17 Globemaster III from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, trained with the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, as an integrated force to provide strategic and tactical airpower.

“Events in the past, such as D-Day, have led to a demonstrated need for these events giving us now the ability to respond anywhere in the world, utilizing the strategic and tactical airpower of the C-130s and C-17s,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Miller, 317th Operations Group deputy commander and airlift mission commander.

Aircrews focused on meeting the Army’s scatter plan during BMTW by strategically spreading where the paratrooper, heavy equipment and container delivery systems containing supplies would land for ground personnel within the drop zone.

“Joint operations are always difficult and there is a clear need for us to continuously improve,” Miller said. “Being within this environment gets us out of our comfort zone. Moving to something a little more complicated makes us work together as an integrated force which ultimately improves ourselves.”

One of the challenges with BMTW was conducting dissimilar six-ship formations. There are risks associated with flying a dissimilar six-ship formation because of aircraft performance, such as differing slow-down speeds, power settings and altitudes.

“The timing of all of this matters,” Miller said. “When you combine all the different aspects of each aircraft in a high tempo environment, things can get missed. Deconfliction between the aircraft, ensuring the safety of our personnel by communicating and learning with the Army all matters for the mission’s success.”

Many risks were associated with executing BMTW properly, but through disciplined planning and execution, the aircrews and soldiers who participated have come out of BMTW having built a more strongly integrated team. 

“The 317th AW participation in BMTW enables continued development of an experienced and capable joint force. While airdrop is one of our oldest core competencies, this exercise allowed us to use emerging technologies to deliver our joint partners with more precision into the battlespace. The time we gain for them improves survivability and makes them even more lethal upon arrival,” said Col. Thomas Lankford, 317th AW commander.

By Airman 1st Class Ryan Hayman, 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Fort Bragg’s Airborne Innovation Lab Prepares Ghost Robotics Vision 60 Q-UGV Model for Airdrop Testing

Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

Putting the AIRBORNE in Airborne Innovation Lab.

The AIL built a model of the Ghost Robotics Vision 60 Q-UGV for testing door bundle configurations of the Division asset.

Here you see the first iteration, Woody 1, being fitted for his first airborne operation. Once initial testing is complete, they will begin iterating on a metal model of the Vision 60.

Designing, testing, and learning is a cyclic process that the Division continues to do as Masters of the Airborne JFE.

20th Special Forces Group Military Intelligence Company Conducts Water Jump

Tuesday, February 7th, 2023

GREEN RIVER LAKE, KY – Soldiers of the 20th Special Forces Group Military Intelligence Company (MICO) conducted a water jump at Green River Lake near Campbellsville, KY, Aug. 6, 2022. The jump was conducted to enhance the company’s proficiency in conducting airborne operations that require a water landing.

“This type of training is important to ensure that when we conduct these sorts of operations over water that our soldiers remain safe.” Said Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Lunger, a jumpmaster with the 20th Special Forces Group MICO. As a facilitating jumpmaster in the training event, Lunger ensured that all soldiers participating in the jump had a thorough understanding of the jumping process, while also training the MICO on the survival swimming required to avoid entanglement or entrapment beneath a parachute in the water – both very real risks when performing airborne operations into water.

For a few soldiers in the 20th Special Forces Group MICO, this was their first time conducting this sort of airborne jump. As new soldiers arrive to the MICO from AIT, the importance of properly training and maintaining proficiency in this skill has only increased. Jumpmasters ensured that these soldiers understood the process of making the jump, the survival swimming required after landing in water, and how to handle their parachute as it becomes waterlogged.

“Today was a special day because you don’t have to worry about landing on the ground and any sort of impact there. It’s just nice and smooth into the water.” Said Spc. John Stark. This was Stark’s first time performing a water jump with the MICO. “It’s against human nature to jump off of something at fifteen-hundred feet with the faith that something is going to catch you… I love having these [training] exercises because for me personally, it stretches me.”

Solders’ families and the locals from Campbellsville gathered by the lakeshore to watch as the 20th Special Forces Group MICO conducted the training exercise. The soldiers made a total of 4 flights over the lake. During each pass, the soldiers defied human nature and jumped into the open air. The only thing standing between them and a fatal fall was a pack full of fabric and rope secured to their backs – their parachutes. After the thrill of jumping out of the aircraft, the soldiers enjoyed a steady descent down into the lake, where Zodiac rafts pulled them from the water and brought them to shore. For many, their families watched the training and welcomed them back to shore with cheers.

Story by SPC Caleb Sooter 

133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment