Defense

May 3, 2013

New parachute test to provide AC-130 aircrew with the best

Tags:
Jet Fabara
412th Test Wing Public Affairs

Tech. Sgt. Joseph Monreal, 418th Flight Test Squadron NCOIC of the Test Parachuting Program, deploys the Low Profile parachute after exiting a SC.7 Skyvan during a LPP test April 12, 2013 over the Edwards Farm Dropzone. The Low Profile Parachute is intended to replace the BA-22 parachute which is currently configured for use in the AC-130 gunship.

There’s a lot to be said by AC-130 gunship aircrew members who are proud of their heavily armed aircraft.

These aircraft have the latest in sophisticated weapons, high tech sensors, navigation and fire control systems; however, it lacked one thing – a lightweight parachute that was agile enough for the entire crew to use.

Thanks to the work of the Aircrew Performance Branch Program Office, part of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Agile Combat Support Directorate, and testing completed in April by the Global Reach Combined Test Force Test Parachutist Program, crew members aboard AC-130s will now have a lightweight alternative, the Low Profile Parachute.

“The LPP program is success story for Air Force Materiel Command’s newly established five-center construct. The five centers, which report directly to AFMC, include Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Air Force Test Center, Air Force Research Laboratory, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, and Air Force Sustainment Center,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Lemanski, AFLCMC Aircrew Performance Branch†program manager. “The men and women of two of these centers, AFLCMC and AFTC, worked very closely to select and test a low-cost, commercially available emergency egress parachute suitable for the AC-130 community. Within AFLCMC, the Aircrew Performance Branch is responsible to the Air Force Program Executive Officer for Agile Combat Support for acquiring LPPs within cost, schedule and performance requirements and timelines.”

Tech. Sgt. Matthew Mensch, 418th FLTS parachute test jumper, exits a SC.7 Skyvan with a Low Profile parachute April 12, 2013 over the Edwards Farm Dropzone. The Low Profile Parachute is intended to replace the BA-22 parachute which is currently configured for use in the AC-130 gunship.

“Ultimately, AC-130 crew members needed a chute that was easy to walk around with while they executed their mission and they needed a parachute rig that was lighter and slimmer,” added Tech. Sgt. Joe Monreal, 418th FLTS NCOIC of Test Parachutist Program, who was also a test jumper during the test phase of the LPP. “After carefully going through the research, planning and selection phase in 2010, the LPP eventually proved to be the best alternative.”

According to Monreal, the LPP is intended to replace the BA-22 parachute which is currently configured for use in the AC-130 and weighs approximately 40 pounds, depending on the configuration.

“In addition to weighing nearly one-half of the BA-22, this new parachute will help save the Air Force money on the purchase price of emergency chutes and on the repacking cycle, but more importantly, it will help save lives of crew members that may find themselves in an egress situation,” added Monreal.

With the execution phase beginning in early February 2012, the team of test jumpers, flight test engineers, human factors engineers, rigger support specialists and drop zone safety officers, all said that to get to the completion phase, extensive training had to be completed before any of the test jumpers could don the LPPs.

“Before we could perform actual jumps, we first had to accomplish wind tunnel training in Perris, Calif., with the parachutes,” Monreal said.
“After this, we outfitted dummies with the LPPs and used a World War II B-25 Bomber and SC.7 Skyvan to drop them out of the bomb bay. Soon after this, we began staging out of the California City airport in order to execute live drops at the Edwards Farm Drop Zone.”

During the duration of the test, the team flew approximately 55 sorties with challenges along the way, according to Monreal.

“Some minor malfunctions, such as line twists, were experienced, not to mention some hard openings at high speeds and some hard landings, so you can say we all definitely earned our pay,” said Monreal. “But, in the end, we all feel that this new system will help AC-130 aircrew members across the Air Force accomplish the mission more effectively and safely.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines July 23, 2014

News: Israel’s Iron Dome defense in line for tripled U.S. spending - Israel’s iron Dome missile defense system may end up getting triple the U.S. funding that the Defense Department sought for it in March. Ukraine asked U.S. for systems to counter Russian missiles - A month before the United States says a Russian missile likely brought...
 
 

News Briefs July 23, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,194 As of July 22, 2014, at least 2,194 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. The AP count is three less than the Defense Department’s tally. At least...
 
 
Raytheon photograph

Raytheon completes key Air, Missile Defense Radar reviews

Raytheon photograph Partially-populated, full-sized Air and Missile Defense Radar array. Raytheon has completed two critical program reviews for the new Air and Missile Defense Radar, the U.S. Navy’s next generation integ...
 

 
Insitu photograph

Insitu demonstrates long endurance capabilities of Integrator unmanned aircraft

Insitu photograph Insitu’s Integrator unmanned aircraft recovers via SkyHook; the aircraft recently completed a 24-hour endurance flight. Insitu announced July 22 the successful 24-hour flight of its Integrator unmanned a...
 
 

NASA partners punctuate summer with spacecraft development advances

Spacecraft and rocket development is on pace this summer for NASA’s aerospace industry partners for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program as they progress through systems testing, review boards and quarterly sessions under their† Space Act Agreements with the agency. NASA engineers and specialists continue their review of the progress as the agency and partners move...
 
 

U.S. Navy selects Northrop Grumman for ship self-defense system

The U.S. Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman a $12 million task order for a full range of engineering services to continue modernizing the Ship Self-Defense System Mark 2. The contract has a potential value of $61 million over five years, if all options are exercised. SSDS MK2 is a combat system designed for anti-air defense...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>