Airborne Systems has started full rate production phase of the US Army's first 243-type classified 10K joint precision aerial delivery system (JPADS).
The system is built around the company's DragonFly-guided precision aerial delivery system, which was selected by the army for development into the 10,000lb JPADS in October 2007.
Airborne Systems JPADS programme manager Aaron Mebust said the new system would expand on the type classified JPADS 2K system that can carry 2,000lb payloads using container delivery system (CDS).
"Unlike the 2K, the 10K system can also be used with the Type V airdrop platform, which can accommodate vehicles and artillery pieces, and has the potential to deliver generators, shelters and other unevenly shaped items," Mebust added.
"In reaching the fielding milestone, the JPADS 10K will now give the US Army an additional tool to support military efforts in theatre."
Equipped with a fully elliptical ram air parachute canopy, the DragonFly is a fully autonomous cargo delivery system capable of enhancing the soldier's mission readiness by accurately delivering 10,000lb cargo supplies to remote locations.
The system uses a global positioning system (GPS) and an advanced guidance navigation and control algorithm for precise delivery of cargo in varying payload dimensions, from an altitude of 25,000ft within 150m of a designated impact point to ensure ground troops safety.
Airborne Systems' FireFly was also selected by the army as the basis for the JPADS 2K programme in May 2007.
More than 2,500 JPADS 2K and FireFly systems, as well as some 250 JPADS 10K and DragonFly systems have been delivered by the company to the US and undisclosed customers worldwide.
The type classified JPADS 10K systems are scheduled for delivery by April 2013.
A joint US Army/Air Force programme, JPADS is designed to help combatant commanders maintain combat power by providing a high-altitude, precision airdrop system for use in the battlefield.