Airborne Systems, a world leader in parachute systems, has won its first contract to provide a new troop parachute system for the French airborne forces.

Under the contract with the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), the procurement executive of the French Ministry of Defence, more than 23,000 parachutes will be delivered under a multi-year programme. This comprises a combination of main and reserve parachutes, associated load-carrying equipment and training systems.

The new parachute, known as Ensemble de Parachutage du Combattant (EPC), is replacing the existing parachute system, which has been in service for more than 20 years. The new static, line-operated non-steerable parachute will be used for mass low-level air drops, both in day and night-time conditions.

Airborne Systems’ European Division based in Llangeinor, South Wales, will manage the contract, which comprises delivery of equipment and associated documentation to support packing, training and maintenance of the new system. All the work under this contract will be performed in the European Union, using a number of international suppliers.

Chris Rowe, managing director of Airborne Systems Europe, said: “Not only is this a major strategic breakthrough for us in France, but we have also reinforced our global leadership position in the parachute systems market. We now have a firm foothold in mainland Europe, which will help us to increase our market penetration.”
The Group, already the major parachute supplier to the UK Ministry of Defence, has now won two major new troop parachute systems contracts in the last four months.

In October 2009, Airborne Systems won the largest of three contracts from the US Department of Defence to manufacture the new Airborne Systems design advanced tactical troop parachute system for the US Army, the T-11.