An aerial delivery system, developed by Airborne Systems, a world leader in parachute systems and related technology, for airdropping large rigid inflatable boats (RIB) and used for Special Forces, counter-terrorism and anti-piracy operations, has been selected by Norway.

The world-leading maritime craft aerial delivery system (MCADS), designed by Airborne Systems, will enable Norway to airdrop its new rigid inflatable boat (RIB) from the C-130J. MCADS is the only airdrop system for large RIBs certified for use with the C-130 and C-17 and that is also compatible with the floor of the new Airbus A400M military transport aircraft, of which deliveries are due to begin in 2013.

An extractor parachute pulls the load from the aircraft and the boat and airdrop platform separate immediately after exit. The boat lands in the water ready for use and is generally followed by Special Forces parachutists who land near and board it for immediate operations. The platform can be prepared to float for recovery or to sink for covert operations.

MCADS was designed, developed and tested by Airborne Systems in response to US SOCOM operational requirements and has since been used by many Allied countries. Airborne Systems continues to manufacture and supply the US Special Forces with equipment and spares and to provide repairs and training.

A number of recent significant achievements for the Airborne Systems MCADS include the delivery, last August, of new platforms for the UK Ministry of Defence. These will be used to airdrop RIBs of 6.5m to 8.5m in length from UK C-130J aircraft.

In September 2010, a successful airdrop of a new Zodiac 7.5m RIB for the South African Special Forces resulted in the purchase of a number of PURIBAD platforms, and associated spares.

Now, under a £2.8m contract from the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation, Airborne Systems will manufacture and supply the complete airdrop system, which includes the airdrop platform PRIBAD 21, the parachutes and auxiliary aerial delivery equipment, aircraft certification, training and full through-life support.

Major Tore Ulriksen, Programme Manager with the Norwegian Air Force, said: “Airborne Systems was selected as a single source of supply with a commercial off-the-shelf solution because of proven quality and acceptable price. Airborne Systems had already carried out excellent work on a similar programme in 2009 with an airdrop platform for a 6.5m RIB.”

Chris Rowe, managing director of Airborne Systems Europe, commented: “This is a major contract for our Llangeinor facility and another significant endorsement of both our proprietary MCADS system, and the manufacturing industry in Wales and the UK. With the current increase in maritime piracy, a number of countries have shown an interest in having this MCADS capability.”