Airborne Systems announced the full adoption by the US Department of Defense (DoD) of one of its family of Joint Precision Airdrop Systems (JPADS). The JPADS 2K, based on the Airborne Systems FireFly® is a GPS-guided parachute system capable of carrying payloads of up to 2,200lb (1,000kg) that can be dropped from altitudes up to 25,000ft (7,600m). Using a steerable ram air parachute, the JPADS 2K can fly itself to a target up to 25km away, and land accurately at the designated target.

Airborne Systems JPADS enhances the operational capabilities for armed forces whilst minimising risk to personnel and equipment during resupply operations. JPADS avoids the need for vehicle convoys and reduces risk to aircrews delivering supplies, and to units on the ground. Compared to the round parachutes used for conventional airdrop, JPADS can also decrease flight hours required for resupply missions as cargo can be delivered to different units at different locations from a common release point along a single flight path.

The JPADS 2K has been in operational theatres with the DoD for over a year as part of an urgent material release, performing successful resupply missions to remote and hazardous locations. Ric Allison, senior vice-president of customer business at Airborne Systems Europe comments, “JPADS is a significant advantage to the user. Its technology means that a unit can receive supplies and equipment in almost any weather condition, at any location, without the need to use helicopters and put aircrew and additional soldiers at risk.”

The JPADS 2K program is managed by Product Manager – Force Sustainment Systems (PM-FSS), located at the US Army Natick Soldier Systems Center at Natick, Massachusetts. PM-FSS is currently fielding the JPADS 2K to US forces. In addition to the JPADS 2K program, PM-FSS also manages the JPADS 10K program which uses the Airborne Systems DragonFly® system.

Airborne Systems has sold more than 850 JPADS 2K and FireFly systems to US and international users with substantial orders expected over the next few years. Due to its performance, reliability and ease-of-use, the Airborne Systems JPADS 2K is now the most widely fielded precision airdrop system in the world.