The US Army's airborne forces are set to field a new fighting load system known as the Airborne Tactical Assault Panel (ABN-TAP), which has been designed for paratroopers.
ABN-TAP is expected to allow soldiers to place the fighting load under the parachute harness but below the reserve parachute during airborne infiltration operations.
US Army Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate (ABNSOTD) Test NCO sergeant 1st Class Ian Seymour said: "This will allow paratroopers to properly adjust the T-11 parachute harness to their specific sizing requirements and keep the T-11 reserve parachute handle well within reach.”
The ABN-TAP is claimed to be similar to the old load bearing system (LBE) that was used with the T-10 and MC1-1 parachute systems.
Previous fighting load systems did not allow a proper fit for the T-11 main parachute harness and moved the T-11 reserve activation handle further away from the paratrooper's grasp.
US Army Soldier Systems Center laboratories official Rich Landry said: "The ABN-TAP was developed with the paratrooper in mind, and will allow the paratrooper a greater degree of comfort, mobility and safety during static line airborne infiltration operations.”
Airborne paratroopers are currently conducting operational trials using the ABN-TAP solution, and the information collected will be used to support the evaluation of the fighting load system when worn during static line airborne operations and follow-on missions.
Soldiers also took part in new equipment training (NET) before beginning the test procedures, which included familiarisation with the system, fitting and proper rigging of the ABN-TAP with the T-11 parachute system.
Personnel subsequently conducted live parachute jumps from a C-17 high-performance aircraft at 1,250ft above ground level after completing the NET activities.
Image: The Airborne Tactical Assault Panel (ABN-TAP) rigging configurations. Photo: courtesy of PM Soldier.