USAF Transport Aircraft Can Now Drop Weapons With Parachutes During Combat

MC-130J aircraft drops a JASSM deployment box, at Emerald Warrior 1 photo
Photo: Air Force Material Command
The Air Force wants to be able to deliver munitions during a fight, by dropping them from cargo aircraft, and is now closer than ever to reaching this goal. Recently renamed Rapid Dragon, this program has been successfully tested at the Emerald Warrior exercise.
The Air Force has been testing this concept throughout last year, in what was known as the Palletized Munition Program, which started out as a concept at the end of 2019. The idea behind this was to come up with a reliable, alternative way of delivering more weapons, during combat.

After all, there’s only so many missiles that can be loaded on bombers and U.S. warfighters can always use more firepower, in the event of a future conflict. The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) then began to test dropping simulated munitions in the form of pallets, from MC-130J aircraft.

This year, the Air Force Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation Office (SDPE), which is part of the AFRL, organized and performed a successful demonstration of the Rapid Dragon, showing that previous issues are no longer in the way and that it’s closer to becoming operational. According to an Air Force statement, the recent tests were performed at Emerald Warrior exercise in March, at White Sands Missile Range, in New Mexico.

During the tests, MC-130J dropped Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM) packed in deployment boxes, with G-11 parachutes (cargo parachutes that can be used individually or in clusters, for increased payload capacity). The success of the operation showed that stability, based on parachute and rigging configurations, had been improved.

The Rapid Dragon tests also set an altitude record for G-11 parachutes airdrops from an air transport aircraft, marking the successful use of this type of parachutes for munitions airdrop operations.

According to SDPE officials, the successful test at Emerald Warrior helped paved the way for a live-fire demonstration that will take place later this year.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
Press Release
About the author: Otilia Drăgan
Otilia Drăgan profile photo

Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories