Soldiers assigned to the North Carolina National Guard’s 403rd Rigger Support Team (403rd RST) spent five days training on the newly fielded Joint Precision Air Drop System (JPADS) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, June 7-11, 2021. The training will allow the Guardsmen to pack and prepare the new parachute system and train new Soldiers who come to their unit. Traditional parachute systems require planes to fly directly over the target to drop cargo. However, the new system will allow aircraft to fly 25,000 feet above the target and offset up to 12 kilometers.
One of the instructors, Clint Browning, a cargo parachute equipment specialist with Tanks and Automotive Command, Integrated Logistics Support Center, said the JPADS one of the significant changes to the new system was the ability to guide itself onto a target. The self-flying parachute is powered by a modular autonomous guidance unit that provides the parachute canopy’s brain and flight control system. The five-day-long training allowed Guardsmen to get their hands on the new parachute system, ensuring they can properly pack them for future operations.
The JPADS also allows units like the 403rd RST to program the system to avoid obstacles and avoid enemy interruption. Soldiers in the 403rd RST take pride in their job and their support to other units; to date, the company has never had a parachute malfunction. JPADS offers several main benefits, including an increase in the number of available drop zones and an increase in the cargo’s precision, which benefits the user. This is one of many ways the North Carolina National Guard has embraced new technology to increase its effectiveness across the force.
The Joint Precision Airdrop System (JPADS) is an American military airdrop system which uses the Global Positioning System (GPS), steerable parachutes, and an onboard computer to steer loads to a designated point of impact (PI) on a drop zone (DZ). The JPADS family of systems consists of several precision airdrop systems, ranging from extra light to heavy payloads. JPADS is used in conjunction with mission planning software that resides on a laptop. It can also receive weather updates and en route mission changes through satellite links.