Of tactical significance, the US Marine Corps (USMC) is bolstering its capability to complete airborne insertion missions well beyond this decade, with a significant materiel upgrade. As delegates gather at this year’s Modern Day Marine 2018 (MDM2018), Airborne Systems North America (ASNA) has delivered more than 100 Enhanced Multi-Mission Parachute System (E-MMPS) for completion of First Article Testing by the US Marines. Beginning January 2019 ASNA will be delivering approximately 275 systems per year for the next four years under the current contract announced this January, along with K9 Harnesses for use with the E-MMPS.
Mike Murphy, Airborne Systems North America’s Customer Business Manager, observed the E-MMPS was designed to give users the most advanced equipment available during a mission, as a result of generation-shifting technological advancements: “Under development for the last four years, the E-MMPS Harness/Container, and the Hi-5 parachute family incorporate numerous performance and safety improvements in the areas of high gliding performance, reliability of high gliding parachutes, glide modulation capability, container out-of-sequence-deployment security, and simplified centrally-located drogue release.”
In one instance, the Hi-5 parachutes are designed to achieve a minimum glide of 5:1 Lift/Drag. ASNA, accounting for lessons learned with the INTRUDER 360 (RA-1 main and reserve parachutes currently in use with the US Army and Air Force) and the 6:1 high gliding HG-380, has bridged the, “gap in glide performance,” while achieving reliable and consistent deployments, thereby permitting its use as a reserve canopy. Mr Murphy pointed out: “Unlike the HG-380, the Hi-5 can be used in a main-on-main configuration, a key requirement for military freefall operations. The EMMPS Hi-5 300 and Hi-5 370, mains and reserves, have been rigorously tested prior to and in support of E-MMPS.”
Due to the nature of a high gliding parachute, the Hi-5 main and reserve have extremely safe landings. With glide ratios meeting the service’s E-MMPS objective, the rate of descent prior to flare is reported to be several feet/second slower than the current state of the art military canopies. “This slower approach to the ground gives a parachutist more time to judge a flare, making the landing a much less intimidating experience for low experience jumpers, and reducing the injury risks that occur with high flares/late flares,” the community expert explained. “Additionally, since the forward velocity is still similar to lower gliding parachutes, the flare is equally responsive. The combination of good flare qualities and a generously slow rate of descent in which to judge flare, are anticipated to significantly reduce landing injuries.”
Further, the Hi-5 design allows for a controlled B-line descent, similar to the paragliding technique and because the glide modulation is intuitive and effective, it offers parachutists new options of executing a final approach. Mr Murphy emphasised: “S-turns to lose altitude are optionally no longer required. Rather, a parachutist can choose to employ precision glide slope control to avoid turning altogether. This reduces the possibility of collision with other parachutists and results in a much safer landing approach, especially when flying in stacks at night into tight drop zones.”
Additionally, with the Hi-5 parachute, there is the possibility to evolve current training practices of formation flying and the final approach manoeuvring. While the Hi-5 can continue to be trained in conventional format and maintain, “the status quo,” the glide slope approach is believed to add significant safety in the user environment.
At MDM2018 ASNA are showcasing the E-MMPS, its MICROFLY II GPADS, as well as SOLR Oxygen equipment. More details on the company’s product portfolio are available here.