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News

'Drop and forget' parachute system

Airborne Systems : 22 September, 2009  (Application Story)
Airborne Systems Canada announces that the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) has procured an undisclosed, but significant number of low cost aerial delivery parachutes, the "Unicross’, for "drop-and-forget’ missions in Afghanistan.
The cruciform shaped Unicross system is specifically designed for any tactical situation that makes recovery of the chute either too dangerous or economically unfeasible. It reduces the need for logistical convoys and lessens unnecessary exposure of friendly troops and land vehicles to IEDs (improvised explosive devices).


The Unicross family of parachutes replaces the conventional cargo parachutes such as the G-11, G-12, G14 and T-10 (expired personnel canopy used for cargo) and provides a low cost solution to supply missions. As an example of savings achieved the 2,200 lb (1,000kg) version is around 40 per cent cheaper that the current in-service G-12 cargo parachute. With a price of around one US dollar per pound of weight carried, it is available in 150 lb (70kg), 500 lb (230kg), 2,200 lb (1,000kg) and 5,000 lb (2,300kg) configurations. A cluster of two, three and four separate Unicross parachutes on the same load can increase the weight carrying capacity potentially up to 10,000 pounds.


Made up of between 5 and 33 polypropylene, hand-tied panels, modularity is a key feature of the Unicross system - individual panels can be replaced quickly if torn or damaged and despite being primarily designed for single use, the parachutes can, if recovered, be repacked and re-used.


Operated by static line, the Unicross family of systems exhibits rates of descent (RoD) ranging between 25 and 32 feet (7.5m to 9.75m) per second and achieving 90 feet (27.5m) per second in its high velocity (HV) configuration. The HV configuration of the Unicross makes it a superior alternative to other systems because of the ability of the parachute to effectively decelerate prior to landing, thus increasing the payload survivability and accuracy for critical missions. In addition, this higher rate of descent improves the ballistic accuracy of the canopy. This set-up allows also cargo to be used in HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) operations, a technique favored by special operations forces for covert mission.


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