Airborne Systems said more than 1,500 2K FireFly guided parachute aerial delivery systems have been sold to U.S. and international users, at the Association of the United States Army annual conference and exhibition in Washington, D.C.
The company, recently acquired by HDT International Holdings, Inc., designed, developed and manufactures the FireFly(tm) system, which has been selected by the U.S. military as the system of choice for the 2,000-pound Joint Precision Aerial Delivery System (JPADS) program.
FireFly(tm) is a GPS-guided parachute, which can be dropped from altitudes up to 25,000 feet. Using a steerable ram air parachute, FireFly(tm) can fly itself to a target up to 25 kilometers away, and land within 150 meters of that designated target, the company said.
The FireFly(tm) has been in operational theaters for over a year as part of an Urgent Material Release, performing successful resupply missions to remote and hazardous locations. “GPADS is a significant advantage to the user,” said JC Berland, chief technology officer of Airborne Systems who has designed a family of GPADS platforms. “This technology means a unit can receive supplies and equipment in almost any weather condition, at any location, without the need to put additional soldiers in danger.”
Able to carry up to 2,200 pounds, the FireFly(tm) is intended to enhance operational capabilities while providing additional safety during resupply operations. The FireFly(tm) reduces the amount of vehicle traffic on the ground, limits risk to the aircrew delivering supplies, and increases the security of the units on the ground receiving supplies. Compared to the round parachutes used for conventional airdrop, the FireFly(tm) will also decrease flight hours required for resupply missions because cargo for many units can be delivered from a common release point or along a single flight path.
Substantial orders over the next two years will be required to meet the demand of U.S. forces. Due to its performance, reliability, and ease of use, the Airborne Systems FireFly(tm) / JPADS 2K is the most widely fielded precision airdrop system in the world.