The trials were undertaken to prove the effectiveness of a precision-guided airdrop that the ADF hopes will deliver a quicker and more accurate means of sustaining troops over long distances, by combining steerable parachutes with GPS guidance.
Group Captain Nicholas Hogan, the Officer Commanding No. 84 Wing, said JPADS could land on a dropzone (DZ) the size of a cricket oval, or a road, depending on the delivery mode.
“Historically, DZs have been a cleared area the size of a small airfield, several hundreds of metres long, and at a fixed location,” GPCAPT Hogan said.
“Ground commanders can also easily control JPADS whilst it’s in flight, effectively allowing them to move the DZ with them on the battlefield instead of being tethered to a fixed point.”
The trials were conducted last month at RAAF Base Richmond, NSW, and a demonstration at RAAF Base Curtin near Derby in the north of Western Australia.
Wing Commander Stephen Monypenny, Commanding Officer of AMTDU, noted that it was a C-130J Hercules from Air Force’s No. 37 Squadron that was used for the airdrop.
“We conducted three passes over two separate flights,” WGCDR Monypenny said.
“The first pass delivered a 500-pound (226 kilogram) load, and the second pass delivered a combination of a 4,000-pound (1,814 kilogram) and two 2,000-pound (907 kilogram) systems.”
Air Force is looking to roll out JPADS capability in conjunction with 176 Air Dispatch Squadron, providing more options for supporting forces on the ground.
“All three systems were demonstrated in-field with same-day repacking and airdrop capability without the need for external support,” WGCDR Monypenny said.
“A new tablet allowed a ground commander to track and monitor a JPADS load in flight.”