U.S. and Allied forces in landlocked Afghanistan receive 75% of their fuel, food, and other supplies from Pakistan via truck supply line through the Khyber Pass. These lines are frequently suspended due to raids, which result in many casualties and destroyed vehicles. Helicopter resupply also has resulted in unacceptably high casualties.
Draper recently teamed with the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) and U.S. Army PM-Force Sustainment Systems to respond to a Joint Urgent Operational Need by developing a precision guided airdrop system to deliver supplies and equipment into difficult mountainous terrain accurately and consistently. Precision Airdrop has emerged during Operation Enduring Freedom as a significant logistics enabler and has become the favored method for daily resupply of troops.
Draper’s guidance, navigation and control software enables the system to accurately and consistently deliver supplies and equipment into restricted access drop zones while avoiding collisions with terrain and ground obstacles. The parafoils operate completely autonomously once dropped from an aircraft. Draper’s software enables a dramatic increase in accuracy. It is non-proprietary, owned by the government, and applicable to a wide variety of hardware platforms. Draper has successfully ported and flown the software in a wide array of hardware platforms manufactured by several vendors and ranging in payload capacity from 5 - 42,000 lb.