T-11 feature Land Warfare Intenational
Santa Ana,CA - 1 April, 2010
Trainee paratroopers at the US Army's Fort Benning Airborne School, Georgia, made the first jumps using the service's new T-11 parachute on 16 March. The T-11 Advanced Tactical Parachute System, designed by Airborne Systems, is replacing the T-10, which has been in service since the 19505.
The static line-operated, non-steerable T-11 will be used for mass low-level air drops, both by day and by night. The T-11 's square shape easily distinguishes it from the circular T-10, and it features a slider component that separates lines and reduces the possibility of inversion. The primary advantages that the T-11 offers are an increased weight tolerance for heavier combat loads and a 25% slower rate
of descent, which allows softer landings. The army expects that use of the new model will reduce the number of injuries. The 75th Ranger Regiment (Airbome) began operational testing of the T-11 at Fort Benning in March 2009 and during more than 3,000 jumps suffered 75% fewer landing injuries than would have been experienced using the T-1 0. The T-11 R reserve parachute also features a slower rate of descent - less than B.22m/sec, compared to 1O m/sec for the T-1OR.
The first cycle to be trained on the T-11 at the Airbome School - 453 students in C Company, 1st Battalion (Airbome), 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment - completed one jump with the T-11 and four with the T-10, as it will be 15 years before the 52,000 T-1Os now in service are phased out.
The Research, Development and Engineering Command Contracting Centre, Natick Contracting Division awarded three separate five-year indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contracts with a total potential value of $220 million for 45,000-50,000 T-11 parachutes to Airborne Systems North America, Aerostar
International and BAE Systems. The initial delivery orders were worth almost $14 million to Airborne Systems North America, $12.2 million to Aerostar International and $8.7 million to BAE Systems. On 16 March, Airborne Systems announced that it had begun deliveries of the first full·rate production T-11 s to the army.
In December, Airborne Systems' European division, based in Llangeinor, south Wales, was awarded a competitive contract by France's Direction Generale de l'Armement (DGA) procurement agency to produce more than 23,000 new parachutes, designated the Ensemble de Parachutage du Combattant
(EPC), for use by the French Army. Chris Rowe, managing director of Airbome Systems Europe, said: 'Not only is this [EPC contract] a major strategic breakthrough for us in France, but we have also reinforced our global leadership position in the parachute systems market. We now have a firm foothold in mainland Europe, which will help us to increase our market penetration:
The static-line, non-steerable EPC was designed by French company Aerazur, a division of Zodiac Aerospace, under a DGA development contract. Patrick Chavanon of Aerazur explained: 'The EPC has been designed to satisfy the requirements of a modem force: it ensures safe jumps at up to 165kg and low altitude with a wind of up to 1 Om/so This means, among other things, a low rate of descent of 5.2m/s~ The EPC also features a reserve parachute developed to provide high reliability at both high and low speeds.
'Looking at the recent orders placed by the US Army and the French DGA, as well as the current competition in the UK with the replacement for the existing square parachute, [I believe there] is a trend for armed forces worldwide in replacing their airborne forces equipment; Rowe concluded.