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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Testing India's 16-tonne Heavy Drop Capability Developed Indigenously [Video]

Demonstrating a capability, using a system designed in the country, increase self-reliance, reduce imports.

A video, below, shows a para drop system, developed by the Agra-based Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment [ADRDE], capable of safely handling up to 16-tonnes of material loads. The maiden test is believed to have occurred in the month of October, though the news seems to have been reported in the MSM just this month. The Armed Forces had, till now, been performing the task utilising imported systems, consisting primarily of the parachutes & platform assembly. Given the scale of the Indian Military's operations, successive import of such systems result in non-trivial outflow of Forex reserves. Avoidable.

video via tarmak007

On the face of it, one may wonder if such a system is indeed as big a thing, as is being made out to be. After all, isn't it just a matter of pushing the load out of the aircraft, with the parachute & gravity doing the rest? Be that as it may, ensuring that the payload is delivered safely & in sound condition every time, requires a robust, reliable design that stands up to all operational challenges. For example, even if the load were to weigh 16-tonnes, a significantly higher shock force, corresponding to around 5-6 times the load, would act on the system, the moment the parachutes deploy. In addition, one would need to ensure correct sequential opening of the multiple parachutes, each performing a specific operation - one wanks the load out of the aircraft, the other stabilises the load ensuring the bottom faces down, while the last set of parachutes, upon deployment, would reduce the fall to a safe, acceptable speed of descent. Air-cushioned shock absorbers have to ensure no damage is caused to the payload on hitting the ground. In addition, the parachutes themselves would have to be designed in a manner, corresponding to the load, that ensures the loads don't drift excessively during descent, touching ground far away from intended. After having sustained the forces subjected during a drop, the parachute & the platform to which the load is strapped, has to be strong enough to do so repeatedly.

Given that the system is presently being imported, its current usage would justifiable be metered. With ADRDE now having made this capability available within the country itself, one would hope to see it being used much more numerously. This could come in particularly handy in helping speed up infrastructure development in the remote, unfriendly terrains bordering China - [also]. Air-dropping heavy earth-moving equipment in sufficient numbers to get the job done.


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