Army to Field New Type of Parachute


The U.S. Army and other services will soon begin fielding the first new type of parachute in decades, the service said.

The product is known as the Military Free Fall Advanced Ram-Air Parachute System, or RA-1. In coming months, it will start to replace the two-decades-old MC-4 design as the service’s primary tactical parachute.

The new rig is made by Airborne Systems, part of Solon, Ohio-based HDT Global, and commercially marketed as the Intruder. Consisting of a main parachute, reserve parachute, harness and container, it’s designed to give troops more maneuverability.

“This parachute allows you to land everybody within a 25 to 30 meter circle, instead of having all your guys spread out wherever the wind carried them along the drop zone,” Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Ford said in a recent Army video.

Ford is the air detachment platoon sergeant at Fort Hood, Texas, for Company C, 2nd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, III Corps.

His soldiers recently tested the parachute in static-line jumps from UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. Previous evaluations involved paratroopers jumping from such aircraft as the C-127 and C-23.

The parachute is also designed to give troops more carrying capacity. The RA-1 can carry upwards of 450 pounds — 100 pounds more than its predecessor — and safely deploy from 3,500 feet to 25,000 feet, according to a recent article on the website of the base’s newspaper, the Fort Hood Sentinel.

The Army has previously said it plans to begin fielding the product in April 2014. It wasn’t immediately clear how much the new system costs and how many units the service plans to buy.

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Brendan McGarry
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28 Comments on "Army to Field New Type of Parachute"

  1. This is for there SOCOM units and for special jumps/ They just bought the T-11 chute and I don't see that going away soon either.

  2. Time too have the airborne update.

  3. 3500 feet sounds very high for minimum height – not really what I would call tactical. Should that read 350 feet?

  4. What about the mc6? T11? Forget decades, those are in the last couple of years…

  5. 3500 feet is only about 14 seconds of straight drop before hitting the ground.

  6. HALO JUMPER/RIGGER | December 10, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Reply

    Don't tell anyone but we were jumping the Ram Air on static line back in the 70's…

    Capt J .E. did a Ram Air on static line from a Lear Jet in Rambo II..

  7. Tue. 12/10/13 All this chatter about a New Parachute. DOD is about to Cut Airborne Units period ! The Days of Mass Parachute Drops & thousands of ParaTroopers in the Sky at the same time is about to become History.
    "They can't Do THAT ! We are Too Important !" Think again. SPW in Alaska AIRBORNE All the Way Sir !

  8. I'm a 'trooper from 1966-1970, 1/503d Inf., 173rd Abn. What is the difference between the new T-11, and the T-10 I jumped for 18 months in Germany?

  9. Back in my day, we safely jumped the T-10 at 800 feet during practice jumps, but were told that in combat, we could expect to go at 350 feet. The T-10 was not real maneuverable, the advantage being that everyone drifted in the same general direction to avoid mid-air entanglements or landing on top of another canopy, causing your canopy to collapse. Can't imagine highly maneuverable chutes being used in mass jumps for this reason. I did note that the RA-1 is a free fall chute, obviously for SOC insertions.

  10. looks great

  11. Retired Guy here. We had talked about using the Ram Air with Special Ops back in the early 1980s! It was a good idea then and long overdue. Flying a Multi Billion Dollar Aircraft in formation with hundreds of others at 400 feet at night, just is not too damn safe. The time has come to use high altitude drops and glide the 10 or 20 miles using GPS and infrared markers. What in the hell took them so long.

  12. 3500 feet..14 seconds..hmmm..there are a lot of variables related to that..size

  13. I've never done A "loPo" I suppose if they don't issue a reserve for that jump,i guess your gona do a LoPo

  14. There is an awful lot of nonsense in this comments section. I can't tell if half the people who are posting are drunk, making stuff up, or learned English from a monkey.

  15. I'm an old tin can sailor, so what do I know. I jumped at Elsinore, California in the early 1970's when the Paraplane first hit the dirt. It was the fastest [35mph] most maneuverable canopy ever! It could fly in winds up to 35mph. Opening shock would clean out your sinuses. Opening shock was terrible. But improvements over the years improvrd safety a great deal. I was suprised the military didn't adopt it a lot sooner. Which was is up!

    Thank's for your service to your country.

    Wishing You and Yours Peace Profound,


  16. It's about time. Having jumped T-10's and later MC-1's, anything is an improvement. Most of the time we jumped at 1200 feet and the only problem was that it wasn't much of a ride. Later at Bragg, some chopper pilots would take us up to about 3000 feet and that was great. Having been a rigger, wonder how difficult it is to pack?
    Airborne All the Way!

  17. We jumped at 1200 feet so the team could get on the ground asap. The Golden Knights have been using glide parachutes halo in the 60tys. The chute you used was a function of the mission, the type of aircraft you were jumping from and the conditions on the ground. It has been my pleasure to jump from 119's, C130, C141, & choppers, all a different experience and a confidence builder that would be an asset to any mission.
    Looks like the future is in air assault, where choppers can get in and out at a moments notice.
    Still, Airborne All the Way

  18. am I that old ? use to jump using T10's out of c119's and Otters though I didn't do the Otter

  19. So what is new????

    We in SEAL Team One at Coronado, CA were jumping the Ram-Air Parachute System in the 1960s.

  20. It’s funny. We tested this concept at both 10th sfga and 3rd sfga back in 1996. Now we have a airborne unit that is testing it out that does not require this capability. Who is running these programs and will a new set of wings be designed.

  21. Excellent choice of of chute, a lot of control, I want to jump with one, I jumped from 85 til 88

  22. OK, I know I am an old, retired soldier, but what exactly is a C-127. I have jumped, C-123, C-130, C-141 and various choppers, UH-1, CH-46, CH-47, and CH-53. I am aware of the C-119, before my time, and my grandfather jumped a C-47.

  23. We are just re-inventing the wheel !!!l lol Air Mobile !!!!

  24. Anyone remember the C-7 Caribou !!!!!! 1/325 B Btry 3/4 ADA (Disbanded) Vulcan/Redeye

  25. I'm all in for the new chutes, okay looks a lot more drivable than the old mushroom type we used in the 90's.I just hope for all the soilders Fort Bragg right now that they made it for exiting Jets, because that's all we normally need them for.

  26. I love the mc6… That is all!

  27. jumped off roof tops with a Umbrella before gettin to practice night assaults on my C-7 Caribu, T-10, MC-1, all out of various crafts, C119's, C141's, C130's, C127's, UH-1's, CH-47's, CH-53's, heck we jumped as low as 150 feet but no one ever walked away from those jumps…to as high as 30,000 feet….we would call them jumpers icecycles….heck i hope you dont think this is real….just had to add a little humor to the blogs.

  28. What's the difference between this chute and the MMPS the Marines use?

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