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Activity title

Air Drop Flight Testing Techniques

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Systems Concepts and Integration

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Air Delivery, Flight Test Management, Flight Testing, Military Operations, Test Risk Management


Air Drop, as it is assessed here will embody the concept of using parachute systems for aerial delivery of supplies and equipment One of the most demanded military operations for air transport fleets, is the Air Delivery of Loads. The capability of deploying goods and equipment from the air, without the need of landing, is a high valuable asset for every armed services. All the air platforms devoted to this activity, have to be tested and evaluated till demonstrate that they are capable to perform safely and accurately. This demonstration is carried out mainly through extensive flight-testing. Because of the inherently dangerous nature of the operation, this flight-testing is one of the most critical of its kind in the military transport aircraft. There is currently an Agardograph available that deals with this topic, edited in 1987 “Developmental Airdrop Testing Techniques and Devices” AG vol 6 series 300. In 2005 another related Agardograph was delivered: “Precision Airdrop” AG vol 24 series 300. This last one was on a more specific topic and did not address the general concept of Air Drop Flight Testing. The mentioned Agardograph was produced more than 30 years ago. In the meanwhile, the techniques and equipment have evolved and new methods and tools are in place. There is a new generation of Military transport aircraft going on trials for Air Delivery. So the main purpose of this Exploratory Team is to assess the needs of flight test community in order to know if a new effort for an Agardograph on this topic is required. To accomplish this, it is required to put together some of the people currently involved in Air Drop testing and the potential users of these capabilities in the armed services of the alliance. The distribution of this knowledge among the NATO community will certainly be of great help in the near future. It will provide a critical reference to support the rapid deployment and enhancement of Air Drop to meet emergent threats. Additionally when NATO forces are involved in humanitarian missions to support civil personnel, the main question is to deliver the proper stuff on the right place and in the shortest time. Usually these missions are performed over damaged areas where no airfields can be used. The only way to provide these critical supplies to the affected people is through Air Drop. So the effectiveness and readiness of this capability is a key factor to accomplish that mission.


The primary objective is to discuss and assess the necessity to have an Agardograph that covers the procedures and equipment related to the flight-testing of the Air Drop capability of a determined air platform. It is needed to get together specialists on this topic for as many armed services as possible from NATO countries. On the other hand experienced Flight Testing personnel is also required to pounder the implications of this specific testing in the general procedures of flight test. As an additional topic, the paratrooper operation should be discussed. The existing material on Agardographs, deals only with airdrop for loads and equipment. The specific operation of “paratroopers deployment” is not covered at all.


The content of the discussion in the Exploratory Team, could be arranged under the following main points: • Flight Testing Air Drop operation. • Current value of Agardograph series 300 vol 6 “Developmental Air drop Testing Techniques and Devices” • Convenience of issuing an Agardograph covering Air Drop Flight Testing, based on the previous. • Paratrooper operation Flight Testing, needs a specific Agardograph or it is a specific case for the previous one.

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