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Kirkhill

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The RAF needs to show the Atlas is capable of conducting low-level parachuting (LLP) - dropping troops and resupply loads from around 450 feet - before the Hercules fleet is retired if Britain is not to lose this critical military capability.

Paratroopers ‘fly under the radar’ in milestone trials​

The RAF needs to show its new Atlas aircraft is capable of conducting low-level parachuting before the Hercules fleet is retired

ByDominic Nicholls, ASSOCIATE EDITOR8 September 2022 • 4:43pm

The trials have seen the successful completion of several sorties for ‘Mass Para Insertion’ over Salisbury Plain for the first time

The trials have seen the successful completion of several sorties for ‘mass para insertion’ over Salisbury Plain
British soldiers have conducted parachute trials from planes flying low enough to avoid radar.
The RAF’s new Atlas aircraft has been taking part in exercises to take on the role of tactical transport aircraft from the Hercules fleet, which is going out of service.
The trials have seen the successful completion of several sorties for “mass para insertion” over Salisbury Plain for the first time.
Paratroopers from 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team and 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines took part in the trials.
The RAF needs to show the Atlas is capable of conducting low-level parachuting (LLP) - dropping troops and resupply loads from around 450 feet - before the Hercules fleet is retired if Britain is not to lose this critical military capability.
Until Atlas is cleared for LLP, troops have been using the MC-6 parachute, a different canopy which has been tested and approved by the MoD for high-level jumps.
The aircraft has already completed successful trials of natural surface operations, whereby the plane is able to operate from rough, unprepared landing strips, and air-drop of light stores from higher altitudes.

Paratroopers from 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team and 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines took part in the trials

Air Commodore Martin, the head of the Atlas programme, said: “The successful initiation of mass low-level parachuting trials on the Atlas represents a major milestone.
“This significant step…keeps the programme on track to transfer low-level and high-altitude parachuting capability from C130J Hercules onto the Atlas next year.
“Adding both parachuting capabilities to the range of other tactical capabilities that are already in service - such as the ability to air-drop supplies, air-to-air refuelling, and landing on natural surfaces - puts the Atlas in a good position to take over from the Hercules in 2023.”
The mass parachute insertion saw RAF despatchers from the parachute test team work on board the aircraft, from 206 Squadron, based at RAF Brize Norton, Oxon.
The RAF personnel assisted the parachutists in the safe fitting and checking of equipment, conducted final checks prior to despatch and recovered their static lines after the airborne soldiers and marines had jumped from the aircraft.
Major Philpott, airborne plans officer in the Colchester-based 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team, said: “The speed and reach of deploying by air are the defining characteristics of air manoeuvre forces, and vital to 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team’s role as part of UK Defence’s Rapid Reaction Force.
“Across a wide range of strategic and tactical scenarios, parachuting retains significant relevance for contemporary operations through enabling us to hold the initiative.
“We can take off from the UK to deliver troops by parachute to where they are needed rapidly, outmanoeuvring the enemy and putting us in position to win the first battle when, where and how we want to fight it.
“The Atlas has a key role to play in our future, offering a significant boost to our capabilities through its ability to carry more paratroopers over a greater distance.”

‘We can take off from the UK to deliver troops by parachute to where they are needed rapidly, outmanoeuvring the enemy’

With a capacity of 35 tonnes or 116 fully-equipped troops and a 2,000 nautical mile range, Atlas is far more capable and versatile than the ageing Hercules.
As it is fitted with propellers rather than jet engines Atlas can operate from dirt strips and unprepared runways and can fly up to 400 knots.
Britain has bought 22 aircraft, at a cost of £2.6 billion, although the plane has had a number of teething troubles which have delayed the transfer of certain roles from the Hercules fleet.
Bombardier Murray, of 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, was impressed with the low-level parachute.
“It’s a great experience to get some jumps in and help develop the A400M,” Bdr Murray said, adding, “It’s all been straightforward and familiar”.
“The parachute and all of the procedures inside the plane are the same, and there’s more space in the A400M which makes it easier with all the kit we jump with.”

 

medicineman

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Paratroopers ‘fly under the radar’ in milestone trials​

The RAF needs to show its new Atlas aircraft is capable of conducting low-level parachuting before the Hercules fleet is retired

ByDominic Nicholls, ASSOCIATE EDITOR8 September 2022 • 4:43pm

The trials have seen the successful completion of several sorties for ‘Mass Para Insertion’ over Salisbury Plain for the first time

The trials have seen the successful completion of several sorties for ‘mass para insertion’ over Salisbury Plain
British soldiers have conducted parachute trials from planes flying low enough to avoid radar.
The RAF’s new Atlas aircraft has been taking part in exercises to take on the role of tactical transport aircraft from the Hercules fleet, which is going out of service.
The trials have seen the successful completion of several sorties for “mass para insertion” over Salisbury Plain for the first time.
Paratroopers from 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team and 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines took part in the trials.
The RAF needs to show the Atlas is capable of conducting low-level parachuting (LLP) - dropping troops and resupply loads from around 450 feet - before the Hercules fleet is retired if Britain is not to lose this critical military capability.
Until Atlas is cleared for LLP, troops have been using the MC-6 parachute, a different canopy which has been tested and approved by the MoD for high-level jumps.
The aircraft has already completed successful trials of natural surface operations, whereby the plane is able to operate from rough, unprepared landing strips, and air-drop of light stores from higher altitudes.

Paratroopers from 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team and 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines took part in the trials

Air Commodore Martin, the head of the Atlas programme, said: “The successful initiation of mass low-level parachuting trials on the Atlas represents a major milestone.
“This significant step…keeps the programme on track to transfer low-level and high-altitude parachuting capability from C130J Hercules onto the Atlas next year.
“Adding both parachuting capabilities to the range of other tactical capabilities that are already in service - such as the ability to air-drop supplies, air-to-air refuelling, and landing on natural surfaces - puts the Atlas in a good position to take over from the Hercules in 2023.”
The mass parachute insertion saw RAF despatchers from the parachute test team work on board the aircraft, from 206 Squadron, based at RAF Brize Norton, Oxon.
The RAF personnel assisted the parachutists in the safe fitting and checking of equipment, conducted final checks prior to despatch and recovered their static lines after the airborne soldiers and marines had jumped from the aircraft.
Major Philpott, airborne plans officer in the Colchester-based 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team, said: “The speed and reach of deploying by air are the defining characteristics of air manoeuvre forces, and vital to 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team’s role as part of UK Defence’s Rapid Reaction Force.
“Across a wide range of strategic and tactical scenarios, parachuting retains significant relevance for contemporary operations through enabling us to hold the initiative.
“We can take off from the UK to deliver troops by parachute to where they are needed rapidly, outmanoeuvring the enemy and putting us in position to win the first battle when, where and how we want to fight it.
“The Atlas has a key role to play in our future, offering a significant boost to our capabilities through its ability to carry more paratroopers over a greater distance.”

‘We can take off from the UK to deliver troops by parachute to where they are needed rapidly, outmanoeuvring the enemy’

With a capacity of 35 tonnes or 116 fully-equipped troops and a 2,000 nautical mile range, Atlas is far more capable and versatile than the ageing Hercules.
As it is fitted with propellers rather than jet engines Atlas can operate from dirt strips and unprepared runways and can fly up to 400 knots.
Britain has bought 22 aircraft, at a cost of £2.6 billion, although the plane has had a number of teething troubles which have delayed the transfer of certain roles from the Hercules fleet.
Bombardier Murray, of 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, was impressed with the low-level parachute.
“It’s a great experience to get some jumps in and help develop the A400M,” Bdr Murray said, adding, “It’s all been straightforward and familiar”.
“The parachute and all of the procedures inside the plane are the same, and there’s more space in the A400M which makes it easier with all the kit we jump with.”

Dropping from 450 ft - not a lot of flinch room if something malfunctions...
 

Kirkhill

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Does the low level rig include a reserve at all?

IIRC WW2 era paras, at least the Brits, didn't have a reserve.
 

MJP

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Does the low level rig include a reserve at all?

IIRC WW2 era paras, at least the Brits, didn't have a reserve.
The set-up for virtually every Western jump system (static line and free fall) includes a reserve. The ability to use it in low level drops is severely hampered by time avail but it is there.
 

Kirkhill

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The set-up for virtually every Western jump system (static line and free fall) includes a reserve. The ability to use in in low level is severely hampered by time avail but it is there.

But at what altitude would the reserve pop? And would it be automatic or manual? The worst thing I could see happening under 450 feet is a slow opening main and an automatic release of the reserve.
 

MJP

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But at what altitude would the reserve pop? And would it be automatic or manual? The worst thing I could see happening under 450 feet is a slow opening main and an automatic release of the reserve.
For static line it is manual, there is no automatic release for most systems I am aware of. Freefall, can't recall as it has been a few years since managing riggers but almost positive they are completely manual as well. Happy to be corrected on that one though.
 

Kirkhill

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For static line it is manual, there is no automatic release for most systems I am aware of. Freefall I can't recall as it has been a few years since managing riggers but almost positive they are completely manual as well. Happy to be corrected on that one though.

Anciently this civvy (a half dozen recreational jumps) jumped with an auto release reserve set for 1100 ft AGL.

But that was then. If I tried it now they would need a cargo rig.
 

MJP

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Anciently this civvy (a half dozen recreational jumps) jumped with an auto release reserve set for 1100 ft AGL.

But that was then. If I tried it now they would need a cargo rig.
Yes for civilian systems free fall there is an auto release system not sure on military systems. Not my forte, just know enough to be wrong likely :)
 

daftandbarmy

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I seem to recall reading somewhere that Rhodesian paras used to regularly drop from 250 feet .

I can't comment, but I have jumped from about 450ft AGL once or twice with full equipment on a PX-4 round canopy.

Our usual was 800 ft, and they don't tell you how high you are before they chuck you out, so I can confirm that adrenaline is a great aid to completing your pre-PLF drills quickly.

DZ casualties were higher than normal, of course. I'm guessing at 250ft, I think your chute takes 200ft to deploy properly, they'd be astronomical.
 

medicineman

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No medals required, only the opportunity to exterminate the enemy.

Every man an emperor/ fanatic!
Just wondering, with the 8 second fall to victory if the main fails quote, sounds like if you can't land safely, make sure you land first...even if you become part of the land.
 

daftandbarmy

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Just wondering, with the 8 second fall to victory if the main fails quote, sounds like if you can't land safely, make sure you land first...even if you become part of the land.

A main chute failure is extraordinarily rare. These new chutes they're using are probably even less likely to fail than the old ones.

After your deployment count (UK = 3 seconds, Can/US = 4 seconds) if you need to, popping the reserve gives you ample time to land safely even at low altitudes. If you remember to jettison your container of course ;)

Also, despite what your average paratrooper will try to suggest, Airborne units generally suffer far fewer training casualties than armoured formations. If you look at the old REFORGER exercises, for example, their body counts could be fairly daunting.
 

Blackadder1916

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After your deployment count (UK = 3 seconds, Can/US = 4 seconds) if you need to, . . . ;)

Is that because the Brits were fatter . . . or because they could only count to three?



Also, despite what your average paratrooper will try to suggest, Airborne units generally suffer far fewer training casualties than armoured formations. If you look at the old REFORGER exercises, for example, their body counts could be fairly daunting.

 
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