Thursday, February 22, 2007

TOP STORY >>Unmatched muscle meets pin-point precision

314th Airlift Wing Strategic Information Flight

Air National Guard and Active-duty C-130 airlifters were put through the paces of learning the Joint Precision Airdrop System during follow-on training Feb. 12-16 at the 34th Combat Training Squadron Little Rock AFB.

JPADS is the Air Force’s newest smart weapon — GPS guided cargo bundles. It uses a steer-able parachute to deliver the cargo to a precise ground location. The system joins Herculean airlift muscle and pinpoint precision. “The art of tactical airlift has been dropping from 400 to 1000 feet above the ground and hitting the mark,” said Maj. Dan DeVoe, Air Mobility Warfare Center, McGuire AFB, N.J. “JPADS increases the precision and velocity of vertical resupply, and at the same time, offers a greater level of survivability to aircraft, aircrews and the guys on the ground,” DeVoe said.

“We can hit a much tighter location and that gives troops on the ground less ground to secure without giving away their positions,” he said. The class was a tune-up for crews readying for upcoming Air and Space Expeditionary Force deployments. The crews who trained at the 34th CTS are getting ready for AEF rotations to Afghanistan where tactical airlift is taking the fight directly to the Taliban.

“The bottom line is that we support the user on the ground and the training gives us the capability do it in a consistent manner so they can receive safely,” said Lt. Col. Bryan Rawson, West Virginia Air National Guard 130th Airlift Squadron operations officer.

“The important thing is (troops) recover loads without exposing themselves any more than necessary. It keeps people and convoys off the roads. We deliver (cargo) to them when they need it where they need it. It’s a great asset.” JPADS has been integral to operations in opening a new frontier of airdrop in Afghanistan.

“There are places we are resupplying that are inaccessible to vehicles and rotary wing aircraft,” he said. “Because of the terrain and weather, in the past those areas may not have even been accessible with airlift,” DeVoe added. “JPADS enables resupply of places where risk to aircraft may have once been too high," said Maj. Gabe Griess, 34th CTS.

“Because of JPADS, we can get our troops the ‘beans and bullets’ they need to press the fight,” Griess said.


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