The Army Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center (NSRDEC) has developed an aerial delivery device to provide control over dissemination of supplies through a novel linear braking system. Sometimes supplies need to be lowered from a helicopter to the ground, such as when the military resupplies ground troops or aid organizations lower medicine/food to civilian disaster areas. Frequently the helicopters cannot land and cargo is dropped from as high as 100 feet above the ground. Losses of badly needed supplies are high due to the free drop.
This patented technology covers several linear brake designs for a brake attached to the inside of a helicopter. One example includes a baseplate with a linear brake and a linear brake sleeve. A toggle clamp is also mounted to the baseplate to adjust tension on the linear brake. The linear brake sleeve provides a constricting force on the rope that slows the movement of a bag attached to the rope and orients the bag pad-side down.
The linear brake is fully developed and has been used in Afghanistan by the US military for two years. This brake is part of an airdrop system called the Enhanced Speed Bag that includes a rope and a padded bag/crate that can hold up to 200 pounds of supplies. This system has a greater than 90% intact delivery rate from 100 feet off the ground. Testing has shown the Enhanced Speed Bag system has increased survivability of the supplies from 30% to 98%, estimated to save up to $1,500 worth of gear per drop.
• Several designs: More than one approach to a linear brake
• Safety for helicopters: Puts distance between supply helicopters and enemy forces
• Safe delivery of supplies: Survivability increased from 30% to over 90%
• Multiple markets: US military, international aid organizations, forest fire control, first responders/fire and rescue
• US Patent 8,997,944 is available for license
• Fully developed and in use by the US military
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