JPADS: Making Precision Air-Drops a Reality

JPADS Precision Paradrop System

GPS-Guided Supplies

New JPADS 10K contract; other 2013-14 updates include the sale of the company, order from the UAE, etc.

April 22/14: JPADS 10k. Airborne Systems North America of NJ in Pennsauken, NJ receives a $30 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite quantity contract for up to 110 JPADS 10k (“DragonFly”) systems, to include the Parachute and Autonomous Guidance Unit. Funding and work performance location will be determined with each order.

The contract will run until April 20/19. Bids were solicited via the Internet, with 2 received by US Army Contracting Command in Natick, MA (W911QY-14-D-0014).

Dec 2-19/13: Sold. Airborne Systems announces:

“TransDigm Group Incorporated (NYSE: TDG) and Metalmark Capital announced today that TransDigm has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Airborne Systems Inc. (the “Company”), for approximately $250 million in cash. Airborne Systems is owned by Metalmark Capital. The acquisition, subject to review under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act and other customary closing conditions, is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2014. The Company’s revenues for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013 were approximately $160 million. Roughly 45% of the Company’s revenue came from domestic customers and 55% from international customers.”

The acquisition is complete as of Dec 19/13. Who is TransDigm?

“TransDigm Group, through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, is a leading global designer, producer and supplier of highly engineered aircraft components for use on nearly all commercial and military aircraft in service today. Major product offerings, substantially all of which are ultimately provided to end-users in the aerospace industry, include mechanical/electro-mechanical actuators and controls, ignition systems and engine technology, specialized pumps and valves, power conditioning devices, specialized AC/DC electric motors and generators, NiCad batteries and chargers, engineered latching and locking devices, rods and locking devices, engineered connectors and elastomers, cockpit security components and systems, specialized cockpit displays, aircraft audio systems, specialized lavatory components, seatbelts and safety restraints, engineered interior surfaces and lighting and control technology.”

Sources: Airborne Systems, “TransDigm to Acquire Airborne Systems from Metalmark Capital” and “TransDigm Completes Acquisition of Airborne Systems”.

May 20/13: JAPDS 10K. Airborne Systems delivers the final JPADS 10K to the U.S. Army under the initial Full Rate Production contract. Sources: Airborne Systems, “Airborne Systems Delivers JPADS 10K To The U.S. Army”.

May 4/13: RIP. A parachute company has related occupational hazards. To wit, its employees tend to be skydivers. It’s a lot of fun, but no-one with any sense forgets for even a second that this is a dangerous sport.

Unfortunately, respected Airborne Systems team member John Scott dies after a recreational skydive near his home in Alberta, Canada. The company is very classy about honoring John’s value, returning the faith and loyalty he showed them. Sources: Airborne Systems, “In Memory Of John Scott”.

April 12/13: An Airborne Systems JPADS 2K Parachute Guidance Unit is part of of an exhibition at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum: “Time and Navigation, The Untold Story of Getting from Here to There.” Sources: Airborne Systems, “JPADS 2K On Display At The Smithsonian National Air And Space Museum”.

Feb 18/13: UAE. Airborne Systems announce a contract from the UAE for Guided Precision Aerial Delivery Systems (GPADS), making them “Airborne Systems’ largest GPADS customer in the Middle East.”

Airborne Systems will supply their DragonFly (5,000 – 10,000 lb / 2,250 – 4,550 kg), FireFly (700 – 2,200 lb / 317 – 1,000 kg) and one-time use FlyClops (as FireFly) for use with the UAE’s C-130H and C-17 aircraft, plus jTrax mission planning software. Airborne Systems adds that “Depending on weather conditions, GPADS can be dispatched from the aircraft over 20km from the landing area.” Sources: Airborne Systems, “UAE Air Force Acquires High Precision Cargo Delivery Capability”.

Nov 7/12: JPADS 10k. HDT Global subsidiary Airborne Systems announces that their “Dragonfly” JPADS 10K is in full rate production, with the first 243 type classified systems set to be delivered by April 2013.

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The dilemma for airdropping supplies has always been a stark one: high-altitude airdrops often go badly astray, while low-level paradrops create significant dangers from enemy fire and consume more fuel. A new advanced concept technology demonstration pursued by U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM), the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center at Natick, the U.S. Air Force Air Mobility Command (USAF AMC), the U.S. Army Project Manager Force Sustainment and Support, and industry shows promise, and has been tested successfully in Iraq....

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