This week the UK-based element of the Airborne Systems group has rebranded as IrvinGQ, bringing back two of the most famous names in parachute history to the market. Based in Wales, IrvinGQ focuses on the ‘round-chute’ systems, while US-based Airborne Systems continues to focus on ‘square’ chute systems.
Being shown at Eurosatory by IrvinGQ (Hall 5A, Stand C751) is a new aerial delivery system that offers considerably more flexibility in operation, as well as reduced cost and greater safety. Known as ATAX, the modular system can be applied to both land and marine air-drop requirements, which previously required separate systems. ATAX comprises interlocking pallets that can be joined together to match the size of the load. The system can handle loads from as little as 900kg (2,000 lb) up to 19,050kg (42,000 lb), which is the US Army’s current heaviest air-drop load requirement. The system is actually capable of at least 27,215kg (60,000 lb) to cater for future needs.
Another advanced feature of ATAX is a new air bag system for land drops, which currently employ a cardboard cell cushioning arrangement that cannot be reused and is sensitive to climatic conditions. The air bag drops down from the pallet by gravity and is self-inflating during the load’s descent. When the load lands, the bag bursts a patch on its upper surface, which constricts the escape of air to provide a cushioned deceleration.
This air bag is reusable by the simple process of replacing the patch. ATAX is now fully certified and ready for production. It can be used by all major transport aircraft types, including the C-130, A400M and C-17.
A related system from IrvinGQ is the transfer safety link assembly, which ensures the load’s chutes do not deploy until the load has safely left the delivery aircraft.