Sgt. 1st Class Vatasana Phorimavong, a jumpmaster with the 82nd Airborne Division, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Air Operations noncommissioned oficer-in-charge conducts an inspection of a Soldier rigged with the T-11R Single Pin parachute to ensure he is combat ready for airborne operations. (Photo by Michael Zigmond, Photographer, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)
By Mr. William Slaven, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command
FORT BRAGG, North Carolina — Certified parachute test jumpers here finished 23 risk reduction jumps with the T-11R Single Pin Troop reserve parachute, making sure it works as it should during equipment test jumps.
The Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate (ABNSOTD) tested the chute from both rotary winged and fixed winged high performance aircraft to eliminate the potential for premature reserve activations.
Any necessary changes were made to address the previous version’s premature activation thought to be caused by wind blast, according to Lt. Col. Derek Johnson Chief, Test Division at ABNSOTD.
“Testing promotes and delivers a safe, and more durable piece of equipment to the Warfighter,” said Johnson. “Soldiers relish in participating in day-to day testing. It ignites their enthusiasm to rig and load a piece of equipment which will ultimately serve our future Soldiers during combat missions.”
After the risk reduction jumps, ABNSOTD conducted 53 operational static line jumps during daylight hours to be fully certified by the Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Command located at Natick, Massachusetts.
While employing a host of risk reduction measures to ensure potential test items are safe and effective from the intended user’s standpoint, test events with the T-11R kicked off with new equipment training.
Parachute Riggers participated in New Equipment Training to learn the assembly of the chutes new components and closing of the pack tray.
“There is a huge increase in the amount of information that is provided to Soldiers who are given the opportunity to practice what they are learning in the form of hands-on training,” said Mrs. Shonda Strother, editor with ABNSOTD.
Testing new airborne equipment enables Soldiers the opportunity to provide feedback to the Army concerning current Soldiers needs in the field, according to Staff Sgt. Robert Whan, 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment’s Battalion Air NCO.
All airdrop test iterations were airdropped with Soldiers in full combat equipment as if they were jumping into a combat operation.
“The T-11R Single Pin reserve parachutes were then inspected for any damage in order to make sure they can hold up to the high demands of the airborne mission,” said Sgt. 1st Class Katherine Greene, ABNSOTD’s T-11R test noncommissioned in charge.
The new T-11R Single Pin pack tray is manufactured from the same materiel as the current issue item. The current T-11R version has a square shaped look while the redesign has a rectangle shape.
The re-designed pack tray includes a change where the reserve ripcord handle is now a single pin pull, and a change in the geometry of the reserve handle eliminates the risk of windblast.
A plastic viewing window also assists the jumpmaster when inspecting the curve pin during jumpmaster personnel inspection. The reserve handle remains a textile type.
About the U.S. Army Operational Test Command:
The Fort Bragg, North Carolina-based ABNSOTD plans, executes, and reports on operational tests and field experiments of Airborne and Special Operations Forces equipment, procedures, aerial delivery and air transportation systems in order to provide key operational data for the continued development and fielding of doctrine, systems or equipment to the Warfighter.
The U.S. Army Operational Test Command is based at West Fort Hood, Texas, and its mission is about ensuring that systems developed are effective in a Soldier’s hands and suitable for the environments in which Soldiers train and fight. Test units and their Soldiers provide feedback, by offering input to improve upon existing and future systems with which Soldiers will ultimately use to train and fight.