India's Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a heavy drop system (HDS) which can drop loads of up to 16 tonnes by parachute from the armed forces' IL-76 transport aircraft.
This will particularly enhance the Army Special Forces' capabilities to airdrop combat vehicles and heavy equipment, DRDO said.
The drop could include military vehicles, ammunition trolleys and parachute sub-systems. Three prototypes of the HDS have been designed and developed by the Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE), an Agra-based laboratory of the DRDO.
The laboratory has conducted two successful drops meeting performance parameters, according to a DRDO spokesperson in New Delhi.
The system is an extension of technology developed by DRDO for the 'P-7 HDS', the 7-tonne capacity HDS developed earlier and already accepted by the Indian Army for induction.
The bulk production of 146 units is being initiated at privately-owned engineering company Larsen & Toubro for the mechanical platform and OPF Kanpur for the parachute systems respectively, at an approximate total cost of Rs180 crore.
The P-7 HDS, para-dropped as a composite unit termed 'Load', has been developed for para-dropping military stores/equipments such as military vehicles and ammunition trolleys from the IL-76 aircraft and comprises two main sub-systems - platform sub-system and parachute sub-system.
Avinash Chander, the scientific advisor to the defence minister and secretary to the department of defence R&D, said the system offered 'drop and drive' capability and once inducted, the system would be a force multiplier, enhancing the capabilities of the armed forces.
The DRDO has developed a wide range of parachute systems for applications covering 'delivery of military stores and human beings to the battlefield and remote locations', 'recovery (from spin) parachute systems for light combat aircraft', and recovery systems for the space recovery experiment, Chander said.