MANCHING, Germany, 19 March 2011. The Bundeswehr Technical Centre (WTD) 61 approved Cassidian’s ParaLander ram-air cargo parachute system, which is classified as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), for operational deployment. The German armed forces procured five ParaLander systems, which are now to be deployed for missions in Afghanistan.
ParaLander consists of a ram-air parachute and the control unit, which are lashed to the payload, and a mission planning system. After the parachute system has been dropped from the aircraft, the control unit steers it and its payload to the target area with the aid of servomotors and GPS. A patented mechanical system, activated by a laser altimeter, ensures that the load’s descent is slowed down in good time shortly before the landing.
The ParaLander ensures accurate delivery of sensitive mission equipment, humanitarian aid and supplies fully automatically from the air without damage.
ParaLander has received Category I certification under UAV regulations and is therefore approved for deployment in restricted areas, including in peacekeeping flight operations. The system is initially intended to carry a 1,000 kilogram payload, dropped from a C-160 Transall transport aircraft. The medium-term goal is also to be able to deploy the ParaLander over populated areas during operations and from on board the A400M.
Depending on the type of aircraft dropping it, the system can be used at altitudes of up to 10,000 meters and over distances of as high as 50 kilometers. Cassidian is also working on making ParaLander able to carry payloads of more than five tons in the future. The system thus makes a significant contribution to supplying operational units that are cut off from supply routes in the crisis area. In addition, ParaLander improves safety for the aircrew of transport aircraft, as it can be dropped beyond the range of most air-defense systems in crisis regions.