What a Difference a Slow Parachute Makes

The below image: U.S. Paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade (Sep) and Italian Paracadutisti from Brigata “Folgore” conduct an airborne operation from a USAF C-17 Globemaster III in Pordenone, Italy, 7 July 2022.

U.S. Army photo by Paolo Bovo, Visual Information Specialist from Visual Information Division South – Vicenza.

As noted by PEO Soldier: The current individual “Non-Maneuverable Canopy (T-11) Personnel Parachute Systems” for the Army’s airborne units has benefits over the previous T-10 series as the new chute “has an average rate of descent of 19 feet per second for the 95th percentile Soldier, compared with 24 feet per second with the T-10D. This results in significantly lower landing injury rates for jumpers.”

As not noted by PEO Soldier, the slower descent rate also can equate to a larger dispersion of the stick due to wind-based scattering and more time in the air as a floating target when jumping into an unsecured drop zone. Hence, dropping at red zone heights, typically as low as 500 feet off the deck (compared to 1,250 feet during peacetime stateside jumps), and at night, are typical for combat jumps in an effort to help minimize said scattering and vulnerability. See= Little Groups of Paratroopers of WWII fame.

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