Thursday, November 26, 2020

U.S. Army seeking information from contractors for enhanced parachute oxygen delivery system

The U.S. Army Contracting Command on Monday issued a request for information for enhanced Parachutist Oxygen Delivery System (PODS) that will provide parachutists with oxygen (O2) during all phases of high altitude and standoff insertions.

Oxygen consumption studies have confirmed that the current parachutist oxygen mask, which employs a dilution-demand technology, cannot provide the parachutist with sufficient oxygen to support these extended operations when used with current O2 bailout bottles,” according to a notice posted to U.S. government’s main contracting website this week.

“Future Ram Air parachute systems are expected to have descent rates of approximately 9 feet/second from an objective altitude of 35,000 feet Mean Sea Level (MSL), exceeding 60 minutes from the parachutist’s exit from the aircraft to the ground,” said in the request.

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The Army Contracting Command is interested in information regarding both complete O2 systems and individual components, Technical Readiness Level (TRL) 6 or higher, which may meet this requirement. Individual components shall be capable of integration into the existing parachutist oxygen system. The Government intends to perform any required integration.

At present a complete system is anticipated to be comprised of a Parachutist Oxygen Mask (POM), an Individual Oxygen System (IOS) such as a bailout cylinder, an on-board Oxygen Console to support parachutist pre-breathing or supplemental O2 requirements, a Transfer Pump to charge the IOS, and a Test Device to test POM performance. However, any system/component/configuration that meets performance requirements is of interest.

According to released technical requirements, the new system should provide the parachutist with sufficient O2 concentration for a minimum 45-minute parachutist descent, plus provide sufficient O2 to support parachutist through a pre-breathing phase of 75 minutes.

Also noted that the enhanced parachute oxygen delivery system shall operate at temperatures ranging from -65 deg F to 140 deg F and humidity ranging from zero to 100 percent (100%) condensing, in non-cold soak environment.

A United States Army Special Forces Soldier, assigned to 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), receives an equipment check during training at Tunnel Drop Zone, Eloy, AZ, Sep. 14, 2018. Photo by Spc. Christopher Stevenson

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