Monday, December 5, 2022

U.S. Army to expand JLTV airdrop capabilities

The U.S. Army has plans to expand airdrop capabilities of its newest Joint Light Tactical Vehicles or JLTV.

The current C-17 aircraft capability enables delivery of up to eight HMMWVs on a single aircraft, but due to the larger size and weight of the JLTV, it is currently limited to two vehicles per C-17 using the conventional Low Velocity Airdrop System (LVADS) capability which comprises parachute extracted airdrop from the airdrop rail/lock system using a standard, 24-foot, Type V airdrop platform.

The Army is looking for contractors to develop a new airdrop system that would allow delivery of up to four JLTVs on a single aircraft, according to a recently published request for information.


Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center (CCDC SC) is executing a three-year, US Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) funded project to develop an increased JLTV C-17 Gravity Airdrop System (GADS) capability that will enable airdrop of four JLTVs per C-17 transport plane.

There are two different approaches being considered to achieve the increased JLTV C-17 GADS capability.

The first approach involves an increase to the current DRAS
capability to enable the larger and heavier JLTV to be gravity airdropped using the side-by-side logistics rails.

The second approach involves using the conventional airdrop rail system to gravity airdrop the JLTV on a platform that is shorter than the 24-foot, Type V platform used for current LVADS of the JLTV, allowing more JLTV’s to be airdropped per C-17 aircraft.

Photo by Jim Finney

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Dylan Malyasov
Defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.