Parachute manufacturer Aerodyne Research Manufacturing has high hopes for its new MC1-1X static line military parachute which it claims is far more stable than the traditional round military troop parachutes and descends more slowly.
The patented canopy is smaller than the traditional round canopy and thanks to a special canopy fabric that permits exact airflow porosity, and slots and contours, the parachute is stable and descends more slowly than traditional round canopies. Strategically placed holes ensure that air spills out the top of the chute rather than the bottom, resulting in almost no drift.
Traditional round canopies have a descent rate of around 21 feet per second while the MC1-1X descends at 15 feet per second, according to Aerodyne, which results in reduced landing injuries, lower exit altitude and higher weights.
Aerodyne says the MC1-1X is therefore ideal for hot and high operations and allows troops to carry heavier equipment. The static line MC1-1X comes in two versions: a non-steerable version for mass jumping and a steerable version for precision landing.
Aerodyne exhibited the MC1-1X at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition at Air Force Base Waterkloof last month, where it said it was hoping the South African Army would buy the new parachute. It is understood the South African National Defence force will evaluate the parachute in early 2015.
At AAD 2014 Aerodyne also displayed some of its sport parachutes, which form a big part of its business. The company also specialises in aerial delivery cargo parachutes, retardation parachutes and illumination flare parachutes. It also offers a range of reserve parachutes and harness/container systems.
Aerodyne was especially proud to display its innovative ripstop fabric called ZPX, which was developed in South Africa. It features finely woven threads in a honeycomb structure that result in a fabric that is stronger, thinner and lighter and 17% more compact than conventional materials. It is self-healing and holes can either be fixed by massaging them or leaving them to naturally move together again. Objects like nails go through the fabric, which returns to its original dense state, meaning that almost no fibres are actually damaged by the objects that puncture the material.
Fine fibres, special coatings and a unique weave pattern are the secrets of ZPX, which has been on the market for the last three years.
Aerodyne Research is based in the United States but has manufacturing and distribution facilities in South Africa (Durban), Indonesia and Florida. The company has been in operation for 21 years and exported its products to approximately 35 nations around the world.