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NEWS | Feb. 8, 2011

LCLV parachutes flyover JB CHS

By Airman Jared Trimarchi Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Team members of Joint Base Charleston delivered 40 pallets containing Low-Cost, Low-Velocity parachutes to Kandahar, Afghanistan for the first time Jan. 29.

The LCLV parachutes, used with a Low-Cost Container are a one-time use, expendable parachute system that are a part of the Low Cost Aerial Delivery Systems program created by the Army. The parachutes deliver mission essential supplies such as gas, ammunition and food to troops in rough terrain and isolated locations.

"LCLV parachutes allow planes to fly at a low altitude and deliver on-the-spot supplies to troops who are in hostile locations," said Mr. Bobby Robinson assistant operations officer from the 437th Aerial Port Squadron. "These airdrops bring the supplies closer to the troops, and lowers the risk of IED attacks by taking convoys off dangerous roads. In Afghanistan the air delivery system is being stepped up and JB CHS is supplying these parachutes."

LCLV parachutes are made of woven polypropylene fabric which closely resembles the material used for sand bags, Mr. Robinson said.

"LCLV parachutes look like a big Hefty bag flying in mid-air," he said. "But they are revolutionary because they are easy to make, affordable and durable. They drop from a low altitude of about 500 to 1250 feet and can deliver to any rough location."

Due to the immediate need of LCLV parachutes, JB CHS will supply approximately 2,500 pallets, each containing 12 LCLV parachutes, within the next four to five months using C-17s, C-5s and contracted 747s, in order to support war efforts in Afghanistan.

"It's really rewarding to know I'm part of an important mission getting troops critical supplies," said Senior Airman David May, Air Transportation journeyman from the 437 APS, who loads the pallets from the warehouse to the aircrafts.

The parachutes were made because of the high cost involved in the previous G-12 parachute and the A-22 container delivery system. The A-22 system was made to be reusable, but because of the location of the drops, they were hard to recover. The new system costs 55 percent less and is designed to be expendable, Mr. Robinson said.

LCLV parachutes have a descent velocity of less than 28 feet per second and can carry a load of up to 2,200 pounds. About 42 pallets, or 504 LCLV parachutes, can fit inside one C-17. Through time, the parachutes will be shipped in larger quantities by sea.

Airman May enjoys loading the pallets of LCLV parachutes and compares them to loading any other pallet, but with a greater reward, he said.

"We work in rain or shine, just like our fellow Airmen overseas," said Airman May. "I've been deployed before and I'm proud to help those who are fighting for our country, especially in remote forward operating bases. The new parachutes are taking away from the risks of IEDs and are saving lives."