IDF to develop long-range supply parachute

“Flying Elephant” parachute will be powered by a propeller engine and launched by a catapult system.

December 12, 2011 02:32
1 minute read.
Flying Elephant parachute

“Flying Elephant” parachute 311. (photo credit: IDF)


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The IDF has signed a contract with Elbit Systems to manufacture a long-range power-propelled parachute capable of carrying supplies to troops operating behind enemy lines.

Called “Flying Elephant,” the parachute is being designed to carry one ton of supplies. It will be powered by a propeller engine and be launched by a catapult system. Once airborne, it will lift up cargo with a specially designed handle.

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It will then use GPS to locate the landing site and has a level of accuracy of approximately 30 meters within the designated coordinates.

The system’s range will be approximately 30 kilometers, and Elbit is expected to complete development of a prototype within the coming two years. It will then enter mass production and be delivered to IDF regional commands and divisions.

“Ideally, we will not want to have to use the parachute and we will do everything we can to open landbased supply lines to forces operating behind enemy lines,” a senior officer from the IDF’s Logistics and Technology Directorate said.

Development of the Flying Elephant began after the Second Lebanon War in 2006 after it encountered significant difficulties in opening supply lines to forces operating just over the border. In 2009, the Defense Ministry issued a tender to local industries and it signed with Elbit several months ago.

The IDF has also developed a new cargo container that can be carried underneath transport helicopters and by the parachute, which does not slow down the speed of the aircraft.

To enable the fast speeds, the new container comes with built-in wings that were aerodynamically engineered to prevent wind resistance, which would otherwise slow down the helicopter or the parachute.

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