Bagram Airmen Use Experimental Airdrop System

Airmen with the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, are now using the new Wireless Gate Release System, or WGRS, on its C-130J Hercules airdrop flights in theater, according to an Aug. 5 release. Capt. Jeffrey Furnary, a tactician with the 774th EAS, said the squadron trained on the system before deploying and is now putting the new technology to use for all C-130 drops in Afghanistan, even though it is still undergoing testing in the US. “Its main priority is to keep our loadmasters safe. It allows them to work in a safe area, and they can operate the switches and wirelessly drop the bundles without getting in harm’s way,” Furnary said. The WGRS has two components, the first a mission control station where loadmasters program mission details and information, and then a mechanism that releases the gate on the Hercules that holds the packed bundles for airdrop. The loadmaster remains behind the moving payload bundles, as a result, wirelessly triggering release. The process speeds up airdrops by reducing rigging time, and no longer requires loadmasters to go behind or beside an unrestrained load. The WGRS is in theater now due to an urgent operational need, states the release. A team of Air Mobility Command experts helped train the 774th EAS airmen in its operation last September.