The 772nd Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, a C-130J unit operating out of Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, completed the first combat airdrop with the new Extracted Container Delivery System, according to unit officials. The new airdrop method, known as XCDS, speeds up the airdrop process, which improves the overall accuracy of the drop, according to Kandahar’s May 3 release. In fact, they said the dispersion of the bundles on the drop zone in the April 29 mission was reduced by about two-thirds. “Normally, a bundle falls out of the aircraft due to gravity, with the speed mostly dependent on the deck angle of the aircraft,” said Capt. Raeanna Elms of the squadron. “With XCDS, there is an additional parachute attached to a group of bundles that pulls them out of the aircraft together and at a faster speed, resulting in a smaller dispersion area on the ground.” Because of the greater accuracy, the new delivery system also “reduces the risk of a stray bundle damaging” the homes and crops of Afghans, noted Elms. (Kandahar report by Capt. Brian Maguire)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.