Enhanced JPADS Made Combat Debut

The Air Force and Army demonstrated a new variant of the Joint Precision Airdrop System in Afghanistan that is able to deliver supplies to ground troops with dramatically improved accuracy. Draper Lab of Cambridge, Mass., developed the guidance, navigation, and control software for JPADS 2K, a 2,000-pound payload system that operates completely autonomously upon release from a C-130 or C-17. The Army recently deployed an initial increment of JPADS 2K; it made its operational debut in May, according to a Draper release. JPADS 2K development began in February 2010. The goal was to improve the ability to resupply troops accurately from overhead in the face of difficult ground terrain like mountains and steep valleys. Employing JPADS reduces the need for truck convoys that are vulnerable to enemy fire.