Preventing Aid Drop Headache

Air Mobility Command is developing individual lightweight nutrition packets which will make air dropping humanitarian aid much safer than it is now. The Humanitarian Operations Packaged Essentials (HOPE) packets are small foam parcels containing a nutrition bar or water that could safely be dispensed over populated areas. “With a typical humanitarian airdrop bundle of food and water, you’re looking at a lot of weight,” said Lt. Col. Tom Lankford, tactics chief of AMC’s operations directorate at Scott AFB, Ill. “It’s a challenge to find a safe drop zone that gets the supplies near the people without risk,” he added. The Haiti humanitarian operation in 2010 led AMC researchers to explore HOPE and other options, including the Hydropack, a water filtering-energy drink packet, for future relief efforts. C-17s could distribute as many as 125,000 HOPE packets in a single pass, according to AMC. (Scott report by Roger Drinnon)