After Years ADRDE, Agra Makes An Indigenous P7 Heavy Drop System
Colonel Awadhesh Kumar, Special Forces,Veteran
This system is fully indigenous and being manufactured by L&T
The Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment has finally successfully developed a P7 Heavy Drop System which is capable of para dropping military stores up to 7-ton weight from IL 76 aircraft.
This aircraft had entered service with IAF in 1985 and they had come with certain numbers of P7 and P16 drop platforms from USSR. Such systems work as a force multiplier for armed forces, while enabling the rapid delivery of combat store in the far flung inaccessible areas. Such systems also have a shelf life in terms of “Number of Drops carried out “ which is much less than one SCORE. Hence earlier they were proving to be very expensive to import.
Though actual operational drop may take place once in a blue moon, all ranks involved in packing and checking a fully prepared loaded platform require continuous training. Also periodically a platform load needs dropping from an aircraft to provide necessary training to the IAF flight crew and the Load Master and also for validating the training standards of the Army’s Packers and Riggers.
So a project had been initiated way back in 1998 or something for developing an indigenous P7 platform for heavy drop from IL76 aircraft.
This system now finally developed is fully indigenous and being manufactured by L&T who makes the platform system, parachutes manufactured by Ordnance Factory, DRDO said. This system has been made under the Make in India programme.
“As part of mandatory requirement prior to accord Bulk Production Clearance (BPC), joint team of Indian Army, IAF and ADRDE conducted validation Trials at Agra today, on two systems, which were dropped from IL76 ac from an altitude of 600 mtrs at 280 kmph speed. The store landed safely with the help of cluster of five large size parachutes (750 sqm each),” according to a release by DRDO.
The system has been manufactured with 100 per cent indigenous ferrous/non ferrous materials. Engineering textiles for Parachutes have been developed with the latest combination of Fluorocarbon and Silicon treatment to provide water/oil repellence and improved abrasion resistance, said a release of the DRDO.
Alas, IL76 are on their way out and may remain in service for not more than 10 years. However the expertize gained by the ADR&DE should not be wasted. They should be asked by HQ IDS to immediately start work on a suitable platform for C295 aircraft, as they are going to be the likely replacement for our AVROS and AN32s.
In the foreseeable future, we should also be going in for an indigenous medium transport aircraft, capable of lifting 20 tons load. ADR& DE should get involved with HAL right from the start, to design and produce suitable Light Stressed and Medium stressed platforms for supply drop and heavy drop from this aircraft.