Product News – IDENTIFIED SAFETY HAZARD
The UK Ministry of Defence has recently identified a safety hazard with extracted aerial delivery payloads. The world’s leading airdrop nations recognise the critical importance of keeping risks As Low As Reasonably Practicable (“ALARP”) for the safety of all persons involved in a mission.
Working with the UK Ministry of Defence, Airborne Systems has designed and developed a solution to mitigate this associated risk, which is now in service with the UK for all extracted airdrop loads.
Identified safety hazard
The safety hazard raised is the single point of failure present with the conventional equipment – Extraction Force Transfer Coupling (“EFTC”) used to connect the extractor parachute to the payload and subsequently transfer that extraction force to deployment of the main canopies. Early activation of the EFTC can lead to premature deployment of the main canopies whilst the payload is still restrained in the aircraft, or during the extraction phase. This would result in significantly higher forces being applied to extract the payload increasing the probability of catastrophic damage to the aircraft. The UK MoD Hazard Review Board cited a number of reported failures that could have resulted in significant or catastrophic damage to the aircraft.
Airborne Systems’ solution
In response to this, Airborne System has designed, patented and qualified our Transfer Safety Link Assembly (TSLA) specifically to mitigate this hazard and the associated risk to life. The TSLA is now in service with the UK MoD on extracted aerial delivery payloads and provides the user and those responsible for certification the confidence that they can operate safely and reliably. The TSLA is installed in series with the EFTC and provides redundancy through a secondary load path and similar but distinct functionality. During normal operation the TSLA has no impact on the functionality of the EFTC. However, in the event of premature release of the extractor by the EFTC, the TSLA takes over and manages the extraction forces and transfer of load to deploy the main canopies once the payload has safely exited the aircraft.