Joint Precision Airdrop System Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (JPADS ACTD)


High altitude, precision airdrop is a key enabling technology for the Future Force. It will facilitate rapid strategic and tactical deployment of the Future Force and just-in-time resupply to most locations throughout the world.

Current airdrop resources are complex systems that are tied to known high threat choke points, such as: Aerial Ports of Debarkation, Seaports of Debarkation, Drop Zones and Ground Lines of Communication. Airdrop deliveries can reach supply points in days or weeks making it almost incapable of responding to a dynamic operational and tactical environment.

Based on the fact that Soldiers are a projection-based force, they must have the capability to sustain combat power from strategic distances into a very dynamic and dispersed battlespace that effectively and efficiently enables them to have decisive operational superiority. This capability was provided to the Global War on Terrorism through the rapid fielding of a 2200 lb. variant JPADS and the JPADS Mission Planner. The first combat JPADS cargo airdrop took place on 31 August 2006.


JPADS is a family of systems that have different weight ranges which will allow conventional military aircraft to accurately drop sensors, munitions, and/or a huge range of supplies onto the battlefield while minimizing risk to the aircraft and the possibility of enemy detection of aircraft drop zones. The systems will use gliding parachute decelerators, GPS-based guidance, navigation and control, weather data assimulation and an airdrop mission planning tool to deliver cargo with near pinpoint accuracy.

JPADS ACTD is the integration of the US Air Force (USAF) Joint Precision Airdrop System Mission Planning (JPADS-MP) hardware and software with the US Army Joint Precision Airdrop System-Light (JPADS-L) (10K lb. rigged weight capability). The JPADS-MP provides a wireless mission-planning tool for the JPADS-L airdrop system while on-board the aircraft. This integrated technology allows rapid pre-flight programming and in-flight mission, threat, and terrain/environment changes for immediate reaction by the user. Culminated in FY06, the JPADS ACTD has rapidly advanced systems and technologies that provide a global delivery system capable of 24-hour “fort-to-foxhole” distribution.

“We’ve revolutionized the way we resupply the Warfighter…Saving American Blood is a good thing, and this (JPADS) will definitely do it.”

Maj Gen Scott Gray, Commander, Air Mobility Warfare Center

JPADS Mission Planning
JPADS 10K in Flight
JPADS 10K in Flight

Last Update: 29 June 2006