http://sun.yumasun.com/artman/publish/a ... _19939.php
Will this be the next step for those people who just don't get enough "Bling" out of a toybox trailer anymore
It's raining ATVs, soldiers at YPG
BY MICHELLE VOLKMANN, SUN STAFF WRITER
Oct 20, 2005, 8:09 pm
An all-terrain vehicle parachutes to the ground at Yuma Proving Ground on Thursday during the Precision Airdrop Technology Conference and Demonstration (PATCAD). PHOTO BY ALFRED J. HERNANDEZ/THE SUN
YUMA PROVING GROUND â€” All-terrain vehicles were falling from the sky Thursday at Yuma Proving Ground.
In front of an international crowd of 350 people, a quad dropped out of an airplane at 10,000 feet, falling at a rate of 70 mph. At 7,000 feet, a parachute attached to the 1,100-pound ATV opened.
Minutes later, the vehicle with two riders on board landed in the desert with a thump and a cloud of dust. Then it fell over. Then it was tipped back upright.
Despite the rough landing, the demonstration was still deemed a success by Ted Strong, president of Strong Enterprises, a parachute-manufacturing company
that designed the airborne ATVs.
"We are here and walking, that's a success," Strong said. He was riding in the ATV as it fell from the sky.
This two-passenger Strong Enterprises ATV was one of 40 precision airdrop systems showcased this week during the Precision Airdrop Technology Conference and Demonstration.
The $1 million event, which is hosted by YPG, is a forum for international air-delivery military personnel and companies to share their latest technologies in hopes that the systems will be used by troops around the world in the future. More than 350 people from 17 countries attended.
This is the third time YPG has hosted the conference, which started in 2001. It is held every two years at YPG.
On Thursday, there was a precision airdrop every 15 minutes. Each system was dropped at 10,000 feet during the "tight" schedule, said Paul Mortaloni, chief of air delivery and soldier systems division at YPG.
"There is a lot of different degrees of maturity of the technology that we see demonstrated at this event," he said. "Some systems have been under development for many, many years and we are perfecting how we integrated them into the aircraft. Other systems are being dropped the first time from high-performance aircraft."
An Italian company's Sky Path is one of the younger systems.
It has been dropped only 10 times, said Max Rotunno, chief scientific officer with UTRI. UTRI is the only Italian company that specializes in precision airdrop technology for their military.
The Sky Path is a computerized system with programmed coordinates that tell the parachute jumper where he or she needs to go. It is especially helpful during night jumps involving several people that need to land at the same time.
"It will guide you all the way down," Rotunno said.
The goal is to "maximize" the standoff distance for paratroopers and special forces, Rotunno said.
"It's to jump as far away as possible to where they actually have to go," Rotunno said.
Brig. Gen. Michael Ferriter, director for operations, plans, logistics and engineering at U.S. Joint Forces Command, said this conference showcased the "fantastic and innovated work being done" in precision airdrop technology.
"What you find when you come to these places is a variety of people that want to help," Ferriter said. "They put a lot of brain power and technology into creative ideas and solutions to be able to give our young war fighters the supplies or materials they need out on the combat zone."