Planning Systems alliance aims for airdrop-dead accuracy

Dropping food, weapons and medical supplies can be costly and dangerous when the goods miss their intended target. New technology can help minimize that risk.

Planning Systems Inc. of Reston, Va., inked a $5 million exclusive deal with Capewell Components Company LLC that would allow Capewell to market PSI's Precision Air Drop System overseas.

The system was developed for the Army and Air Force to improve the accuracy of parachute and guided payloads delivered from high altitudes. It was designed to address challenges in Bosnia and Afghanistan, and now is being delivered to the Air Force Air Mobility Command.

The system includes a laptop computer that takes in data from satellites and global positioning system dropsondes, which are instruments deployed from aircraft to measure things like wind, humidity and air pressure. It also accepts data from the Air Force Weather Agency over the Defense Department's classified SIPRNet. The data is processed through an algorithm to calculate the appropriate point of release so that payloads hit their intended drop zone.

Alan Friedman, president and chief executive officer of PSI said the technology was important "because airborne delivery operations for humanitarian relief and tactical resupply are fundamental tactics in the 21st century military arsenal."

"Precision aerial delivery is a capability that soldiers and airmen desperately want," said Bob Francis, vice president and general manager of South Windsor, Conn.-based Capewell. "PADS offers that capability."

PSI specializes in applied science, systems engineering and IT solutions development. It has 300 employees and revenues of more than $40 million.

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