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A Case Study of Jumping from the C-17 and the C-130: A Better Platform for Paratroopers?
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND MANAGEMENT
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The unique nature of the relationship between the United States Army and the United States Air Force is never as visible as when Airborne operations take place. The United States has had a fighting force of paratroopers since World War II, and the Air Force has been a key enabler of this fighting force. The key to this synergistic relationship is the proper employment of aircraft, coupled with the right support to the warfighting paratrooper. The C-130 has been supporting Airborne paratrooper forces for over 25 years, and has a proven record of success. Operations URGENT FURY, JUST CAUSE and, most recently, ENDURING FREEDOM have demonstrated that the airframe has continued to evolve and remains a viable platform for the insertions of paratroopers. Since the C-17 has come into the USAF arsenal, it has made great progress in supporting Airborne operations. The C-17 has executed insertions of paratroopers over large distances. Most recently it was used for the insertion of the soldiers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade into Northern Iraq. Over 1,000 paratroopers were moved from Italy to Northern Iraq, providing both a military lodgement, but also making a very visible show of force to those who would oppose America and her Allies. This research project is an exploratory analysis that is based on interviews conducted with members of the U.S. Air Force community who have inserted paratroopers, and members of the community of U.S. Army military parachutists who have exited the aircraft in question. The purpose of the research is to identify whether one airframe is superior to the other for the insertion of Airborne soldiers.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE