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U.S. Army testing precise airdrop cargo delivery without GPS

Staff writer ▼ | January 19, 2016
The United States military relies on dropping vital supplies to troops from the air to help avoid being caught by improvised explosive devices and having truck convoys ambushed.
Defense industry   Joint Precision Airdrop System
In doing so, the U.S. Army's Joint Precision Airdrop System (JPADS) has proven to be critical in getting supplies and equipment to troops in often remote and rugged terrain.

In an attempt to continue trying to bolster JPADS across the board — making them more accurate, robust, versatile and cheaper — the U.S. Army is working with Draper technology and other partners to begin testing a newer version of the guidance aerial drop-off system that doesn't require GPS.

Instead, Draper's JPADS software autonomously flies cargo packages and the guidance system navigate to its intended ground impact point using imagery alone.

The company says the JPADS will be able to navigate with more precision using imagery, while having those on the ground have little knowledge about the aircraft's location when each cargo package is dropped. That, Draper says, will keep troops safer and have them less exposed to possible enemy attacks.