France’s Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA) has awarded a contract to Zodiac Aerosafety Systems to provide air drop systems for special mission skydivers.
Zodiac Aerosafety will provide système de mise à terre des chuteurs opérationnels (SMT C-OPS) comprising of a parachute, a navigation system, a self-guided package, communications system, skydiver protection equipment (helmet, low-temperature clothing) and all accessory devices required by the parachutist.
DGA said that the new system will allow a total mass of about 200kg to be dropped from an altitude of about 30,000ft, where the G9 parachute currently in service can handle only 160kg at 24,000ft.
The acquisition of new equipment is intended to meet the need for dropping advance elements of an airborne force, commandos or special forces teams.
As per a statement posted on DGA's website, 'With the renewal under the EPC (combat paratrooper equipment) used for large-scale air drops of parachute infantry, and the arrival of SMT C-OPS for special mission skydivers, French forces will be equipped with world-standard equipment for military parachuting.'
The latest award comes on the heels of a €7.8bn deal signed between France and India for 36 Rafale fighter aircraft.
The Dassault Aviation-built multi-role jet fighter will be supplied as part of an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) signed by France and India in January this year.
In June this year, the DGA contracted Sabena Technics and Thales to supply light aircraft for surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
Image: Zodiac Aerosafety Systems will provide air drop systems for special mission skydivers. Photo: courtesy of French Ministry of Defense.