The US Air Force (USAF) 347th Rescue Group has conducted a test aerial drop of a Side by Vehicle (SXV) as part of its efforts to bolster its search and rescue capabilities.

The move marks the first time that 347 Rescue Group units 38th Rescue Squadron and 71st RQS collaborated for an aerial delivery of a SXV.

According to a USAF statement, the drop took nearly a year to execute as the use of the vehicle weighs 4,445lb without weapons, fuel and other equipment- necessitated additional preparatory works, and close to the parachute weight limit.

Such SXVs are intended to be dropped along with paratroopers and combat rescue officers to improve ground mobility during rescue, infiltration, and exfiltration missions.

The vehicle can be used to move equipment, personnel or patients to different locations. They can also operate as a moving communication centre.

38th RQS commander colonel Michael Vins said: “This is the first step in building greater ground mobility options for the 38th Rescue Squadron and Air Force Special Warfare.

“Wherever paratroopers and combat rescue officers can land, we can potentially drop a (lighter-weight tactical vehicle) or SXV to assist with ground mobility.

“For example, if an airfield is attacked and runway unusable, we could drop in a Guardian Angel team and pair of vehicles to consolidate survivors into a casualty collection point, treat life-threatening injuries, provide security and prepare for extraction.”

The team will now work to define the standard operating procedures using the SXV.

Vins added: “As we progress, we’ll integrate the drops into scenarios with derigging procedures, ground movements and recoveries.

“If successful and safe, we’ll be able to show a proof of concept to senior leaders of another infiltration method to bring isolated personnel home.”

Earlier this month, Geotab secured a sole-source contract to install its fleet management technology onto the USAF’s more than 21,000 general-purpose vehicles.