YUMA, Ariz. --- Airborne Systems, a world leader in parachute design and manufacturing, announced they successfully completed a test drop deploying an 18,000 lb payload from 17,500 MSL under a modified modular ram-air parachute. This testing was conducted as part of a US Army Natick Soldier Research Development & Engineering Center development program to investigate the use of a modular design for precision guided airdrop of heavy payload systems.>> Two of Airborne Systems' products called MegaFly and GigaFly, are designed to carry heavy payloads (15K to 42K lbs) using GPS navigation to "steer" bulk supplies, equipment or vehicles to an intended point of impact. Both systems are modular and are assembled using five separate sections. When the sections are connected together to form a single large parafoil wing, the combined size is close to the wingspan of a Boeing 747 (211-ft).>> "One of the unique features of this design is the interchangeability of parafoil sections to function as a modular system," said Brian Bagdonovich, Program Manager, for the US Army Natick Soldier RD&E Center. "The MegaFly parafoil was designed for 20-30K pound payloads. Using modular canopies to carry heavier loads, the MegaFly system can easily be converted to a GigaFly(TM) system by removing the 2,500 sq-ft center section of the MegaFly and replacing it with a 3,900 sq-ft center section. The benefit of this modular interchangeability is to allow the system to accommodate a higher payload up to a 42K pounds.">> "Conversely, the modular concept can also be applied to accommodate smaller payloads," said Bagdonovich. "By removing the center section of the MegaFly, making it a four section parafoil instead of its typical five section configuration, the system will accommodate accurate delivery of payloads from 15K to 20K pounds." The four section parafoil configuration was successfully demonstrated with an 18K pound payload. "From an Army standpoint, the concept of modularity is just as impressive as GigaFly's ability to deliver high payload weights to a precise location," said Bagdonovich.