IAI to Develop an All-Weather Parachute Shape Scanner

The shape of a parachute changes during the deployment of the canopy by the paratrooper/guidance system and environmental effects. However, there are currently no effective ways to measure the shape of the parachute and the airflow around the parachute from a realistic jump. IAI is developing a Parachute Shape Scanner (PSS) system to measure these parameters and enable developmental testers to assess hazards to paratroopers and airdrop load due to canopy starvation and interactions. PSS is a small form factor sensor that is safe to mount on a paratrooper’s helmet or strap to a paratrooper’s chest. Its design is flexible, modular, and scalable. PSS can be extended to suit small or large parachutes. In earlier work, IAI has conducted requirement analysis, system design, proof-of-concept experiments, and demonstrated the feasibility of PSS. Now, IAI will develop a TRL-6 PSS prototype that meets the US Army’s requirements, and verify it in laboratory and relevant environments. PSS will help collect parachute shape measurements during developmental testing to assess parachute performance as related to the shape of the parachute system. PSS will also support research by providing source data in verification and validation of Computational Fluid Dynamics and Fluid-Structure Interaction (FSI) models and simulations, which in turn, will be used in the design and development of airdrop systems. The three-dimensional real-time measurement capability derived from PSS can be used for navigation, collision avoidance, and target detection on unmanned air/surface vehicles, and a variety of commercial Advanced Driver Assistance Systems including forward collision warning system, adaptive cruise control, and side blind zone alert.