First high-altitude parachute jump from A400M using oxygen mask

Spread the love

Views: 3


The Spanish Parachute Brigade Almogávares VI [Bripac] hosted the Lone Paratrooper exercise once again at La Virgen del Camino Air Base in León. This event, held from June 17 to 28, saw the participation of about 160 military personnel, including 120 national and 40 foreign participants, all aiming to enhance their skills in manual parachute jumps.

This year’s exercise featured two significant milestones. Firstly, there was a high-altitude launch using oxygen masks from an A400M aircraft. This marked the first time such a procedure was carried out with this aircraft model, advancing its certification process. Secondly, the exercise culminated in flight equipment practices with a manual parachute deployment at 12,000 feet [over 3,600 meters], according to the Army.

The exercise was divided into two phases. The initial week was dedicated to national units, with the Spanish Army contributing personnel from Bripac’s Advanced Reconnaissance and Parachute Launch Companies as well as the Special Operations Command. The second week saw the involvement of soldiers from the United States, France, and Portugal, fostering greater interoperability through the sharing of tactics, techniques, and procedures among allied nations.

Two Turkish A400M stuck in Ukraine delivering Bayraktar UAVs
Photo credit: FluRevue

Over 3,600 meters

A military parachutist jumping from over 3,600 meters needs great situational awareness. They must master freefall techniques, stay in stable positions, control their movements, and open the parachute at the right time for a safe landing.

Advanced navigation skills are necessary. Parachutists need to use GPS devices, maps, and compasses to steer precisely toward the landing zone, especially for high jumps that cover long distances. Physical fitness is crucial. High jumps stress the body due to less oxygen and colder temperatures. Parachutists must be in top shape to handle these conditions.

First high-altitude parachute jump from A400M using oxygen mask
Photo credit: Reddit

Emergency preparedness is essential. They must know how to deal with issues like tangled lines or canopy failures and perform emergency moves like using reserve parachutes. Team coordination is also important in military operations. Parachutists need to work well with their team, using hand signals and other non-verbal cues to move together and complete the mission.

Why an oxygen mask?

At high altitudes, the atmospheric pressure is significantly lower, which means there is less oxygen available for breathing. This can lead to hypoxia, a condition where the body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply, which can impair cognitive and physical functions, making it dangerous for paratroopers to perform their tasks effectively.

First high-altitude parachute jump from A400M using oxygen mask
Photo credit: Airborne Systems

Another reason for the use of oxygen masks is to prevent altitude sickness, which can occur when individuals are exposed to low oxygen levels at high altitudes. High-altitude jumps often involve rapid decompression, which can exacerbate the effects of low oxygen levels.

Using oxygen masks also allows paratroopers to jump from higher altitudes, which can be strategically advantageous. Higher altitude jumps can help avoid detection by enemy forces and provide greater flexibility regarding jump locations and landing zones. In addition to providing necessary oxygen, the masks are often part of a comprehensive life support system that includes equipment to regulate temperature and pressure, further ensuring the safety and operational readiness of paratroopers during high-altitude jumps.

The Airbus A400M

Two Turkish A400M stuck in Ukraine delivering Bayraktar UAVs
Photo credit: FlugRevue

The Airbus A400M is a European military transport aircraft with four engines made by Airbus Military. It was built to meet the diverse needs of European air forces for a versatile transport plane. It has a wingspan of about 139 feet, is 148 feet long, and 48 feet high. The cargo area is 56 feet long, 13 feet wide, and 13 feet high, providing lots of space for military and aid supplies.

The A400M uses four TP400-D6 turboprop engines, each producing around 11,000 horsepower. It has advanced navigation, communication systems, and defenses against threats. It can carry up to 37 tons of cargo.

The main purpose of the Airbus A400M is to provide air forces with a modern and efficient transport option. It can handle many missions, from moving large amounts of cargo to delivering aid during disasters. Its ability to refuel other aircraft in mid-air and switch quickly between roles makes it valuable for military operations worldwide.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Skip to content