How Jumbo Planes Airdrop Crucial Supplies During An Ongoing Battle

A successful airdrop can turn the tide of a war.

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Image: U.S. Department Of Defense

Sometimes, a nation’s military may underestimate how long a particular conflict would stretch. And, since ammunition and other important supplies are limited, the troops would eventually run out of them. This isn’t a good thing at all when the enemy forces are still engaging. Since a heated battlefield isn’t safe enough for a supplies-laden plane to land, restocking the soldiers gets tricky.

In a testament to the maxim that goes, “need is the mother of innovation,” militaries during the Second World War eventually found an answer to this problem. Instead of waiting to find a landing zone, they improvised by dropping supplies in mid-air from a plane.

This crucial military activity requires specialized jumbo planes to deliver optimal amounts of cargo. The video below shows how Boeing’s C-17 Globemaster III excels at delivering airdrops at the height of a battle.

Types of airdrop

There is a variety of different supplies an airdrop may contain. While some of them are sturdy enough to sustain the landing impact, others simply can’t. So, there are different airdrop styles that militaries go for as per a given scenario.

Low-velocity airdrop for fragile equipment

From electronic equipment to military vehicles, low-velocity airdrops deliver a range of supplies. For this, the accompanying parachute works in a way that minimizes the speed of descent. In turn, this makes sure the fall impact is as less as possible.

High-velocity airdrop for robust equipment

High-velocity airdrops are on the opposite end of the spectrum, compared to their low-velocity counterpart, when it comes to falling speed. This technique allows us to quickly ship items, such as ready-to-eat meals, that can take some knocks without major damage.

items about to be airdropped
Items ready to drop from a C-17 Globemaster III plane (Image: defenselink.mil)

Freefall airdrop for special items

This type of airdrop is suitable for delivering certain fall-proof objects super fast. As a matter of fact, only a limited number of items qualify for this approach, making it a rare sight. Freefall airdrops are an effective way to distribute paper documents, such as books containing war propaganda.

The invention of airdropping is a good example of how war has often pushed human creativity and innovation further. Another area receiving its fair share of innovation these days is drone usage. For starters, check out how these specialized drones are used for firefighting.

Priye Rai

Priye Rai

Priye is a tech writer at Fossbytes, who writes about gaming and anything remotely related to tech, including smartphones, apps, OTT, etc. He prefers to be called a "video game journalist" and grimaces when he doesn't get to be "Player 1." If you want to talk about games or send any feedback, drop him a mail at [email protected]
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