Airdrop Explosion Making the Difference

Air Mobility Command’s airlifters have been busy in Southwest Asia, and there appears to be no letup to the demand for airdrop in Afghanistan, Gen. Raymond Johns, commander of Air Mobility Command, told attendees at AFA’s Air & Space Conference Monday afternoon. In 2005, AMC airlifters dropped two million pounds into theater, he noted. This year, AMC is on track to airdrop more than 90 million pounds of fuel, ammunition, water, and supplies—about 6,000 bundles a month. The capability has paid dividends in a host of scenarios and incidents in theater, Johns noted, such as when an air mobility liaison officer went out to an isolated forward operating base manned by Romanian soldiers and calculated how to do an emergency airdrop—on top of the base since the drop zone was inaccessible due to IEDs. Nineteen bundles were dropped practically on top of the FOB using high velocity low altitude parachutes with less than 72 hours before the soldiers ran out of fuel and other essentials. “They got their supplies … it’s not something we plan every day, but they were able to do it,” Johns said of the mobility airmen who worked the mission.