Jaw-Dropping Airdrop Pace

From January through September, Air Force C-17 and C-130 cargo aircraft dropped slightly more than 40 million pounds of supplies to ground troops in Afghanistan, already shattering last year’s record-setting mark. That figure is already approximately 25 percent more than the 32,267,606 pounds airdropped in all of 2009, said Air Mobility Command officials. Since the Air Force began tracking airdrop data in 2005, the amount of material delivered via this means in Afghanistan has nearly doubled each year. The AMC officials attribute this year’s spike to the Afghan troop surge and the need to support the additional troops as well as technological innovations that have improved airdrop accuracy, such as the C-130’s low-cost, low-altitude method introduced in March. The 2010 numbers equate to dropping more than 970 full-size pickup trucks each month, they said. (Scott report by MSgt. Scott T. Sturkol)