Flight testing of a new parachute known as the Guardian Angel is underway at Edwards AFB, Calif. The system is optimized for use in the thinner air of high-altitude locations like Afghanistan. “With the current systems, the descent rate is too fast at high altitudes,” explained 2nd Lt. Jonathan Sepp, airdrop engineer with Edwards’ 418th Flight Test Squadron. Specifically designed for USAF pararescue, the new chute could replace designs now in use with the Air Force “and the rest of the military once it’s approved,” stated Sepp. Guardian Angel is tri-functional, enabling freefall, static-line, or tandem jumps. “It’s going to allow people to land in a safer manner, carry more gear, and accomplish the mission more effectively than they could’ve with the parachute systems we currently have,” said Sepp. Testing is slated to conclude in February. (Edwards report by SrA. William A. O’Brien)
While some of the Air Force's newly announced changes will happen quickly, it may take most of Chief of Staff Gen. David W. Allvin's tenure in the job to accomplish the rest, he said in a Brookings Institution event Feb. 28.