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The Stakes

The Requirement is the need for United States Air Force (USAF) Special Operations Force (SOF) personnel to have a descending system that allows them to safely, rapidly, and effectively descend from medium and heavy lift helicopters and tilt rotor aircraft from altitudes in the range of 20 to 90 ft.

USAF Special Tactics (ST) Battlefield Airmen (BA) currently descend using a technique commonly known as “Fast Roping”. Fast roping is a very practical application for the required missions; however, it also comes with many hazards such as friction burns, bunch ups, falls, and hard landings. Other constraints that play a role in the fast roping technique are heavy equipment loads operators carry, hazards present from the aircraft rotor wash, and ground based hazards.

The Descending Systems are intended for use by USAF BA which include: Combat Controllers (CT), Pararescuemen (PJ), Tactical Air Control Party (TACP), Special Operations Weather Teams (SOWT), and Special Operations Aviators. 

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