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Leapfest 2016 – International Airborne Competition

As its National Airborne Day, it seems fitting to post our wrap-up of this year’s Leapfest today – hard to believe it was already a week ago that the skies over southern Rhode Island were full of parachutes…

National Airborne Day on Aug. 16 honors the occassion of the first official parachute jump of the US Army, conducted on this date in 1940, by the volunteer Soldiers of the Parachute Test Platoon.  Other nations had already established Airborne Forces even before the US of course, including Italy, Germany, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and even France.  The Canadian Army established its first airborne unit in July 1942.

tumblr_mtvd5tILoU1s57vgxo4_r2_1280Red Army paratroops ‘jump’ from the wing of a Tupolev bomber in an exercise during the 1930’s.

Military parachuting has come a long way since those early experimental drops, and many lessons were also learned the hard way from the combat parachute drops during the Second World War.  Today’s Paratroops jump from turbo-prop and jet-powered aircraft as well as helicopters using either a static-line to automatically deploy their parachute, or by freefalling and then manually pulling a so-called ‘rip cord’ to deploy their ‘chute – and modern parachutes also come with non-steerable and steerable round canopies for normal operations, or highly-manueverable ‘ram-air’ square canopies for special operations.

t-11-parachute-001Current-day US Army Paratroopers jump from a C-130 using the new, cruciform-shape canopied T-11 non-steerable parachute.  The T-11 system has replaced the T-10 parachute that was in use for over 50 years.

Leapfest is the largest, longest standing, international static-line parachute competition. It is hosted each year by the 56th Troop Command of the Rhode Island Army National Guard to promote training and esprit de corps within the international airborne community.

DSCN2499The team from the Czech Republic walk off the Drop Zone after a jump.

Leapfest is both an individual and team event – each jumper must complete 2 jumps to be qualified for the individual award, and each team must complete 8 jumps in total to be qualified for the team award.  Each team consists of 5 participants: 4 jumpers and 1 alternate jumper.

DSCN2562The combined teams from the Italian Army, Navy, Air Force and Carabinieri pose for a group photo.

Jumpers exit from a CH-47 Chinook helicopter at an altitude of 1500 feet (457 meters) using an MC-6 static line deployed, steerable, parabolic parachute and aim to land as close as possible to a marked, designated ‘X-marks-the-spot’ on the Drop Zone.

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Friday Foto


Snipers, Pathfinders and Reconnaissance members, from 2e Bataillon Royal 22e Régiment, conduct insertion and extraction by helicopter training with a Royal Canadian Air Force CH-147F Chinook helicopter during ‪#‎RIMPAC‬ on Camp Pendleton in San Diego, California on July 15, 2016.

Photo : Sgt Marc-André Gaudreault, Valcartier imaging services


More Camouflage Craziness from The US Navy

So by now you might have already seen the news that the US Navy is ditching their ridiculous camouflage duty uniform – known officially as “Navy Working Uniform Type I” (NWU-I), but nicknamed ‘Blueberry’ because of its camo pattern.

BRUCE LIPSKY/The Times-Union--09/15/09--Petty Officer Third Class Nicole Bieneman {cq}(L) and Petty Officer Second Class Sherri Hill pose, for The Times-Union, in the new Navy Working Uniform (NWU), outside of the Navy Federal Credit Union Tuesday, September 15, 2009 in Jacksonville, FL. Revised Navy regulations allow sailors to wear the NWUs off-base during routine short term stops like the bank, gas stations and dropping or picking children up at day care. However they are not allowed to wear the NWUs off base for long stops like grocery shopping or shopping at the Ortega SuperTarget {cq} adjacent to NAS Jacksonville. (The Florida Times-Union, Bruce Lipsky) 2009

While this could certainly be considered good news, and a step in the right direction, at first glance….  The end result actually makes even less sense.  For all of its faults, the NWU Type I duty uniform at least had one thing going for it – with its coloration it was pretty obvious that it was a ‘Navy’ uniform (all those blue and grey colors).

Now the Navy brass have decided that since the ‘Blueberry’ uniform was unpopular, all sailors should instead wear the jungle/woodland environment NWU Type III uniform in AOR2 digi-cam – a uniform that has been mostly associated with the SEALS, since they actually had a need for such a camo uniform.

nwu-3So, as of Oct. 1, 2016, EVERY desk-bound, base-dwelling, shore-duty sea person will get to feel special by wearing jungle cammies to the office too.   No word on whether every set of Type III BDUs will also be issued with a ‘special snowflake’ patch well…


For more info about the other Navy uniform changes that are coming down the blow tube, read up on Soldier Systems Daily.

MONSOON Jacket Gen2 from UF PRO

UF PRO® has introduced the new generation of their Monsoon waterproof/breathable jackets.

UF PRO® has launched a new generation of waterproof/ breathable jackets with their Monsoon and the Monsoon XT Gen.2 Jacket. The two jackets differ in material and cut; the XT version is the more robust ‘tactical’ version, whereas the Monsoon jacket offers a more ‘civilian’ look.



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Direct Action SPITFIRE Plate Carrier Cutaway System

The latest product video from Direct Action gear is now live on their YouTube Channel.

SPITFIRE Cutaway System

This system provides for the immediate cutaway release of the SPITFIRE Plate Carrier. Its innovative design and allows for quick and easy reassembly of the Plate Carrier without the cutaway elements. Created with primarily with waterborne operations in mind, the SPITFIRE Cutaway System also allows for immediate battlefield assessment and treatment of a wounded team-mate, and then quickly and easily reconfiguring and reassembling the wounded person’s Plate Carrier for armor protection during transportation / evacuation.

To order within the European area:

To order within the US / North American area:

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