Babcock's Marine & Technology Division has been awarded a
post-design support contract by the UK Ministry of Defence for the
Small Boat Aerial Delivery System (SBADS) that the company is
currently delivering under an earlier, competitively-won
Babcock is currently delivering 186 units of its innovative
aerial drop system, SBADS, to the MoD. The system has been designed
by Babcock's Integrated Technology team to deliver small rigid and
inflatable hulled boats safely to the ocean from military transport
aircraft. It was selected by the MoD after competitive trials, in
which it out-performed other air-drop system solutions.
The modular system features a novel deceleration mechanism that
can be adjusted to control deceleration rates on impact with the
water, to avoid damage to the payload on landing. A unique,
patented, twin V-form flexible sheet provides low deceleration and
hence low landing forces initially, and then higher deceleration to
prevent payload submersion.
The system is modular to handle larger payloads, or to enable a
variety of payloads to be dropped, from life rafts and medical
equipment containers to boats over 12ft long with outboard motors
fitted ready for action. The modules are designed to be compatible
with the Hercules and Airbus A400M or other aircraft equipped with
the standard 108 inch cargo handling system, and could easily be
modified to suit other aircraft. The modules can be fitted with
floats to allow recovery and re-use during training exercises, or
can be configured to sink during operations.
Babcock has developed a manufacturing process for the SBADS
using a range of purpose designed welding jigs and fixtures that
'standardises' production, to enable rapid delivery while
maintaining quality. 186 SBADS units are to be delivered to the MoD
by February 2011. Approximately 90 have been delivered to date.
Babcock has now been awarded a post-design support contract for
the SBADS under which the company will provide engineering support
to SBADS until at least October 2014. An important part of this
contract includes looking at development of the system and use of
the innovative design aspects of SBADS with other items of
equipment that need to be air-dropped.
Babcock Integrated Technology project manager Roger Taylor
comments: "The SBADS system is the latest thing in aerial delivery,
meeting the need to protect the payload and integrate with the
aircraft exceptionally well, and has been very well received by the
customer. We are now looking to apply this technology for other air
drop applications, building on the system's versatility and
potential to be extended to cover a range of boats and other
Noting the ability to control deceleration rates to protect the
payload, and its modularity to handle a variety of payloads, Allan
Brocklebank, project manager from the Hercules and TriStar Project
Team, remarked: "The SBADS system is the best thing we've seen in
aerial delivery in 20 years."