Courtesy of Tactical Life

U.S. Army paratroopers are set to field a new fighting load system for the first time ever, the service announced.

“The Airborne Tactical Assault Panel (ABN-TAP) was developed with the paratrooper in mind and will allow the paratrooper a greater degree of comfort, mobility and safety during static line airborne infiltration operations,” said Rich Landry of the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center laboratories in Natick, Massachusetts.

Airborne troops had issues with legacy load carrier systems; namely, previous designs were required to be worn under the T-11 parachute harness. This resulted in an improper fit of the main harness and moved the T-11 reserve activation handle further away from the paratrooper’s grasp.

With ABN-TAP, soldiers can rig the fighting load under the harness, but below the reserve parachute.

“This will allow paratroopers to properly adjust the T-11 parachute harness to their specific sizing requirements and keep the T-11 reserve parachute handle well within reach,” said Sgt. 1st Class Ian Seymour, Test NCO from the Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate (ABNSOTD).

According to the Army, the ABN-TAP is a descendent of the older Load Bearing System (LBE) used with the T-10 and MC1-1 parachute systems employed by paratroopers over a span of decades.

When the War on Terror kicked off, all armed services branches rushed to make their field equipment ready for modern combat and allow for the constant presence of body armor, said Mike Tracy, deputy test division chief at ABNSOTD.

“With the vest/plate carrier systems seeing overwhelming Soldier acceptance, the task of providing the paratrooper with a modern design compatible with current parachute systems is challenging to say the least,” Tracy said.

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Photo courtesy of PM Soldier