The SA Army, and more specifically 44 Parachute Regiment in Bloemfontein, has taken delivery of a new parachute system for the country’s elite soldiers. The new High Altitude Parachute System (HAPS) can be used for both high altitude low opening (HALO) and high altitude high opening (HAHO) jumps.
The final training and acceptance of the system, which also include Parachute Simulators, have already begun on August 15 at 44 Parachute Regiment and will be completed by 2 September.
The General Officer Commanding, SA Army Infantry Formation Major General, Rudzani Maphwanya, took possession of the system at Tempe. He said the new system will help with the unique ability to get specially trained soldiers on the ground behind enemy lines. Maphwanya says the new system will benefit South Africa’s Pathfinder and Special Force units to compete favourably with other world-class airborne units.
Lieutenant Colonel Laurel Thatcher of 44 Parachute Regiment says the old system was cumbersome and limiting in terms of height and the time jumpers could use oxygen at extreme heights. The new system gives a jumper 80 minutes of breathing air while the old system only gave 15 minutes. The type of parachute now used will be more versatile and can carry more weight, enabling soldiers to jump with more equipment. – firstname.lastname@example.org
André Grobler / Bloemfontein Courant