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By Beth Bacheldor

U.S. Army Solicits Information for Parachute-Tracking System

The Automated Parachute Management System Working Group, on behalf of the U.S. Army's Airborne Board, is conducting a market survey for technical information to enhance the current processes and capabilities for tracking the Army's fleet of cargo and personnel parachutes.

Specifically, the working group announced that it is seeking an enterprise-wide system that supports 150 worldwide locations, and as many as 750 active users and 100 to 200 other users who need to access system reports, according to the Army's Request for Information (RFI).

The system would track parachute inventory and collect data regarding workflows, such as parachute packing and inspection, chain of custody and maintenance. The system would also track personnel qualifications, training and jump status, the RFI states, which could refer to live deployments of parachutes in training and in combat. The Army would like the system to receive real-time input from RFID-enabled parachutes and be interoperable with mobile computers and existing government systems. In some ways, the proposed functionality is similar to the inventory tracking used by large package delivery firms.

Vendors that can supply an off-the-shelf capability or a modified version of an existing commercial solution are invited to respond to the RFI. The deadline is Sept. 21.

In 2012, the Army's Automated Identification and Movement Solutions (AMIS) division, in Alexandria, Va., created an enhanced Parachute Tracking System (ePTS) that employs radio frequency identification to provide end-to-end, verifiable chain-of-custody accountability, traceability and airworthiness of a then-new family of personal parachute systems in support of global military operations (see U.S. Army Uses RFID to Track and Manage Parachutes).

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