The T-11 is the first new parachute to be adopted by the U.S. military in more than 50 years.
The T-11 parachute replaces the T-10 model that had been in use with the U.S. military since 1955. The T-11 parachute has a larger canopy that covers 28 per cent more surface area than the previous T-10 model. This helps accommodate different weights of soldiers and allows the parachute to work with bigger, heavier people.
The increased size also slows the rate of descent for soldiers using the T-11 parachute. Military personnel using the T-11 parachute descend at a rate of 19 feet per second compared to a faster 24 feet per second with the older model T-10 parachute. This has reduced the number of landing injuries involving jumpers.
Finland and Fort Bragg
The T-11 parachute also features a newly redesigned reserve chute and is designed to reduce the shock experienced by soldiers when the parachute first deploys. The main T-11 parachute and harness weighs 38 pounds. With the reserve chute attached, the total assembly weighs just over 50 pounds. The main canopy is 30 feet in diameter.
The U.S. military uses the T-11 parachute for training purposes and in combat zones such as Iraq. In addition to the U.S. military, the T-11 parachute is being adopted and used by the Finnish Defence Forces in Europe. In July 2011, the U.S. Army temporarily suspended use of the T-11 parachute after a malfunction incident at Fort Bragg in North Carolina that resulted in the death of a soldier. A full investigation of the incident is being carried out.