The site claimed that water and food are dropped from 5000 meters without parachute and it exploded on impact.

I am skeptical because even a government can't be this stupid.

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    That article gets its information from this article: telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/11024037/…
    – Rob Watts
    Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 5:29
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    The relevant quote is "However, Iraqi officials said that much of the US aid had been 'useless' because it was dropped from 15,000ft without parachutes and exploded on impact." (emphasis mine)
    – Rob Watts
    Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 5:31
  • I found that hard to believe that US military is that stupid of sending something 5km away without parachute
    – user4234
    Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 5:46
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    Stupidity is not the only possible cause. Don't dismiss other possibilities.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 8:14
  • Something to keep in mind here: There are times when it's cheaper to plan for breakage than to prevent it. When it's high value (especially living) cargo you want 100% but if it's stuff like food you do not want to pay for that kind of reliability, especially if you're not getting your drop gear back. I would have no problem at all believing that there were a decent number of malfunctions. Commented Apr 11, 2015 at 18:15

2 Answers 2


From FM 4-20.147: Airdrop of Supplies and Equipment: Humanitarian Airdrop

EXTENDED TRI-WALL AERIAL DELIVERY SYSTEM (TRIADS). The TRIADS system is a corrugated tri-wall box rigged for static line deployment off the ramp of an aircraft using CDS procedures. Typical loads include loose Meals Ready-to-Eat (MREs) or Humanitarian Daily Rations (HDRs). Following deployment the caps of the box separate from the sleeve allowing the container’s content to scatter and freefall to the ground. TRIADS has a 1,375 pound load capacity.

Did the military drop it without parachutes? Almost certainly. It's a standard method with standard procedures to follow.

Was it destroyed on impact? Probably not. A certain amount of breakage can be expected, from containers that fail to open properly, or from supplies that land badly. If all the intact supplies have been removed, it would give the impression that everything was destroyed on impact.

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    It would be a much better answer if we had some sort of confirmation that this was the system in play and that there was no malfunction.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 8:14

The article in The Telegraph is dated August 10.

This article from the US Air Force dated August 8 shows pictures of the pallets to be dropped over Sinjar, including this high-res photograph.

enter image description here In that photograph, the black bags on top look like parachutes. Figure 3-7 on page 3-8 of this document is an illustration of a folded parachute. Page 1-1 of this document says,

b. LOW-COST AERIAL DELIVERY SYSTEM (LCADS). LCADS is a modified, lightweight A-22 system with no scuff pad, cover, or friction adapters on the lateral bands. It is rigged like a high-velocity A-22 load, but uses one of several special parachutes. LCADS is used for high-volume delivery of nonfragile items where airdrop equipment is not recoverable. LCADS has a 2,200 pound load capacity. Chapter Three of this manual covers riggingLCADS for airdrop.

A comment associated with the Facebook page (August 8 on the timeline of https://www.facebook.com/DeptofDefense if the preceding facebook link doesn't work) says,

Christopher W. Graves So are we using disposable plastic parachute deployment bags now to save costs and recycling..if so i think that is a really great idea..they should look into using and making disposable canopies too because once they are deployed we aren't getting them back to use again. And yes thank you troops from an old Rigger myself..I will be sure always!!!! 1 · August 9 at 10:33am

The third photo (in the series of five) from the Air Force article is captioned,

U.S. Army Soldier parachute riggers from the 11th Quartermaster Co., 264th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 82nd Sustainment Brigade, palletize water for a humanitarian air drop Aug. 6, 2014.

which also implies that parachutes were rigged.

  • Would you explain whether the answer is yes or no. The black bags look like parachutes. Then you said the parachutes were rigged. It's malfunctioning?
    – user4234
    Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 13:31
  • What do you mean that the parachutes were rigged?
    – user4234
    Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 13:32
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    @SharenEayrs The term "rigging" or "rigged" doesn't mean 'sabotaged or broken': it means, "attached using ropes".
    – ChrisW
    Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 13:37
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    I can't prove that supplies were never dropped without parachutes (and the other answer shows that free-fall drops are normal for some types of supply). I can't prove that parachutes invariably function correctly (but I suspect the US military has quite a bit of experience with being mostly-reliable when they use parachutes). IMO this answer does show that at least one of the drops was using parachutes.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 13:41

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