U.S. Army Operational Test Command U.S. Army U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command

Airborne and Special OperationsParachutist on OTC event


U.S. Army Operational Test Command
2175 Reilly Road, Stop A, ATTN:  TEOT-AB
Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Phone:  910.396.3308 DSN 236   E-mail:  ABNSOTD


The mission of the Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate is to plan, execute, and report on assigned Five Year Test Programs and Customer Tests for Joint airborne and Special Operations Forces to support doctrine development and the materiel acquisition process.  On order, it supports developmental testing using test parachutists and conducts airdrop certification of all airborne and airdrop equipment.  It sustains the morale, welfare, and training of our Soldiers, civilians, and family members.



Be forward focused and a respected Operational Test Directorate that supports current, future, and transformation warfighter requirements through timely, unbiased, rigorous, and realistic service-unique and joint testing to ensure Soldier safety and  battlefield success.


Who We Are

The Army's independent operational testers for airborne, airdrop, and Joint Special Operations Forces.


What We Do

bulletTest Soldier-essential Army combat systems that can be transported in, airdropped from or transported outside of Army or Air Force aircraft.

bulletDetermine risks associated with new aircraft, systems or procedures prior to use by operational paratroopers.

bulletTest joint service equipment and aerial delivery methods, including--

      - Parachute systems.
      - Air delivery techniques for new or modified combat equipment.
      - Individual weapons or equipment used by airborne forces.
      - Equipment transported inside or outside of Army, Air Force, or commercial aircraft.

bulletConduct airdrop certification for delivering equipment loads and personnel to combat zones by testing--

      - Internal loads aboard fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.
      - External loads using helicopters.
      - Static line parachute procedures.
      - Military free-fall parachute procedures.
      - Low velocity or dual row airdrop loads using high performance USAF aircraft.

bulletRecord all visual action from exit to ground impact and recovery using state-of-the-art instrumentation, such as--

      - Ground-Based Video Tracking Systems.
      - Aerial photography from T-34 chase aircraft or paratrooper helmet-mounted cameras.
      - Global Positioning System (GPS)-based instrumentation attached to jumpers and equipment loads.
      - High-speed videography and digital still photography.



OTC's most unique test directorate is the Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate (ABNSOTD) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  The Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate formally began as a service board activated in December 1944 at Camp Mackall, North Carolina. Its history can be traced back through the Testing and Developing Section of the Airborne Command, organized in 1942 at Camp Mackall, to the original Parachute Test Platoon, activated at Fort Benning, Georgia, in June 1940. Following the end of World War II, the Airborne Board was incorporated into Army Ground Forces Board on 1 October 1945.

As a direct descendant of the original parachute test platoon in 1940, this directorate is not only responsible for the testing of new parachutes and airborne equipment, but is also chartered to certify every item of Army equipment to be airdropped, airlifted, sling-loaded, or in any way transported or delivered by Army or Air Force aircraft.

Certification for every class and type of aircraft for airdrop of personnel and equipment, including new military, foreign, and commercial aircraft, comes as a result of testing by this directorate and is finalized with the publication of approved airdrop rigging procedures in the appropriate technical and training manuals.

Directorate personnel perform extensive testing of Soldier equipment to be employed in airborne operations, ranging from new personnel parachute systems to any new or modified combat equipment or individual weapons systems.

The ABNSOTD Military Free-Fall Section tests numerous state-of-the-art components and procedures directly related to Special Operations Forces (SOF) infiltration and exfiltration requirements to meet both present day immediate operational needs and those of the future.

The Electronics Branch uses state-of-the-art instrumentation placed on test jumpers or test loads to indicate and record specific test data as directed by the test officers.  Data includes G-force opening shock load, heavy drop load force transfer, pitch-roll-yaw, and time coded positional data.

ABNSOTD has the critical responsibility to provide dynamic, responsive, and quality testing in order to meet the needs of the airborne and special operations communities.