Precision aerial delivery has also matured in recent years, with the availability of lightweight GPS navigation and flight control systems. Altair Aerospace introduced at AUSA 2006 an impressive range of precision parachute delivery systems, including the Onyx autonomously guided parachute system, capable of delivering payloads ranging from 500 up to 2,200 lbs from high altitude up to 35,000 ft within 50 meters of a pre-designated ground delivery point.
The system is equipped with GPS unit and flight control system to navigate its flight path to the precise recovery point. The parafoil will carry the payload to a point over the designated target, where parachute opens, descending the payload to a soft landing. To support multiple deliveries of up to 50 payloads to a single point, Altair can utilize automatic formation flying, implementing collision avoidance techniques. In September 2006 Altair was awarded an U.S. Army contract for unspecified number of Onyx systems.
When delivery of small but critical supplies is required, Micro Onyx can be used. The system uses an autonomously guided parafoil system designed to carry a payload of 20 lbs. Micro Onyx also employs collision avoidance, swarming/flocking flying rules to establish safe separation and formation flying, enabling delivery of multiple payloads to a single, or multiple designated locations. Micro Onyx delivery systems are proposed for precision emplacement of sensors as well as delivery of small munition payloads.