Test Pilots Wanted


Skydog Blog – editorial and opinion

When I first saw this I thought, “you gotta be kidding me”. That set aside it appears they are not.

If you are familiar with AWACS and ICBM let me familirize you with another acronym: CULAPS which stands for Counter Ultra Light Aircraft/Paratrooper System. The U.S. government is seeking information on the design of a non-lethal system that utilizes a net to bring down an ultralight from a height of 500 feet. The system should be capable of being mounted on a vehicle or carried by a person. The intent of the system is to have the solider fire the net at the ultralight/skydiver and have it bring the aircraft/person safely to the ground without any injury. Designing the system is probably feasable. Sounds easy enought to shoot a net through the sky. You see it in the movies all the time. Though I am not so sure about the non-lethal requirement.

Imagine if you will for a moment that your flying your ultralight trike at 500 AGL and you manage to become disoriented and lose your position. Well not likely since most of fly with our GPS on aboard? Just for the purpose of this hypothisis lets say you forgot to charge your GPS or you hit a bird and it disables your GPS (no damage to your aircraft, not yet anyways). Without correct orientation you find yourself flying over a fenced in military base. All of a sudden you see a Humvee pacing below you. OK, these guys think your a member of Al-queada or some other hard-core terrorist organization heading straight towards their ammo supply. They target their CULAPS to your aircraft and fire. The net explodes towards your aircraft and wraps up your entire aircraft before gently bringing it to the ground. NOT!

At what speed must the net must travel so that it intercepts the target. If the aircraft is traveling away from you then the net must travel faster than the aircraft. If the net only has a range of 500 feet then the net would have to travel a lot faster. If the cruising speed of an ultralight trike is 50 mph then it’s safe to assume that the speed of the net would need to be going faster than 100 mph.

What if the trike is traveling towards you at 50 mph an the 100 mph net hits your aircraft headon with a vector force of 150 mph. One can only imagine what the resulting impact would be. Maybe we should take these great military minds and make them executives at AIG, … couldn’t hurt.

Good luck on testing this system. Maybe we should take some of those drug smugglers caught slipping over the Mexican-US border in their ultralight, give them back their ultralight and tell them home is just on the other side of the military base.

For those of you who are smarter than me and can figure this one out, here is the actual request for information from the government web site.


Sources Sought

Added: Jan 20, 2009 4:54 pm

The Headquarters Air Force Security Forces Center (HQ AFSFC) is seeking sources capable of providing a Counter Ultra Light Aircraft/Paratrooper System (CULAPS). This is a non-lethal weapon utilizing net launching technology. This notice is for planning purposes only and shall not be construed as a formal solicitation or an obligation on the part of the Government to acquire any products or services. The Government is not liable for any costs incurred by interested parties in responding to this request for information. The purpose of this request for information is to determine the capability of potential sources and the availability of commercial sources pursuant to FAR Part 10. Industry is encouraged to respond with information not constrained by proprietary data rights. However, if proprietary data is included in your reply, please mark it appropriately. This is open to both large and small businesses.

The CULAPS system is envisaged as a lightweight net aimed and fired from the ground that envelopes the target and thereby removes the target’s lift bringing it to the ground. The system should be lightweight (man/vehicle portable) and have an effective vertical range of greater than 500 feet. An attribute of the system should include the potential for linking the firing system to a sensor system for automated remote operation.

Please provide product literature and/or fact sheets in response to this notice. Also, include existing contracts and/or contract vehicles where Air Force Security Forces units may purchase these items if any. Interested sources should submit their response to HQ AFSFC/SFXI, ATTN: Lt Col Robert Lancaster, 1517 Billy Mitchell Blvd, Lackland AFB TX 78236-0119. E-mail: Robert.lancaster@lackland.af.mil. All responses should be received not later than 20 February 2009, 3:00 p.m. (CST).

All prospective offerors must be registered in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database with a commercial and government entity code (CAGE CODE) and should have completed an electronic annual representations and certifications at in conjunction with required registration in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database. CCR information can be obtained by accessing www.ccr.gov or by calling 1-888-227-2423.

1655 Selfridge Avenue

Lackland AFB, Texas 78236-5253


1517 Billy Mitchell Blvd, Bldg 954

Lackland AFB, TX 78236-0119

San Antonio, Texas 78236

United States

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