Revolutionary Oxygen Systems for Special Forces
During FIDAE 2018 in Santiago de Chile this week Rockwell Collins is launching OXYJUMP, which it described to MONCh as a revolutionary new oxygen system designed specifically for use by special forces troops inserting using High Altitude High Opening (HAHO) techniques. According to company sources at the show, the system is already in use with several NATO and Asia-Pacific nations and has just been adopted by the armed forces of a Central American state. Additionally, the company confirmed it has received a request for information from the Chilean Army.
The system has two variants: one in which the command system is attached directly to the oxygen bottle: the second moves the breathing regulator to the front of the body. The first is a simpler system, which the paratrooper carries behind him: an ideal solution when carrying a navigation device or other load in the front, though it does offer the disadvantage that the oxygen bottle is not independent of the rest of the system. The second mode allows for the breathing regulator to be separated and the bottle to be exchanged. Both variants come with a built-in microphone in the mask and, although it is normally protected from low temperatures by a special, in the case of the Chilean Army’s request a mounting in a ballistic helmet was specified, for which adaptation posed no major problems, according to the company.
Also, for pre-breathing procedures, in which the paratrooper acclimates himself to breathing oxygen prior to engaging in a very high-altitude jump, the system uses bottle scarcely larger than the operational version, rather than adopting the traditional method of attaching all equipment to a large tailor-made console. The system automatically detects when there is a connection and that it has oxygen. If both bottles are connected at the same time, priority is given to the pre-breather, until it is disconnected for launch. Once the jump has been initiated, the system self-determines the current altitude and regulates the oxygen based on that information.
Rockwell Collins also presented a portable oxygen system for helicopter crews. Weighing just 1,3kg (incl. oxygen bottle), the system provides oxygen for 50 mins and thus allows crews to fly at altitudes above 12,000 feet.