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Free drop

Definition “Free drop” in military operations typically refers to the method of air delivery where equipment or supplies are dropped from an aircraft without the use of a parachute or other slowing device. The items are packaged in such a way to protect them from the impact of landing. This method is usually used for […]


“Free drop” in military operations typically refers to the method of air delivery where equipment or supplies are dropped from an aircraft without the use of a parachute or other slowing device. The items are packaged in such a way to protect them from the impact of landing. This method is usually used for quick delivery when parachutes aren’t necessary or practical.

Key Takeaways

  1. Free drop refers to the uncontrolled delivery of cargo or equipment from a military aircraft. It means that once the payload is dropped from the aircraft, no further control is exercised over its trajectory.
  2. A free drop is typically used in emergency situations or when the accuracy of the drop isn’t a high priority. It is less accurate compared to certain other drop methods.
  3. Despite its limitation in accuracy, free drop is still opted for its simplicity and speed, being able to swiftly deliver supplies while keeping aircraft at a safe distance from potential threats on the ground.


The term “Free Drop” in military operations is crucial as it refers to a method of delivery where equipment or supplies are dropped from an aircraft without a parachute.

This is typically done at low altitudes to minimize damage upon impact and is often used for non-fragile items or in emergency situations where time is of the essence.

It is an expedient and efficient way to deliver necessary supplies to troops on the ground, especially in areas that are otherwise difficult or dangerous to reach.

Thus, the importance of a “free drop” in military operations lies in its role in maintaining logistics support and ensuring the safety and effectiveness of military personnel in various operational scenarios.


Free drop is a term used in military operations that describes a method used to deliver supplies, equipment, or other materials from an aircraft to the ground without the aid of a parachute or other decelerating device. It’s a technique often utilized in non-combat scenarios or in situations where the accuracy of the drop location is not of high importance.

Examples of scenarios where a free drop might be utilized could include delivering food and supplies to a remote or inaccessible area during rescue or humanitarian operations. The purpose of a free drop is to quickly deliver goods and materials in situations where the precise location of delivery isn’t a critical factor or when the potential damage to items being dropped is deemed acceptable.

It is less expensive and faster than other forms of aerial delivery as it doesn’t require additional equipment like parachutes. Furthermore, it can be completed at a low flying altitude, reducing the risk of aircraft detection.

However, a significant downside includes potential damage to the goods being dropped and the inability to use this method in densely populated or secretive zones.

Examples of Free drop

Operation Overlord (D-Day): Perhaps the most famous real-world example of a free drop is during World War II with Operation Overlord, commonly known as D-Day. To secure a successful invasion of Normandy, paratroopers from the 101st Airborne and 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army performed a free drop, where troops parachute from an aircraft into enemy territory. They were deployed over different areas of France and played crucial roles in disrupting German defenses.

Operation Market Garden: During World War II, a free drop was used in the military operation code named “Market Garden”. The operation was aimed at securing key bridges in the Netherlands in

The airborne element, Operation Market, involved several Allied airborne divisions parachuting into Netherlands to secure these bridges. Despite some success initially, the operation ultimately failed to achieve its main objectives due to unforeseen problems and stiff German resistance.

Operation Just Cause: In 1989, the US invaded Panama in an operation known as “Just Cause” to oust dictator Manuel Noriega. As a part of the operation, Military paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division performed a free drop into Panama. Despite an incident where windy conditions caused some paratroopers to be scattered away from their intended landing zone, the operation was a success and from a tactical and operational perspective, forces were able to execute missions with surgical precision.

FAQs on Free Drop Military Operation

What is Free Drop operation in Military?

Free Drop operation in a military context generally refers to a parachute drop that is executed without the use of a static line attached to the aircraft. Troops would jump from the aircraft and manually deploy their parachutes.

What is the purpose of Free Drop operation?

The purpose of the Free Drop operation varies as per the mission requirement. It can be rapidly deploying troops into an area where an aircraft may not be able to land, or for operations requiring a covert, surprise element.

What is the process of a Free Drop operation?

The process of a Free Drop operation usually follows these general steps: a) Troops prepare for the jump by donning parachutes and any required equipment. b) The plane reaches a predefined jump point. c) At the jumpmaster’s command, troops exit the aircraft and manually deploy their parachutes at a pre-designated altitude.

What are the risks involved in a Free Drop operation?

Free Drop operations in military carry their own risks which include: potential for equipment failure, risk of injury upon landing, and the inherent risk of entering what could be a potentially hostile environment.

What kind of training military personnel need for a Free Drop operation?

Free Drop operations require rigorous training. Military personnel must learn aircraft exit procedures, parachute deployment techniques, navigation during descent, and landing procedures. This high level of expertise takes time and a great deal of practice to acquire.

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Sources for More Information

  • U.S. Department of Defense: This is the official website of the U.S. Department of Defense. They would have detailed information on military terminology like ‘free drop’.
  • Federation of American Scientists (FAS): This organization is dedicated to providing science-based analysis of and solutions to protect against catastrophic threats to national and international security. They often publish detailed analyses of military operations.
  • RAND Corporation: This global policy think tank provides research and analysis to the United States Armed Forces, among others. Their expansive library may include information on the term ‘free drop’.
  • GlobalSecurity.org: This website is devoted to international security and military policy. Their comprehensive website features a dictionary of military terms that may include ‘free drop’.

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