Air Force Research Laboratory: $15K for Fast Rope Solution

The Air Force Research Laboratory is offering $15,000 to innovators that can create a device to aid airmen in sliding down a rope from a hovering helicopter in a maneuver called “fast roping.”

Airmen currently use a glove to slide down the rope, but there is high danger as airmen can either injure their glove hand or hurt themselves upon landing.

The device must also compensate for the heat that builds between the glove and the rope and allow soldiers or Marines to be able to fire their weapon instantly upon hitting the ground.

The challenge summary is posted on the crowd-sourcing website Innocentive. The site suggests choices such as a device that attaches to one or both gloves, separate attachment devices, or modification of the 2-inch-thick fast rope that is typically 50-to-90-feet long. Any solution must also allow many operators to be able to use the rope at the same time. Entries must by submitted by December 17.


Fast roping in action:

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