The U.S. Army is in the process of creating a new parachute for its soldiers, one that is easier to maneuver, allows for higher drops and may make missions safer. 

The new long-range infiltration parachute will allow members of the Special Forces to jump from up to 35,000 feet, according to Major Ernesto Perez, the Army's assistant product manager for Airdrop Systems. From this height, soldiers will be able to drop on their target with greater stealth.

"This parachute allows you to land everybody within a 25 to 30 meter circle, instead of having all your guys spread out wherever the wind carried them along the drop zone," Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Ford explained in a recently released Army video. In addition to giving troops the ability to jump from a higher altitude, they will also be able to steer and direct their parachute, allowing them greater control over their landing zone.

The chute is known as the RA-1 and has the ability to carry up to 450 pounds, allowing troops to carry more gear during a drop and therefore be more prepared at the landing site. With the current model, troops are sometimes unable to wear their armor when dropping into unknown situations.

In May, the parachutes were tested by 30 paratroopers and 50 military free fall paratroopers at drop zones at Laurinburg, Clinton, and Raeford, North Carolina. In a recent Army news release, test plan analyst Rodrick Manke explained that they were testing the chutes for safety and effectiveness.

"The RA-1 is an individual soldier's parachute system consisting of a main parachute, reserve parachute, harness and container," said Manke. "It is designed to allow insertion by both Military Free Fall and Double Bag Static Line techniques depending on mission deployment requirements."

The new parachute design was created with both the soldiers' safety and comfort in mind. Perez explained to the Army Times that, with the current parachute model, the harness will make a soldier's legs go numb during a fall and make it hard for them to land smoothly. The new harness will put pressure on the soldier's back, protecting their legs from falling asleep and allowing a safer landing.

This new design will soon replace the current MC-4. The Army benefits greatly from new innovations such as the RA-1 and will continue improving on its current designs. The RA-1 is reportedly going to be fielded to special ops forces during the third quarter of this year, according to the Fort Hood Sentinel.