A couple hours ago I was watching a youtube video where skydivers jump using the skydive parachute, and after that, a military training where the soldiers jump using "old" type parachute, the dome shaped one.

Why is the military using the dome shaped one?

The skydive parachute is smaller, and more compact, and has manoeuvrability (as I can see, I'm not an parachute expert).

Is it because of protection against enemy fire? Since it's larger it can take more damage of enemy firepower, or what?


1 Answer 1


From what I learned, different types of parachutes don't make them 'old' or 'new'. They are used for different purposes.

For example the dome shape parachute is usually used for static line jump where no maneuverability is really required. They drop vertically relatively to the plane path when air friction is negligible.

The other kinds are usually used for special forces because they always do jumps like HAHO (High Altitude [Jump] High [Altitude] Open) when the location they jump is outside their country's territory, and infiltrate by air so the plane is out of the radar/SA missile range. They have to have the ability to glide on a long distance.

Another case is they have to have the ability to change the trajectory or precisely land in the drop zone. So maneuverability is a must.

Size differs for different manufacturer and different specs. Even though the dome type parachute is relatively larger, the chance of getting hit is similar with other types as you don't have much speed and you can't do crazy high G turns. You really can't avoid any attack towards you unless you have superhuman reactions and the sixth sense.

To conclude, different types of parachutes are used for different purposes in different scenarios.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Welcome! Very interesting answer. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 10:47
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    $\begingroup$ Ok, that's mostly advantages of the paraglide (rectangular, controllable) type. Yes, it is not always used. So what about the advantages of the round type? (AFAICT, the main advantage is that for the round one all you need is a bit of training on the landing and you are good to go while the controllable requires extensive training in controlling it). $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 11:35
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    $\begingroup$ They are cheaper because of the simpler control and as I mentioned they can go straight down relatively to the plane speed. The advantage of this is to control the drop zone of a lot of soldiers for the commander. As you mentioned round one requires less training and the fact that they are simpler, they have less chance to mess up with the controls and land on their dedicated drop zone. You don't want a bunch of soldiers to land with miles of separation and spend a few hours gathering them. In case of a quick response mission, the outcome will be disastouros. $\endgroup$
    – Hezzte
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 11:48
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    $\begingroup$ Dom-shaped parachutes are steerable, just not as much as high-performance chutes. You need to be able to steer to avoid obstacles on the ground. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 12:45
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    $\begingroup$ A couple hundred paratroopers steering their glide chutes around, flying into each other, getting their chutes tangled and plummeting to the ground. Now that sounds like fun. $\endgroup$
    – DevSolar
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 12:54

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