The British X-Type Parachute was developed in 1940 under the initiative of Raymond Quilter of the GQ company, in collaboration with Leslie Irvin of Irvins, both parachute manufacturers. The X-Type became the standard parachute for the British Army during the Second World War. It proved a highly successful design, especially when compared to the cruder German parachute.
The X Type consisted of four parts:
2. The inner bag
3. The outer pack
4. The harness.
The canopy measured 714cm in diameter. It was made alternatively of silk, cotton (ramex), and nylon. There were twenty- eight rigging lines, each 7.6m long with a minimum breaking strength of 181 kg running from the edge of the canopy to four D rings attached to four web risers or lift webs. Descent speed was around 7m/s.
Canadians were training in the United States utilised the American T-5 chute but also had to be trained on the British X-Type chute and techniques. The American T-5 chute worked in reverse of the X-Type in that the canopy was deployed first and the jumper fell to the end of the rigging lines giving a harder opening. The American system also employed a reserve chute whereas the British did not, feeling it was unnecessary at the low height of wartime jumps and reliability of the X-Type.
A reserve X-Type chute was first carried in 1955 and this, in turn, was replaced by the PR7 Reserve Chute with a 22ft canopy in 1981 with the unique feature of having the ripcord on top of the pack, rather than to the side and a spring extractor.
The X-Type chute stayed in service with the British Army, through numerous detail changes and marks, until the 1960s when the PX-Type was introduced with a larger canopy, but was in all aspects an X-Type. This, in turn, was replaced by the GQ LLP Mk1 rig in 1993. This is the standard chute for non-specialist drops.