Special Forces Soldiers Free Fall From Black Hawk Helicopters

first published on December 10, 2019 by

US Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) soldiers conduct free fall parachute training from Black Hawk helicopters over Germany in 2016.

free fall

Certain special operations forces (SOF) units train regularly on military free fall (MFF) operations to become proficient at the key method of infiltration. Parachute free fall operations are used when enemy air defenses or terrain restrictions limit low flying insertions, or when political climate and sovereignty issues require a clandestine insertion.

The following are two basic types of MFF operations: High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) and High Altitude High Opening (HAHO). HALO jumps occur almost directly over the intended landing zone, at altitudes up to 35,000 above sea level, when enemy air defenses are either nonexistent or limited by range.

HAHO jumps are used when enemy air defenses present a real danger to the delivery aircraft and considerable standoff is needed. By deploying their parachutes at high altitudes, the SOF troops can traverse several miles of airspace undetected to reach their objective.


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