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Friday, December 2, 2022

US special operators have a rough, little-known way to get to missions in hostile territory | Business Insider

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There are a variety of helicopters that can be used for helocasting depending on what the situation calls for. Either an uninflated, semi-inflated, or fully inflated rubber vessel can be inserted along side the jumpers to aid their journey.

The practice is not utilized for its ease, but because of the low visibility and flexibility it provides. Operators can also be exfiltrated via helocasting.

There are a few conventional rotary-wing units qualified to perform helocasting but the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, the Night Stalkers, are the preferred choice. Those helocasting are almost always SOF teams qualified as combat divers or swimmers, including Navy SEALs, Marine Raiders, Reconnaissance Marines, Green Berets assigned to a combat diving team, Air Force Pararescuemen, Combat Controllers, Tactical Air Control Party airmen, and Special Reconnaissance operators.

The accompanying boat’s inflation level when entering the water is usually dependent on the size of the helicopter. A large helicopter like a MH-47 Chinook or a CH-53 Sea Stallion will likely allow for full inflation, known as a “Hard Duck”. A smaller helicopter calls for a “Rolled” or “Soft Duck”, where those already in the water are required to inflate their Zodiac Combat Rubber Raiding Craft or Rigid Hull Inflatable boat using special pumps.

Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/helocast-operations-get-us-special-operators-into-tough-areas-2021-11

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