Saturday, October 17, 2015

Skydiving in the Military (part 1 of 2)

Since the 1940’s, the military has used skydiving to infiltrate behind enemy lines and conduct various missions. This is what differentiates what soldiers and skydivers do because as a soldier, their objective is to accomplish a mission and not have fun.

There are various ways how this is executed by the military. The first is the HAHO or HALO. This stands for high altitude high opening or high altitude low opening jump. This is used by the Special Forces, Navy Seals, Marine Corps Force Recon and the Army’s Green Beret.

Troops wear special gear known as HAPPS or High Altitude Precision Parachute System. It is also called a "stealth parachute" because it is hard for anyone to spot them from the ground. Given that these soldiers are jumping from much higher altitudes, they carry additional equipment like an oxygen tank. Their parachutes are also bigger and measure 360 square feet.

In World War 2 until the present, the army’s airborne troops still use static line jumps to deploy a large force. This is done at a much lower altitude usually less than a thousand feet and they use round parachutes.

The military has their way of having fun. During an air show or sometimes in a competition, a team is sent to participate in the event. The US Army has the “Golden Knights” while the Royal Air Force or RAF has the “Falcons.” The equipment they use here are very similar to what sports skydivers use.

Military skydivers are deployed from large aircraft or sometimes by helicopter. They carry more gear than the average skydiver because aside from the parachute, they also carry weapons and other equipment which is needed in the mission.

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