Air Insertion Methods
There are several different types of insertion methods from a variety of platforms. The use of these different insertion methods are important because each mission profile may require a different way to get into the AO (Area of Operations) and on target. It’s important for Zeuses to be aware of the variety of air insertion methods, their purposes, and how they are implemented in operations. You might want to implement these methods into your missions or a ground leader might request one of these methods be used for insertion; It’s best to be knowledgeable and prepared.
I’ve had experience using and leading these different insertion methods from my adventures in two different Arma 3 milsims that are/were tier 1 unit based; I’m also currently in a NSWDG unit where we train on these weekly. I’ve used all the insertion methods I’m explaining and will use practical examples that I’ve done before to help drive the point home. I’m adding this bit not to boast or brag, but to establish a sense of credibility. I am fairly new to this NAK community and don’t have much of a reputation here.
I’ll break each insertion method into three parts: an explanation of the insertion method, why the method would be used, and possible zeus implementation of the method. The different air insertion methods I’ll go into detail today are HALO/HAHO jumps and helocasts. There is an option to fast rope but I’m not sure if that is possible for players to do given the Zeus server setting so I’ll leave it out. Another option is a standard LZ operation where the heli lands, the troops disembark, and the heli flies away. That form of insertion is well known and used on the Zeus server often so I won’t spend time going into it.
I hope you find the content of this post useful for your future Zeusing feats.
HALO & HAHO Jumps
HALO and HAHO jumps fall under high-altitude military parachuting, or military free fall (MFF), and are used by special operation units to insert into AOs (Area of Operations). HALO stands for high altitude - low open. This means that you jump from a high altitude and open at a low altitude, fairly self explanatory. From my experience this is the standard method when doing an air insert second to a standard drop-off. A HAHO jump is a high altitude - high open jump. Both HALO and HAHO jumps are done primarily from a fixed wing platform such as a C-130. In a mission I participated in today, there was a MFF jump from a helicopter. It’s not done using helicopters in real life, that I know of, so using helicopters would break immersion and not help bring realism to your missions. Use a fixed wing asset for HALO and HAHO.
Why Use HALO & HAHO Insertion Methods
HALO and HAHO jumps are a special type of parachuting that differs from a static line jump. Why would a unit prefer a HALO or HAHO jump over a static line jump? There are several reasons but the most notable being the freedom it gives the jumper in parachute opening and landing precision.
HALO is used in situations where the aircraft needs to fly high enough to avoid surface-to-air missile threats and visible detection. The low parachute open allows the jumpers to open up low and far enough away from the aircraft if it does get hit and hopefully out of reach of any crossfire between the SAMs and the aircraft if missiles are launched.
HAHO is used for the same reasons regarding the aircraft, to avoid detection and/or surface-to-air missile threats, and also to allow the jumpers to float under canopy for longer distances.
Possible Zeus Implementation - HALO/HAHO
Implementing HALO and HAHO jumps into your operations can be a tricky ordeal because they are not too common in public Zeus missions and operations. With that being said, you as Zeus might need to help the ground leadership in organizing the procedures of a military free fall. Below is the process I use when planning a HALO/HAHO as a Zeus/SL:
- Decide if a HALO or HALO is right for the mission. This is possibly a joint decision made with both the ground leadership and Zeus.
- Find good LZ(s). This is primarily a decision made by the ground leadership. I prefer to let the ground leadership plan their LZs based on the briefing given.
- Figure out a flight plan for the LZ(s). This is a joint effort between Zeus and ground leadership. This includes the ingress and egress path of the plane, jump elevation, and red/green zones. All should be marked, minus the jump elevation, on the map so everyone is on the same page.
- Ground command figures out what elevation parachutes will be pulled taking into account the jump type, elevation of the LZ(s), and what the altimeter watch will read.
- Jump master gives every jumper a jump number.
- Once in the air, the jumpmaster calls out when the plane is 30 seconds out and to quiet comms, calls out when in the red zone, and calls out the numbers when in the green zone to jump.
- When people land they should call when they are on deck with their number: “Three on deck”. If a number is not called then someone is either dead/injured on the ground somewhere or they had a radio malfunction (That’s why you do radio checks before jumps and all operations for that matter).
- After landing, everyone should regroup at a set rally point (RP). This RP shouldn’t be the LZ marker since there will be people landing there and we’re trying to keep injuries to a minimum.
Some of these parts are for the ground leader to take care of but it’s important for Zeus to be cognizant of the process because it could impact the mission flow and planning if done incorrectly. I might create a guide that goes more in-depth to the process but I hope you get the picture with what I listed above.
Lastly, I’ll give an example of a situation I’ve done a HAHO jump. We were operating as US Navy Seal operators and we needed to access a compound located in an enemy country. The enemy country’s air space was being monitored by radar. We decided to do a HAHO jump and jump at around 3,500 meters, deploy our shutes early and drift into the enemy country and to our AO. The mission was a success and we were not spotted.
Helocasts are used to drop people and/or assets into the water for a waterborne insertion. In this section, I will just be talking about shooter insertion via helocast. Helocasting, in this case, is when a helicopter flies about 30 meters above the water moving 30 km/h, and troops jump out of the helicopter with a dive kit and no parachute.
Why Use Helocast Insertion Methods
Helocasting is used by special forces, light infantry, and small units to insert people at a maritime LZ. It’s useful if landing via a standard drop-off or HAHO/HALO jump is not feasible. I have only done helocasts in field training exercises (FTX). Helocasting can be used for things like amphibious reconnaissance or assault operations.
Possible Zeus Implementation - Helocast
Similar to the HALO and HAHO jump procedures it’s important to be aware of how Helocasts work so that you feel comfortable implementing it into your missions and coaching the squad leader of the procedures if need be. The process of a helocast is very similar to a HELO/HALO but without a parachute.
- Decide if a Helocast is right for the mission. This is possibly a joint decision made with both the ground leadership and Zeus.
- Find good LZ(s). This is primarily a decision made by the ground leadership.
- Figure out flight plan for the LZ(s). This is a joint effort between Zeus and ground leadership. This includes the ingress and egress path of the plane, jump elevation, and red/green zones. All should be marked, minus the jump elevation, on the map so everyone is on the same page.
- The jump master gives every jumper a jump number.
- Once in the air, the jumpmaster calls out when the helicopter is 30 seconds out and to quiet comms, calls out when in the red zone, and calls out the numbers when in the green zone to jump.
- After landing, everyone should regroup at a set RP underwater.
There is much more that can go into a helocast insertion, and I might make a separate guide on it in the guide section some other time, but the key thing for Zeus is to understand the process and helocasting’s capabilities. Also keep in mind how water can interfere with any communications underwater if TFAR or ACRE are in use.
An example I have for Helocasting use is during a FTX while going through a unit’s pipeline. We were tasked with raiding a compound with a lighthouse along the shore to make way for a larger assault and we helocasted out into the ocean and then swam to the beach and cleared the compound and disabled the light. We couldn’t HALO/HAHO because of the amount of AA on the island and enemy patrols so we took to the waters. It was a good strategy and the operation was a success.
As I’m sure you are aware this post is just scratching the surface of air insertion and insertions in general. There are a variety of insertion platforms at Zeus’s disposal such as helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, tactical vehicles, combatant craft, or submersibles. These different platforms are then stepping stones for infiltration by players to the objective via swimming, combatant craft, foot patrol, mounted patrol, helicopter, or diving. Try to think creatively when it comes to insertion methods and it will help bring your mission and story to life.
Until next time, thank you for reading and happy Zeusing.