Home > Special Forces > SOFINS 2023 Special Forces Capability Display Part 2

SOFINS 2023 Special Forces Capability Display Part 2

A French Special Forces operator swoops in to the Drop Zone during SOFINS 2023 held at Camp de Souge [©Bob Morrison]

France’s Special Forces did not insert by HALO at the SOFINS 2023 capability display but over the two preceding days several drops took place, writes Bob Morrison.

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For any reader who might be unfamiliar with the term: HALO, High Altitude – Low Opening, also known as Military Free Fall or MFF, is a form of parachuting which has been used by Special Operations and Special Forces for around six decades to insert operators and materiel clandestinely from aircraft flying above the range of most surface-to-air missiles. HAHO, or High Altitude – High Opening, is a slightly younger associated MMF technique where the canopy is opened after departing the aircraft, allowing the operator (or equipment) to be dropped some distance from the target and then glide in undetected.

A stick of eight French Special Forces operators descending during SOFINS 2023 [©BM]

As we saw in Part 1 of this mini-series, over the first two days of SOFINS 2023 operators jumped from a French Air Special Forces Brigade (BFSA) DHC-6 Twin Otter from thousands of feet above Camp de Souge, home of the elite 13e Régiment de Dragoons Parachutistes, to land with pinpoint accuracy on a small marked drop zone alongside the base’s 800-metre runway. For an idea of how a Special Forces scenario involving a HALO insertion might look, see this SOFINS 2019 article:- Forces Spéciales Françaises ~ Album 1.

HALO jumpers glide in downwind before turning into wind to land with pinpoint accuracy [©BM]

Although HALO/MMF jumpers did not participate in the main SOFINS 2023 capability display on Day 3 of the expo, on both Days 1 & 2 a number of insertions of six to eight parachutists, occasionally along with with a tandem passenger or a military working dog, took place allowing us the opportunity to photograph various aspects. Our thanks to the Drop Zone team for allowing access, and to all those in the photographs for their contribution to this album.

To be continued

One operator makes a soft landing almost on top of the DZ marker as colleagues gather their canopies [©BM]
A highly skilled operator softly lands on his feet and readies to collapse his canopy [©BM]
Another style of soft landing using the container as a cushion [©BM]
The smile on this tandem passenger’s face shows just how much she enjoyed the HALO experience [©BM]
The tedious but necessary task of very carefully repacking canopies between jumps ~ rig it as if your life depends on it….. because it does! [©BM]
These dodgy looking characters loafing around in a pop-up hamlet will probably feature in Part 3 [©BM]

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[images © Bob Morrison]

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