High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) insertion

A parachute insertion technique in which the parachutist falls to about 600 metres above the ground before deploying his parachute. HALO minimizes the time you spend floating down in your parachute, which is when you are most at risk from enemy observation and fire. High Altitude Low Opening or HALO jumping may not be as complicated as HAHO navigation, but it is no less dangerous. Each paratrooper performing this kind of insertion has to have HALO/HAHO and parachute skills. In short this HALO is sky diving from a very high altitude. HALO jumps are done from such high altitude that it is necessary to use an oxygen tank and mask to remain conscious and specialist clothing to prevent freezing.

Teams jump from at least 12,000 meters and as close to the target area as they can. They freefall for as long as possible and straight through the radar detection zone. They delay opening the parachute for as long as possible. Because of the risk of hypoxia (which causes loss of consciousness ) HALO parachutes automatically open at a pre-determined altitude. HALO altimeters are more heavy duty ones than the commercial ones, They have more accurate readings, and the units include a nightlight. During the free fall team members try to stay as close together as possible. This known as tactical grouping. The team can also carry additional equipment in a rucksack attached between the team members legs. Additional equipment can way as much as 75 kilograms. This is because the paratroopers typically jump in very remote areas and have to bring all their food, guns, survival gear, water, and extra equipment with them. There are quick-releases to lower the rucksack on a lanyard cord after canopy opening. It's also important to check the lanyard is attached, or you will find your rucksack falling freely away after release.

There are three rolls to made when performing a HALO jump.

  • The first, an average HALO skill roll when exiting the aircraft. If a failure results, then the paratrooper will receive hits to the head from the centrifugal forces of an uncontrolled tumble. The tumble may be halted by making an average HALO skill roll. If a critical failure is rolled during exiting the aircraft or while trying to recover from a tumble then it will result in a severe tumble causing damage to the head as well as a loss of reflex due to the centrifugal forces and damage to the inner ear and their equilibrium. A severe tumble may be stopped by making a difficult HALO skill roll.
  • The second roll is for when the paratrooper deploys the parachute.
  • The last roll is for landing. This roll is identical to the airborne roll with the same results for failures and critical failures.

U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen during HALO. (Source: Wikipedia.org.)

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