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Stories & features > 1700-1799 > 1735 - HALO jumping with the Lithuanian Special Forces > HALO jumping with the Lithuanian Special Forces

HALO jumping with the Lithuanian Special Forces

28 Jul 2020 11:14

Synopsis

What does it feel like to jump into thin air, four kilometres above the earth? Find out as a video producer who works for NATO conducts a freefall jump alongside Lithuanian Special Forces operators. High-altitude, low-opening (HALO) freefall jumps are a useful but risky method of infiltrating Special Operations Forces into dangerous territory. By plunging from altitudes as high as 10 kilometres and opening their parachutes close to the ground, operators are able to hit small drop zones without being detected. Footage includes shots of Lithuanian Special Forces conducting HALO training, and US Special Forces operators conducting HALO jumps on a separate training in Latvia.

Teaser

What does it feel like to jump into thin air, four kilometres above the earth? Find out as a video producer who works for NATO conducts a freefall jump alongside Lithuanian Special Forces operators.

Transcript

AUDIO DESCRIPTION -SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH, TO CAMERA)- ROB KUNZIG “So I haven’t been on a plane in about three months. This is the first plane I’ve been on. And I’m gonna jump out of it. Oh my God! I’m about to do a high-altitude, low-opening freefall jump with the Lithuanian Special Forces. Now, high-altitude, low-opening jumps, or HALOs, are a very risky endeavour. In a HALO jump you exit the aircraft from a high altitude, so that’s anywhere from 4,000 metres, or about 13,000 feet, to about the altitude of a commercial airliner. HALO drops are just one of the many tools that NATO’s Special Operations Forces use to get into denied or dangerous spaces. It’s one of the riskier methods. So you only really want to do this when you don’t have any other options available, or when you absolutely need to get into an area quickly while minimizing your chances of detection. Now I’ll be doing today’s jump in tandem. I’m not doing it by myself. I’m not qualified to do a freefall jump. I’m not qualified to do any kind of jump. I’m barely qualified to hold this GoPro. So all things considered, I’m pretty happy to be here. Am I scared? No. I’m excited. I might be a little nervous, but I have complete faith in the skill and professionalism of the Lithuanian Special Forces jump masters, and I’m excited to be doing this. Conditions look prime for launch. And, yeah, let’s do it. Let’s do this! There is nothing underneath my feet but air. [EXPLETIVE] awesome. Looking down, you can feel every centimetre of the four kilometres of air. And I think some people might find that terrifying. I found it extremely liberating, it was just… You really need to imagine what it’s like jumping out of that aircraft wearing hundreds of pounds of gear, weapons, ammunition – everything you need to conduct a Special Forces operation. Watching the Lithuanian Special Forces operators jump, especially the more experienced ones who were carrying packs and payloads, I was struck by how calm and collected they were. And in actual situations in extremis, that’s what you want. You want someone who is unflappable under stress. These guys really know what they’re doing, and you should rest easy at night knowing they can do it.

Media tags

Reference
NATO818035
Date filming
23 Jun 2020 12:00
End date filming
23 Jun 2020 12:00
Country
Lithuania
Usage rights
Some footage courtesy of the US Department of Defense. This media asset is free for editorial broadcast, print, online and radio use. It is restricted for use for other purposes.
Type
Master