Airborne Delivery

This page is about a means of delivering airborne troops or supplies to a hard target location via parachute. This could involve an extremely high altitude jump all the way down to a very low altitude jump into a combat zone. Some of this has been practiced ICly and will be denoted where it has. It should be stated that while these methods of delivery are possible, it does not mean that it is preferred. All jumps involve high risk to personnel and valuable equipment. When possible all personnel are to be delivered onto the ground via a landed Raptor. Our characters do not jump unless there are no other options.

Training for airborne delivery is free to any members of the military who are interested. Military personnel who wish to get this kind of training should contact the Marines (either Marine S3 or the ship's Jumpmaster: GSGT Constin) for specific combat elements involved in the style of operation. Air Wing members are expected to know how to perform the basic functions of high altitude jumps as part of their training. Any jumps made IC will be planned out beforehand and training offered to characters who have an excuse to make the jump. Those without training will not be permitted to jump.

This page will discuss four terms: HALO, HAHO, and LALO. The acronym's first half denotes the delivery/jump height while the second half denotes the height at which the parachute is opened. All three of those fall under the category of Military Free Fall - meaning that the chute does not open until the jumper is ready. The fourth term is 'Static Line' which is distinct and what most people think of when they picture airborne operations.

Concepts and Factors

High Altitude Requirements


The altimeter used during high altitude operations. This one is mounted on the left wrist of the jumper.

All jumps done above 15,000 feet (~4,600 meters) must be done in flightsuits. All jumpers will be required to wear additional gear that includes oxygen bottles, altimeters, GPS-style navigation gear (Jump Lead only), and an accessible knife. This is in addition to all of the gear required for combat sustainability once the jumpers have arrived on the ground. All jumpers need to keep chute limitations in mind when attaching kit to themselves. The parachutes, which are taken from Viper and Raptor ejection gear, have a maximum official weight limit of 300 pounds (136 kilograms). The chutes could potentially handle more but the manufacturer would not guarantee safe operation above that weight. Those personnel who exceed this weight limit jump at an extreme risk to their own lives.

Before Warday, it was extremely rare for anyone outside the military to perform Military Free Fall-style jumps such as the military would do it. Typical skydiving altitudes of 5-10,000 feet (~1,500-3,000 meters) are not discussed due to how commonplace the experience would be. Those civilians who did get experience with the following would need to be extremely experienced and highly proficient in skydiving as well as have the vast money to afford all of the gear and access to aircraft capable of jumping people in these manners. Typically these skills were limited to Special Operations units of the Colonial Marines or the Special Activities Division of certain intelligence agencies. Prior to Warday, it was never used in the manner it has been here. During the rescue operation conducted on Leonis, Air Wing, Marines, and Deck crew broke a record for the highest and longest combat HALO in IC history when they jumped from 120,000 feet (~36,500 meters) to land at Anadyomene Airbase.



A standard Raptor "chalk", aka 'jump team', for HALO/HAHO operations. Each Raptor can hold a maximum of five jumpers due to size and gear limitations.

HAHO (High Altitude, High Open) is generally used for attempting to cover long distances in the air when a delivery aircraft cannot penetrate due to air defenses or for political reasons. It is also done to make silent approaches. In this theme Cylon air defense assets and Raiders might attempt to shoot down a parachutist during a HAHO attempt. HAHO is not recommended over occupied territory where Raiders and air defenses are likely or known. However, this is still considered the safest way to deliver troops in a low-threat environment where landing is not an option.

Regardless of the jump altitudes, chutes should never be opened above 40,000 feet (~12,200 meters). Weather conditions above these altitudes are often too difficult to predict. This can result in personnel being blown or taken extremely far off course (by as much as hundreds of miles). Accurate meteorological data must be compiled before a HAHO to determine jump location (which needs to be fairly precise), safe opening altitudes, and to ensure that the personnel will not be sent into violent weather. HAHO'ing through storm cells has proven to be fatal. Parachute lines can become tangled with equipment, or even shredded, or weather could keep the personnel airborne within the cell far longer than oxygen has been provided for.

Supplies cannot be delivered reliably by this method due to lack of steering to the intended delivery (landing) zone. This is not a preferred delivery method given a hostile environment.



HALO/HAHO Gear. Pictured is a complete kit comprising about 100 pounds of weight. This is a real-world depiction. ICly, the helmets and mask would be replaced by the typical helmets worn by pilots in the series. Rifles are attached to the front and mounted vertically on either side of the gear. Note the altimeters on opposite wrists. The bags up front contain oxygen plus all of the sustainment gear required for combat operations on the ground. Larger equipment such as Karlstov G48's would be strapped to the side of the gear and leg above the knee.

HALO (High Altitude, Low Open) is the preferred way to deliver personnel when landing operations are simply not possible or considered safe. However, this is still a very dangerous thing to do and should not be performed unless required. It is designed to put personnel or supplies on terra firma in any weather condition, at any time of day or night, and through almost any kind of threat environment. According to experience it is not believed that Cylons can track a falling trooper during their descent due to size and potential problems in the doppler effect on their DRADIS systems. However, this is still considered very risky due to the potential for a chute to open too late at questionable terrain altitudes.

Complications with a HALO are rare and almost always fatal when they arise. Weather is almost never a factor because the force of gravity is enough to counteract any force otherwise acting against the trooper barring hurricane force winds. Complications involved are usually similar to those of HAHO but carry the addition of high-speed collision with airborne wildlife - which can be fatal to the jumper. As mentioned previously, the primary concern is the issue of a chute failing to open early enough. A jumper must ensure that in the event of primary chute failure, the back-up still has a chance to be deployed before impact with the ground. Ideally the jumper will open at one thousand feet AGL (Above Ground Level).

This delivery method has been employed four times. Of those, three were considered to be combat jumps. One was a simulated combat jump and conducted on Aerilon. They are listed in order of occurrence. The first two were apart of the rescue efforts that ended Operation Cobra Talon.

  • 17 JUN 2041 AE: PHD #111: All The Way — Without any word of a potential extraction, an all volunteer team of Marines and Deck HALO jump down to Anadyomene to ensure that the Vipers are warmed and ready for the rescue operation.
  • 18 JUN 2041 AE: PHD #112: O What Light — The rescue team scrambles to get its birds in the air.
  • 19 AUG 2041 AE: No Log — Marines drop onto Sagittaron to clear an LZ (landing zone) out for Raptors.
  • 04 NOV 2041 AE: PHD #251: HALO Training — Vandenberg and Constin lead a team to get airborne qualified and face a landing under simulated fire. (Non-Combat Jump)



Typical LALO set-up. Note the lack of oxygen supplies and smaller chute bag strapping. As with HALO/HAHO gear, the bag worn in the front carries all combat support gear.

LALO (Low Altitude, Low Open) is the most dangerous style of Military Free Fall. It is almost never done unless it absolutely must be. The only time it would be appropriate to employ this drop style would be if the Raptor, for whatever reason, could not deploy a team from high or medium altitude. This could be due to the high-threat environment, anti-air coverage, or any other factors. These are generally performed at very low altitude and higher speed. The minimum altitude is usually 250 feet (~75 meters) AGL but can depend on factors such as delivery speed, terrain type, and vegetation. Larger parachutes are also commonplace due to the drag requirements of slowing the jumper down faster. Any Military Free Fall under 1000 feet (300 meters) is considered LALO.

LALO requirements tend to be much easier to satisfy for the trooper undertaking this task. There is no flightsuit required and often the jumper will drop in their combat gear. Additionally, weight is shaved due to the lack of a back-up chute. Because of the altitude requirements, most often there would be no chance for a secondary chute to deploy. Chute failure would be noted only seconds from impact with the ground - possibly less.

This is the preferred drop method for ground support equipment due to the accuracy of it.

Static Line

When most people think of airborne operations, this is what comes to mind. Lines of men standing in a big, rumbling aircraft with their parachutes clipped to a wire over their heads. This style of jump is named for that wire - the static line. Jumpers clip themselves onto this line and simply step out of the aircraft. This clip is tugged and opens the parachute automatically. This is generally the safest delivery method because it almost completely eliminates human factors from the jump equation. There is no requirement on the jumper except that they step out the door. To see the use of static lines in BSG-Verse, watch the movie Razor and the exit plan from the Raptor.

These drops are generally done from lower to medium altitudes. They can be done from minimum LALO altitudes and up to any altitude. As with HAHO, the upper limits due to weather tend to be about 40,000 feet (~12,200 meters). However, the important distinction here is that these types of chutes cannot be steered due to their design function on opening. Thus, deploying from higher altitudes increases the risk of a Raptor's jump team being scattered by the wind. There is also, generally, a small reserve chute just in case of main chute failures - which are exceedingly rare.

Static line jumping is the most common form of military airborne delivery. Standard Airborne units of the Colonial Marines would employ this method almost without exception. It is also one of the ways to deliver very heavy equipment from a moving aircraft.

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