A deep look into special forces aviation

The US Navy SEALs, Israel’s Sayeret Matkal and the UK’s Special Air Service are renowned as some of the world’s most elite fighting units. Their daring missions behind enemy lines are invariably dependent on airlift – fixed or rotary wing – to get them safely to their targets and then successfully bring them home. Tim Ripley investigates the can-do mindset and unique skills of special forces aviators.

With assistance from a US Army-operated MH-47G Chinook from 160th SOAR, Special Warfare Combatant-craft crewmen from Special Boat Team 12 conduct a Maritime External Air Transportation System (MEATS) training evolution in Moses Lake, Washington on May 21, 2014. MEATS missions typically see special forces aviators hoist watercraft and transfer them from one position on land or in water to another
US Army/Sgt Christopher Prows

Who are the aviators who fly these daredevil missions? They routinely dodge enemy fire, overcoming horrendous weather conditions and pushing their aircraft to the absolute limit. Theirs is a world of daring planning and brave execution, often in the face of terrible odds and determined adversaries.

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