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Air assault is the movement of ground-based military forces by vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft—such as the helicopter—to seize and hold key terrain which has not been fully secured, and to directly engage enemy forces.In addition to regular infantry training, air-assault units usually receive training in rappelling and air transportation. An air assault operation is an Operation in which assault forces, using the firepower, mobility, and total integration of helicopter assets, maneuver on the battlefield under the control of the ground or air maneuver commander to engage and destroy enemy forces or to seize and hold key terrain. Air assault should not be confused with an airborne assault, which occurs when paratroopers, and their weapons and supplies, are dropped by parachute from transport aircraft.

The key skills for air assault troops within Arma the game are embarkation and disembarkation from helicopters, the use of 'fast ropes' and the proper procedures associated with each of these skills.
Arma 2 BH Insert

Embarkation onto HelicoptersEdit

In order to safely and efficiently board a helicopter it is important to follow a set procedure, to avoid confusion, chaos and possible injury/ death at the landing zone whilst trying to board the helicopter.

1. Secure the Landing Zone - before the helicopter arrives it is important to ensure that the landing zone is clear of obstacles, such as vehicles, people or other objects. It may be necessary to clear the LZ yourself, e.g. using explosives to knock down trees. Ensuring that the LZ is clear also means that all squad members need to be clear of the LZ and placed around the edges. If a squad member is standing right in the middle of the LZ then the
helicopter will be unable to land safely. It is also vitally important that the LZ is as safe as possible. Ensure that any enemies on or near the LZ are neutralised and attempt to either neutralise or at least suppress any enemies
firing onto the LZ from range. Ideally the LZ will be in a sheltered area, out of site of any enemies and any enemy AA presence in the area will have been neutralised beforehand.

2. Establish and Maintaining Security - Once the LZ itself has been secured and the squad is awaiting the helicopter's arrival, steps must be taken to establish a secure perimeter around the LZ, to prevent any enemy incursions onto the LZ and to properly resist any attacks on the landing zone. The squad should be arranged in
a hollow ring around the edge of the LZ, leaving enough empty space in the middle for the helicopter to land safely and elso ensuring that each squad member will be beyond the sweep range of the rotors (i.e. the perimeter should be wider than the area which is swept by the helicopter's rotors when it lands). Ensure the full 360 degrees
around the landing zone are covered, as you would when in an infantry 'Hold Formation'. This improves the chances of spotting approaching enemies and engaging them, regardless of their direction of appraoch. This secure perimeter should be maintained around the LZ the entire time that the squad is awaiting the helicopter's
arrival and until the helicopter has safely touched down.

3. Organised Embarkation - Once the helicopter is safely touched down in the LZ it is important to board the helicopter in an orderly fashion in order to prevent confusion and maximise safety. Once the helicopter has landed the squad leader will signal to the squad to embark. During embarkation it is important that security is maintained, especially if the LZ is under fire or if the enemy are in close proximity. The squad leader may want to call units in one at a time or by fireteams, leaving some units to maintain security. If this is not possible then units should move close to the helicopter and begin boarding 1 or 2 at a time, whilst the remaining units continue to maitain security until they board, giving verbal confirmation of each squad member who has boarded. The squad leader will be the last unit to board, ensuring that all other squad members are onboard and none are left behind.

During boarding or moving around the helicopter at any time it is vital that all squad members remember to move safely. The tail rotor presents a serious danger and all squad members should stay away from the rear of the helicopter at all times. Ideally units should approach the aircraft from the nose of directly from the sides. When moving to the helicopter it is best to move in a crouching run in order to avoid contact with the rotors overhead. Efforts should also be made to avoid crossing the fire of the door guns, which may be in the act of suppressing enemies on the edge of the landing zone.

NOTE: When playing with the ACE mod, it is important to remember not to board a helicopter in pilot, gunner, crew chief or observer seats when playing as a infantry man, as this may lead to you losing certain items of equipment such as your backpack, rifle or AT launcher. Infantry units being transported by helicopter should board in the passenger seats, labelled as 'Ride in back' on the action menu.

Disembarkation from HelicoptersEdit

When disembarking from a helicopter many of the same principles apply as when boarding a helicopter, the key principles of security, safety and organisation.

1. Preparation for Landing - When approaching the LZ the pilot will give an advance warning of the approaching landing e.g. 1 minute to LZ, 30 seconds to LZ etc. This warning will be repeated by the element leader. At this point each squad member should prepare to disembark and clear all communication channels.

2. Disembarkation - Once the helicopter has touched down the pilot will announce a safe touchdown or simply give the call 'Go, go, go' which will then be repeated by the element leader. Due to the nature of Arma all passengers will be able to disembark at the same time as soon as they hear this call. It may be possible in certain aircraft
to choose which side to disembark on, either left or right. The squad leader may assign certain units or fireteams to disembark on certain sides. Following disembarkation and before the helicopter leaves the squad leader should confirm that all squad members have disembarked, either by counting those on the ground or visually confirming that the helicopter is empty of squad members. Once the squad leader has confirmed that all squad members are disembarked he/ she will signal to the pilot that the element is fully disembarked and the helicopter is ok to take off. It should be noted that whilst the squad leader is performing this head count the rest of the element should be proceeding with step 3 - Establishing Security. Once the head count is complete the squad leader should also take a position in the perimeter.
Note: In the case of people being AFK in game at the time of landing it may not be possible for all squad members to disembark. In this case both the squad leader and pilot should make a decision either to remain on the LZ if it is safe and acceptable to do so and power down the engines until that person is able to disembark, or for the helicopter to take off and possibly attempt to make a second landing to drop the last squad member at another time.

3. Establishing security - Upon exiting the aircraft all squad members should immediately move away from the helicopter, beyond the helicopter's rotor sweep (at least 10m) and go prone. If there is cover on the edge
of the LZ then units should move to this cover and go prone. A 360 degree perimeter should be established as quickly as possible around the LZ, with all squad members set up to receive and enemy attack on the LZ.
Players must get into the habit of observing where their team-mates are covering in the perimeter and identifying angles which are not being covered. If you notice a gap in the perimeter whilst several of your squad are all covering the same angle, alert them to this vulnerable area or simply take responsibility for covering that area yourself. It may be helpful for each squad member to call out which angle they are covering in terms of the major compass directions (N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, NW).

When moving around the helicopter at any time it is vital that all squad members remember to move safely. The tail rotor presents a serious danger and all squad members should stay away from the rear of the helicopter at all times. When moving from the helicopter it is best to move in a crouching run in order to avoid contact with the rotors overhead. Efforts should also be made to avoid crossing the fire of the door guns, which may be in the act of suppressing enemies on the edge of the landing zone.

4. Maintaining Security - Once security is established it is important that it is maintained after the helicopter has taken off again. The landing phase of an air assault is a prime time for an attack or ambush by enemy forces in the vicinity of the LZ, therefore it is vital that the squad remains vigilant and ready for enemy contact for some time
after hitting the ground. It is recommended that squad members hold still in their perimeter positions after the helicopter has left and until the aircraft is out of audio range (i.e. you can no longer hear the helicopter).
This should provide ample time to anticipate or spot any approaching enemy near the LZ and the reduction in noise following the departure of the helicopter should allow the squad to listen for nearby enemies or approaching vehicles. Once the squad leader is satisfied that the squadis not under the imminent threat of attack he/ she will order the element to break down the perimeter and move off.

Fast Roping (ACE)Edit

Another key skill of the air assault soldier is fast roping. This is the technique for rapidly descending down a thick rope suspended from a helicopter, similarly to sliding down a fireman's pole, gripping the rope with hands and feet. It is useful for deploying troops from a helicopter in places where the helicopter itself cannot touch down.

The ACE mod in Arma 2 simulates fast roping using the item 'Rope', available in varous lengths from 15m up to 36m. The process in ACE for successfully fast roping is as follows;

1. Everyone boards the helicopter. The rope should not be in the posession of the pilot or any other crew. The person carrying the rope must be in the cargo area/'back' seats.

2. Once at the LZ, hover the helicopter no higher than the length of the rope, no lower than 10m

3. The person carrying the rope gets an option in the ACE-interaction menu to 'Deploy Ropes'

4. Onces the ropes deploy, everyone in cargo seats gets an action in the scroll menu to 'Fast Rope'

5. When troops are deployed, the pilot and/or crew chief a scroll menu action to 'Detach Ropes'

6. Once detached the rope coils up on the ground and can be picked up if needed

Note: Gunners cannot fast rope, only people in the cargo slots in the helicopter. Also, gunners/ crew chiefs cannot deploy ropes, like pilots.

Aside from the process used in the ACE mod for fast roping, it is also important to follow proper procedure during this movement, in a similar way to embarking or disembarking normally.

1. Preparation for Landing - When approaching the LZ the pilot will give an advance warning of the approaching landing e.g. 1 minute to LZ, 30 seconds to LZ etc. This warning will be repeated by the element leader. At this point each squad member should prepare to disembark and clear all communication channels.

2. Rope Deployment - Once the aircraft is in a stable hover at the appropriate height the pilot will signal to the 'Rope man' in the rear that he is clear to deploy the ropes. This signal may be repeated by the element leader. Once the 'Rope man' has deployed the fast ropes he will signal that the deployment is complete. At this point the
helicopter must maintain its stable hover and be sure not to gain any additional altitude.

3. Disembarkation - In order to fast rope safely and successfully it is important to ensure that the process is properly organised. Due to the nature of Arma it is possible for players to slide through one another whilst on the rope, possibly resulting in injuries. In order to avoid this the squad leader must ensure that there is adequate
spacing in between squad members on the rope. This may be achieved by numbering each squad member and having them exit the aircraft in order e.g. '1, go. 2, go. 3, go' etc with spacing of around 1-3 seconds. An alternative may be to simply call out the squad members by name in the order that they are to exit the aircraft, e.g. 'Smith, go. Jones, go. Allen, go.' etc, again with timed spacings. When using this method the squad leader will be the last unit to exit the helicopter. Before exiting the squad leader should conduct a head count to ensure that all other squad members have successfully left the helicopter. Once the squad leader has confirmed that all squad members are disembarked he/ she will signal to the pilot that the element is fully disembarked and proceed to exit the aircraft.

Note: In the case of people being AFK in game at the time of disembarkation it may not be possible for all squad members to disembark. In this case both the squad leader and pilot should make a decision either to remain on the LZ if it is safe and acceptable to do so until that person is able to disembark, or for the helicopter to take off and possibly attempt to make a second drop for last squad member at another time.

4. Establishing security - Upon exiting the aircraft all squad members should immediately move away from the foot of the rope and find cover. If there is no cover around the LZ then units should go prone. A 360 degree perimeter should be established as quickly as possible around the LZ, will all squad members set up to receive and enemy attack on the LZ. Players must get into the habit of observing where their team-mates are covering in the perimeter and identifying angles which are not being covered. If you notice a gap in the perimeter whilst several of your squad
are all covering the same angle, alert them to this vulnerable area or simply take responsibility for covering that area yourself. It may be helpful for each squad member to call out which angle they are covering in terms of the major compass directions (N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, NW).

5. Maintaining Security - Once security is established it is important that it is maintained after the helicopter has waved off again. The landing phase of an air assault is a prime time for an attack or ambush by enemy forces in the vicinity of the LZ, therefore it is vital that the squad remains vigilant and ready for enemy contact for some time
after hitting the ground. It is recommended that squad members hold still in their perimeter positions after the helicopter has left and until the aircraft is out of audio range (i.e. you can no longer hear the helicopter).
This should provide ample time to anticipate or spot any approaching enemy near the LZ and the reduction in noise following the departure of the helicopter should allow the squad to listen for nearby enemies or approaching vehicles. Once the squad leader is satisfied that the squad is not under the imminent threat of attack he/ she will order the element to break down the perimeter and move off.

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