Royal Marines aboard HMS Sutherland have been practising their pirate vessel boarding techniques using ‘rapid roping’ from the frigate’s helicopter in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
Despite punishing daytime temperatures in the mid-30s degrees Celsius, ‘The Fighting Clan’, as HMS Sutherland is known, continues her mission against international terrorism and the drugs trade in the Indian Ocean.
Pirate and smuggler dhows aren’t renowned for sweeping expanses of unobstructed deck, let alone a flight deck to set down a ten-tonne naval helicopter, so these exercises are useful preparation for the commandos, who may have to board such vessels from the air during the course of their deployment.
Royal Marines rapid roping from a Merlin onto HMS Sutherland. (Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2012)
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Ice Cube might have taken “XXX” to the next level, but Leapfest XXX took things even higher – and was much more interesting and exciting to watch.
In what you could call “The Olympics of Military Parachuting”, Leapfest 30 brought together over 60 teams from more than 20 US states and 9 foreign countries. The schedule included a day of familiarization and pre-jump training, to acquaint the foreign participants with US jump procedures, 2 days of actual competition jumping, an awards dinner, and a day of Friendship jumps and the awarding of US jump wings to the foreign participants.
Members of the RI National Guard familiarize foreign paratroopers with U.S. Army jump procedures for the CH-47 Chinook helicopters from which they will jump. (Photo by: SFC W Michael Houk)
Leapfest was launched in 1982 by the Rhode Island Army National Guard’s detachment of the 19th Special Forces Group, and has been held by the Rhode Island Army National Guard every year since – except 1985, when extreme weather caused the event to be cancelled. As a result, Leapfest is the largest, longest running, and most international military static-line parachuting event and competition.
Leapfest participants rehearse jump procedures prior to the day's events. (Photo by: SFC W Michael Houk)