Helo Ops



MST-2 Helo Lifting

In 1968 Naval Special Warfare Group Vietnam authorized the Tactical concept of Helo Lifting NSW Combatant craft. The Mission Concepts were:
  • SEAL support insertion and extraction by boat but extending its range by being flown into the A.O. where V.C. not expecting U.S. forces. NSW forces could conduct:
    • Reconnaissance
    • Ambush in Unexpected areas
    • Establishing Choke Points
    • Quick reaction to a A.O. Incident
    • Providing longer range to the Riverine escape and evasion network.
The concept came about studying 1966 SEAL TEAM TWO use of Helo Lifting a STAB (SEAL TEAM ATTACK BOAT) and inserting and extracting the SEALs and Boat. The concept was dropped literally when the STAB spun violently and broke its slings and fell in Base parking lot destroying a car.
As Vietnam's  Riverine warfare progressed in 1968 the mission concepts had merit and MST-2 was ordered to test the concept again. The First attempt lifting a LSSC by a CH-47 army helo was successful and the procedure was refined. A Second Helo Lift test using a LSSC was held and again was successful.
By now this had the attention of COMNAVFORV Admiral Zumwalt, who was calling the concept STRIKE ASSAULT ops.
There was a third and long range test. At high altitude and high speed the LSSC slings broke and fell several thousand feet into the Delta. Again the concept was dropped Literally!

The mission concept remains sound but it was the technical/mechanical failures that doomed HELO /Boat Lift operations. 20yrs later SBUs began looking at the concept again, with SBU-26 taking the lead. Again the single point lift concept caused spinning, but they didn't drop any boats. The problem was solved in the late 1990s by using a two point lift. Today The modern SWCC has overcome the technical and mechanical problems and perfected the mission concept and it is used in the Riverine Special Boat Team.
Sidebar   As I understand it, there was an idea to put a fully armed LSSC behind enemy lines to shoot up bad guys where they would never expect the Americans. (Precursor to STAB Ron 20.) Problem: getting Army helo lift; stability in air. Two lifts OK. Third resulted in oscillation and jettison of LSSC. TacAir called in to bomb remains. LSSC landed flat in rice paddy; engines kept on going to China. - Bob Stoner

All I heard was Tom's end of the conversation, plus later anecdotal accounts. Apparently the load- master used insufficient chafing gear on the sling, and the boat's motion in flight chafed through. The boat slipped out and fell from about 2,000 feet, landing upright in a paddy in the Rung Sat. Photo recon appeared to indicate that the engines had gone out through the bottom so they decided it wasn't worth salvage. An air strike was called in to complete the job, and after placing two 750-pound HE somewhere in the same province, the pilots reported the boat as destroyed. - Steve Thomas

In Vietnam a CH-47 helo hovers over a LSSC. The MST-2 crew hooks it up to the lifting points. then crawls up the jacobs ladder into the helo with the SEALs already inside. In Vietnam a CH-47 helo Lifts a LSSC to a new op area. This was a experimental tactic designed to Strike the VC with surprise by being in a area the VC did not expect SEALs and Boats. SBU-26 PBL helo lift in Panama using two pint lift, method which solved the spinning problem A SBT-22 SOCR(CCM) prepares a helo lift from a CH-47. The Mission concept conceived in Vietnam by NSWs MST-2