VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (February 10, 2015) – Since the Vietnam War, Special Forces and reconnaissance personnel have been using different rigging systems to insert and extract personnel from areas where helicopters cannot safely land. Earlier versions of these rigging systems were known as Stabilized Body (STABO) rigging.
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the U.S. Marine Corps evolved STABO into Special Patrol Insertion/Extraction (SPIE) rigging. Special Patrol Insertion/Extraction rigging can be used in rough terrain and it is also suitable for water inserts and extractions.
“It was originally developed for jungle warfare,” said an East Coast based Navy SEAL.
Special Patrol insertion/Extraction ropes are 120 feet long and can hold a maximum of 10 personnel. The rope must also have a tensile strength of 24,000 pounds.
“We lower the SPIE rope into the pickup area and personnel wearing a harness attach a carabiner to a D-ring on the rope,” said Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) George Martel, an East Coast based Navy SEAL. “Then the helicopter lifts them up and flies them out.”
Special Patrol Insertion/Extraction rigging is not typically used in real world operations today. The preferred method is to find a place for the helicopter to land or fast rope and repel.
“Even though it is not used frequently, it is still a capability we want to maintain,” said Martel.