Helicopter Roping Guide

The Israeli SF employ several roping techniques during helicopter insertion:

Fast Roping

Fast roping is an ideal rapid deployment insertion tool for urban warfare, hostage rescue and CT applications, as it enables a large number of operators to quickly descend from the helicopter in cases where there is not enough time or it is not safe for a helicopter to land. The operators simply slide one after another in a similar manner to sliding a pole. The system has another advantage as it does not require the operator to wear a rappelling harness that might slow him down.

As of 1999 most IAF UH60 and some CH53 were fitted with the system, which comprise of two ropes - one in each side of the helicopter. The system allows 10 operators to fast rope in less then a minute.


Using this system the operators can rappel down from the helicopter one per rope, wearing a rappelling harness which is attached to the rope. In the IDF this system was primarily used with IAF B212, which were fitted with four ropes - two in each side, allowing four operators to rappel simultaneously.

Deployment using rappelling takes considerably more time then fast roping, but is safer, allowing the operator to carry more weight and control his descend while utilizing longer cables then fast roping. As the IAF B212 was disbanded in recent years, rappelling is rarely used anymore today in the IDF.


Using an electrical hoist and a cable is a slow and safe way to insert and extract operators. The hoist system allows carrying up 2 to 3 people at the time with heavy gear and utilizing long cables.

Due to its features, the system is used primarily for SAR applications, which often include extracting incapacitated individuals while carrying heavy gear such as diving gear, power tools, stretchers and medical supply. In the IDF the system is fitted on CH53 and in the past on B212.

Helicopter Roping Techniques – Summarizing Table


Deployment Speed

Rope Length

Operator & Gear Weight

IAF Platform

Fast Roping

Very High












High-Very High


Fast Roping

Unit 669 operators fast rope from an IAF UH60 during training (photo: IDF).

SF operators fast rope from an IAF UH60 during training at the IDF Counter Terror School. Note FN MAG on the UH60 side-doors (Photos: IDF).

IDF SF operators and U.S. Marines fast rope from a USMC CH-46E during joint training on board a U.S. Navy ship. Note an IDF SF operator armed with a suppressed Mini Uzi. The other IDF SF operators are armed with M16 variants and handguns in thigh holsters (photos: US Navy).


PALSAR Golani operators rappel from an IAF B212 during training.

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YAMAM operators rappel from an IAF B212 during training.


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Unit 669 operator hover from an IAF B212.

Unit 669 operators hover from an IAF UH60.

Unit 669 operators hover from an IAF CH53.

Rappelling & Climbing Guide