First things first, FRIES.

FRIES or Fast Rope Insertion Extraction System, commonly known as “fast rope,” is one of the most crucial techniques for descending from air to ground. It was developed to deploy troops from an aircraft in settings and predicaments where it would be difficult or impossible for the helicopter to land safely. The power to react to emergencies and serve as part of a rapid reaction force gives soldiers the ability to fast rope. Additionally, it enables them to carry out tasks requiring stealth and board vessels at sea or even oil platforms.

The South African Air Force performs fast roping from both sides of an Atlas Oryx helicopter. (Source: NJR ZACC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

About the FRIES

FRIES is a mechanical system that uses thick ropes to enable the rapid infiltration and exfiltration of small units of soldiers into and out of tight regions by helicopter. During the Falklands War, it saw its first use in active combat for the first time after being created by Marlow Ropes in collaboration with British special operations. In modern times, special operations forces, law enforcement, and fire departments use it. However, in most cases, the use of FRIES is limited to predicaments in which aircraft are unable to land and where the needs of the mission do not necessitate the transportation of vast quantities of gear, weapons, or crew-served weapons.

FRIES Components

The FRIES bar is fastened to the hard point underneath the direct transmission in the plane overhead in a Black Hawk. It is also positioned near the exact center of the opening in the cargo door. The FRIES bar slides out from this place and extends beyond the floor to facilitate the deployment of people from both sides of the aircraft via the cargo doors. This enables fast rope operations from either side of the plane, depending on the mission’s requirements. In addition, its telescoping capability lowers the mount’s overall physical footprint by a substantial amount, per the report.