Special operations helicopters descend over Los Angeles in spectacular exercise

6th February 2019, Long Beach, California: USSOCOM personnel fast-roping from an MH6 Little Bird of the 160th SOAR. This week Los Angeles has been the theatre of a series of nighttime exercises involving various assets


This week onlookers in downtown Los Angeles ended up witnessing the flying skills of the160th SOAR (Special Operations Aviation Regiment) “Nightstalkers” pilots who were involved in urban training over the city between the 4th and the 9th February, as part of exercise “Emerald Warrior/Emerald Trident”. The 160th was in a routine exercise to insert and extract personnel from USSOCOM (US Special Operations Command) using MH-6 Little Birds and MH-60 Black Hawks when its helicopters have been spotted by several onlookers. Social media immediately erupted with posts showing the spectacular footage of the aircraft in action.

MH-6 helicopters were seen inserting operators on rooftops, while Black Hawks touched down minutes after to swiftly extract the operators exiting the buildings at street level. The LAPD had issued a statement informing the public about the exercise from the US Army, so it is highly probable that the units involved included the Rangers, the Special Forces, and the highly secretive 1st SFOD-D, better known as the Delta Force (even though the presence of one or more SEAL teams cannot be excluded). Once landed the operators proceeded toward their objective, which could have entailed intelligence gathering on people and infrastructures. Live explosives and attack dogs have been used during the exercise, which points to the fact that part of the training could have been aimed at practicing raids to capture or eliminate HVTs (High-Value Targets) in highly populated areas. A Navy surveillance airplane P-8 Poseidon and a pair of U28-S were also deployed during the exercise, which mainly took place in the greater Los Angeles area and the port of Long Beach.