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The Mobile Air Operations Team (MAOT) is an elite Royal Navy unit that provides specialized assistance to the Commando Helicopter Force (CHF). The MAOT helps select helicopter landing sites (HLS) and marshal CHF air assault operations. This is achieved by examining satellite imagery and/or a recce of the HLS in question, and by accompanying the assault force on to the objective. Royal Navy Commandos and Royal Marines from the MAOT may attach to recce units such as 3 Commando Brigade's Brigade Reconnaissance Force (BRF) in order to recce a proposed HLS. MAOT personnel will deploy with the assault force onto the HLS, organize casualty evacuation flights and direct the subsequent extraction of ground forces by helicopter.
The CHF's MAOT is a small unit that comprises of just 16 men, split into 3 operational teams and an HQ element. Each operational team is further split into 2-man pairs who share the duties when deployed. The operational teams rotate through 4-month tours in 3 different roles: Afghan, Green and Black.
Afghan : deployed as part of the Joint Helicopter Force (JHF) in Helmand Province
Green : providing support to 3 Commando Brigade
Black : in this role MAOT personnel attach to a maritime counter-terrorism or counter-piracy force. In this role the MAOT will help plan and coordinate the helicopter insertion and extraction aspect of the operation. A MAOT element will typically follow the assault team onto the maritime objective in order to marshal the air traffic to ensure that all personnel - troops, hostages and captured enemy forces - are extracted.
All members of the MAOT are Commando Trained and come from an aviation background. Royal Navy personnel in the team must have passed the All Arms Commando Course. They are also trained in basic parachuting and helicopter insertion techniques such as fast-roping and abseiling. The unit also has a training role in which it runs refresher courses in such insertion skills.