Aircraft of the CIA Special Operations Group and the Special Activities Division and USAF Special Forces
The activities of a special paramilitary unit of the CIA, known as the Special Operations Group (SOG) which is part of the Special Activities Division (SAD), first came to public attention when they were deployed to Afghanistan, as part of the effort to destroy Al Qaeda and overthrow the Taliban.
The SOG/SAD was the brainchild of George Tenet, head of the CIA, who wanted to establish an operational arm of the CIA which could take covert and overt action against terrorists. The division is believed to have around 150 members although it’s actual size is classified, and is made up of highly experienced, recently retired, special operations personnel, Army Special Forces, Marines Delta Force and Navy SEALS.
The SOG/SAD also includes within its members a number of experienced pilots who operate various aircraft used to transport and support the other personnel. Although, for obvious reasons, it is impossible to know the full extent of unit’s complement of aircraft, some have been identified. In addition, the US Air Force have acquired a number of Russian aircraft which they probably ‘borrow’ whenever necessary.
A number of DHC-6 Twin Otter’s have been identified as being operated by US ‘Government Agencies’, or perhaps it’s the same aircraft with various registrations. In Apr 80 this aircraft, with the registration N79582, was photographed whilst it was based in Oman and had been used to conduct night missions into Iran to survey landing zones for the eventual disasterous mission to rescue the American hostages held in Teheran.
This aircraft, registration N6161Q, belonging to Aviation Specialists Inc, was seen at Sherkat in Afghanistan in Nov 01 transporting a number of extremely fit looking ‘journalists’. The aircraft is equipped with a number of very unusual blade antennae on the upper fuselage.
The CIA and other US agencies also use chartered aircraft to support their activities. The Lockheed L-100-30, a 'civil' version of the C-130 Hurcules, is a particulary popular aircraft for obvious reasons. One company reported to have strong CIA links is Teppa Aviation, who operate a number of L-100-30's and are widely believed to have undertaken a number of clandestine missions on behalf of the CIA.
The US Air Forces 486th Flight Test Wing operates a number of Boeing 757s, known as C-32Bs, on behalf of the US State Department, that are used by either the Federal Emergency Management Agency or the Foreign Emergency Support Team, but always tends to appear in unusual places where the SOG subsequently operate. This aircraft is believed to have flown into Tashkent transporting SOG personnel into Uzbekistan in preparation for operations against Afghanistan. Unless I am very much mistaken, on 29 Feb 04 a very similar white 757 was used to spirit Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the failed President of Haiti, out of the country and into exile in the Central African Republic.
This US State Department Boeing 757 was seen in Cape Town where it deployed a Foreign Emergency Support Team in response to an anticipated terrorist attack on the ambassador. The aircraft was displaying a US Air Force serial number which was probably bogus. On 1 May 03 a C-32B of the 486th FTW was involved in a landing accident at the North Auxiliary Air Base, South Carolina when the nosewheel is believed to have collapsed following a heavy landing.
This aircraft, registration N505LL, is one of a number of US registered DHC Dash 8’s, that have been observed operating into and out of Kabul in support of CIA operations in Afghanistan. The aircraft are used to transport US SF personnel around the country to various small airstrips.
This Antonov An-2 is operated by the 16 SOW based at Hurlburt Field, Florida. It is believed that this aircraft and the other ex-Soviet aircraft that have been acquired by the US SF to enable them to operate in certain countries without attracting attention,
This Antonov An-32 is also operated by the 16 SOW based at Hurlburt Field, Florida.
The USAF SOC also operate one CASA CN-235 which is based with the 427th Special Operations Squadron at Pope AFB in North Carolina. The aircraft is believed to be used to insert SF personnel at small airfields for covert counter insurgency operations,