During a career with U.S. Customs, I served as an air officer and special agent aboard interdiction aircraft that patrolled South Florida, the Caribbean and the U.S./Mexico border. Even though I was heavily armed, U.S. Customs Service air crew personnel were not then trained to fire weapons from inside the cabin of interdiction aircraft.
This changed after 9/11, when designated aircrews from U.S. Customs & Border Protection’s Office of Air & Marine began utilizing air crew rifle operators. They were the only personnel specially trained and authorized to deploy an air crew rifle from inside a CBP-OAM aircraft. Outside of joining the armed forces or the above CBP units, the best place to learn how to safely and effectively operate a belt-fed machine gun or a tactical rifle from a moving helicopter is at the specialized training schools that are run by Dillon Aero in Arizona.
If you have a take-the-fight-to-the-enemy mindset, then you know it may be necessary to dominate a battlefield or engagement area from above. Snipers have traditionally assumed firing positions on the highest ground available. This provides an over-watch position that enables a sniper or designated marksman to engage targets that may not be visible from lower ground. When you take that same sniper or designated marksman and give them a helicopter as a shooting platform, you dramatically increase their potential effectiveness. In other words, if assuming a position on a rooftop provides a sniper or a designated marksman with a commanding view of a limited area of operation, having them establish a shooting platform inside a helicopter provides a commanding 360-degree view of the area of operation. A helicopter can hover or maneuver between buildings, over buildings, in between mountain ranges and all around an AO, while also being able to address distant targets.