Category Archives: Special Operations

Russian, Belarusian Airborne Troops conduct joint exercises near Ulyanovsk

Russian, Belarusian Airborne Troops conduct joint exercises near Ulyanovsk

On March 25 to March 28, the first in 2019 joint exercise of the Airborne Forces of the Russian Federation and the Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus is held on the territory of the Guards Airborne Assault Brigade of the Airborne Troops in Ulyanovsk. During the exercise, joint tactical actions will be practised within peacekeeping tasks. The paratroopers will learn the specific features of the organization and functioning of checkpoints, observation posts, will conduct training to repel an attack of a group of armed persons on the guarded object.

Russian, Belarusian Airborne Troops conduct joint exercises near Ulyanovsk

Russian, Belarusian Airborne Troops conduct joint exercises near Ulyanovsk


In a mock conflict zone, servicemen will demonstrate peacekeeping actions at the border checkpoint of the security zone, where they will practise a inspection procedure for citizens and vehicles. A combined unit consisting of an air assault search and patrol group will land from Mi-8 helicopters by various methods (rappeling) to isolate an illegal armed formation. At one of the stages, the personnel will train to escort a convoy and conduct a humanitarian action in the refugee camp.
Russian, Belarusian Airborne Troops conduct joint exercises near Ulyanovsk

Russian, Belarusian Airborne Troops conduct joint exercises near Ulyanovsk


Then, the paratroopers, in cooperation with the mobile reserve with the means of reinforcement, will participate in the live-fire drills using BMD-4M weapons, RPG-7, RPG-26, RPO Shmel grenade launchers, Pecheneg machine guns, AK-74M assault rifles, and sniper weapons, The joint tactical exercise is conducted under the leadership of the Deputy Commander of the Airborne Troops for Peacekeeping Operations and the Collective Rapid Reaction Forces (CRRF), Lieutenant General Alexander Vyaznikov. In total, more than 500 personnel will take part in joint exercises, up to 100 pieces of military and special equipment, about 20 helicopters will be involved.
Russian, Belarusian Airborne Troops conduct joint exercises near Ulyanovsk

Russian, Belarusian Airborne Troops conduct joint exercises near Ulyanovsk


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Royal Marines train in Belize jungle

Royal Marines train in Belize jungle


While some Royal Marines are freezing in the Arctic at 30 degrees below zero, others are learning to survive and fight in the tropical Central American jungle. As the UK’s ultimate conventional warriors, the Royal Marines are likely to be the first called upon in the event of an international crisis, wherever it occurs. They must be able to safely operate in extreme climates and terrain, as well as more typical temperate environments with rolling green countryside. For Exercise Curry Trail, Alpha Company from 40 Commando, based in Taunton, have been joined in the jungle by soldiers from 24 Commando Royal Engineers, gunners of 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, based in Plymouth’s Citadel, and 30 Commando Information Exploitation Commando.

They first learnt basic skills: how to live, move and survive in the jungle. Temperatures are in the high 20s and low 30s Celsius, and in humidity that is never less than 85 per cent. Movement is on foot – the undergrowth is too thick to use the Royal Marines’ Viking and BV tracked vehicles. Instead, to get anywhere, the commandos have to hack away with machetes to cut through the thick vegetation – covering just a short distance may take hours. Having learned the basics, training progressed to jungle warfare against a determined enemy: tracking, closing and finally ‘killing’ an adversary whilst simultaneously making it as difficult as possible to be tracked and attacked themselves.

Royal Marines train in Belize jungle

Royal Marines train in Belize jungle


Having only earned his green beret in December after completing more than a year’s training to become a Royal Marines officer, 21-year-old Lieutenant Henry Hives found himself leading men from Alpha Company through the dense scrub. “I have really enjoyed the challenges of working in the jungle; you wouldn’t get many opportunities outside the Royal Marines to work in a place like this.” Twenty-five-year-old Franco Bent, also from Alpha Company, added: “It has been really beneficial getting to work as a company, improving our skills in a jungle environment.”

The present-day reputation of the Royal Marines is built in part on what the commandos of yesteryear – including the late Paddy Ashdown – achieved in the jungles of Borneo half a century ago. With the region taking on renewed importance for the future of the UK, 40 Commando’s Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Paul Maynard said training in the tropical climate and undergrowth of Belize was imperative. “It is essential that the UK’s commandos can operate with partners and allies in the many close tropical environments in the Indo-Pacific region,” he added. “We have a long and distinguished history of operating in the jungle and the advanced soldiering skills required to be effective will be equally important as we look to the future.”

Royal Marines train in Belize jungle

Royal Marines train in Belize jungle

Bastion Patsas

Bastion Patsas


The Bastion Patsas (PATrouille SAS) is a armoured personnel carrier and designed by the French Defence manufacturer ACMAT (now a subdivision of ARQUUS) to answer to the new requirements of Special Forces and reconnaissance units. The Patsas is specifically designed to meet the high levels of mobility, armour protection, payload and survivability in the most extreme driving conditions. The Bastion Patsas can be carried internally by helicopters for deployment on reconnaissance, direct action and logistics missions. The Bastion Patsas has already been tested by French Special forces, and selected by various Special Forces worldwide. The Bastion Patsas provide the next generation of Special Forces vehicle with high mobility, protection and fire power.

Bastion Patsas

Bastion Patsas


The Bastion Patsas is intended to meet the requirements of armed forces in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. It is equipped to withstand extreme weather conditions in the Middle East and Africa and deliver high performance during day/night operations. Burkina Faso deployed its Bastions in peacekeeping operations and used in internal security missions. The Republic of Chad purchased 22 Bastion PATSAS vehicles in October 201, Chad took delivery of the first batch trucks in February 2013. The Chadian détachement d’action rapide (rapid action detachment) used Bastion Patsas during the 2013 intervention in Mali. Some of the Saudi Arabian Bastion Patsas were reportedly used in the intervention in Yemen, 71 Bastion Patsas received in 2016.
Bastion Patsas

Bastion Patsas


The Bastion Patsas is open-top vehicle for the crew and the troops compartment, this special feature allows the deployment of heavy weapon and missile platforms, the fitting of reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition systems as well as performing check-point missions and any special operations. The Bastion Patsas is equipped with 360° ring-mounted at the rear of the crew cab which can be armed with a 12.7 mm machine or 40mm automatic grenade launcher. A single swivel weapon station for 5.56 mm machine gun is available at the front of the vehicle for the commander and two at the rear. A bank of grenade launchers can be fitted to each side of the hull. Various types of weapon can be carried on the rear cargo area as anti-tank weapons. For crew protection, the Bastion Patsas uses a monocoque armored body shell made in high hardness armoured steel which provides a ballistic protection Level 1 to Level 3 STANAG 4569 and anti-mine protection Level 2 STANAG 4569. The rear part of the hull has a single door which opens to the left.
Bastion Patsas

Bastion Patsas


Its chassis, which originates from the VLRA 4×4, combines tactical mobility, robustness and simplified maintenance. The layout of the Bastion Patsas is conventional with the engine at the front, cab crew in the centre and troops compartment at the rear. On the front of the crew seats, there are two bullet-proof windows that can fold forward of bonnet engine. The troop’s compartment has three fold-down seats with safety belts, one for the gunner on the left side of the hull, and two at the rear. The Bastion Patsas is based on the VLRA 2 4×4 light tactical truck. The Bastion Patsas is motorized with a 5-litre Volvo MD5 4-cylinder turbocharged and intercooled diesel which develops 215 hp at 2,300 rpm coupled to a ZF automatic gearbox with five forward and one reverse gears and a two-speed transfer box. The Bastion Patsas In option, the vehicle can be equipped with a six speed gearbox. A spare wheel is mounted to each side of the hull. Standard equipment includes a central tyre-inflation system, external shields for the tyres. The vehicle is fitted with four Michelin 365/80R 20 XZL tyres. In option, the Bastion Patsas can be equipped with 6,800 kg self-recovery winch mounted at the front of the chassis.It can ford to a water depth of 1m. It is air transportable by C130, C160, A400M, and CH47 military transport aircraft.

Four Allies and One Partner Will Create a Regional Special Forces Command

Four Allies and One Partner Will Create a Regional Special Forces Command

On Wednesday (13 February 2019), the Defence Ministers from Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to establish a Regional Special Operations Component Command (R-SOCC) in the margins of the meetings of NATO Defence Ministers in Brussels. Partner nation Austria will sign the LOI immediately following the NATO Defence Ministerial Meeting. This makes this initiative another example of close cooperation between NATO Allies and partners.

Under the leadership of Hungary, the four European Allies and partner nation Austria will work together to form a deployable R-SOCC for Small Joint Operations. This command will dramatically increase the ability of these five nations to effectively employ their Special Forces. The non-permanent structure of the R-SOCC enables each participant to use its own contributions separately, while benefitting from the integrated R-SOCC structure once activated for a deployment.

Signature ceremony: Declaration of Intent on Regional Special Operations Composite Command (R-SOCC)

Signature ceremony: Declaration of Intent on Regional Special Operations Composite Command (R-SOCC)


NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller praised this initiative, stating that it presents “a significant step forward in strengthening Special Operation Forces capacities in the region, and towards a fully integrated multinational regional command element.” The new multinational command will be developed in line with NATO standards, leveraging the expertise of NATO’s Special Operations Headquarters in Mons, Belgium. While primarily intended for NATO and EU operations, the command could participate in other multilateral missions, exercises or trainings.

Portuguese Airbornes in heavy combat with rebellions in Central African Republic

Portuguese Airbornes in heavy combat with rebellions in Central African Republic


Video footage from Central Africa shows Portuguese Airbornes (Tropas Paraquedistas) in heavy combat with african rebels in the area of Bambari in the Central African Republic earlier this month. The combat footage was recorded during a major operation that included 50 hours of heavy combat firefights and led to the seizure of a rebel base in the area of Bambari. Portuguese armed forces declared the operation a success with no own casualties .

The Airbornes of the Portuguese armed forces are currently operating under the United Nations’ peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic. The battle began when African rebels of the UPC (Union for Peace in the Central African Republic) launched a violent attack on the town of Bambari, some 400 kilometres from the capital Bangui, in a bid to seize resources and extort the local population by collecting taxes. The UPC is a former member of the Seleka rebel alliance, a coalition of mainly Muslim groups that seized power in the majority Christian country in 2013.

Portuguese Airbornes in heavy combat with rebellions in Central African Republic

Portuguese Airbornes in heavy combat with rebellions in Central African Republic


The Portuguese Airborne (Portuguese: Tropas Paraquedistas) are an elite infantry assault force, representing the bulk of the airborne forces of Portugal. They were created in 1956 as part of the Portuguese Air Force, being transferred to the Portuguese Army in 1993. Presently, most of the Paratroopers are part of the Portuguese Rapid Reaction Brigade which comprises all 3 special forces troops. The Portuguese Paratroopers were usually nicknamed “Paras” or “Green Berets” (Boinas Verdes).

Swiss Army Special Forces Command

Swiss Army Special Forces Command


The Special Forces Command (German: Kommando Spezialkräfte) is an infantry corps of the Swiss Armed Forces specialised in rapid offensive operations, intel gathering and operations in urban areas, open fields and other difficult terrains, capable of acting on short notice.Grenadiers are subjected to considerable physical strain, applicants are required to be in excellent physical conditions, and recruits are chosen through a strict selection process. The Grenadiers have been part of the Grenadier Command 1 since the “Army XXI” reform in late 2004, before which Grenadier units were integrated in other regiments. Grenadier Command 1, subordinated to the “Reconnaissance Formations of the Armed Forces and Grenadiers”, is headquartered in Rivera. The Grenadiers’ motto, shared with many other military institutions and most famously with the US Marines, is “Semper Fidelis”.

 Special Forces Command (Switzerland)

Special Forces Command (Switzerland)


The recruitment process of Grenadier units takes place one year before recruit school, and generally matches the ones of other corps, with the exception that one must volunteer to become a Grenadier. Those interested are subjected to comprehensive medical and psychological tests. Recruit school, extending over a period of 25 weeks, is very demanding, both physically and psychologically. Those who, during the first 11 weeks, prove incapable of the necessary performances, are moved to other incorporations. Training for NCOs and officers begins after 9 weeks of recruit school, who undertake respectively 41 and 56 additional weeks of grade-specific training. Additional courses offered to recruits include basic training of shotguns (notably the Remington 870, which is designated as MzGw 91, Mehrzweckgewehr 91) and for marksmen/snipers (for the 8.6 mm Sako TRG) (SSGw 04, Scharfschützengewehr 04) and 12.7 mm PGM Hecate II rifle 12.7mm PGw 04 (12.7 mm Präzisionsgewehr 04 ) and survival techniques.

Commandement des Opérations Spéciales (COS)

Commandement des Opérations Spéciales (COS)


The Commandement des Opérations Spéciales (COS; Special Operations Command) is the organisation which coordinates the use of the French special forces of all military branches (Army, Navy, and Air Force). Similar to USSOCOM or UKSF, COS was created on 24 June 1992, following the Gulf War. Its role is to direct and coordinate missions for special forces units; these are permanently under its direct command and immediately available for action. The command is led by a brigadier general or rear admiral, a NATO OF-6 post.

Commandement des Opérations Spéciales (COS)

Commandement des Opérations Spéciales (COS)


The COS consists of 2 known “circles”. COS does not officially recognise the 2nd circle but it is a well known term used by members and units. Circles are basically tiers. COS Command do not officially recognise any tier 2 units however tier 2 or 2nd circle operators receive better gear than a standard infantryman eg. they have access to Scar rifles and they also conduct more specialized missions and are essentially special operation capable to a certain extent. The 1st circle is under permanent COS command and the 2nd circle being called in for reinforcement. In the end, the COS can commandeer any members of the armed forces for special operations if necessary. There is no official documentation confirming the term “2nd circle”.
Commandement des Opérations Spéciales (COS)

Commandement des Opérations Spéciales (COS)


Tier 1 Units:
Army Special Forces Command: 1st Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment (1er RPIMa), 13th Parachute Dragoon Regiment (13e RDP) 4th Special Forces Helicopter Regiment (4e RHFS)
Force des Fusiliers Marins et Commandos (FORFUSCO): Commando Hubert, Commando de Penfentenyo, Commando Jaubert, Commando de Montfort, Commando Trépel, Commando Kieffer, Commando Ponchardier
Air Parachute Commando n° 10, CPA 10 (French: Commando parachutiste de l’air n° 10)
Division des Opérations Spéciales (DOS; “Special Operations Division”)

The COS is not in charge of all special military units within the French Armed Forces. Action Division of France’s Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE) is responsible for planning and performing clandestine and covert operations including black operations. The core specialisations of the Action Division are sabotage, destruction of materiel, assassination, detaining/kidnapping, and infiltration/exfiltration of persons into/from hostile territory. DGSE operatives are based in three so-called “training centres”, officially not combat units then, which compose the Centre d’Instruction des Réservistes Parachutistes (CIRP, “Paratrooper Reservist Instruction Centre”).