|RMAF Special Force|
|Pasukan Khas TUDM |
ڤاسوكن خاص تنترا اودارا
Official PASKAU crest
|Branch||Royal Malaysian Air Force|
|Type||Elite forces (Special forces)|
|Nickname(s)||"Komando Tentera Udara" ('Air Force Commando')|
|Motto(s)||Cepat, Senyap, Pasti ('Fast, Stealth and Sure')|
(Amaranth red, Navy blue, Maya Blue and Airforce Golden Yellow)
Beret: Sky Blue
|Commander of RMAF Regiment||Brigadier General Dato’ Mohamed Nazri Dashah RMAF|
|Colonel-in-chief||HRH Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang|
|Regimental sergeant major||Warrant Officer II Mohamad Kamal Samsudin|
|RMAF Regiment Crest|
The Pasukan Khas TUDM (English: RMAF Special Force, Jawi: ڤاسوكن خاص تنترا اودارا) – it is better known as PASKAU – is an elite special force within the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF; Malay: Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia — TUDM). Its main function is to carry out high-value targets protection, ground forward air controller, combat search and rescue and rescuing downed aircrews assignments. PASKAU also tasked as a principal anti-hijack response to civil and military aircraft. All PASKAU members are airborne and commando-trained and can be deployed behind enemy lines via air, sea and land, to assist in target designation for Malaysian Armed Forces and RMAF offensive missions. The PASKAU Headquarters is known as RMAF Regiment (Malay: Rejimen TUDM).
- 1 History
- 2 Combat elements
- 3 National Special Operations Force
- 4 Training and expertise
- 5 Role
- 6 Identities
- 7 Weapons
- 8 Functions
- 9 Capabilities
- 10 Mission and the future
- 11 Recent operations
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
PASKAU can trace its beginnings in the year 1974. A mortar attack by Malayan Communist Party agents from outside of Kuala Lumpur RMAF Airbase, and in 1979, another mortar attack occur resulting in damaging an RMAF DHC-4 Caribou transport aircraft. From this incident, a specific directive from the RMAF led to the formation of an operational force for the security of RMAF airbases which was previously the responsibility of the Malaysian Army Royal Military Police Corps (RMPC). A cadre of RMAF airmen and officers was sent to PLPK (now known as PULPAK) to receive commando training. An elite force is known as Pasukan Pertahanan Darat dan Udara ('Air and Ground Defence Force'), or by its abbreviation, HANDAU, was established on 1 April 1980. The new force was tasked as an elite special security force for RMAF airbases. The first HANDAU squadron was named as 102 HANDAU Squadron. A small number of Malaysian Army Grup Gerak Khas commandos were attached to HANDAU as RMAF Air Rescue Team.
RMAF Security Regiment Headquarters
The 102 Squadron was the first unit to take over security duties from the RMPC at Kuala Lumpur RMAF Airbase, on 1 April 1980. RMAF Security Regiment Headquarters (Malay: Markas Rejimen Keselamatan TUDM — MAREJ) was established as HQ for HANDAU, and since the HQ establishment up to 1 March 1987, ten more HANDAU squadrons were established.
|102 HANDAU Squadron||Kuala Lumpur RMAF Airbase||1 April 1980|
|103 HANDAU Squadron||Kuantan RMAF Airbase||18 November 1980|
|104 HANDAU Squadron||Butterworth RMAF Airbase||10 January 1981|
|202 HANDAU Squadron||Ipoh RMAF Airbase||9 February 1981|
|105 HANDAU Squadron||Kuching RMAF Airbase||7 April 1981|
|107 HANDAU Squadron||Alor Setar RMAF Airbase||7 July 1981|
|109 HANDAU Squadron||DEBKAT Subang||6 August 1981|
|204 HANDAU Squadron||Kluang RMAF Airbase||19 August 1981|
|201 HANDAU Squadron||Bukit Jugra RMAF Airbase||27 August 1987|
|208 HANDAU Squadron||Subang RMAF Airbase||1 September 1987|
|106 HANDAU Squadron||Labuan RMAF Airbase||1 March 1987|
Since MAREJ establishment in 1980, MAREJ directly reports to the Air Force Command (Malay: Markas Tentera Udara — MTU) for all operations involving HANDAU squadrons. On 1 June 1983, MAREJ was put under RMAF High Command (Malay: Markas Besar Udara — MABES). On 1 June 1993, RMAF was reorganised and MAREJ was renamed to RMAF Regiment, and at the same time, HANDAU squadrons were renamed to the RMAF Provost Squadrons. RMAF Provost Squadrons was given with the task of providing security for RMAF Forward Operation Bases (FOB). At the same time, two special operations (Spec Ops) elements also introduced to the RMAF Regiment. The spec ops elements are Combat Air Rescue Team (CART; Malay: Tim Penyelamat Tempur Udara) and Rapid Deployment Force (RDF; Malay: Pasukan Gerak Cepat).
PKU and PASKAU
In 1996, the Spec Ops elements were reorganised and given with a new name – Pasukan Khas Udara (Abbr.: PKU; 'Air Special Forces'). The PKU strength was increased and its role expanded to include counter-terrorism, unconventional warfare and search and rescue missions. They also received special training from the United Kingdom Special Air Service and the United States Special Operations Forces for their new special forces roles.
On 17 March 1999, PKU was relocated from Kuala Lumpur RMAF Air Base to Jugra RMAF Air Base. The RMAF Provost Squadrons was separated from RMAF Regiment and made into one department – RMAF Provost Marshal Department. On 1 April 2002, 22 years after HANDAU establishment, PKU now officially known as Pasukan Khas TUDM (Abbr.: PASKAU; 'RMAF Special Forces').
On 24 January 2008, the Sultan of Pahang, Sultan Ahmad Shah, was made an Honorary Colonel of the unit when he honoured the Honor Beret of PASKAU by Chief of Air Force, General Tan Sri Azizan Ariffin RMAF (later promoted to Chief of Defence Force in 2009) at Jugra RMAF Regiment, Bukit Jugra, Banting, Selangor.
RMAF Security Regiment Headquarters
- Air and Ground Defence Force (HANDAU)
- Air Rescue Team
- RMAF Provost Squadrons
- RMAF Special Operations
- Rapid Deployment Force
- Combat Air Rescue Team
Current combat formations
Today, RMAF Regiment operates directly under RMAF Air Operations Headquarters and is located at Bukit Jugra RMAF Air Base, Banting. Below are the three main squadrons of PASKAU under the Operations Branch of the RMAF Regiment, the branch that responsible for special operations.
|Combat Wing Squadron||Special Operations and Counter-terrorism||Combat Wing Squadron (CWS; Malay: Skuadron Sayap Tempur — SST), is the combat arm of PASKAU. Located at Jugra RMAF Airbase, this squadron is trained in counter-terrorism, hostage rescue, infiltration and sabotage, and can work behind enemy lines to destroy or disable high-value targets. It has AN/PEQ-1 SOFLAM Ground Laser Target Designation (GLTD) team to provide forward target acquisition and tracking for attacking aircraft. Every mission involves a six personnel with different specialisations such as cross-trained Signallers, Medics, Weapons Specialists, Demolitions Experts, Snipers and Boatmen. PASKAU Counter-terrorist team, the Flight Hostage Rescue Team (FHRT), that specialises in aircraft hostage rescue operations is attached to this squadron.|
|Combat Air Rescue Squadron||Combat Search and Rescue||Combat Air Rescue Squadron (CARS; Malay: Skuadron Penyelamat Tempur Udara — SPTU), is capable of mounting a rescue operation behind enemy lines. It consist of six detachments operating from air bases with a Rescue Sub-Centre (RSC) at Kuala Lumpur, Kuantan, Butterworth, Gong Kedak, Kuching and Labuan AFBs. The CARS is also capable of sea rescue through its Maritime Para Rescue Team (MPRT) based in Bukit Jugra.
CARS is equivalent to U.S. Air Force Pararescue.
|Field Protection Squadron||Special Protections, Pathfinders and Forward Air Controllers||The Field Protection Squadron (FPS; Malay: Skuadron Kawalan Medan — SKM) provides special protection to high-value military facilities such as air defence radar and forward operating bases (FOB). High-value target protection not only involves installation but also close or special escort duty. This team is equipped with the Field Intrusion Detection System (FIDS) for zone protection. During the insertion operation into enemy territory, FPS would be the pathfinders and able to act as Ground Forward Air Controllers (GFAC).
FPS is equivalent to U.S. Air Force Special Operations Force Tactical Air Control Party.
National Special Operations Force
In 2016, main counter-terrorism operators in Malaysia are formed into one special operation task force. Few operators from FHRT of PASKAU are selected to be part of the National Special Operations Force.
Training and expertise
It is not obligatory for HANDAU airmen to pass the commando school. It is only compulsory to Special Operations airmen, and since the year 1996, it is becoming compulsory to pass the basic commando course for any airmen who are wishing to join the PKU (the then name for the PASKAU). In the year 1993, the RMAF established their own commando course – the RMAF Commando Course (Malay: Kursus Komando TUDM). Prior to that, commando-trained RMAF Regiment airmen are needed to pass the Malaysian Army Basic Commando Course offered at the PULPAK.
In the present days, every officer and airmen are presented with a light blue beret and light blue lanyard once they pass the RMAF Commando Course, and a tactical knife on the successful completion of the PASKAU expert course. They then carry out advanced training which allows them to take part in all operations.
RMAF Commando Course
This course lasts for 12 weeks and has six modules. In this course, trainees will learn land, sea and air insertion, jungle warfare tactics, sabotage and hostage rescue.
- Camp Module
- 160 kilometres (99 mi) Long-distance march
- Jungle Training Module
- Water Training Module
- 120 kilometres (75 mi) Dark Water Module
- Survival, Escape, Resistance, Evasion (SERE) Module
PASKAU operatives are capable of conducting operations using:
- Close Quarters Combat – CQC
- Combat diving
- Counter-sniper tactics
- Laser-designation – Using AN/PEQ-1 SOFLAM GLTD II, the units 'paint' hostile targets, marking them for attack by air-dropped laser-guided munitions such as the Paveway II LGB (laser-guided bomb)
- Sang Moo Doo (multi-technique martial arts including Aikido, Judo, Karate and Taekwondo)
- Unconventional warfare
- Insertion Techniques
- High-altitude military parachuting – high altitude low opening/high altitude high opening of parachutes
- Single Occupant Delivery Operation Module – insertion via fighter jet
- Hover jump
- Special Patrol Insertion/Extraction – SPIE rig
- Special reconnaissance
- Signal intelligence – SIGINT
- Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol
- Providing base security to RMAF installations.
- Expertise Oriented
- Combat Search and Rescue (The recovery of friendly units from behind enemy lines)
- Fighting In Built-Up Areas – FIBUA
- Hostage rescue
- Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain – MOUT
- OBUA – Operations in Built Up Areas
- Special demolitions
- Explosive Ordnance Disposal – EOD
PASKAU is highly capable of carrying-out hostage rescue operations in any situation and is regarded as the principal anti-hijack response for civil and military aircraft. This task was taken over from Grup Gerak Khas. The unit also took part in special training with the British Special Air Service and the United States Special Operations Forces. On 6 May 2004, only 81 of 198 personnel received their blue berets, including the best trainee Laskar Udara Meor Mohd Nazri Othman, 23, having survived the challenging three-month series 07/2004 Basic Commando Training while in October 2007, only 20 of 54 trainees successfully completed a three-month training programme.
From 28 May 2009, PASKAU participated with the United States Air Force 320th Special Tactics Squadron in an underwater search and recovery course as part of a joint training exercise code-named Teak Mint 09-1. Besides the joint training, the USAF presented Barret M107 anti-material rifles for use by the RMAF special team. Teak Mint 09-1 is a joint training exchange designed to enhance United States – Malaysian military training and capabilities.
PASKAU's establishment has increased the RMAF capability in special air operations such as Combat Search And Rescue (CSAR). It must also be capable of securing forward RMAF bases and be able to assist in the execution of airstrikes using specialist weapons. PASKAU consists of specially selected and trained RMAF regiment personnel. The role of this unit is very different from army Grup Gerak Khas; or the navy PASKAL.
Sky blue beret
Sky blue beret is worn by all HANDAU airmen and later shared between all units under RMAF Regiment – the RMAF special operations teams and RMAF Provost squadrons. Initially, commando-trained HANDAU wears the green beret with GGK's cap badge similar to the GGK but with HANDAU cap badge backing. After RMAF Provost was separated from the RMAF Regiment, the sky blue beret is only allowed to be worn by the PASKAU members. RMAF Provost is given with navy blue beret similar to other conventional RMAF units. All commando-trained RMAF Provost members are given a choice, either join the PASKAU and moved to RMAF Jugra Airbase or stay with the provost and their original bases.
The cap badge position is worn facing left between the end of the eyebrow and above the ear – similar to all other Malaysian commandos trained elite units.
Light blue lanyard
Every member of commando-trained HANDAU was given with light blue lanyard together with green beret and Fairbairn–Sykes commando dagger once they finished theirs commando training at the PLPK (now PULPAK). The tradition of giving the light blue lanyard was inherited by Malaysian Special Service Unit (MSSU; now known as 21 Grup Gerak Khas) from the 40 Commando, Royal Marines. The tradition is continued by HANDAU and later by PASKAU even after the RMAF established their own commando school in 1993.
PASKAU no longer issues Fairbairn–Sykes commando dagger to its members. Each graduate of the RMAF Commando School will be issued with a tactical knife instead. This is a symbol of jungle survivalist.
PASKAU shoulder tab
PASKAU operators wear shoulder tab embroidered with "PASKAU" on the right shoulder sleeve. Shoulder tabs are synonymous with elite forces in Malaysian Armed Force.
- Italy:Benelli M1014 - semi automatic 12-gauge shotgun.
- United States:Mossberg 590A1 12-gauge pump
- United States:Remington Model 870 - as the M870 and Modular Combat Shotgun.
- Switzerland:Brügger & Thomet MP9
- United States:Colt 9 mm SMG - variant of the M16 chambered in 9×19mm Parabellum
- Belgium:FN P90
- Germany:Heckler & Koch MP5
- United States:M4A1 Carbine - Standard Malaysian Armed Forces service rifles
- Switzerland:SIG SG 553
- SG-553 LB
- SG-553 SB
- United States:Barrett M107 - in use in response to requirements issued for an anti-materiel and counter-sniper rifle.
Designated marksman rifles
- United Kingdom:Accuracy International Arctic Warfare
- Germany:AMP Technical Services DSR-1
- Germany:Blaser 93 Tactical
- United States:M249 SAW - 5.56×45mm light machine gun.
- Belgium:FN Minimi Mk.3 - 7.62×51mm light machine gun.
- United States:M203A1/A2 40 mm Rifle-Mounted Grenade Launcher
- South Africa:Milkor M32 MGL 40mm 6 shot Revolver type Grenade Launcher
- Switzerland:SIG GL 5040
The RMAF Regiment soon became a very important asset to the RMAF. The force normally deploys by air, both in peace and war. The capabilities of PASKAU personnel include:
- To mark a target for an airstrike, such as radar or surface-to-air-missile (SAM) sites, sub-units must be able to infiltrate behind enemy lines. The target can then be 'painted' using GLTD II.
Security of important assets
- The unit must secure critical RMAF areas from enemy ground attack. The task is made harder in forwarding locations and other hostile environments where the threat level is higher.
Search and rescue
- Search and rescue missions, on land (on both sides of the lines) and at sea, are the responsibility of PASKAU. A wide variety of circumstances are usually encountered. For instance, when a Sikorsky S61 "Nuri" helicopter crashed on the slopes of Gunung Gerah in November 1989, reaching the wreckage required abseiling into the jungle. Other SAR missions are shown in the 'Recent Operations' section further down this page.
- Incidents involving hijacked aircraft and terrorists throughout Malaysia come under the remit of PASKAU. The unit is trained to solve the problem with the least effect on the passengers and aircraft.
- PASKAU is able to be rapidly inserted into an operational area by land, air or sea.
- The group is capable of being deployed independently or as part of a joint task force with other special operations groups.
- The unit is able to operate independently and conduct special operations for sustained periods without external assistance.
- The group has access to high-tech equipment and weaponry to improve its ability to execute complex and demanding special operations.
- The group employs specialised physical training that exceeds that of conventional forces. This is to ensure that operators are well-prepared to execute highly demanding Spec Ops-type missions. They are especially suited to classified missions involving small sub-units.
Mission and the future
The future direction for PASKAU includes the continuous expansion of the team expertise and roles as well as enhancing the team's effectiveness with newer and more capable equipment.
In March 2013, PASKAU commandos were deployed to a joint operation with all branches of the Malaysian Armed Forces, Royal Malaysia Police and Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency special forces to execute Operation Daulat by conducting psychological operations against the Sulu terrorists by dropping leaflets to urge them to lay down their weapon and surrender to the authorities. The PASKAU commandos were known for their role to paint enemies' target via GLTD to illuminate the laser-guided bombs, which they called the fighter jets of F/A-18D Hornet from 18th Squadron and Hawk 208 from 15th Squadron to strike terrorist camps at Kampung Tanduo, Lahad Datu.
The elite forces included PASKAU, 10th Parachute Brigade, 21 Grup Gerak Khas and PASKAL was deployed with other Malaysian contingents to involved the administrative workload at the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The team which 40 soldiers deployed to assisted the New Zealand Armed Forces in the peacekeeping missions and humanitarian aid at the Bamiyan District, Afghanistan.
Genting Sempah Incident
In July 2007, PASKAU, with the 10th Parachute Brigade, 22nd Commando Regiment of 21 Grup Gerak Khas and the Pasukan Gerakan Khas, supported by the United States Navy Air Fleet (from USS Jarrett (FFG-33)), Police General Operations Force Senoi Praaq, Police Air Wing, Fire and Rescue Department, Forestry Department Rangers, Civil Defence Department (JPA3) and local villagers, were deployed in a search and rescue operation after a Sikorsky S61 'Nuri' helicopter of the RMAF went down along with a crew of six near Genting Sempah, in the Genting Highlands. The SAR team located the wreckage on 17 July at 1324hrs with its rotor blades detached. The bodies of all crew members were found in the cabin of the stricken aircraft.
PASKAU was part of a contingent which also included the 10th Parachute Brigade, Grup Gerak Khas and PASKAL which were deployed to assist the administrative workload at the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) headquarters in Lebanon which 160 soldiers including 3 Malaysian special forces as the Quick Reaction Team.
Hawk 208 crash
On 27 June 2006, PASKAU was involved in the search for Major Muhammad Rohaizan Abdul Rahman RMAF after his Hawk 208 fighter crashed into the sea off Rompin, Pahang on 31 May 2006. The remains of the pilot were found on the seabed 28 days after the crash, 150 meters off the coast of Pantai Lanjut, Rompin, Pahang.
Bukit Batu Tiban Incident
PASKAU was involved in rescue operations on 28 July 2005, after a Hornbill Skyway Bell 206 Jet Ranger helicopter crashed in Bukit Batu Tiban, Ulu Baleh, Kapit, near the Sarawak-West Kalimantan border. Three passengers and the pilot died, one passenger survived.
On 7 June 2005, 21 PASKAU and 35 VAT 69 of the Pasukan Gerakan Khas operators were involved in the search for four children who were reported to be missing on Fraser's Hill as well as another two persons who were lost on Gunung Brinchang in the Cameron Highlands. They were all found three days later.
Piper 28 crash
PASKAU, together with the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and the 10th Parachute Brigade of the Malaysian Army, were involved on 14 March 2004, in the search and rescue of the occupants of a civilian Piper 28 aircraft which had crashed. The aircraft went down in a heavily forested area 3.2 kilometres south-west of the Langat Dam, Selangor. The pilot, Captain Nasir Ma Lee Abdullah, was killed while the passenger, Nazarullah Mohd Sultan, was found alive.
PASKAU boat capsizing
On 19 January 2003, a fibreglass boat carrying two senior officers and four servicemen from PASKAU capsized after encountering large waves in stormy conditions. This occurred during reconnaissance operations in the vicinity of Sibu Island, Johor at around 10:30 am. RMAF Majors Audrey Smith and Damian Sebastian, Sergeants Radzi Abdul Majid and Saad Che Omar were safely recovered while Corporals Hasnul Abdul Rahman and Ayub Sidek perished.
Bukit Galla Incident
PASKAU with RMP General Operations Force, the State Forestry Department, the Civil Defence Department (JPA 3), the Department of Civil Aviation and the Negeri Sembilan Fire and Rescue Department, were involved on 20 February 1999, in search and rescue operations after a civilian Beechcraft BE-36 aircraft crashed into the slopes of Bukit Galla, Mantin, Negeri Sembilan. The pilot and his passenger, Patrick Dutrey and Natalie Marie Chappate, were killed.
Gunung Gerah incident
On 14 November 1989, PASKAU was involved in rescue operations after a TUDM Sikorsky S61 'Nuri' helicopter went down on the slopes of Gunung Gerah and Gunung Bilah near the Kelantan-Perak border. 21 passengers were killed, including 15 policemen from the General Operations Force of the Royal Malaysia Police.
Other Malaysian elite forces
- 10th Parachute Brigade
- Grup Gerak Khas
- VAT 69 Commando – Royal Malaysian Police special force and commando unit
- Special Actions Unit – Royal Malaysian Police special force and police tactical unit
- Special Task and Rescue – Malaysia Coast Guard commando unit
- JMF Elite Forces – Johor Military Force commando unit
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