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Kopaska (Indonesian: Komando Pasukan Katak) is the premier frogman and underwater demolition unit of the Indonesian Navy. The unit's motto is in Sanskrit: "Tan Hana Wighna Tan Sirna" ("There is no obstacle that cannot be defeated"). The unit's main duties are underwater demolition (raiding enemy ships and bases), destroying main underwater installations, reconnaissance, prisoner snatches, preparing beaches for larger naval amphibious operations, and counter-terrorism. During peacetime, the unit also deploys a team to serve as security personnel for VIPs and VVIPs. The personnel of Kopaska are recruited from Indonesian Navy seamen. Like other Indonesian special forces, Kopaska is trained to be able to conduct operations in the sea, including underwater, on land and airborne.

Frogmen Command
Komando Pasukan Katak
LogoPaska2.jpg
Active 31 March 1962 – present
Country  Indonesia
Branch Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL)
Type Naval Special Forces
Role
Size Classified
Part of Indonesian National Armed Forces Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI)
Garrison/HQ
  • 1st Indonesia Fleet Naval Base (KOARMADA I): Pondok Dayung, Tanjung Priok Jakarta
  • 2nd Indonesia Fleet Naval Base (KOARMADA II): Ujung, Surabaya
  • 3rd Indonesia Fleet Naval Base (KOARMADA III): Sorong
Nickname(s) Hantu Laut (Ghost of the Sea)
Motto(s) Tan Hana Wighna Tan Sirna (Sanskrit)
"There is no obstacle that cannot be defeated"
Colours Maroon berets, previously dark blue
Mascot(s) Green Flying Frog
Anniversaries 31 March
Engagements

Western New Guinea (Papua) - 1950s
Operation Trikora

Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation

Contents

HistoryEdit

Kopaska was heavily influenced by the early US Navy Frogman Underwater Demolition Teams (UDTs) and modern Navy SEAL Teams.

Kopaska was officially established on the 31st of March 1962 by President Sukarno to help his campaign Operation Trikora in Western New Guinea.[1] However, in 1954, Captain (Navy) Iskak had an idea to form frogmen unit in the Navy which eventually act as precursor to KOPASKA.

Early KOPASKA members (Captain (Navy) Urip Santoso, Lieutenant (Navy) Joko Suyatno, and PO1C EMP Joseph) trained with the UDTs in the United States. The Indonesian Navy also sent personnel to the Soviet Union to learn from Soviet Navy frogmen and demolition teams. The tradition of overseas training has continued with a few men from the unit travelling each year to Coronado, California and Norfolk, Virginia to participate in SEAL training. Returning to Indonesia, these men then recruit new personnel for Kopaska.

Recruitment was difficult in the early years of Kopaska as only few Navy members could pass the qualifications process. Recruitment became even more difficult when President Sukarno announced in 1961 the commencement of Operation Trikora in Western New Guinea (then the Netherlands New Guinea), as Kopaska were required to conduct beach reconnaissance, beach clearing, prisoner snatches, and human torpedo missions. The latter two missions were the most daring planned by Kopaska – the first planned to snatch Rear Admiral Reeser, Commander in Chief of the Dutch Armed Forces in the Territory, and the human torpedo was aimed at the Dutch aircraft carrier Karel Doorman. Due to lack of personnel Kopaska had to borrow 21 troops from the army special forces which at that time still called RPKAD - Army Paracommando Regiment, including Colonel Sarwo Edhie Wibowo the then regimental commander, and three from the Greater Jakarta Military Region Command (Kodam Jaya). The plans were cancelled when a cease-fire was implemented between Indonesia and the Netherlands.

Of the troops assigned to the Trikora campaign, the three Army personnel from Kodam Jaya (Maksum, Alex Sunaryo, and Budi Suroyo) attended Seaman School in the Naval Education and Training Command (Kodikal) and became regular members of Kopaska. 18 of 21 RPKAD wanted to stay with the Navy, but the Commander of RPKAD (Major General Mung Pahardimulyo) did not approve the transfer. Instead, he accommodated the ex-KOPASKA members by creating a new special unit in Kopassus SAT GULTOR 81-2 Batt.

Until present, Kopaska still trained their specialities to other Indonesian Special Forces units:

1. Army Kopassus counter-terrorist combat divers, now known as Paska GULTOR.
2. Army Strategic Command Reconnaissance Platoon and CT-Team, the Tontaipur.
3. Air Force Satuan Bravo 90 counter-terrorist team.

Both SAT-81 GULTOR and DENBRAVO-90 continues to send its best members for three months of training in Frogmen School (Sepaskal) at the Special Training Centre (Pusdiksus), Naval Warfare Centre (Pusdikopsla), Naval Education and Training Command (Kodikal)located in Naval Base Moro Krembangan in Surabaya, East Java.

TasksEdit

 
Coastal Riverine Squadron (CRS) 3 and Indonesian Kopaska naval special forces members practicing patrol formations

Task during Amphibious operationsEdit

Special OperationsEdit

Additional OperationsEdit

OrganizationEdit

 
Kopaska frogmen in full land-combat gear
  1. 1st Fleet Frogman Command Unit (Satkopaska Koarmada 1)
    1. Command HQ
    2. Detachment 1 Sabotage / Anti-Sabotage (Terror)
    3. Detachment 2 of Special Operations
    4. Detachment 3 Combat SAR
    5. Detachment 4 EOD and Naval Minesweeping
    6. Detachment 5 Underwater Demolition
    7. Detachment 6 Special Boat Units
  2. 2nd Fleet Frogman Command Unit (Satkopaska Koarmada 2)
    1. Command HQ
    2. Detachment 1 Sabotage / Anti-Sabotage (Terror)
    3. Detachment 2 of Special Operations
    4. Detachment 3 Combat SAR
    5. Detachment 4 EOD and Naval Minesweeping
    6. Detachment 5 Underwater Demolition
    7. Detachment 6 Special Boat Units
  3. 3rd Fleet Frogman Command Unit (Satkopaska Koarmada 3)
    1. Command HQ
    2. Detachment 1 Sabotage / Anti Sabotage (Terror)
    3. Detachment 2 of special Operations
    4. Detachment 3 Combat SAR
    5. Detachment 4 EOD and Naval Minesweeping
    6. Detachment 5 Underwater Demolition
    7. Detachment 6 Special Boat Units

RecruitmentEdit

The recruitment process for becoming a KOPASKA frogmen is similar to that of the US Navy SEALs. The criteria are:

  • An Indonesian Navy personnel
  • Has served minimum 2 years in a Navy warship/Navy base/Navy fleet command/Navy Headquarters/Naval sealift command
  • Passed Physical fitness qualification
  • Passed water endurance
  • Passed special psychological test
  • Passed special underwater fitness

The recruitment process takes place annually at all Indonesian naval bases, so location is not a concern. Candidates who fulfill the initial criteria are brought to KOPASKA Training Center to participate in the selection process. Of 300-1500 candidates, only 36 to 20 actually complete the initial selection process. Those who pass the initial selection receive advanced training at the KOPASKA training center. Those who pass training then graduate to become a member of the KOPASKA Unit. Only 0-20 personnel per year graduate to become a full member of Kopaska.

EducationEdit

 
Kopaska during Jungle warfare

TrainingEdit

 
KOPASKA and US NAVY SEAL

The training process lasts ten months, divided into four continual training phases: physical endurance/physical training, basic underwater training, commando training, and parachute (Airborne) training. The training lasts with a phase called the "Hell Week" where Kopaska trainees are beasted and are forced to undergo brutal special forces training until exceeding average human resilience. This applies to all ranks applying to join the Kopaska unit.

Each phase of training consists of a similar process. For example, the first phase of training is physical or endurance training. Each candidate receives a daily physical training program, such as: running, marching, push-ups, sit ups, pull-ups, swimming, etc. The training programs are unscheduled, so the instructor can order physical training at random. The last week of this training each candidate must be able to demonstrate strength through trials such as cross-Strait swimming and rowing to Laki Island at night with little food or sleep. This training usually exploits the candidate's physical and psychological strength.

The remaining training phases include combat swimming, infiltration through submarine torpedo tube, long range combat patrol, close quarter battle, infiltration using CRRC or RIB, intelligence course, parachute training (including combat free-fall, static line, and HAHO/HALO), pathfinder, trap making and survival techniques.

Joint ExerciseEdit

 
Kopaska frogmen simulate seizing a room in a Naval warship during training with the US Navy

KOPASKA has conducted several joint exercises with other elite naval forces from other countries.

  • FLASH IRON with US Navy SEALs and United States Navy Riverine Squadron[2]
  • PANDU EX with Republic of Singapore Navy Naval Diving Unit (NDU) [3]
  • Malindo Malaysia & Indonesia (Exercise with TLDM Paskal in Maritime Interdiction Operation)
  • PANDU EODEX with Republic of Singapore Navy Naval Diving Unit / RSN-NDU alternately Singapore and Indonesia
  • MINEX with Republic of Singapore Navy
  • SEA EAGLE with Republic of Singapore Navy
  • MCMEX / DIVEX with NAVAL EOD Team from 25 Asia Pacific countries in Asia Pacific
  • Joint Exercise with Pakistan SSG Navy[4]
  • Balance Iron with US Army Airborne & Ranger US Army
  • Various Series of USPACOM Training Programs: Naval Engagement Activity (NEA), Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE), Peace Support Initiative Operations (GPOI) etc.
  • Various Training Series UN Peacekeeping Operation: Khan Quest (Mongolia), Garuda Shield (Indonesia), Cobra Gold (Thailand-USPACOM) Global Positive Operation Initiative (GPOI) USPACOM (UNMOC, UNSOC, PSOIC, Traine of Trainer / ToT), ADF Warfare Center UNMOC & CIMIC (Australia), UNDPKO ITS ToT in Jakarta
  • UN Peacekeeping missions: UNMO (UNOMO / Iraq, UNAMID / Darfur, UNMIS / Sudan, UNMISS / Southern Sudan, UNMIBH / Bosnia & Herzegovina, MONUC / Congo), UN Staff (Lebanon, Congo), UN Contingent (Indo Mech Batt / Lebanon, Force Protection Coy / Lebanon, Eng Coy / Congo)

Weaponry and equipmentEdit

 
A left-side view of the Steyr AUG A3-CQC used by Kopaska

Since most of KOPASKA duties are in salty and moist environments, most of KOPASKA's weapons and equipment reflect these conditions.

The type of equipment and weapons used by Kopaska are common in Indonesia and world special force societies, including:

KOPASKA use commercial scuba diver equipment. All personnel are also equipped with lightweight PRO-TEC helmets, Level III MICH helmets, and some of them wearing Airframe Helmets by Crye Precision. They use close circuit, semi close circuit and open circuit aqualung equipment, a scooter or sub-skimmer craft for underwater mobility, and an Avon Sea Raider Rigid Inflatable Boat or Hull (By deflating the hull, a Sea Raider can also can be used as a sub-skimmer craft).They also have X38 Combat Boat and Sea Shadow

Notable missionsEdit

Trikora campaignEdit

The human torpedo campaign, described above, would use KOPASKA troops like Japanese kamikaze. The strike craft was a boat installed with one MiG-17 "Fresco" ejection seat, powered by a pair of Johnson 100pk and armed with two torpedo warheads. Known as Project Y within KOPASKA circles, this project was supervised by Lt. Commander (Navy) Urip Santoso (Vice Adm Ret), one of the founders of KOPASKA.

Currently, the unit has approximately 300 men, divided into two groups. One group is attached to the western fleet, based in Jakarta and the other group is attached to the eastern fleet, based in Surabaya, East Java. When called for, they conduct limited support search and rescue missions. They have also been deployed overseas as part of United Nations peacekeeping missions.

MV Sinar Kudus Hostage RescueEdit

On March 16, 2011, an Indonesian merchant ship, MV Sinar Kudus, who carrying nickel ores from South Sulawesi to Rotterdam was hijacked by a group of Somali pirates at the coast of Somalia.[5] After some negotiations, the ship owner eventually agrees to pay ransom and freed the vessel and its crew.[6] However, upon learning that the ship carrying valuable minerals, another groups of pirates attempting to re-hijack the ship, and made aggressive fast approach to retake MV Sinar Kudus. After signalling "mayday", a group of Kopaska elite soldiers were deployed from KRI Abdul Halim Perdanakusuma to secure the ship. Three fast boats were deployed. But fearing that it may not be quick enough, a group of Kopaska were deployed using Bo 105 helicopter to strafe the oncoming pirates. The remainder Kopaska on board the boats finished the pirates.[7][8] .

Other MissionsEdit

  • Carry out various Special Operations / Intelligence of TNI and Navy
  • Conducting Special Operations "Scraper Plow"
  • Carrying out Special Operations "Lusitania Expresso"
  • Anti-Piracy operations
  • Pursuing Pirates in the Malacca Strait, Sunda Strait, Bangka Belitung
  • Pursuing Pirates in eastern Indonesia region
  • VIP and VVIP Security (Non-Aligned Summit, Bali Democracy Forum etc.)
  • Security operations in Ambalat Block - Unarang Corals
  • Security operations of Vital Objects such as in national Oil Rigs

UniformEdit

Since 2006, Kopaska have been wearing their own pixelated camouflage design that often called "Kopaska Digital". A second version has also appeared utilizing lighter colors, the second version has a trident or three-pronged harpoon being grasped by a frog incorporated into the pixelated design. Kopaska Digital first appeared is in 2006, the uniform was made by PT. Sritex and designed by PT. Mustika.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "komando pasukan katak". militer.id. 24 May 2017. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  2. ^ "FLASH IRON". tni.mil.id. 19 March 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  3. ^ "EX PANDU". tni.mil.id. 2 May 2012. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  4. ^ "kopaska and pakistan ssg n joint exercise". defense.pk. 23 August 2016. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  5. ^ http://www.oceanuslive.org/main/viewnews.aspx?uid=00000233
  6. ^ http://www.antaranews.com/en/news/70881/somali-pirates-release-sinar-kudus-crew
  7. ^ http://angkasa.co.id/sejarah/kisah-operasi-pasukan-katak-di-mv-sinar-kudus/2/[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ News, Detik (2 May 2011). "Kronologi Pembebasan Sinar Kudus, Uang Tebusan Dihitung Hingga Malam". Detik News. Retrieved 23 February 2018.

External linksEdit