Underwater Demolition Assault Unit
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The Naval Special Warfare Command, Royal Thai Fleet (Thai: หน่วยบัญชาการสงครามพิเศษทางเรือ กองเรือยุทธการ), commonly known as the Thai Navy SEALs (an acronym for Sea–Air–Land), is a 144-man special operations force within the military of Thailand.
|Naval Special Warfare Command, |
Royal Thai Fleet
|Branch||Royal Thai Navy|
|Part of||Royal Thai Armed Forces|
|Garrison/HQ||Sattahip, Chonburi, Thailand|
|Nickname(s)||Thai Navy SEALs|
|Website||Official Site of Naval Special Warfare Command, Royal Thai Fleet: Navy SEAL Thailand (in Thai)|
|Rear Admiral Apakorn Yuukongkaew|
The unit was set up in the name of Underwater Demolition Assault Unit in 1956 with the assistance of the U.S. Government and has trained with the United States Navy SEALs. A small element within the Royal Thai Navy SEAL unit has been trained to conduct maritime counter-terrorism missions. This unit has close ties with the U.S. Navy's own SEAL teams.
During World War II, naval forces fighting for both the Axis and Allies used special warfare forces. They were small elite groups trained to destroy ships, buildings, and other strategic locations as well as conduct sabotage and other clandestine missions. After the war, the special warfare mission continued and through improved training and equipment, increased the ability of the military to fight using new tactics to achieve missions previously unthinkable.
In 1952, the Thai Ministry of Defence considered organizing Underwater Demolition Teams. Representatives of the Thai Ministry of Defense met with officers from the United States Military Assistance Advisory Group to discuss possible training. Based on the meetings, a resolution was passed directing the Royal Thai Navy to set up training for the unit but unfortunately at the time there were not enough instructors from the United States to make the project happen and so it was temporarily put on hold.
In 1953, Sea Supply, a CIA front company, was tasked with supporting the initial training of the Royal Thai Navy's Underwater Demolition Team and also the Royal Thai Police Aerial Reinforcement Unit. The first group to take part in the UDT/SEAL training included seven Thai Naval Officers and eight members of the Royal Thai Police. This training started on March 4, 1953 on 'Z island (ZULU)'. After 61 days, only 15 of the recruits successfully passed the training.
In 1956 the Royal Thai Navy formed a small combat diver unit, based on the U.S. Navy's Underwater Demolition Teams. In 1965 the Underwater Demolition Assault Unit was reorganized. It was expanded and divided into two separate platoons, with a U.S. Navy Mobile Training Team providing assistance. The first group was assigned intelligence-gathering, special and unconventional warfare, assassination and Special reconnaissance missions., and the second group dealt with underwater demolition.
In 2008, the Royal Thai Navy's special warfare units have been raised to "Royal Thai Naval Special Warfare Command" in order to increase the unit size and its capability for dealing with any future threats.
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Most of the operations of the Underwater Demolition Assault Unit are highly sensitive and are rarely divulged to the public. However, they participated in a number of operations along the Cambodian border, and in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Thailand. They have also participated in salvage and rescue operations, and have supported Royal Thai Marine Corps training exercises. The Underwater Demolition Assault Unit also gathered intelligence during periods of heightened tensions along Thailand's borders. In December 1978, for example, recon teams were sent to the Mekong River during skirmishes with the Pathet Lao, a communist political movement and organisation in Laos. In 2011 the Royal Thai Navy SEALs were sent to the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia to participate in anti-piracy operations.
|Origin||Small Arm||Specific Model|
|Belgium||FN Herstal SCAR||SCAR-H and SCAR-L|
|Germany||Heckler & Koch G36||G36KV|
|Germany||Heckler & Koch UMP||UMP9|
|Germany||Heckler & Koch MP5||MP5SD and MP5K|
|Germany||Heckler & Koch USP|
|Germany||Heckler & Koch HK21||HK23E|
|Germany||Heckler & Koch PSG1||PSG1 and MSG90|
|United States||KAC SR-25|
|United States||Barrett M82|
|United States||Barrett M95|
|United States||Bushmaster M4||M4A3 SOPMOD|
|United Kingdom||Accuracy International||AW50|
|Switzerland||SIG Sauer SIG516|
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