Kopaska: No Obstacle Cannot be Defeated

Kopaska: surveillance from the boatWhen you ask people about the name of Indonesian elite force, most likely the answer is Kopassus. That’s correct. But obviously, Kopassus is not the only special forces that Indonesia has. I bet you’ve heard about Kopaska too. If Kopassus is an Army, Korpaskhas is air force,  Kopaska or Komando Pasukan Katak (Frogmen Command) is a Navy. Precisely, it’s a tactical unit for underwater demolition.

President Sukarno officially launched Kopaska on March 31, 1962 in order to help his campaign in Western New Guinea. But the unit was actually founded in 1954 by Captain Iskak from the Navy Frogman School at Naval Base in Surabaya.

Kopaska’s typical missions are to occupy enemy’s ships and near-water base camps, destroy some underwater installations, reconnaissance, hostage snatches, clearance beaches for upcoming larger naval troops, and counter-terrorism. While this unit is idle, which means there isn’t any special operation to take, Kopaska deploys a seven person team to serve as security personnel for VIPs, such as President and Vice President.

Kopaska was influenced by the U.S. military units. To be more precise, the old Navy Frogman Underwater Demolition Team (UDTs) and the modern Navy SEAL Team. Early Kopaska personnel (i.e. Captain Urip Santoso, Lieutenant- Joko Suyatno, and Sergeant EMP Joseph) were trained by the UDTs. The Indonesian Navy also sent some of the special frogmen to Russia to learn from Russian Navy Combat Divers and Demolition Team (BA).

At present, Kopaska has about 300 personnel. There are two groups: western (based in Jakarta) and eastern (based in Surabaya). They all are always stand by to be sent for particular mission anywhere in Indonesia. And abroad as well.

Weapon, equipment and vehicle of Kopaska

Kopaska's frogmen on missionSince 2006, Kopaska wear the special uniform called Kopaska Digital. It’s adjusted to their environments, which are mostly salty and moist. Not only the uniform, the weapons and equipments too. These are their organic weapons:

  • Pistols: Pindad P1/P2, Sig Sauer P226, Glock 17, Glock 19, H&K USP, CornerShot.
  • Assault rifles: AK-47, Norinco Type 56-2, Colt M16A1 assault rifle, Pindad SS1-V1/V2, Pindad SS2-V1/V2, AK CZ-58, HK416, M4, Steyr Aug A3 SFO, AK-101, APS.
  • Sniper rifles: Sig 550 Sniper rifle, Steyr-Mannlicher SSG 69, Galatz Sniper Rifle, AW L96, Denel NTW-20, Arctic Sniper, HK417, SR-25.
  • Submachineguns: H&K MP5 variants, Micro Uzi, Daewoo K7, MP7.
  • Machineguns: Daewoo K3, FN Minimi, FN MAG, GPMG, Pindad 12.7 MG’s.

For the equipments, Kopaska use commercial scuba diver. However, since it’s a special force, we don’t know exactly the list. Yes, there are some publicly items like sophisticated helmets, aqua scooters, subskimmers, combat boats, and so forth. But there are also classified items, which only the unit and the Commander-in-Chief know.

Pondok Dayung: the headquarters of Kopaska

The Education and Training Centre of Kopaska is in Pondok Dayung, Jakarta. It’s a small lake. There is an island in the middle. To reach Pondok Dayung, you need a ferry or speed boat. And a permit, of course. Because non Marine, or even non Kopaska personnel or staffs, can’t just enter the headquarters.

In Pondok Dayung, you can see firing field, ammo warehouse, dock facility, offices, and whatever are normally built to support the military activities and training combat. Because there, the tough is mentally and physically built.

Kopaska training program lasts nine months. The main program are physical endurance, basic underwater, commando, and parachute training.

Each frogman candidate receives a daily physical delicious menu. I mean running, marching, push-ups, sit ups, pull-ups, swimming, etc. However, the training programs seems to be spontaneously. The instructor can give physical training randomly. And in the last week of physical endurance training, a candidate must be able to demonstrate strength to swim cross-strait, row to Laki Island at night, while in hungry or lack of sleep. A lot of candidates have failed this initial test.

The other menus are combat swimming, long range combat patrol, infiltration via submarine torpedo tube, close quarter battle, infiltration using CRRC or RIB, intelligence course, parachute training (free-fall, static line, HAHO, HALO), pathfinder, making trap, and survivals. There are more candidates who fail and back home to their bases as usual marines.

Meanwhile, the ones who passed this training, soon have learned the meaning of their unit’s motto: Tan Hana Wighna Tan Sirna. There is no obstacle that cannot be defeated.

Photos from news.zing.vn and militaryphotos.net

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