|Frogman Forces Command|
|Komando Pasukan Katak|
|Active||31 March 1962 – present|
|Branch||Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL)|
|Type||Naval Special Forces|
|Part of||Indonesian Fleet Command|
|Nickname(s)||Hantu Laut (Ghost of the Sea)|
|Motto(s)||Tan Hana Wighna Tan Sirna|
("There is no obstacles that cannot be defeated")
|Colours||Maroon berets, previously dark blue|
|Mascot(s)||Green Flying Frog|
|Engagements||Western New Guinea (Papua) - 1950s|
The Kopaska (Indonesian: Komando Pasukan Katak, lit. 'Frogman Forces Command') 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.
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. However, in 1954, Captain (Navy) Iskak had an idea to form a frogman 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 a few navy members could pass the qualification 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 Dutch aircraft carrier Karel Doorman. Due to a lack of personnel, Kopaska had to borrow 21 troops from the army special forces, which at that time was 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, now known as Kodam Jayakarta). The plans were cancelled when a ceasefire 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 transfers. Instead, he accommodated the ex-KOPASKA members by creating a new special unit in Kopassus SAT GULTOR 81-2 Batt.
Until the present, Kopaska trained their specialities to other Indonesian Special Forces units:
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.
The recruitment process for becoming a Kopaska frogmen is similar to that of the US Navy SEALs. The criteria are:
The initial recruitment process takes place annually at all Indonesian naval bases, so location is not a concern. Candidates who fulfill the initial criteria are then brought to the Kopaska Training Center to participate in the selection process. Of the 300-1500 candidates, only 36 to 20 actually complete the initial selection process. Those who pass the initial selection then receive advanced training at the Kopaska training center. Those who pass the advanced 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.
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.
Kopaska has conducted several joint exercises with other elite naval forces from other countries.
Further information: Equipment of the Indonesian Navy § Small arms
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 and by Crye Precision and FAST Helmets by OpsCore. 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
See also: Operation Trikora
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.
See also: MV Sinar Kudus hijacking
On March 16, 2011, an Indonesian merchant ship, MV Sinar Kudus, carrying nickel ore from South Sulawesi to Rotterdam was hijacked by a group of Somali pirates at the coast of Somalia. After some negotiations, the ship owner eventually agreed to pay a ransom and the pirates freed the vessel and its crew. However, upon learning that the ship was carrying valuable minerals, another groups of pirates attempted to re-hijack the ship, and made an aggressive fast approach to retake MV Sinar Kudus. After MV Sinar Kudus signalled "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 of Kopaska onboard the boats finished the pirates.
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.
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