Special Service Group Navy
A member of Pakistan Navy Special Service Group is silhouetted by the setting sun aboard Pakistan Navy Ship PNS Babur (D 182) while under way in the Arabian Sea Nov. 25, 2007.
Active1966- Present
BranchPakistan Navy
TypeSpecial Forces
Size700-1000 est.
Part ofPakistani Special Forces
Garrison/HQKarachi, Sindh
Motto(s)Let It not be Said That we did not prove upto the Task
EngagementsCounter Terrorism Operations

Special Service Group Navy (commonly known as SSGN) are the the independent commando division of the Pakistan Navy. It is an elite special operations force similar to the Royal Navy's Special Boat Service and United States Navy SEALs. The SSGN teams are trained and have been deployed in a wide variety of missions, including direct action and special reconnaissance operations, unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, hostage rescue, counter-terrorism, and other missions. Without exception, all SSGN are male members of either the Navy or the Army. Official numbers place the strength between 700 to 1,000 however the actual strength is classified. During the training of the SSGN teams, the SSGN teams are occasionally send to US Navy SEALs training school to conduct its training and exercises in special warfare training with US Navy SEALs.


After the 1965 war, the Pakistan Navy decided to create its own commando unit, the Naval Special Services (SSGN) in 1966.[1] Training facilities were constructed in Karachi, Peshawar and Cherat. Lt. Col. (Retd) Sajjad Ali Shah was chosen from among the best of the SSG officers to be sent to the United States in 1974 to undergo the U.S. Navy Sea, Air, and Land training, commonly known as the Navy SEALs. After the successful completion of the world's toughest course, he was selected for basic underwater demolition course at amphibious base, Coronado, CA. On returning to Pakistan, he was given the task of raising Navy commando unit in Karachi. He also took part in formulating and implementing new ideas in Musa company of SSG which is tasked with an anti-terrorist role.


The current SSGN headquarters are based in Karachi. They were modeled on the American Navy SEALs and the British Special Boat Service. It is tasked with unconventional warfare operations in the coastal regions. During the time of war, it is assigned Midget submarines to conduct offensive and defensive operations against enemy ports, ships and naval facilities. SSGN are also trained in underwater demolition, clearance and diving. The initial training is similar to the Army's SSG and they also provides HALO training to the SSGN. After which specific marine oriented training is provided at, PNS Iqbal, which is the SSGN headquarters located in Karachi. Some students are sent to US for specialist courses.[1] Since 1970s the SSGN holds joint exercises with the U.S. Navy SEALs and the Imperial Iranian Navy.[1]

Selection process and training

Soldiers who are volunteering to join the Navy's SSGN force, the Army's SSG force and the Air Force's SSW force have to go the same basic training which is run by the Army in Cherat. All soldiers volunteering to join any of these forces including the SSGN must have at least two years of prior military experience and volunteer from other formations for three-year assignments with the SSGN; NCO and enlisted men volunteer from other formations to serve permanently in the SSGN.

All trainees must participate in an eight-month courses which includes 36-mile march or more in 12 hours, a grueling requirement that was first institutionalized by 19 Baluch regiment. They are also required to run 5 miles in 40 minutes with full gear, fully loaded. Following the course, trainees must volunteer for Airborne School. This course lasts for four weeks and all recruits must pass this course and wings are attained after conducting 5 day and 2 night static-line jumps. A large number of the SSGN operators are also HALO/HAHO qualified.

Once the 8 month course is complete, troops who are volunteering to join the SSGN are then given specialized training in maritime and amphibious warfare at the specialized training school located in Karachi. Some are also send to the United States and United Kingdom for specialized training with the US Navy SEALs and the British SBS.

Combat Diver badge is awarded for the course held by the Naval Special Services Group SSGN. Three classes of combat swimmers were recognized: 1st class to those completing an 18-mile or more swim in designated time period; 2nd class to those finishing a 12-mile swim; and 3rd class for a 6-mile swim.


The role of the SSGN members are predominantly focused on the littoral and riverine domain and are capable in mounting coastal and covert beach reconnaissance which could include covert assault route preparation in advance of amphibious assault and recovery or protection of ships and oil installations subject to hostile state or non-state (terrorist) action. They are also trained in Maritime Counter-Terrorism, assault on verified targets and the protection of VIPs.


SSGN is distinguished by a dark maroon beret with golden insignia featuring 'Sword superimposed over Wings and a Star' badge for officers, NCOs and enlisted men, worn over the left pocket on dress uniforms.[1] A metal SSGN Midget qualification badge featuring a vertical dagger superimposed over a midget submarine is worn over the left pocket on dress uniforms. Parachute wings are worn over the right pocket.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Pakistan Navy Special Forces Global Special Forces