IBSAMAR V sitrep 19 - SA Special Forces flying the South African flag high

Article by Captain ( Army) Owen Mushayi & Sub Lieutenant Nombuso Mhlongo
Photos by Sub Lieutenant Nombuso Mhlongo & Petty Officer Sithembiso Makuleni

19 February 2016

Once SAS SPIOENKOP was alongside in Goa various exercise planning meetings took place. The Special Forces component of the exercise was planned for both ashore and at sea. The teams consisted of the SA Special Forces (Recce’s), Brazilian Special Forces (Gurmec) and Indian Special Forces (Marcos).

The Special Forces element of all participating vessels assembled at the Goa Air Force Base to commence training. The Special Forces teams from the respective countries managed to achieve the objective of the training programme within 4 days compared the normal period of 2 – 3 weeks.

The teams comprised of SA Special Forces (Recce’s), Brazilian Special Forces Gurmec and Indian Special Forces Marcos.

Day 1: Presentations from each Special Forces team, included history, background, various flow of training and the capabilities of their own equipment was given.

The group was divided into two smaller groups. The one group proceeded with rope work incorporating a Sea King helicopter from the host country. The rope work consisted of fast-roping, repelling, and laddering while the second group conducted urban training, consisting of entry drills into a building and clearing of buildings.

The day concluded with a safety brief and freefall ground training procedures.

Members packing chutes after a jump

SA Special Force member descending on his jump

Day 2: The Sea King helicopter took off to an altitude of ten thousand feet at the Goa Air Force Base which was the drop zone for freefall jumpers to land. Each member had to pack his own parachute for the next jump, after completion a parachute descent. This was the hardest part due to the humidity and extreme heat that India is known for. Teams headed to the shooting range outside of Goa for live shooting.

Integrated Operations Centre, assembling point for all forces

Urban Training, consisting of entry drills into a building and clearing of buildings.


Urban Training, consisting of entry drills into a building

Diving Equipment

Day 3: Urban and ship boarding technique training consisted of members coming alongside a moving vessel with a Special Forces Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat using various techniques to get on board. After an intense training programme, members stowed weapons and equipment, loosened their boots and took time out to share refreshments and enjoy each other’s company.

Teams at the shooting range

Day 4: The Special Forces teams gathered early in the morning to receive a briefing based on a scenario where a non-compliant vessel (opposed boarding) had to be executed.

Team members continued with preparations for the opposed boarding, while team leaders planned the opposed boarding. Team leaders briefed the rest of the team members on how the opposed boarding was to unfold and the position and role of each member in the team during the final execution.

D-Day: The final execution of the Special Forces component of Exercise IBSAMAR V – Opposed Boarding. The opposed boarding was executed during daylight. Special Forces operations would normally be undertaken in the cover of darkness to maintain an element of surprise.