The Buzos Tácticos de la Armada de Chile, literally the Tactical Divers of the Chilean Navy, are an elite part of the 300-strong Comando de Fuerzas Especiales (COMFUES) commando unit. Dating in its current form back to just 2005 when both Marine and Navy units merged to create the current format, Chile has maintained a frogman unit continually since 1959 when it was formed with help from the British SBS and Italian COMSUBIN types.
Today, they continue to train regularly with both NATO combat swimmer units and the SEALs, and it shows.
The Buzos Tácticos show lots of U.S./NATO influence. I mean just dig those shorty Colts, multicam, boonies, and Dragers! (Photo: Armada de Chile)
The country’s defense ministry last week posted an interesting 6-minute doc on the Buzos Tácticos that, even if you don’t speak Spanish, really needs no subtitles. Lots of helicasting, Drager rebreather use, kayak teams, raider boats, and the like. Curiously, they also are trained in hazardous SAR and hard hat salvage/construction diving as well, skillsets that could have other applications in wartime or counter-terror ops.
This Big Picture film on Special Forces Amphibious Training in 1956 Okinawa is insightful.
Of note is the fact that the “fighting frogman” detachment receives instruction in conducting water insertion and demolition training off the coast of White Beach aboard a U.S. Naval ship while wearing their floppy Lovat Scouts-style green berets– which was not officially approved for wear by the Army until 25 September 1961 in an evolved, more close-fitting, format.
The tactics covered are classic late WWII/Korean War-era UDT team and Marine recon evolutions. Good stuff regardless.
Those triple tank rigs, tho…
The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has a number of specialized frogmen units including combat swimmer detachments of the Special Operations Force and the Naval Diving Unit (NDU), dating back to 1971. To become an elite amphibious warrior takes over 20 weeks of training.
The above video shows RADM Tan Wee Beng, Chief of Staff – Naval Staff, inspecting the 39th Combat Diver Course last week.
As noted by LTC Sng Meng Wah, Commanding Officer, Dive School, Naval Diving Unit the Republic of Singapore Navy:
“It has been a tough 6 months for these trainees to transform from civilians to Naval Divers following their enlistment into Naval Diving Unit in March this year. They have learned not just to dive with SCUBA and Closed Circuit Re-breathers, but in the process, have also grown physically stronger and mentally tougher in preparation for them to work in the harsh environment we divers work in.
This underwater parade signifies the start of their journey as a Naval Diver and showcases to their parents the diving abilities that each and every one of these divers have learned over the course of their training in Dive school. I wish them all the best when they proceed to serve their National Service in the various operational units in NDU.”
A peek into how the unit is crafted below
“Kit up.” The Royal Malaysian Navy’s elite special operations unit – Pasukan Khas Laut/ PASKAL. By Marc Lee
PASKAL is relatively new in the combat swimmer/VBSS/maritime counter-terrorism game, only being founded in 1980. However, they got up to speed quick, regularly training with UK Royal Marines Commandos/SBS and U.S.Navy SEALs/Marine Recon.
In their dress uniform they wear a distinctive magenta beret with a classic British commando-style sleeve rocker but when suited up for work they look very NATO as noted by the Draeger and HK MP5.
They are estimated to number ~1000 men including support personnel, training cadre, and pipeline.
A UDT combat swimmer wearing a dry suit protective dress places a demolition charge on the propeller of a large capital ship during daylight training operations. A ship attack like this would normally be conducted under cover of darkness.From US Navy SEALs by Still, Greg E. Mathieson Sr. and David Gatley.
A team of four Italian Gruppo Operativo Incurson (Operational Raider Group) combat swimmers emerging from a Salvatore Todaro (S526)-class diesel attack submarine. The Salvatore Todaro (S526) is a German Type 212 class 1800-ton advanced SSK. These boats are able to transit up to two weeks without surfacing or snorkeling, which is huge for a non-nuclear boat. Manned by just a 27 man crew, one of these boats can float in 20-feet of water and carry up to 13 DM2A4, A184 Mod.3, Black Shark Torpedo, or IDAS missiles and 24 external naval mines. Oh yeah, and naval swimmers. Note the ease of leaving the sub by the front door. Their weapons of choice are M4-type rifles with the swimmer on the far right carrying one possibly in 7.62x51mm NATO (judging from the straight box mag and longer barrel) which could make it a Mk110 type.
The Operational Raider Group is a unit of just 150-200 hardcore operators inside the more well-known COMSUBIN that are comparable to the US Navy Seals, Royal Marine SBS, or Danish Frogmen corps. They trace their lineage back to the MAS units and X MAS units of World War One and Two, meaning they have more sunken battleships to their record than any other combat swimmers on the market.