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Pasukan Khas Laut
PASKAL Logo.jpg
The PASKAL elite logo.
Active October 1, 1980 - Present
Country  Malaysia
Branch Naval Ensign of Malaysia.svgRoyal Malaysian Navy
Type Maritime Special Operations Force
Role Primary tasks:

Other tasks:

Size ~1,000
Part of Malaysian Armed Forces
Garrison/HQ RMN Naval Base, Lumut, Perak,
RMN KD Semporna Naval Base, Semporna, Sabah
Nickname KD Panglima Hitam[1]
Motto Always The Best
Beret       Purple Coloured
March Dari Jasamu Kami Abadikan
(meaning: From Your Kindness We Eternize)
Engagements Spratley Islands
UNOSOM II, Somalia
UNIVEM II 1998, Angola
Operation Astute, East Timor
MALCON-UNIFIL 2007 - 2008, Lebanon
Operations Dawn, Somalia
Colonel of
the Regiment
Rear Admiral Nasaruddin Othman
Admiral Sutarji Kasmin
This article is about a Malaysian military unit. For other possible meanings, see Pascal.

The Royal Malaysian Navy PASukan Khas Laut (English: Naval Special Forces), commonly known as the PASKAL compose the Special Operations Forces of the Royal Malaysian Navy, employed in direct action and special reconnaissance operations. PASKAL are also capable of undertaking unconventional warfare, guerrilla warfare, jungle warfare, counter-terrorism, close protection for VIPs, specific enemy assassination and hostage rescue as well as foreign internal defense.

It was officially established on October 1, 1980, after a five-year setting-up period, with the purpose of enforcing Malaysia's Exclusive Economic Zone maritime claims through sea, air and land operations (similar to the United States Navy SEALs).



The manpower details of this unit is highly classified. Believed to be a regiment with an estimated 1,000 mens divided into two operations units - PASKAL Unit Satu (PASKAL - First Unit) based in the Lumut Naval base in Perak on Peninsular Malaysia, and PASKAL Unit Dua (PASKAL - 2nd Unit) which is based at KD Sri Semporna, a Malaysian Royal Navy base in Semporna, Sabah. A company-strength (detachment) is also based at the Teluk Sepanggar Naval Base near Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, where the RMN's proposed Submarine Training Centre will be set up soon.

PASKAL organizes itself operationally into several squadrons of at least four companies (or Platoons) each. Each company is in turn, organised roughly along the lines of the US Green Berets' structure of Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta Detachments. The smallest unit for Paskal, however, is the so-called Boat Troop with 7 men. Each PASKAL companies or Platoons which consist of:-

Alpha platoon
The Versatile Special Operations Force, mainly trained for Maritime Counter-terrorism which responsibility in other rescue operations into the cargo vessels and oil rigs as well as urban terrain. This platoon was equipped with individual covering systems for close quarters combat.
Bravo platoon
Which consist of oxygen mcombat diving team and special air operations team which both of this squad was provided an infiltration tactics to enemy territory quietly. This squad also be trained to carrying and collecting intelligence data to help assault squad.
Charlie platoon
An auxiliary team with roles of strengthen special operations capacity from behind the enemy lines.
Delta platoon
The conventional warfare team which dominated the amphibious warfare of PASKAL teams with special operation skills on the ground and sniping.

Basically each squadron contains a mixture of specialists that is usually adjusted by the specifics of the mission or area it is tasked to operate within.

Each squadron normally carries a Combat Intelligence Team (Malay: Tim Risik Gempur, TRG), trained in maritime tactical intelligence, counter-intelligence and psychological operations.


The history of PASKAL began in 1975, when the Royal Malaysian Navy saw the need for a security regiment trained in modern maritime warfare. Its main purpose was originally to protect naval bases and national assets all over Malaysia. At that time, the RMN main base was known as KD Malaya (Kapal Diraja Malaya, His Majesty's Ship Malaya), formerly known as HMS Malaya before independence, in Woodlands, Singapore (which was later transferred to the new naval base in Lumut, Perak when it was completed in 1979.

The first batch of 30 officers, led by Captain Sutarji Kasmin (now Admiral, retired), was sent to the Malaysian Army's Special Warfare Training Center (Pusat Latihan Peperangan Khas) located at Sg Udang Military Camp, Melaka, and were trained by Grup Gerak Khas army commandos.

They were also trained by instructors from Indonesian Navy KOPASKA[2], UK Royal Marines Commando and US Navy SEALs.[1]

In 1979, one of the 69 personnels of RMN failed to complete the course due to broken leg sustained during training in the Basic Jungle Commando Course in Indonesia. A few men, including RMN officer, Lieutenant Commander Ahmad Ramli Kardi traveled on to Colorado, California and Norfolk, Virginia to be trained by the US Navy SEALs.

In April 15, 2009, PASKAL Team Command (PTC) was officially named KD Panglima Hitam in a ceremony held at the Royal Malaysian Navy HQ in Lumut, Perak by the King of Malaysia, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin to honour PASKAL's services to the nation. Panglima Hitam is the traditional nickname awarded to proven warriors during the era of the various Malay Sultanates in Perak, Selangor, Johor and Negeri Sembilan.[1][3]


On October 1, 1980, PASKAL was officially established as the Malaysian Government began to enforce its EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) which covers 200 nautical miles off Malaysian waters. In addition, there was a requirement to protect Malaysian offshore stations near the disputed Spratly Islands.


One of PASKAL's roles is to launch offensive operations independently via sea, land and air in enemy controlled waters. PASKAL operatives were trained to conduct maritime operations such as anti-piracy and anti-ship / oil rig hijacking.

The security of more than thirty offshore oil rigs in Malaysian waters are solely the responsibility of PASKAL, and the unit has held regular training exercises on each of those oil rigs.

Although part of PASKAL's mission consists of securing beachheads, deep penetration reconnaissance raids, structure and underwater demolition and sabotage, their range of training and activity extends beyond.

PASKAL's repertoire also includes in-harbour underwater sabotage, ship-boarding assault, Counter-Terrorist missions (CT), special infiltration tactics behind enemy lines and mine-clearing operations.

Special joint training with special Army units are also conducted regularly on specialised skills like HALO and HAHO overwater and overland parachute jumps.[4]

PASKAL detachments are also stationed on sensitive Malaysian offshore stations particularly in Layang-Layang atoll and a few detachments are also permanently staged on several RMN's ships.[5]


As a Special Forces unit, PASKAL's personnel are required to be mentally and physically agile. Every new trainee undergoes three months of basic commando training at the Royal Malaysian Navy's (RMN) Lumut Naval Base. The basic criteria to joining this elite force is that all applicants must be younger than 30 years old and to be of sound health.

Upon completing the basic commando course, they are sent to the Special Warfare Training Centre (SWTC) in Sungai Udang, Melaka to undergo basic parachuting.

Those who pass the gruelling training process will continue to the Advanced First Class training where they are given specialised courses in several fields such as medic, communications, explosives and electrical–mechanical repairing. They are also required to pass a physical test every three months.

Assignment to PASKAL is conditional on passing the PASKAL Physical Screening Test (PST). Prospective trainees are expected to exceed the minimums. Among others, the PST consists of:

  1. 7.8 km running in 24 minutes (below 24 years of age)
  2. 1.5 km swimming in not more than 25 minutes (in a swimming pool)
  3. 6.4 km swimming in open sea with full mission load - under 120 minutes
  4. Day–night skydiving at high elevation spots i.e. hills, buildings and on ocean surface.
  5. Freestyle swimming for 1.5 km under 31 minutes
  6. Surviving in water with hands and feet fully tied up (drown-proofing)
  7. Diving without breathing apparatus for a minimum of 7 m in depth
Basic Recruitment Course
  1. Pre-Selection/Warm-Up
  2. Basic PASKAL commando
  3. Diving endurance
  4. Basic Sky-Diving
Career Development Course
  1. First Class enrollment
  2. Underwater Combat Maneuver
  3. "Laskar Kanan" enrollment
  4. "Bintara Muda" enrollment
  5. Diving/Underwater Combat Superior

PASKAL routinely sends officers and men to train with the SAS/UK, NGSLO, BUD/SEAL, EOD (USA), Submarine Escape (Australia), Assault Swimmer and Australia, Clearance Diver (Australia/USA), Sniper Supervisor (Australia), Mountain Climbing (France), SASR of Australia, etc.

On 26 August 1991, the National Security Council declared PASKAL as Malaysia's main counter-terrorist task force for the security of oil rigs and oil tanker ships and forms one of the elements in the Quick Reaction Force (QRF), or the Pasukan Aturgerak Cepat (PAC).

Expertise–Specialist Course

PASKAL combat diving operatives (centre) with 10 Paratrooper Brigade, Grup Gerak Khas and US forces during the CARAT Malaysia 2009, Terengganu.
Insertion Techniques
  1. Basic HALO/HAHO
  2. Freefall Instructor
  3. Fast-roping Techniques
  4. Abseiling and Air Rescue Operations
  5. Tactical Cliff Climbing
  6. Tactical Cliff Climbing Instructor
Combat Technique
  1. Combat Tracking
  2. Pathfinding and Jungle Survival
  3. Unarmed Combat (Silat and Taekwondo - based for CQC technique)
  4. Close Quarters Combat Tactical
  5. Sniper
  6. Sniper Instructor
  7. Counter-sniper tactics
  8. Unconventional Warfare
  9. Section Leader
  10. Platoon Sergeant
  11. Company Commander
Intelligence gathering
  1. Intelligence
  2. Intel Sergeant
  3. Team Intel Officer
  4. Photographer
  5. C4-I Systems Implementations
  6. Long Range Recon Patrol
  1. Combat, Search and Rescue (CSAR)
  2. Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain - MOUT
  3. Operation In Built-up Area - OBUA
  4. Combat Medic Specialist
  5. Diving Supervisor
  6. Small Vehicle Operator
  7. Small Surface Craft Operator
  8. Survival Night/Mission Test
  9. Combat Tracking
  10. Foreign Language
  11. Combat Medic Specialist
  12. Explosive Ordnance Disposal

PASKAL is strongly influenced by the tactics and organization of the British Special Boat Service (SBS). PASKAL usually trains with GGK as well as US Navy SEALs, Indonesian Navy's KOPASKA and, of course - the SBS.[6]

Weaponry and equipment

PASKAL's weapon inventory is a confidential subject. Nevertheless, amid rumors of financing from the consortium of oil companies in addition to ample financing from the navy, PASKAL's inventory currently includes some of the most advanced and sophisticated equipment in the Armed Forces.

The voluntary contributions from the oil consortium has ensured that PASKAL has sufficient means to procure weapons and equipment that are much more modern and sophisticated in comparison to the other SOF units in the Malaysian armed forces.

Pictures taken during national day parades and from local defense magazines indicate the use of the following:

PASKAL is also known to utilise specialised delivery craft - among others, PASKAL employs high speed inflatable/collapsible sub-skimmers (also known as UDV - Underwater Delivery Vehicle), for infiltrations into hostile areas.

The acquisition of two Scorpene submarines which are jointly being built by DCNS, France and Navantia, Spain ("KD Tunku Abdul Rahman" commissioning January 2009, "KD Tun Razak" commissioning October 2008) is expected to further add PASKAL's capabilities and range.[9]

PASKAL Emblems and Badges

Purple Coloured Beret
The purple beret reflects the PASKAL's identity and its close relationship with the Indonesian Marine Corps.
The PASKAL camouflage uniform is identical to that worn by US Navy SEALs. It also reflects the close relationship with this US Special Forces unit from which PASKAL also receives training.
The "Trimedia" is PASKAL's main emblem which is worn by every PASKAL trooper. The various components symbolises:
  1. Wing - the traditional symbol for airborne capability
  2. Jet Fin & Face Mask Emblem - symbolises seaborne infiltration capability
  3. Combat Dagger - symbolises jungle-warfare capability
  4. Anchor - the symbol for the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN).

List of PASKAL Commanders

List of PASKAL Commander
Name Year Remark
Admiral Dr. Haji Sutarji bin Kasmin 1975-2003 PASKAL Commander from 1975 and retired in 2003
First Admiral Nasaruddin bin Othman 2003-Now

Notable PASKAL Members

Recent Operations

The unit has been deployed in the following operations:

Operation Roles Country Year
Spratley Islands Security Mission  Malaysia 1980s
Gugusan Semarang Peninjau Security Missions  Malaysia 1979
United Nations Operation in Somalia II (UNOSOM II) Peacekeeping Missions  Somalia 1993 - 1995
United Nations Angola Verification Mission II (UNIVEM II) Peacekeeping Missions  Angola 1998
Operation Astute Peacekeeping Missions  Timor-Leste 2006
United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (MALCON-UNIFIL) Peacekeeping Missions  Lebanon 2007
United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon II (MALCON-UNIFIL II) Peacekeeping Missions  Lebanon 2008
Operation Dawn Hostage Rescue  Somalia 2008 - 2009
RMN PASKAL operatives during the counter-terrorism and hostage rescue drill in MISC merchant vessel.
Operation Dawn (Ops Fajar)
PASKAL operatives were deployed in the activities subsequent to the hijacking by Somalian pirates of two Malaysian merchant vessels, MISC-owned Bunga Melati 2 and Bunga Melati 5. The PASKAL detachment was tasked to intelligence-gathering and also to provide security to the Malaysian team negotiating the release of both ships and their crew. This operation, codenamed Ops Fajar (Operation Dawn) also involved Royal Malaysian Navy assets comprising KD Lekiu, KD Sri Inderapura, as well as supported elements of Malaysian Army special forces, Grup Gerak Khas as well as some RMAF assets.[10]
The operation was deemed a success after Malaysian special forces paid a ransom amounting to millions of dollars to the pirates.[11]
Rescue Operations of Zhenhua 4 and MV Abul Kalam Azad
December 18, 2008 - The Royal Malaysian Navy swung into action to save a China-registered ship, Zhenhua 4 in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday, the same day the United Nations Security Council decided to be more assertive against the Somali pirates. The Zhenhua 4 was attacked by the nine armed pirates about noon on Wednesday while sailing in the gulf on its way from Djibouti to China.
Called on by the Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150), the multinational coalition patrolling the pirate-infested gulf, the RMN's KD Sri Indera Sakti despatched a helicopter (including PASKAL naval commando) to the scene. The helicopter fired two warning shots at the pirates' skiff, causing them to call off the attack on the heavy load carrier Zhenhua 4 and flee.[12][13]
1 January 2009 - PASKAL operatives together with RMN KD Sri Inderasakti, commanding by Captain Mohamad Adib Abdul Samad experienced its first combat in the new year when its Fennec helicopter drove off two pirate skiffs pursuing Indian crude oil tanker MT Abul Kalam Azad in the dangerous pirate-infested Gulf of Aden. Somalia. The 92,000-tonne vessel, with 40 crew members, was heading for the Suez Canal with a full load of crude oil, sailing in the gulf at 11.37am (Malaysian time) when it was attacked by pirates in two skifs. One of the boats had seven men in it, all armed with AK-47s and machineguns. They unleashed a barrage of fire at the bridge and accommodation area of the ship. They also tried to board it, all the while keeping up the attack.
However, the ship began taking evasive measures and increased speed to the maximum. This was also when it issued a distress signal, which was picked up by Malaysian navy support ship KD Sri Indera Sakti about 15 nautical miles away. In rapid response, Captain Mohamad Adib dispatched the ship-borne Fennec helicopter gunship armed with twin general purpose machine guns and an elite Naval Special Forces PASKAL airborne sniper. The Malaysian helicopter was joined by a Eurocopter AS 365 Dauphine-type helicopter of the Royal Saudi Navy, effectively scaring off the pirates.
The captain of the Abul Kalam Azad had initially requested to join the Malaysian International Shipping Corporation convoy, escorted by the Sri Indera Sakti, but later accepted the offer from a Saudi Arabian naval ship to escort it to its destination. International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Centre head Noel Choong said the crew of the Abul Kalam Azad reported seeing the pirates in military-style garb.[14][15]

See also

Similar Navy Special Forces Units Outside Malaysia


  1. ^ a b c "KD Panglima Hitam lahirkan Paskal berwibawa" (in Bahasa Malaysia). Utusan Malaysia. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  2. ^ "Paskal: History". Unknown. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  3. ^ "PASKAL Team Command will be known as KD Panglima Hitam". Royal Malaysian Navy. 2009-04-18.,en/. Retrieved 2009-04-29. 
  4. ^ "Paskal: Roles". Unknown. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  5. ^ "Well primed to repel attacks". The Star. 2007-12-02. Retrieved 2002-11-02. 
  6. ^ "Paskal:Training". Unknown. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  7. ^ Thompson, Leroy (December 2008). "Malaysian Special Forces". Special Weapons. Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  8. ^ "Tender of HK416". Malaysian Defence. 2009-05-06. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  9. ^ "Work on submarine base to start soon". The Star. 2006-11-15. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  10. ^ "Ops Fajar mission accomplished". The Star. 2008-10-10. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  11. ^ "Somali pirates free Malaysian chemical tanker". China View. 2008-09-30. Retrieved 2008-12-14. 
  12. ^ "RMN saves ship boarded by pirates". New Straits Times. 2008-12-19. Retrieved 2009-01-02. 
  13. ^ "Quick response from RMN ship saves vessel". The Star. 2008-12-20. Retrieved 2009-01-02. 
  14. ^ "Malaysian and Saudi navy copters scare off pirates". New Straits Times. 2009-01-02. Retrieved 2009-01-02. 
  15. ^ "RMN helps Indian tanker". The Star. 2009-01-02. Retrieved 2009-01-02. 

External links

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