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Special Service Wing
Pakistani F2000.JPEG
PAF Special Services Wing carrying FN F2000 rifles while on training at the Fort Lewis, Wash. in USA on July 23, 2007.
Active 2004- Present
Country Pakistan
Branch Pakistan Air Force
Type Special Forces
Size 800-1200
Part of Pakistani Special Forces
Garrison/HQ Kallar Kahar, Punjab
Motto Faith, Piety, to strive in the path of Allah', 'Thunder & lightning is a message of death for you '
Engagements Operation Gibraltar
Counter Terrorism Operations
Abbreviation SSW

Special Service Wing (SSW) is an independent commando division of the Pakistan Air Force. It is an elite special operations force based upon the US Air Force's 1st Special Operations Wing and the US Army's 75th Ranger units. This is the newest component to the Special Forces of Pakistan. The division has recently been revived and is fielding between 800 - 1200 troops.

Contents

History

After the 1965 war with India Air Cdre Mukhtar Ahmed Dogar SJ who had flown Royal Indian Air Force aircraft supporting the Chindits Operating behind Japanese lines in Burma was instrumental in creating a special forces unit for the Pakistan Air Force called SAW (Special Airwarfare Wing). SAW was raised in 1966 but in 1972 the unit was disbanded due to the inaction of the 1971 war. The soldiers were merged with the Special Service Group but some of its components participated during the Afghan War in the 1980's.

In 1999, the concept of a special forces wing for the Air Force was again revived after the Kargil War with India and given name as SSW (Special Service Wing). The unit was made operational in 2004 when the Military of Pakistan was impressed in the way that US Special Forces during the initial phase of the war in Afghanistan were able to secure targets, set up runways and airstrips for immediate use and direct strategic and tactical air strikes on enemy positions so quickly.

The close cooperation between the US and Pakistani militaries in the days immediately following 9/11 allowed many SSW soldiers to go to the United States to be trained. All members of SSW have to be HALO/HAHO qualified. The combat troops of special services wing had been carrying out operations during the recent insurgencies inside Pakistan.

Training

All the SSW members get their initial training from Special Operation School, Cherat. Soldiers wanting to join the SSW must have at least two years of service before they can join.

First they will be given basic training at Kallar Kahar for a 6-8 weeks. The initial course emphasizes tough physical conditioning and endurance. This includes a 50 mile march in 12 hours with 20 Kg weight and a 5 mile run in 35 minutes with full gear (60-100lbs) among the many physically demanding challenges. The concept of the initial training is designed to weed out the weak candidates. Drop out rate is very high and those who survive the initial training are then sent to Special Operation School for 9-12 Months for specialized training.

The advanced training includes Anti-terrorist & hostage rescue, Minor Ops, basic desert, mountain, water, snow survival training, unarmed combat, firing with all types of weapons, intelligence, static line equipment jumps, diving etc. Many in the SSW are selected for additional specialist training. A HALO/HAHO course is given at Risalpur with a "Skydiver" tab awarded after 30 free fall jumps. For HAHO minimum 150 Free fall jumps along with 10 Night equipment free fall jumps are required. A "Mountain Warfare" qualification badge is given after completing a course at the Mountain Warfare School in Abbotabad; and a "Combat Diver" badge is awarded for the course held by the Naval Special Services Group SSGN at Karachi.

SSW soldiers are occasionally sent to the United States for advanced training with the 1st Special Forces Group and the 75th Ranger Regiment in Fort Lewis, Fort Bragg and Fort Benning.

Capabilities

The SSW combat members are trained and qualified to carry out missions in unconventional warfare, special reconnaissance, direct action by sabotage and offensive raiding, Counter terrorism, counter-proliferation, VIP protection, and information and intelligence gathering operations,They have also carried out Combat search and rescue (CSAR), security assistance, humanitarian assistance.

They are also trained to be ground operators certified to act as air traffic controllers in hostile and dangerous environments. They can take over or construct an airstrip, set up navigational equipment, and direct airplanes and helicopters to a safe landing without the use of a tower or elaborate communications system. They also control air attacks of fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft from all military services.

They will also have the capability to perform search and rescue, typically of (but not limited to) downed pilots. They will be trained and able both to fight with virtually any special operations unit and to act as paramedics on the battlefield.

Some members of SSW will have the ability to gather and interpret meteorological and oceanographic information, as well as act as forward ground combatants. Their primary mission would be to collect and disseminate forward observations in denied, hostile, or otherwise data-sparse regions. But can be used for any kind of task as every member is trained for multiple tasks.

Organization

Special Service Wing Has Five Squadrons and 01 separate Flight

  • No 1 Special Ops Sqn
  • No 2 Special Ops Sqn
  • No 3 Special Ops Sqn - Anti Terrirost & Hostage Rescue Sqn
  • No 4 Special Ops Sqn - VIP Protection Sqn, Islamabad
  • Para Training Sqn, Risalpur
  • Special reconnaissance Flt

Each Squadron consists of 250-400 men. Squadrons are divided into numerous flights which are further subdivided into 10-12 men teams. Squadrons are commanded by Wing Commanders/Squadron leaders.

Uniform

SSW (Special Services Wing) is distinguished by maroon berets with PAF Officer, JCO or Airmen berret insignia], and a wing on the right side of the chest. The combat uniform of the SSW is Olive Drab camouflage. The also wear their wing insignia.

Equipment

The SSW could be equipped with an different type of modern weaponry which includes FN F2000 and P90. Light machine gun in use is Rheinmetall MG3 it is suspected that they may be having MINIMI. In sniper or Marksman role, the SSW teams are equipped with Dragunov SVD Semi-automatic rifles.Accuracy International 7.62 & 12.7. Side arm is FN Herstal Five Seven. They may also be equipped with anti aircraft weapons. They are also equipped with UAVs for reccee.

Operational experience

The precursor to the SSW, the Special Airwarfare Wing fought in the 1971 War. They operated in Jammu & Kashmir and Dhaka. They were also kept standing by for airborne assault at different IAF bases. They have also operated alongside Army special forces in areas bordering Afghanistan. They have also participated in different helo borne and airborne assaults during recent SWAT and Wazirstan operation.

Since the formation of SSW in 2004, they have been engaged in fighting against militants in Pakistan's NWFP region.

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