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KASOTC 2018 ~ Counter Attack and Rapid Reaction Teams

During the Opening Ceremony at the 10th Annual Warrior Competition, held at the amazing KASOTC (King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center) complex near Amman, Jordan’s elite Special Operations Forces undertook a series of dynamic demonstrations.


Jordanian Special Forces HALO jumper lands in front of the grandstand during the AWC Opening Ceremony [© Bob Morrison]

The Special Operations part of the ceremony commenced with a precision HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) parachute jump by a squad of Special Forces operators who landed on the parade ground directly in front of the grandstand, with the A300 Airbus and airfield control tower used for hijack scenarios as a backdrop. As always at KASOTC, the Jordanian SF jumpers landed with pinpoint accuracy in the centre of the arena despite the challenges of landing in the deep stone quarry which houses the training facility.


The first of three Jordanian Special Operations Forces formations to display their prowess consisted of a Counter Attack Team (CAT) backed up by a Rapid Reaction Team (RRT) who gave a demonstration of anti-hijack drills while protecting a VIP and the suppression of multiple hostiles by both plain clothes and uniformed operatives. Live ammunition was used throughout in a spectacular display of shock & awe tactics conducted on a quarry shooting range a little over 100 metres from the grandstand.


As operatives in the lead vehicle debus to engage attackers the drivers behind bang their vehicles into reverse to execute a J-turn and spirit away the VIP [© Bob Morrison]

This whole demonstration, from the three-car convoy with VIP in the centre vehicle racing onto the parade ground to the supporting GMC gunship departing after all targets had been suppressed and all operatives had left the arena, took just seventy seconds. I later checked timings on my camera to confirm just how fast this drill had been and from the shot here of the operatives exiting the lead vehicle in response to the IED attack through to the shot of the gunship departing took just 61 seconds!


Four-man CAT squad in the lead vehicle engage the attackers [© Bob Morrison]

The three saloons and the SUV used for this display were just training vehicles but normally on a live operation the CAT would use a fleet of dedicated black vehicles for ceremonial occasions or nondescript armoured saloons and SUVs for low profile missions. The gunship with 7.62mm minigun was a GMC Sierra SLE 3500HD model with twin rear wheels and upgraded suspension.


The RRT gunship races in to add firepower to the CAT back-up squad [© Bob Morrison]

If wearing combat uniforms, as opposed to black suits when in plain clothes, CAT and RRT operatives dress in black flame-retardant coveralls with black load carriage vests and black helmets (though berets are green). Main insignia consists of a white eagle’s head on a round patch with white lettering and white parachute wings, plus I also spotted a couple of Military Police patches being worn.

The GMC gunship with 7.62mm minigun is a force multiplier [© Bob Morrison]

The CAT squad in the back-up SUV extracts while the gunship covers them [© Bob Morrison]

With all attackers neutralised the gunship departs 61 seconds after the ambush was initiated by an IED blast [© Bob Morrison]

Plain clothes and uniformed CAT operatives stow weapons at the end of the demo [© Bob Morrison]

Gunship photographed in the holding area prior to the start of the capability demonstration [© Bob Morrison]

The CAT normally uses a fleet of black vehicles for VIP escort on ceremonial occasions – this photo was taken in 2012 [© Bob Morrison]

During 10th Annual Warrior Competition participating teams had to undertake a similar CAT mission [© Bob Morrison]

The next photo feature from KASOTC will be on the aircraft take-down by a combined counter-terrorist force from Special Units 1 and 2.

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