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Jordanian Elite ~ QRFB & KAII SOFG

In 2017, following the creation of the Quick Reaction Force Brigade (QRFB) in 2016, the Joint Special Operations Command of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was restructured and the King Abdullah II Special Operation Forces Group (KAII SOFG) was formed.


To recap: Prior to 2017 the Jordanian Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) included the 101st Special Forces Group, the 71st Counter-Terrorist Battalion, the 28th Royal Ranger Brigade and the Prince Hashim II 5th Aviation Brigade but, after the Rangers were absorbed into the QRFB and the helicopter squadrons from the aviation brigade were transferred to the Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) under the 2017 restructuring, the 101st SFG and 71st CTB were re-designated. Under the new structure the 101st has become Special Unit I and the 71st has become Special Unit II; it is believed that in theory SU I undertakes the more conventional SpecOps counter-insurgency roles and SU II undertakes counter-terrorist missions, but in practice both units are trained to undertake either.

Not realising they are being observed, armed insurgents move a consignment of arms and ammunition [© Bob Morrison]

The barely one year old QRF Brigade formation, which has been partially funded, trained and equipped under United States and United Kingdom military assistance programmes, falls under command of the Directorate of Joint Military Operations and is similar in concept to Britain’s Special Forces Support Group but very much larger. It’s primary tasking is to secure the areas where Special Forces are operational and provide security for them as they insert and extract.

Organised into a Brigade Headquarters, three Airborne Battalions and a Training Centre, the QRFB also has an attached Royal Jordanian Air Force helicopter squadron, equipped primarily with UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for air assault and troop transport; for close ground support, the brigade can also call on RJAF Casa C-295 fixed wing and Cobra AH-1F helicopter gunships. With its dedicated helicopter squadron, the last pair of twelve airframes were delivered in early 2018, the QRFB can speedily insert a company-sized combat group anywhere along its 350km border with troubled neighbour Syria to the north or the 150km long eastern open desert border with only slightly less troubled Iraq.

Normally HALO jumpers would insert clandestinely under cover of darkness and set up in hides overlooking the target [© Bob Morrison]

The brigade’s three Airborne battalions, all of which were previously components of the now disbanded 28th Ranger Brigade, are the 61st Royal Raider Battalion, the 81st Quick Reaction Battalion and the 91st Quick Reaction Battalion. During the capability display photographed here, which took place in early May in front of His Majesty King Abdullah II at the SOFEX (the Special Operations Forces Expo) opening ceremony at Marka airfield in Amman, the bulk of the QRFB personnel who formed the outer cordon are believed to have been drawn from 91st QRB and the personnel who assaulted the insurgent-held buildings and captured the high value targets are understood to have been a composite team drawn from Special Units I and II; if any Jordanian readers who participated know different and are able to correct without breaching OpSec, please get in touch.

A superb example of precision landing – despite high winds this jumper set himself down in a kneeling position within arm’s reach of his equipment container or rucksack [© Bob Morrison]

With the HALO team on the ground the QRF outer cordon is dropped off by Black Hawk helicopters [© Bob Morrison]

The insurgents wake up to the danger and race into action [© Bob Morrison]

The QRF Battalions have a dedicated fleet of a dozen Black Hawk helicopters [© Bob Morrison]

With the outer cordon in place two more Black Hawks bring in the assault teams [© Bob Morrison]

A team of SpecOps fast ropes onto the building roof – note the military working dog [© Bob Morrison]

The roof team prepares to breach through a trapdoor – note insurgent at left wearing a dog suit [© Bob Morrison]

A Special Operations AH-6 ‘Little Bird’ with minigun and rocket pod on overwatch [© Bob Morrison]

Four-man assault team moving forward – in adition to HK416 assault rifle the third man carries a combat shotgun [© Bob Morrison]

The assault team which landed behind the building goes in at ground level as the roof team goes through a skylight [© Bob Morrison]

The Black Hawks were escorted by an RJAF AH-1F Cobra gunship [© Bob Morrison]

As five of the roof team clear the upper floor the military working dog takes down the insurgent wearing the dog suit [© Bob Morrison]

A medic applies a tourniquet to a wounded operator as two colleagues assemble a stretcher and a third provides security [© Bob Morrison]

An RJAF AS332 Super Puma flares in to pick up up casualties [© Bob Morrison]

Some of the ground floor team exit to form a security cordon as colleagues prepare to extract a high vale target [© Bob Morrison]

The captured HVT (high value target) is bundled out of the building towards a Black Hawk which has landed behind to extract the team [© Bob Morrison]

One of the teams forming the outer cordon returns to their aircraft for extraction [© Bob Morrison]

From the lead image HALO jumper landing at the start of the operation to the last team strapping in for extraction at the end of the mission took less than eleven minutes [© Bob Morrison]

Finally, although highly compatible with MultiCam the Jordanian Special Operations camo pattern uniform is of unique design [© Bob Morrison]

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