All around the world, there are units which were founded, trained and equipped by the model of United States of Navy SEALs. Bangladesh is not an exception. Bangladesh Navy have their own elite special operations forces unit. They call themselves as SWADS which stands for Special Warfare Diving and Salvage.
SWADS’s core is formed of professional soldiers recruited from the Bangladesh Navy. Other information about the individual squads or platoons inside SWADS is not known. It is also believed that SWADS size is around one-thousand. The unit command center is located in the southern port city of Chittagong. The SWADS base is formally known as “Nirvik”.
The unit was formally formed in the 2009 and so far, they have adopted techniques and tactics used by US Navy SEALs and Korean UDT/SEAL teams. Their history tracks origins since the 1970s when members of Bangladesh Navy were trained on American soil by American instructors.
In 2008, US Navy SEAL instructors started training which leads to the forming of the SWADS. First class was accomplished by 150 commandos and 200 divers. US Ambassador to Bangladesh Dan Mozena provided assistance in the creation of the unit.
So far, Bangladesh SWADS took part in Joint Combined Training exchange programs with US Navy SEALs during the Tiger Shark exercises.
The unit is employed within Bangladesh and as well as overseas. Their missions include (but are not limited to) various tasks which don’t differ from the units of a similar type:
- Covert insertions/extractions
- Hostage rescue and personnel recovery
- Hydrographic reconnaissance
- Intelligence gathering
- Underwater demolition
Training and selection
SWADS operators are recruited from the Bangladesh Navy and allied services through advanced rigorous training which provides most extensive and one toughest programs in the world. The average drop rate is 95%.
Instructors are usually various navy special forces instructors from South Korea, Turkey and the United States.
The candidates for the SWADS needs to be proposed by their ordinary units leader to participate in the SWADS selection training. After candidate successfully finishes selection course, he is assigned to the unit where he goes further in his training.
So far, the SWADS were not involved in greater counter-terrorism operations, but they were part of various task forces.They were tasked with preserving peace during a national crisis and to aid during the state of natural disasters.
The scale weapons for use by operators SWADS’s is a truly extensive. As they are trained to handle all types of combat weapons, in addition to standard gear such as ballistic helmets with night optics, and underwater video equipment. One fact that makes SWADS’s unique is that they can operate in water, underwater and in the air. The weapons which are operated by SWADS are given below
- Colt M4A1 SOPMOD: primary weapon of SWADS
- Daewoo K2
- Type 56 assault rifle
- HK M416
- MK 19
- CQBR used by SEAL operatives only;
- Accuracy International AS50