Korps Pasukan Khas TNI-AU
Indonesian Air Force Special Forces Corps
The Indonesian Air Force (IAF) has its own elite unit, called Air Force Special Forces Corps (Paskhas). Just like any other elite unit in the Army and Navy, Paskhas is the ground combat unit that is capable to operate on land, sea, and air. The difference is that Paskhas is trained to conquer and defend airfields from enemy, and then prepare the airfields to be able to facilitate friendly airplanes to land. This capability is called Front Air Base Establishment and Management Operation (OP3UD). Paskhas as the only Air Force special forces and having the most combat qualification in the world has many air aspect combat ability such as combat control team, air fields control, combat SAR, jump master, ground forward air control and they can also rules as Air Traffic Controller (ATC).
The history of Paskhas as the first airborne troops is almost as old as the Republic of Indonesia. Airborne infiltration operation by 14 paratroopers on October 17, 1947 in Kotawaringin, Kalimantan, is marked as the birth date of Paskhas. In the early years of Indonesian Air Force (established on April 9, 1946), these airborne units are called Air Field Defense Troops (PPP). In April 1952, the Quick-Reaction Troops (PGT) was also established to strengthen the IAF.
As of 1952, the IAF ground units consisted of PPP, PGT, and PSU (Air Defense Unit). On October 15, 1962, PPP and PGT were organized into Air Fields Defense Command (Koppau). Later on May 17, 1966, Koppau was renamed to Quick-Reaction Troops Command (Kopasgat). There were three Kopasgat regiments, each located in Bandung, Jakarta and Surabaya. Kopasgat was transformed into Special Forces Center in 1985 before became Paskhas on July 7, 1997 based on the official decision of Indonesian Armed Forces Commander.
Today Paskhas has strength of around 6,000 personnel. Every Paskhas personnel must have Para-Commando qualification then added by special air aspects qualification based on his specialization. Paskhas famous with their orange beret that they used from this forces still with name Kopasgat in the mid of 1960’s. Paskhas motto is Karmanye Vadikaraste Mafalesu Kadatjana which meaning is working without hoping any reward. Every Paskhas personnel also equipped with white Commando dagger made from Germany. Orange beret and Commando dagger becoming trademark of this special forces. Paskhas also known with its light green camouflage uniform call Commando Stripe with a stretch out straight motif like moss-covered wooden, that’s very famous during Seroja operation in East Timor.
There is a plan to expand Paskhas unit into 10 or 11 battalion with twice as many personnel as what they are today. Until now, the placement of Paskhas still follows the organization of IAF weapon system, in particular the combat and support-combat airplanes. In other words, wherever there is an IAF main airbase, ideally there is a Paskhas battalion as the airfield defense unit.