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Underwater Demolition Assault Unit
Royal Thai Navy Seals Emblem.svg
Unit insignia
Active 1956-present
Country  Thailand
Branch Royal Thai Navy
Type Special Operations
Role Intelligence-gathering,
Reconnaissance missions,
Direct Action,
Unconventional Warfare
and Counter-Terrorism
Size 144
Part of Royal Thai Armed Forces
Nickname(s) Royal Thai Navy SEALs
Website http://www.sealthailand.com/

Rear Admiral Apakorn Yuukongkaew

(พลเรือตรี อาภากร อยู่คงแก้ว)

The Underwater Demolition Assault Unit (UDAU)[1] of the Royal Thai Navy (Thai language: หน่วยทำลายใต้น้ำจู่โจม) is a 144-man special operations force within the Military of Thailand. Members of the unit are colloquially known as Seals, in Thai: หน่วยซีล,[2] as in the pinniped animals. Although this unofficial term was influenced by the US unit, it is not an acronym like the American unit's.

The unit was set up in 1956 with the assistance of the U.S. Government and has trained with United States Navy SEALs which it in fact predates. A small element within the Royal Thai Navy's "seal" unit has been trained to conduct maritime counter-terrorism missions. This unit has close ties with the U.S. Navy's own SEAL teams.

History[edit | edit source]

A 'seal' of the Underwater Demolition Assault Unit boarding a container ship during the annual Southeast Asia Cooperation Against Terrorism (SEACAT) exercises, 2008.

During World War II, Navy troops fighting for both the Axis and Allies used special warfare forces. They were small elite groups of soldiers trained to destroy ships, buildings, and other strategic locations as well as conduct sabotage and other clandestine missions. After the war finished, the special warfare mission continued and through improved training and equipment, increased the ability of the military to fight using new tactics to achieve missions previously unthinkable.

In 1952, the Thai Ministry of Defence started thinking about organizing Underwater Demolition Teams. Representatives of the Thai Ministry of Defense met with officers from the United States Military Assistance Advisory Group to discuss the possibility of training. Based on the meetings, a resolution was passed directing the Royal Thai Navy to set up training for the unit but unfortunately at the time there were not enough instructors from the United States to make the project happen and so it was temporarily put on hold.

In 1953, Sea Supply, a CIA front company, was tasked with supporting the initial training of the Royal Thai Navy's Underwater Demolition Team and also the Royal Thai Police Aerial Reinforcement Unit. The first group to take part in the UDT/SEAL training included seven Thai Naval Officers and eight members of the Royal Thai Police. This training started on March 4, 1953 on 'Z island (ZULU)'. After 61 days, only 15 of the recruits successfully passed the training.

In 1956 the Royal Thai Navy formed a small combat diver unit, based on the U.S. Navy's Underwater Demolition Teams. In 1965 the unit was reorganized. It was expanded and divided into two separate platoons, with a U.S. Navy Mobile Training Team providing assistance. The first group was assigned intelligence-gathering, special and unconventional warfare, assassination and Special reconnaissance missions.,[3] and the second group dealt with underwater demolition.

In 2008, the Royal Thai Navy's special warfare units have been raised to "Royal Thai Naval Special Warfare Command" in order to increase the unit size and its capability for dealing with any future threats.

Operational Deployments[edit | edit source]

Insignia of the Underwater Demolition Assault Unit

Most of the operations of the Underwater Demolition Assault Unit are highly sensitive and are rarely divulged to the public. However, it is thought that they have been involved in a number of skirmishes along the Cambodian border, and in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Thailand. They have also participated in salvage and rescue operations, and have supported RTMC training exercises. The Underwater Demolition Assault Unit was also thought to have been used to gather intelligence during period of heightened tensions along Thailand's border. In December 1978, for example, recon teams were sent to the Mekong River during skirmishes with the Pathet Lao. The Pathet Lao was a communist, nationalist political movement and organization in Laos. The Royal Thai Seals have recently been sent to the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia to undertake in anti-piracy operations. They have been noted to work closely with the CIA Paramilitary Unit Leader in Asean code name (PL).

Weapon[edit | edit source]

Origin Small Arm Specific Model
 Belgium FN Herstal SCAR SCAR-H and SCAR-L
 Germany Heckler & Koch G36 G36KV
 Germany Heckler & Koch UMP UMP9
 Germany Heckler & Koch MP5 MP5SD and MP5K
 Germany Heckler & Koch USP
 Germany Heckler & Koch HK21 HK23E
 Germany Heckler & Koch PSG1 PSG1 and MSG90
United States KAC SR-25
United States Barrett M82
United States Barrett M95
United States Bushmaster M4 M4A3 SOPMOD
 United Kingdom Accuracy International AW50
  Switzerland SIG Sauer SIG516

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Oxford-River Books English-Thai Dictionary. Publisher:Oxford
  2. Oxford-River Books English-Thai Dictionary. Publisher:Oxford
  3. Thailand: Royal Thai Navy Seals-->

External links[edit | edit source]

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