COUNTER TERRORIST UNIT PARACHUTE GROUPTweet
Counter Terrorist Unit — CTU (Serb. Protivteroristička jedinica — PTJ) is the elite special operation unit of the Police Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia. Within its operational element, CTU has a well-resourced parachute group tasked to conduct various tactical airborne actions.
CTU PARACHUTE GROUP
CTU Parachute Group is organized as an element of one of the CTU`s operational teams and is consisted of six highly trained CTU operators, all of whom have parachute specialists ranks. The rank of a specialist is one of the mandatory terms to become a member of the group. Police Major, Goran Panović, is an experienced parachute specialist, who used to be a commander of the parachute group. Major says that the small number of the parachutists within the group is due to the decision of CTU`s command which deems it is a better option to have a smaller in strength, but highly trained and well-resourced group of the parachutists capable of and eager to carry out any given task at any time: “Units of this type and purpose are expensive. State policymakers invest significant funds into training and professional development of their special forces. Yet, we have significantly less funds compared to foreign units and countries, allowing us a limited number of jumps annually. In order to maintain combat readiness, along with the rationalization criteria, we consider it is more efficient to enable a larger number of jumps to a smaller group”.
Major Panović is an experienced parachutist. After 1300th jump, he says he has stopped counting them, but his first was in 1986. Graduated from the Faculty of Physical Education in the city of Novi Sad, Panović gained officer rank in 2004. Throughout his rich career, among other things, he had led the international special operations team in Haiti in 2009 and 2010. Major Panović is also judo and skiing instructor.
Counter Terrorist Unit Parachute Group is specially trained for:
-actions deep into the territory controlled by the enemy, or a territory with operating terrorist groups
-friendly forces airborne rear supplying
-ground search & rescue missions, when the advance of the ground forces is hampered
Given tasks CTU parachutist are able to conduct in urban and rural environments, independently, or in coordination with other friendly forces. According to the CTU Operators Training Curriculum, basic parachute training is mandatory for all the operators of the unit and is carried out within their basic training. Also, every operator within their common routine is to conduct at least one jump per year. Thanks to the high-quality training, and with the help of experienced instructors, every “Griffin” is trained enough to carry out a full-gear jump and land on the ground surface of a handball court, which is mostly to be expected in real situations.
The basic parachute training of the CTU operators includes theoretical and practical classes. It begins with theoretical lectures on the individual and group security procedures regarding to preparing and conducting a jump, as well as when landing. Also, with the continuous monitoring and assistance, operators constantly learn and repeat the procedure of parachute packing to automation, as well as gear-checking procedures. A very important element of the parachute training are procedures that are performed in the case of a partial or total malfunction of the main parachute, while the importance of landing procedures learning is related to injury preventions of the parachutists. The trainees study the effects of weather conditions, as well as their mutual causality (especially effects and causality of height, wind, temperature, air density and the like). At the beginning of their practical training, operators familiarize with basic parachute equipment and with advice from instructors they practice body balance that is very important during the free fall of a parachutist, or while performing a tandem jump. Major Panović stresses out:
Every operator develops self-confidence and trust in his gear during intensive training.
All members of the Parachute Group are also competitors of the Griffin Parachute Club and as such — regular participants at the national competitions, as well as the ones abroad. Many trophies and medals advocate their individual and team quality, these competitors are multiple state champions in precision landing discipline, as well as in free-fall figurative elements, owners of more than ten state champions titles and others. At regional prestigious tournaments Griffins also achieve excellent group and individual results. Experienced parachutists have participated in setting the national record in free fall jump. A team of 12 parachutists had jumped of a plane at 9250 meters on May 12, 2004, and opened their parachutes at 500 meters attitude.
Bearing in mind that basic parachute training is mandatory for all the operators of the CTU, to achieve the rank of the parachute specialist one must reach very high standards. In order to achieve the prestigious rank, an operator must spend at least three years in professional development in this area, reaching the minimum of 150 jumps.
Counter Terrorist Unit Parachute Group uses high-quality parachutes Parafoil 282 and Eagle 290, as well as Strong tandem parachute systems. Enlisted models are considered among the finest on the market and are manufactured in the USA. To support their quality and reliability — the fact that US Space Agency NASA uses these parachutes for the need of employees. Depending on the environment where the landing and actions are expected, parachutists wear tactical uniforms with various camouflage patterns that are in use at CTU. When conducting missions in rural areas, Griffins usually wear Tactical One two-piece uniforms in rural digital camo pattern, manufactured by Mile Dragić. The same needs are met with two-pieced uniforms in French Woodland as well, from the same manufacturer, who also provides Tactical One camouflage uniforms, designed for urban environment.
During the preparations and jumping head protection is achieved with helmets, especially designed for airborne forces, purchased from manufacturers like Protec, JOBE, Velocity and others. Depending on the needs of missions, a part of the protective gear may include the M 05 ballistic helmet, designed by Mile Dragić.
As for the weaponry, priority is given to the more compact weapons, relatively small in weight. Therefore, parachutists often opt for a reliable German SMG in various versions, from HK MP5 A3 with telescopic buttstock, over compact version HK MP5 K, to suppressed one — HK MP5 SD3, all in 9×19 mm Parabellum. In the category of assault rifles and carbines, US-made Colt M4 A4 Commando 5.56 mm with telescopic buttstock are available. Swiss SIG 516 CQB SBR rifles, chambered for the same caliber and based on a AR15/M4 systems, but with some improvements and more compact in size, should be mentioned as well. Standard Picatinny rails, integrated to these rifle models, accept various tactical accessories, such as red dot sights Aimpoint CompM3, tactical lights, assault handgrips and the like, depending on the mission requirements and preferences of the operators. Accessory mounting is performed in a way not to disturb the balance of the weapon, bearing in mind to increase the total weapon weight as low as possible. As for the rifles based on the Kalashnikov system, reliable East German AK 47s of a superb balance and low weight, compared to other models of the same system, are in use. The loadout of the parachutist is always completed with a semi-automatic handgun, such as Austrian Glock 17 Gen 3 in 9×19 mm Parabellum, which is the main model in use and is purchased for the entire operational element of the CTU. Besides firearms, parachutists commonly carry reliable knives from various manufacturers.
 The type of a parachute jump that is carried out in a pair (tandem), consisted of a tandem master, experienced parachute specialists, and so-called passenger, a person attached to the master during the jump. Jumping is done with one parachute managed by the tandem master.
 Griffin Parachute Club was established in 2010.
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