SPECIAL ANTI-TERRORIST UNIT

Decades of experience, along with a training curriculum modeled on modern anti-terrorist units in the world, have created a very well trained and equipped unit, capable of conducting the most complex police tasks to protect the safety of the citizens of the Republic of Serbia and their property.

CoverPhoto

A detail from the Hoop 2020 tactical exercise. : specijalne-jedinice.com

HISTORY AND PURPOSE

During the eighties, new security threats emerged, defined by modern criminalistics as a form of organized criminal activity, characterized by actions of extreme violence and other generally dangerous actions on people and possessions, in order to intimidate citizens and/or policymakers, aiming to achieve certain extremist goals, usually political and religious. The danger from terrorist actions has been additionally increased through their constant evolution, and growing globalization. As a response to this, national security systems over the world have begun with reforms of their security systems, within which several patterns can be noticed. At the internal level (within the state systems back then), organization of special purpose units has started, consisting of the, as a rule, specially trained and equipped professional operating personnel. At the external level, establishing and intensifying national security systems cooperation can be seen, at regional and international level, in order to achieve prevention from the terrorist threats.

He who dares, can! Who ho knows no fear, shall go forward!

On the territory of former Yugoslavia, a military-police operation[1] was conducted in 1972, in the Raduša Mountain[2], in which the diversion-terrorist Bugojan Group was destroyed, the group that in its cause planned to organize an uprising in the former state and a restitution of the Independent State of Croatia. Learning from experience in this specific operation, the federation officials brought a decision to establish the Special Actions Battalion, within the former Federal Secretariat for Internal Affairs, deemed as the primary federation element in fighting terrorism at a tactical level. In the upcoming months the socialist republic of former Yugoslavia were preparing prerequisites to organize units with the same purpose, to be operational at the republic level. The policymakers of the Socialist Republic of Serbia established the Militia Special Actions Unit (MSAU) (Srb. Jedinica milicije za specijalna dejstva) within the republic Secretariat for Internal Affairs, on December 18, 1978, that was settled as an independent militia unit, capable of resolving hijacks of all means of transportation, as well as hostage crisis in these environments, searching, locating and destroying infiltrated diversion-terrorist groups, conduction of high-risk arrests and quelling riots at republic prisons and institutions. The center of the new unit was settled within the militia station at New Belgrade, until 1983[3]. During the 1983-1990 period, the MSAU was organized within the Protection and Special Actions Militia Detachment of the Secretariat for Internal Affairs, answering only to Secretary of Internal Affairs (or deputy), who (or deputy) was in charge of its engagement.

With the escalation of armed conflicts on the territory of the former state and its disintegration, the Militia Special Actions Unit changed its organization and purpose and continued to execute tasks as the Special Unit of the Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs, with a base in 13th May Training Center, at Batajnica, Belgrade, settled from 1992.

On June 1992, enacting the Issue of Special Units Organization of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, special operations units[4] were established, with HQs in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Priština, whilst their command was centralized under Special Units Command within the former Public Security Service (Srb. Resor javne bezbednosti) of the Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs. The same issue defined the purpose of the newly established units in detail, including from that moment the tasks of restoring public order and peace when disrupted to a greater intensity or area. With the annex on the mentioned issue, at the beginning of 1994, a mutual name for these units was adopted — Special Anti-Terrorist Units. Živko Trajković was carrying out commanding duties since 1999, greatly credited for the SAU`s development and progress in the upcoming years. In 2003, the commanding duties were ceded to Major Milan Glišović, and from September 2005, commanding duties have been carried out by Colonel Spasoje Vulević[5], the first officer of the Serbian Police to graduate from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Academy in Virginia, USA. At the end of 1999, according the Rule Book of Inner Organization and Systematization of Vacancies for the Serbian SAU Employees, the SAU units from Priština and Belgrade were merged into one Special Anti-Terrorist Unit (SAU), whilst the SAU from the city of Novi Sad was disbanded.

Significant changes in organization and operating personnel strength occurred during the reorganization of the Serbian Ministry of Interior in 2003, when four teams (A, B, C and D) were established, instead of the previous three, along with the Technical Service and On-duty Service (Srb. Dežurna služba). New formation elements were formed and operating personnel increased during 2012, and in 2016 a merge of the operating personnel from the Counter Terrorist Unit and SAU was carried out. The background checks and selection of the active operators preceded the reorganization of the special police units, in order to assign only the best of the best to the SAU operating personnel, at that moment.

CoverPhoto

The SAU operators during the joint tactical exercise with the Chinese SWAT officers in Smederevo, 2019. : specijalne-jedinice.com

Today, the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit (SAU) represents a highly professional, independent organizational unit, within the Police Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (recognized as a special unit by the present Law on Police), specially equipped and closely specialized for:

-planning and execution of the most complex police tasks and jobs in fighting terrorism
-resolution of hostage crisis in all conditions and environments, especially in the case of hijacks of means of transportation
-execution of high-risk arrests of individuals and criminal groups, especially when active resistance using firearms is expected
-VIP and facilities close protection
-providing expert assistance to other Ministry of Internal Affairs` organizational units in fighting organized crime
-independent engagement or providing expert assistance in rescuing citizens and property during natural disasters

The unit`s engagement is done by the so-called “double key” mechanism, including a suggestion from Police Director (or deputy) and an approval from Minister of Internal Affairs (or deputy). The unit is responsible to the mentioned officials for its operational work.

A memory of the SAU operators, who have laid down their lives while conducting service duties is perpetuated with a suitable monument at the base of the unit. Their names are carved in the monument`s stone, with their endeavors being an important part of the tradition being passed to the younger generations of the Serbian special forces operators. The unit is the bearer of many medals from top state officials, being a confirmation of job devotion of the entire personnel. On the occasion of the Statehood Day of the Republic of Serbia, the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit was decorated by President of the Republic of Serbia with the Golden Medal for Efforts, in February 2015.

ORGANIZATION

The organization of the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit has been modeled on modern anti-terrorist units in the world, based on the analysis on the national security system`s requirements. According to the adopted systematization, the Serbian SAU has the Command, the Group for Operating Technics, entrusted with the communication-command-control function and consisted of comms technicians, IT technicians and special technics technicians. The Negotiating Group was established with the organizational changes in 2012.

The Instructor Team of the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit was also established with the organizational changes in 2012. It consists of the most experienced operators of the unit. The leader of the team coordinates the work of instructors for special operations tactics, firearms, precision shooting tactics, martial arts, special physical training, climbing, diving, parachuting and EOD. With a decision from the Command, the Instructor Team plans and conducts selection of candidates applying for a vacancy at the unit, and in accordance with the adopted training curriculum carries out the training of the SAU operators, in cooperation with leaders of operating teams. Also, participates in deciding on candidates assigning and gives expert opinions on gear and armament procurements.

The Special Anti-Terrorist Unit also has the specialized Group for Medical Support, established from the end of 1999[6]. The personnel and field of work of the medical service have been increasing since 2005, becoming operational as a group from 2006, consisted of doctors and medical technicians. The members of the group are tasked to provide medical-tactical support during training and engagement, and to educate the operators as well.

The Group for Armament and Ammo Construction and Upgrade has been established at the Serbian SAU since 2006, in charge of testing, maintenance and construction upgrade of the armament and gear used at the unit, and today is operational within the Instructor Team. The experts of the group monitor the latest technical solutions in the field of specialist weaponry and gear, conduct training of the operators in the fields of ballistics, optical-electronic shooting systems and the like.

The unit`s logistics is covered by the Logistics and Technical Support Team.

The operating personnel of the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit are organized in three operating teams — A, B and C.

The A Team enlists the most experienced Special Anti-Terrorist Unit operators, organized into operating groups.

The operating teams are tasked to conduct the most complex tasks and jobs, such as hostage crisis resolutions in all conditions, arrests of dangerous individuals and members of criminal and organized criminal groups etc. The Specialist Team is settled with the systematization in 2003, consisting of the Sniper Actions Group, Diving Group, K9 Group and EOD Group. Assignment to the Specialist Team depends on the inclination of an operator to work and professionally develop within some of the specialist groups, as well as on a positive evaluation by instructors and a chief of a specialist group an operator is applying for.

The Support Team is tasked to conduct VIP close protection tasks and jobs, protect high-value facilities and provide fire-support to the operating teams when engaging.

TRADITION

The insignia of the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit consists of a two-headed eagle with a red shield and four ocilas (firesteels) and a cross. The two-headed white eagle, ocilas and cross are symbols of the Serbian statehood and tradition. The two-headed eagle claws a serpent, a symbol of evil, which head is pierced with a sword, representing justice and law.

CoverPhoto

A detail from the celebration of the Day of SAU in 2019. : specijalne-jedinice.com

Nurturing the Serbian Orthodox tradition, the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit operators honour the Aranđelovdan slava on every November 21. Archangel Michael is pictured as a duke and commander, being considered as a guardian of warriors and protector of the Orthodox religion. The slava`s ceremony is celebrated, in the presence of the operators, state officials, church elders, as well as friends and associates of the unit, at the Temple of Saint Stefan Dečanski at Batajnica, and at the 13th May SAU`s base.

TRAINING

The training system at the SAU consists of selection training, basic anti-terrorist (AT) training, advanced AT training and regular training of the operating personnel. The SAU Command, deeming the fact that specially trained personnel of the unit are the most valuable resource, devotes a great attention to the mechanisms according to which a selection of candidates is planned and carried out. Therefore, the SAU has developed special mechanisms to monitor professional results of the younger police officers of the Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs, who stand out in their performance and, therefore, SAU increases the chance for a job opening to enlist the best individuals at the Serbian Police. The SAU Command enacts a decision on a job opening at the SAU, according to the requirements of the unit. The interested active personnel of the Serbian Ministry of Interior[7], and in the case of a public opening interested civilians as well, can apply to the SAU`s on-duty service, that notes their basic personal and contact data, in order to call them up for checks. Depending on the needs of the unit, various terms can be set, all of which every candidate must meet at the moment of application, and as the most common in the so-far practice are service at the Serbian Ministry for at least two years, 4th level of qualifications (Srb. četvrti nivo stručne spreme), as well as a positive background check. The last one means that a candidate is not being charged in the criminal proceedings at the time of application, nor sanctioned. Before the selection training, submitted documents are checked, along with the identities of the applied candidates. Those who meet the criteria of the pre-selection are called for psycho-physical checks (checks of physical strength, endurance, cognitive and emotional capacities etc.), that are, usually, carried out at the SAU base in Batajnica. The physical checks include the traditional strength and endurance tests, such as pushups, pullups, crunches, running, rope climbing, swimming etc. In most of these disciplines one must achieve certain norms in a given time span, according to the SAU selection training standards. Also, previous knowledge of martial arts of the candidates is put on a test, and here a special attention is given to one`s character during sparring. The candidates are expected to know the basics of boxing, judo, karate etc.

With the completion of this phase, evaluation of the candidates` results is done, and those who meet the norms are called for an interview with officers of the unit, as well as to conduct a specialist medical examination, carried out at the Military Medical Academy at Banjica, in Belgrade. During the interview with the candidates, the officers carefully deem one`s motivation to become an operator of the elite unit, their stance towards authorities, teamwork and the like. All results of a candidate are, along with evaluations from instructors, officers and psychologist, noted in a personal record of every candidate. The summary of all the achieved results and evaluations is transformed into a unique ranking list of the candidates for the selection training at the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit, according to which candidates are dispatched for the training.

CoverPhoto

The climbing specialist performing the so-called spider descending technique using an alpine rope. : specijalne-jedinice.com

The selection training for the candidates applying for a vacancy at the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit, as a rule, lasts for 90 days and is divided into two phases. At the end of every phase, the remaining candidates take the so-called phase elimination exam, and at the end of the selection training, they take the final exam, also of elimination type. During the selection, a doctor is present all the time, monitoring candidates` health and is empowered to remove a candidate from the selection training, if evaluates that their health is seriously endangered. At the beginning, the candidates familiarize with the adopted method of work and behavior during the selection. Attention is given to candidates` fitness improving. The training of the candidates progressively intensifies, by simultaneously increasing the intensity and volume of psycho-physical efforts, with decreasing of resting periods. The candidates undergo demanding tactical training, with numerous tasks given to complete individually and/or in a group. Their reactions are monitored meticulously, because bearing in mind the nature of the job, the future operators must express emotion control, discipline and the like, in addition to strong will.

The most demanding part of the selection training begins by leaving the SAU base, in order to continue the training at planned locations in the country and includes a demanding physical training, largely consisting of strenuous marches in full loadouts, elements of climbing training etc. Firearm training is carried out along with a shooting training, conducted in various conditions. The candidates also study topography, and acquired knowledge in this field is tested through a practical application in order to successfully complete a task set by the instructors.

At the very end of the selection training, the instructor team conducts analysis of the results of all the remaining candidates and decides on dispatching the candidates to the final exam in front of the SAU commission. The purpose of the final test is to check at what level a candidate has adopted the knowledge from the elements of training conducted in the previous period. Those candidates who meet the criteria at the final exam acquire a certificate of completed selection training and an employment contract at the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia.

High standards of the selection training is confirmed by the facts that in 2011, 135 police officers applied for a vacancy at the SAU, 45 of whom met the criteria for the job opening. Thirty candidates were called up for a selection training, 9 of whom successfully completed all the phases of the selection training. Five of those 9 were inducted and assigned to the Team B.

Rookies are assigned to the operating teams, and begin an intensive training including the basic and advanced AT training, along with the regular training of the operating personnel, respectively, and specialist courses. Their professional development depends on their professional results and achievements in the upcoming years. According to the training curriculum for the SAU operators, certain courses are mandatory for every operator, such as precision shooting course, summer climbing, survival, use of special vehicles etc. On the other hand, completion of certain courses depends on the operators` inclinations in the first place. A practice in which the young operators are not used in the immediate engagement after their induction, but only as support and/or observers, has proven to be very good. The logic behind this is that in this period the young operator attains an indirect experience from situations being a novelty for them in most cases, and to realize that no engagement is to be approached in a pattern, no matter how similar they may seem.

The basic AT training of the new SAU operators usually lasts for six months. During this phase the operators practice elements of police tactical training, meticulously study gear and weaponry used at the unit, while in the field of AT training, they study and master dynamic breaching into premises and arrest tactics, resolution of hostage crisis, with a thorough preparation for a work in a group or a team and the like. With the successful completion of the basic AT training, one attains a certificate of the completed training. The advanced AT training follows the successful completion of the basic one and is planned according to the previously achieved results of an operator, so that talents and inclinations of every individual would have built up, and used afterwards. Therefore, the operators are dispatched to various specialist courses, such as sniper actions course, diving course, summer climbing course, close protection course, EOD course etc. After successful completion of every course, one gets certified, and after the successful completion of the advanced AT training — the certificate of the completed training. According to the SAU experience and standards, it takes at least two years of continuous training and development to create a versatile operator of a special unit.

CoverPhoto

A detail from the regular training of the operating personnel. : specijalne-jedinice.com

The regular training of the operating personnel is being carried out during and after the advanced AT training, continuously, according to the adopted training curriculum for the SAU operators. It includes the training being carried out within the unit and in cooperation with other domestic and foreign units of the similar purpose. The central base of the SAU is beefed up with training facilities, such as a multi-storey building, with an improvised climbing rock for a climbing training, a superb shooting range, suitable for precision shooting training, obstacle ranges, gym, pool etc.

The basic, intermediate, advanced and specialist parachuting training is being carried out constantly, in cooperation with the Aeronautical Union of Serbia and 63rd Parachute Brigade of the Serbian Armed Forces, at the military airport in the city of Niš, sports airport “Ečka” near the city of Zrenjanin, airport in Kikinda and other locations. During 2012, the SAU operators conducted a total of 740 jumps in cooperation with the Aeronautical Union of Serbia.

The winter training includes skii training or conditioning, winter survival, elements of winter climbing, winter special warfare, as well as search and rescue training in winter environment.

A significant part of the climbing training is being carried out in cooperation with the Mountain Rescue Service of Serbia, and the fact confirming the quality of training conducted at the SAU is that in August 2013, the SAU climbers conquered the Gran Paradiso Peak (4061 m), and the Mont Blanc Peak (4809 m), just four days later!

GEAR

The SAU` elitism is also noticeable in the specialist gear and weaponry in use at the unit. The mutual effort of the state officials and the SAU Command contributed to that, so throughout the years, significant funds have been allocated for procurement of the modern and high-end gear and armament. Technical achievements in this field are being closely monitored, while an intelligent approach to funds investment includes a rigorous gear and armament testing, before deciding on a procurement. In addition, a significant attention is given to the evaluation of the possibilities for further upgrades of the standard constructions and their adaptation to the requirements of the unit. A significant role in the aforementioned has the Group for Armament and Ammo Construction and Upgrade. Today, the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit is one of the best equipped units in the region and does not lag behind the elite units in Europe and the world.

In the semi-auto handgun category, the SAU has at disposal the CZ 99 models and a smaller amount of the CZ 999 models, produced by the national Zastava Arms company, from the city of Kragujevac. The systems are chambered for 9 mm Parabellum, and are mostly being used during the selection and training of candidates (firearm training, and firearm handling according to the SAU standards). The main models in use are the Austrian Glock 17s Gen 3, in 9 mm Parabellum, being modified for the requirements of the shooters by mounting fiber-optic sights. A smaller contingent of the Gen 4 Austrian models is also in use. The Streamlight M6 Tactical Laser Illuminator devices, that combine tactical light and laser, can be mounted on the handgun rails for the needs of engagements. The Simunition conversion sets have been purchased for the training requirements, consisting of a blue slide with a special barrel and bolt, constructed to fire the FX Simunition 9 mm training rounds, with a plastic bullet, filled with paint, or light, shortened ammo that do not ricochet.

The benefit of these ammo and conversion is in creating the pretty realistic conditions during training, because they allow the exchange of fire, without the danger of a serious injury.

Models Glock 21 Gen 3, chambered for .45 ACP and Glock 35 Gen 4 in .40 S&W are being used, in a smaller volume, whilst the unit has a small contingent of the Czech CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow 9 mm models at disposal. Reliable and secure handgun carry is an imperative for the elite operators. Therefore, holsters from various and reliable manufacturers in Serbia and abroad are being used, with BLACKHAWK! SERPA Level 2 Auto Lock and SERPA Tactical Level 2, both in black, being the main models in use. The Special Anti-Terrorist Unit (SAU) has a smaller contingent of revolvers, that are used for the training purposes. Models R357, produced by Zastava Arms, are in use, as well as the Ruger GP100 models, in .357 Magnum.

As for the submachine category, the SAU has Zastava M92 in 7.62×39 mm at disposal, modeled on the Kalashnikov system by the national producer. The mentioned models, that could have been deemed as carbines according to several criteria, have been modified for the requirements of the unit by the gunsmiths of the Group for Armament and Ammo Construction and Upgrade. For interventions, especially when a more compact armament is needed, the operators mostly pick the reliable German HK MP5s in 9 mm. These models are almost generally adopted at the units of the similar purpose, because they represent a reliable, accurate and compact firearm. The unit has the A2 models with fixed, and the A3 ones, with telescopic buttstocks at disposal, the suppressed SD3 models, as well as the shortened K versions, that are suitable for concealed carry, and are often used when conducting the close protection tasks and jobs. For the needs of CQB, these models are usually modified by mounting the Aimpoint CompML3 red dot sights and the Surefire tactical lights. Also, laser pointers can be mounted as well, and blue conversions, designed for the mentioned FX Simunition 9 mm ammo, have been purchased for the training purposes.

CoverPhoto

A detail from the Hoop 2020 tactical exercise. : specijalne-jedinice.com

In the automatic rifles category, the SAU has Zastava M70 AB2 with a folding stock, and Zastava M70 AB1 models with a fixed wooden stock, both manufactured by Zastava Arms, in 7.62×39 mm. Both series are modeled on the Kalashnikov system. The mentioned models are used for the selection of candidates applying for a vacancy at the SAU, as well as during training, or engagement in rural areas. Amongst the rifles with a similar action, the East-German AK 47 7.62×39 mm versions are in use, which the operators are very satisfied with, due to their superb mass balance. The mentioned systems can be mounted with a 40 mm under-barrel grenade launcher, when needed. The Vektor R4 automatic rifle, made in the Republic of South Africa, is chambered for the 5.56 mm NAT0 caliber and is visually similar to the Zastava M21 rifle.

Considering the Western manufacturers, the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit can brag with a contingent of the high-end SIG SG 552 Commando rifles, in 5.56 mm caliber. Being very compact in size, precise and reliable, they are suitable when conducting dynamic breaches into premises, whilst the completely closed receiver of these models allows the underwater use, therefore, making them an often pick by the unit`s divers. For these purposes, the firearm is, besides the mentioned red dot sights and tactical lights, modified for the needs of shooters by mounting the Brugger & Thomet suppressors. The SAU anti-terrorist groups (ATGs) have the US Colt M4 A4 Commando carbines at disposal, chambered for the 5.56 mm NATO caliber, as well as the standard-barrel models from this series. Ergonomic grip pads, manufactured by UTG, are used to protect shooters` hands from the sharp Picatinny rails edges. The US models were the main 5.56 primary weapon of the specialists, until the quality SIG 516 CQB 5.56 mm systems have been introduced, in configuration with the B5 Systems Bravo Stock telescopic buttstocks and Magpul PMAG 30 AR/M4 M2 MOE Window polymer magazines. The newer Aimpoint PRO (Patrol Rifle Optic) red dot sights with protective rubber covers have been procured for the entire contingent of these systems. These systems are often modified for CQB by fitting tactical lights into the FAB PLA-1 adapters, with the Steiner DBAL A3 devices being very important, combining a green laser pointer, IR pointer and IR illuminator.

When breaching into premises and for the needs of room-clearing, the SAU operators use tactical shotguns, such as Benelli M4 Super 90, M3 Super 90 and Benelli M4 A1, from the same manufacturer, as well as Mossberg M590. All the models are in 12-gauge caliber.

For the needs of precision shooting at medium distances, up to 400 m, the Hecker & Koch G3 rifles are at disposal, in the semi-auto A4 and SG1 versions, that are, however, seldom used in engagements. The SAU also has the semi-auto SIG 716 systems, chambered for 7.62×51 mm NATO, that are adapted for sniping with the KAHLES optics. The main models in use in this rifle category are the superb Sako TRG 22 in .308 Winchester, along with Sako TRG 42, chambered for .338 Lapua Magnum. The Finish rifles are bolt-action ones, and are modified for sniping by fitting the high-end Schmidt & Bender Police Marksman II 3-12×50 optics. The specialists have a contingent of Tikka T3 Tactical .308 Winchester bolt-action systems. The unit holds the Blaser R93 Tactical LRS2 rifles as well, in 5.56 mm caliber, usually with the Schmidt & Bender 3-12×56 optics. The Simrad KN252C MK2 light amplifiers are used for sniping in low light, while reliable Leica VECTOR IV 7×42 and Bushnell rangefinders are used for observation and distance measurement. The anti-materiel Zastava M93 “Black Arrow” bolt-action 12.7×108 mm rifles are used to engage the long-range targets, up to 2000 m, targets behind cover, light-armored vehicles, technical systems and the like. The rifles of the national producers have been modified by the experts at the Group for Armament and Ammo Construction and Upgrade, by mounting the Israeli optical-electronic Malos 6×42, laser rangefinder and ballistic computer. The semi-auto anti-materiel Barrett M82 A1 rifles with the Swarovski 10×42 optics are chambered for the 12.7×99 mm NATO (.50 BMG) caliber.

The fire-support category consists of the Zastava M84 light machine guns, in 7.62×54 R, along with the Belgian FN Minimi 5.56 mm. The Singaporean Ultimax 100 is in the same caliber, and is upgraded for the requirements of the unit by the Group for Armament and Ammo Construction and Upgrade. A vastly stronger fire support can be achieved by mounting the M134 D Mini Gun machine gun of the Getling system, in 7.62×51 mm.

CoverPhoto

The fire-support specialist armed with the M134 D Mini Gun system, mounted onto the M16 Miloš 4×4 vehicle. : specijalne-jedinice.com

When needed, the heavy Browning machine guns in .50 BMG, along with HCB from Zastava Arms in 12.7×108 mm and Soviet KPVT in 14.5×114 mm, can be mounted on the vehicles used by the SAU. Also, the unit has the 30 mm Zastava M93 automatic grenade launchers at disposal, produced by the national manufacturer.

For the interventions, the operators wear the GK Pro black tactical overalls, usually used in urban environment, and the unit uses the two-piece 5.11 tactical uniforms. The Serbian SAU has equipped most of its personnel with the black two-piece HPFU uniforms, produced by BLACKHAWK!, which the operators are pretty satisfied with. The two-piece tactical uniforms, in the genuine US AT Digital urban camo and ACU cut, are intended for urban engagements. The operators are provided with the two-piece uniforms in DPM British camo pattern, manufactured by Arktis, intended for blending with rural environments.

Gear loadouts are completed with reliable military and combat boots, with models such as Magnum, 5.11, ADIDAS GSG 9 being in use, along with a significant amount of various LOWA models, mostly Zephyr GTX MID Task Force, in black.

A high level of protection during engagements is achieved with modern ballistic plate carriers, purchased in black and a shade of green. During 2016, the gear capacities of the SAU have been increased with a donation of 70 plate carriers, in black, manufactured by Yugoimport SDPR, and today the main models in use are the 5.11 TacTec plate carriers in black, and in the TAC OD shade of green colour. Ballistic head protection is achieved with various helmets, such as the Pro-Tech Mod. 775 and Mile Dragić M97 models. The mentioned models are in the PASGT design and provide the IIIA level of ballistic protection. The mentioned models are usually used for the selection training nowadays, because the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit has a significant contingent of the modern Ops-Core FAST High Cut helmets, providing the same level of protection, along with the Šestan-Busch models, in the same design. The side rails of these models accept tactical accessories, such as tactical lights, cameras etc., whilst the front shroud fits night goggles. Also, the unit holds a certain number of the Ulbrichts Witwe Zenturio 05 ballistic helmets, modeled on the Titanium Sphera concept. Head and face protection can be achieved with ballistic visors mounted onto the helmets, as well as with the Ops-Core Face Protector face ballistic masks. The JOBE, Protec and other helmets protect against mechanical traumas and fragments, and are mostly used during parachuting, climbing or diving training.

When conducting dynamic breaches into premises, the operators` protection is increased with the Intruder ballistic shields, manufactured by Pro-Tech, and others, equipped with ballistic visors and lights.

The specialist tactical gear category includes the PELTOR ComTac XP comms sets, Motorola GP 380 UHF and Motorola GP 340 radio devices. The hydraulic Door Raider systems are used to breach barricaded premises, allowing a swift and pretty silent breach. The exothermic Broco devices are used for the same purpose. The high-end DTNVG-14 NVGs, manufactured by ACTinBlack, are used when conducting activities in low-light or night conditions.

The mobility of the unit is achieved with specialized vehicles of various purposes. The Special Anti-Terrorist Unit holds the armored Land Rover Defender vehicles, Mercedes G300 jeeps, along with the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport GLS models. The M80 infantry fighting vehicles, as well as the 4×4 M15A and multi-purpose combat-armored 4×4 M16 Miloš vehicles, produced by Yugoimport SDPR, have been adapted to the requirements of the unit. Air insertions are being carried out using helicopters of the Helicopter Unit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. When conducting actions on water surface, fast transport of the personnel and gear is achieved with the BWA boats, along with the Zodiac ones.

COOPERATION

Realization of professional cooperation is beneficial in many ways. This creates possibilities to exchange experience with the elite units in the country, region and the world, having, as a rule, a positive impact on the training, operability and reputation of the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit, as well as the Republic of Serbia. The SAU Command and Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia have managed to establish a cooperation with a myriad of foreign elite units[8], whilst the cooperation between the Serbian Police and Armed Forces units is common and very intensive.

In the region, the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit has a good cooperation with the elite units of the Montenegrin police, Special Anti-Terrorist Unit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Srpska, Special Support Unit of the SIPA B & H and Special Police Unit of the Federal Police Administration of the B & H, Anti-terrorist Unit Lučko and Special Operations Command from Croatia, as well as the Special Police Unit (Slo. Specialna enota policije) of the Republic of Slovenia. Very good relations have been built up with the Macedonian Special Task Unit “Tiger” (Mac. Eдиница за специјални задачи „Тигар”), Hungarian TEK, elite Romanian SIAS, Greek EKAM, Slovakian LYNX Commando and others.

CoverPhoto

The SAU specialists and operators from the Chinese Police of the Henan Province, during the joint tactical exercise, Smederevo, 2019. : specijalne-jedinice.com

In Europe, the SAU has established cooperation through security seminars and joint tactical exercises with the Italian NOCS, Austrian ECO Cobra, Belarusian ALMAZ, as well as the French elite units GIGN and RAID. Joint training has been organized on several occasion at the Ministry of Internal Affairs` Kula Training Center with the RAID operators, in the fields of anti-terrorist tactics and negotiation team tactics, and during 2011, the SAU operators studied special operations tactics at RAID`s base, France.

Intensive cooperation is being achieved with the US elite units, through the Joint Combined Exchange Training program. The SAU specialists regularly exchange experience with Navy SEALs and Green Berets, and with the operators from the FBI Hostage Rescue Team through the Combating Terrorism Seminar.

Several SAU operators have completed the training for participating in the UN international missions, in Italy and Slovenia, and Serbian special forces operators have participated in the missions in Haiti and Liberia. In addition, several operators have successfully completed a course at International Law Enforcement Academy.

[1] The “Fenix” Operation.
[2] The present territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Central Bosnia Canton.
[3] In the 1983-1992 period, the base of the unit was moved to the airport in Surčin.
[4] Within the Public Security Service of the then Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia.
[5] In the moment of succession of the commanding duties, he had the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
[6] Organized as the Medic Service at first, according the systematization from 1999.
[7] The application of police officers is, therefore, only voluntary.
[8] This is also confirmed by the fact that the SAU has carried out as many as 90 activities with foreign units, of which 46 were conducted abroad, during the 2011-2012 period.

The text is the copyrighted work of the editor. Copying or downloading in other way, without editor`s permission, is prohibited.