Pasukan Khas Udara

Official PASKAU crest
Active 1 April 1980 – known as HANDAU
1 June 1993 – PASKAU
Country  Malaysia
Branch Royal Malaysian Air Force
Type Air Force Special Operations
Role Special operations
Hostage rescue
Size Flight Hostage Rescue Team
Combat Air Rescue Squadron
Force Protection Squadron
Part of Malaysian Armed Forces
Malaysian Joint Forces Command
Garrison/HQ Regimental: Bukit Jugra, Selangor
FHRT: Bukit Jugra, Selangor
CARS: All Malaysian AFB
FPT: All Malaysian AFB
Motto(s) Cepat, Senyap, Pasti
(English: Fast, Stealth and Sure)
Colours Amaranth red, Navy blue, Maya Blue and Airforce Golden Yellow
Engagements Gunung Gerah incident
Bukit Galla incident
PASKAU Boat Capsizing
Piper 28 crash
Brinchang incident
Bukit Batu Tiban incident
Hawk 208 crash
Genting Sempah Incident
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Daulat
Chief of RMAF General Tan Sri Dato' Sri Roslan Bin Saad RMAF
Colonel of
the Regiment
Colonel Haji Khalil bin Mohd Ali RMAF
Parachute Badge with Wings PASKAU
Abbreviation PASKAU

The Pasukan Khas Udara (English: Air Force Special Air Service) formerly the Malaysian abbreviation known as PASKAU, is a special counter-terrorism force and special operations tactical within the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF). Its main responsibility is to conduct combat search and rescue missions (CSAR) and the recovery of downed aircrew. PASKAU is also a fully qualified counter-terrorist assault unit.

It has a specialised Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) and can be deployed behind enemy lines to assist in target designation for RMAF offensive missions.

On 24 January 2008, the Sultan of Pahang, Sultan Ahmad Shah, was made an Honorary Colonel of the unit when he honoured the Honor Beret of PASKAU by Chief of Air Force, General Tan Sri Azizan Bin Ariffin RMAF at RMAF Regiment, Bukit Jugra, Selangor.[1]


PASKAU can trace its beginnings to the 1970s and a mortar attack by Malayan Communist Party agents from outside an RMAF airbase, Kuala Lumpur; it resulted in the destruction of a RMAF DHC-4 Caribou transport aircraft.

From this incident, a specific directive from the RMAF led to the formation of an operation force for the security of RMAF airbases which was previously the responsibility of the Royal Military Police Corps (RMPC). An elite force, it was known as Pasukan Pertahanan Darat dan Udara (English: Air and Ground Defence Force) or by its abbreviation HANDAU; it was established on 1 April 1980.[2] The new force received training from the army's special forces. They also received special training from the British Special Air Service and the US Special Forces.

102 squadron was the first unit to take over security duties from the RMPC at RMAF air base, Kuala Lumpur, on 1 April 1980. It was followed by the establishment of ten more squadrons up to 1 March 1987.

The Force Protections Team personnel from PASKAU armed with SIG SG – 553SB assault rifle, on guard at Langkawi International Airport during the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2009 or LIMA 2009.
List of RMAF HANDAU Squadrons
Branch Base Year Formed
102 HANDAU SquadronKuala Lumpur RMAF Airbase1 April 1980
103 HANDAU SquadronKuantan RMAF Airbase18 November 1980
104 HANDAU SquadronButterworth RMAF Airbase10 January 1981
202 HANDAU SquadronIpoh RMAF Airbase9 February 1981
105 HANDAU SquadronKuching RMAF Airbase7 April 1981
107 HANDAU SquadronAlor Setar RMAF Airbase7 July 1981
109 HANDAU SquadronDEBKAT Subang6 August 1981
204 HANDAU SquadronKluang RMAF Airbase19 August 1981
201 HANDAU SquadronBukit Jugra RMAF Airbase27 August 1987
208 HANDAU SquadronSubang RMAF Airbase1 September 1987
106 HANDAU SquadronLabuan RMAF Airbase1 March 1987

The restructuring of the RMAF, (which was based on the modernisation of the British Royal Air Force), on 1 June 1993, included changing the name HANDAU to Pasukan Khas Udara, (abbreviated to PASKAU). In 1996, the unit strength was increased and its role expanded to include counter-terrorism, unconventional warfare and search and rescue missions.[2]


Now officially known as the RMAF Regiment, it is better known as PASKAU. Today, it operates directly under Headquarters, Air Operations and is based at Bukit Jugra Air Base, Banting. Below are the three main squadrons of PASKAU under the Operations Branch of the Regiment responsible for special operations.

PASKAU branches, responsibility and roles
Branch Responsible Roles
Flight Hostage Rescue Team Counter-terrorist force The Flight Hostage Rescue Team comes under the Combat Wing Squadron (Malay: Skuadron Sayap Tempur); it is the combat arm of PASKAU. Located at RMAF Bukit Jugra, trained in counter-terrorism, hostage rescue, infiltration and sabotage, it can work behind enemy lines to destroy or disable high-value targets. It has a Ground Laser Target Designation (GLTD) team to provide forward target acquisition and tracking for attacking aircraft. There is also a Hostage Rescue Team (HRT), that specialises in aircraft hostage rescue operations. Every mission involves a six personnels with different specialisations such as cross-trained Signallers, Medics, Weapons Specialists, Demolitions Experts, Snipers and Boatmen. These personnel are equipped with light weapons, such as the Colt M4A1, the SIG-553 LB assault rifle and the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW). For Close Quarters Battle (CQB) operations such as hostage rescue or counter-terrorism, weapons used include the Heckler & Koch MP5 submachineguns, Benelli M4 Super 90 shotguns and M4 carbines equipped with EOTech holographic weapon sight.[2]
Combat Air Rescue Squadron Combat Search and Rescue Combat Air Rescue (CAR) Squadron (Malay: Skuadron Penyelamat Tempur Udara (SPTU)), is capable of mounting a rescue operation behind enemy lines. It consist of six detachments operating from air bases with a Rescue Sub-Centre (RSC) at Kuala Lumpur, Kuantan, Butterworth, Gong Kedak, Kuching and Labuan AFBs. The CAR is also capable of sea rescue through its Maritime Para Rescue Team (MPRT) based in Bukit Jugra.[2]
Field Protection Squadron Airbase Protections The Field Protection Squadron (Malay: Skuadron Kawalan Medan – SKM) provides special protection to high-value targets such as air defence radar and forward operating bases. High value target protection not only involves installation but also close or special escort duty. This team is equipped with the Field Intrusion Detection System (FIDS) for zone protection. During the insertion operation into enemy territory, they would be the pathfinders and able to act as Ground Forward Air Controllers (GFAC).[2]

Training and expertise

PASKAU commando operatives during survival training in the jungle.
PASKAU during 2013 National Day Parade.

Every officer and man is presented with a light blue beret when he passes the PASKAU basic course and a commando dagger on the successful completion of the PASKAU expert course. They then carry out advanced training which allows them to take part in all operations. PASKAU personnel are tested every twelve weeks. These tests are compulsory.

The tests include
  1. 160 kilometre walking without stopping[2]
  2. Australian rappel
  3. Special Patrol Insertion/Extraction
  4. Operating a boat capable of 60 km per hour[2]
  5. Jungle commando basic course
  6. Special infiltration and reconnaissance course
  7. Sniper course

PASKAU operatives are capable of conducting operations using:-

  1. Close Quarters Combat – CQC
  2. Combat diving
  3. Counter-insurgency
  4. Counter-terrorism
  5. Counter-sniper tactics
  6. Laser-designation – Using AN/PEQ-1 SOFLAM GLTD II, the units 'paint' hostile targets, marking them for attack by air-dropped laser-guided munitions such as the Paveway II LGB (laser-guided bomb)
  7. Marksmanship
  8. Sabotage
  9. Sang Moo Doo (multi-technique martial arts including Aikido, Judo, Karate and Taekwondo)[3]
  10. Snipers
  11. Unconventional warfare
A PASKAU trainee in the Diving Phase being supervised by a US Air Force 320th Special Tactics Squadrons instructor.
PASKAU and US Air Force Special Tactics personnel firing the Barret M82A1 (M107) sniper rifles during a tactical long range course as a part of Teak Mint 09-1.
Insertion Techniques
  1. High-altitude military parachuting – high altitude low opening/high altitude high opening of parachutes
  2. Hover jump
  3. Rappelling
  4. Special Patrol Insertion/Extraction – SPIE rig
Intelligence gathering
  1. Special reconnaissance
  2. Counterintelligence
  3. Signal intelligence – SIGINT
  4. Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol
  5. Providing base security to RMAF installations.
Expertise Oriented
  1. Combat Search and Rescue (The recovery of friendly units from behind enemy lines)
  2. Fighting In Built-Up Areas – FIBUA
  3. Hostage rescue
  4. Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain – MOUT
  5. OBUA – Operations in Built Up Areas
  6. Special demolitions
  7. Explosive Ordnance Disposal – EOD

PASKAU is highly capable of carrying-out hostage rescue operations in any situation and is regarded as the principal anti-hijack response for civil and military aircraft. This task was taken over from Grup Gerak Khas (Army SOF unit). The unit also took part in special training with the British SAS and the US Special Forces. On 6 May 2004, only 81 of 198 personnel received their blue berets, including the best trainee Laskar Udara Meor Mohd Nazri Othman, 23, having survived the challenging three-month series 07/2004 Basic Commando Training[4] while in October 2007, only 20 of 54 trainees successfully completed a three-month training programme.[5]

From 28 May 2009, PASKAU participated with the United States Air Force 320th Special Tactics Squadron in an underwater search and recovery course as part of a joint training exercise code-named Teak Mint 09-1. Besides the joint training, the USAF presented Barret M107 anti-material rifles for use by the RMAF special team.[6] Teak Mint 09-1 is a joint training exchange designed to enhance United States – Malaysian military training and capabilities.[6]


PASKAU's establishment has increased the RMAF capability in special air operations such as Combat Search And Rescue (CSAR). It must also be capable of securing forward RMAF bases and be able to assist in the execution of airstrikes using specialist weapons. PASKAU consists of specially selected and trained RMAF regiment personnel. The role of this unit is very different from army Grup Gerak Khas; or the Navy PASKAL.



The PASKAU operator armed with Remington 870 in 2015.




Counter-sniper rifles

Designated Marksman Rifles

Sniper rifles


Grenade Launchers


PASKAU airmen from the Flight Hostage Rescue Team during National Day Parade in Kuala Lumpur.

PASKAU soon became a very important asset to the RMAF. The force normally deploys by air, both in peace and war. The capabilities of PASKAU personnel include:

Target marking

To mark a target for an airstrike, such as radar or surface-to-air-missile (SAM) sites, sub-units must be able to infiltrate behind enemy lines. The target can then be 'painted' using GLTD II.

Security of important assets

The unit must secure critical RMAF areas from enemy ground attack. The task is made harder in forward locations and other hostile environments where the threat level is higher.

Search and rescue

Search and rescue missions, on land (on both sides of the lines) and at sea, are the responsibility of PASKAU. A wide variety of circumstances are usually encountered. For instance, when a Sikorsky S61 'Nuri' helicopter crashed on the slopes of Gunung Gerah in November 1989, reaching the wreckage required abseiling into the jungle. Other SAR missions are shown in the 'Recent Operations' section further down this page.

Counter Terrorism

Incidents involving hijacked aircraft and terrorists throughout Malaysia come under the remit of PASKAU. The unit is trained to solve the problem with the least effect on the passengers and aircraft.


The Flight Hostage Rescue Team of PASKAU in assault gear arms with Milkor M32 grenade launcher.
PASKAU sniper operator arms with Accuracy International Arctic Warfare fitted with silencer.


PASKAU is able to be rapidly inserted into an operational area by land, air or sea.


The group is capable of being deployed independently or as part of a joint task force with other special operations groups.


The unit is able to operate independently and conduct special operations for sustained periods without external assistance.


The group has access to high-tech equipment and weaponry to improve its ability to execute complex and demanding special operations.

Special training

The group employs specialised physical training that exceeds that of conventional forces. This is to ensure that operators are well-prepared to execute highly demanding SOF-type missions. They are especially suited to classified missions involving small sub-units.

Mission and the future

The future direction for PASKAU includes the continuous expansion of the team expertise and roles as well as enhancing the team's effectiveness with newer and more capable equipment.

Recent operations

Operation Daulat

In March 2013, PASKAU commandos was deployed to joint operations with all branches of Malaysian Armed Forces, Royal Malaysia Police and Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency special forces to execution of Operation Daulat by conducting psychological warfare operations against the Sulu terrorist by dropping leaflets to urge them to lay down their weapon and surrender to the authorities. The PASKAU commandos are known for their role to paint enemy's target via GLTD to illuminate the laser guided bombs, which believe they calling the fighter jets of F/A-18D Hornet from 18th Squadron and Hawk 208 from 15th Squadron to airstrikes the terrorist camp at Kampung Tanduo, Lahad Datu.[9]


The special forces included PASKAU, 10 Paratrooper Brigade, Grup Gerak Khas and PASKAL was deployed with other Malaysian contingent to involved the administrative workload at the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The team which 40 soldiers deployed to assisted the New Zealand Armed Forces in the peacekeeping missions and humanitarian aid at the Bamiyan District, Afghanistan.[10]

Genting Sempah Incident

In July 2007, PASKAU, with the 10 Paratrooper Brigade, 22nd Grup Gerak Khas and the Pasukan Gerakan Khas anti-terror police, supported by the United States Navy Air Fleet (from USS Jarrett (FFG-33)), Police General Operations Force Senoi Praaq, Police Air Wing, Fire and Rescue Department, Forestry Department Rangers, Civil Defence Department (JPA3) and local villagers, were deployed in a search and rescue operation after a Sikorsy S61 'Nuri' helicopter of the RMAF went down along with a crew of six near Genting Sempah, in the Genting Highlands.[11][12] The SAR team located the wreckage on 17 July at 1324hrs with its rotor blades detached. The bodies of all crew members were found in the cabin of the stricken aircraft.[13]


PASKAU was part of a contingent which also included the 10th Parachute Brigade, Grup Gerak Khas and PASKAL which were deployed to assist the administrative workload at the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) headquarters in Lebanon which 160 soldiers including 3 Malaysian SOF as the Quick Reaction Team.[14][15]

Hawk 208 crash

On 27 June 2006, PASKAU was involved in the search for Major Muhammad Rohaizan Bin Abdul Rahman after his Hawk 208 fighter crashed into the sea off Rompin, Pahang on 31 May 2006. The remains of the pilot were found on the seabed 28 days after the crash, 150 meters off the coast of Pantai Lanjut, Rompin, Pahang[16][17]

Bukit Batu Tiban Incident

PASKAU was involved in rescue operations on 28 July 2005, after a Hornbill Skyway Bell 206 Jet Ranger helicopter crashed in Bukit Batu Tiban, Ulu Baleh, Kapit, near the Sarawak-West Kalimantan border. Three passengers and the pilot died, one passenger survived.[18][19]

Brinchang Incident

On 7 June 2005, 21 PASKAU and 35 VAT 69 Pasukan Gerakan Khas operators were involved in the search for four children who were reported to be missing on Fraser's Hill as well as another two persons who were lost on Gunung Brinchang in the Cameron Highlands. They were all found three days later.[20]

Piper 28 crash

PASKAU, together with the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and the 10th Parachute Brigade of the Malaysian Army, were involved on 14 March 2004, in the search and rescue of the occupants of a civilian Piper 28 aircraft which had crashed. The aircraft went down in a heavily forested area 3.2 kilometres south-west of the Langat Dam, Selangor. The pilot, Captain Nasir Ma Lee Bin Abdullah, was killed while the passenger, Nazarullah Bin Mohd Sultan, was found alive.[21]

PASKAU boat capsizing

On 19 January 2003, a fibreglass boat carrying two senior officers and four servicemen from PASKAU capsized after encountering large waves in stormy conditions. This occurred during reconnaissance operations in the vicinity of Sibu Island, Johore at around 10:30 am. RMAF Majors Audrey Smith and Damian Sebastian, Sergeants Radzi Bin Abdul Majid and Saad Bin Che Omar were safely recovered while Corporals Hasnul Bin Abdul Rahman and Ayub Bin Sidek perished.[22]

Bukit Galla Incident

PASKAU with RMP General Operations Force, the State Forestry Department, the Civil Defence Department (JPA 3), the Department of Civil Aviation and the Negeri Sembilan Fire and Rescue Department, were involved on 20 February 1999, in search and rescue operations after a civilian Beachcraft BE-36 aircraft crashed into the slopes of Bukit Galla, Mantin, Negeri Sembilan. The pilot and his passenger, Patrick Dutrey and Natalie Marie Chappate, were killed.[23]

Gunung Gerah incident

On 14 November 1989, PASKAU was involved in rescue operations after a TUDM Sikorsky S61 'Nuri' helicopter went down on the slopes of Gunung Gerah and Gunung Bilah near the Kelantan-Perak border. 21 passengers were killed, including 15 policemens from the General Operations Force of the Royal Malaysia Police.

See also

Malaysian Special Operations Force


  1. "Sultan of Pahang honored the Honor Beret". Utusan Malaysia. 25 January 2008. Retrieved 3 December 2009.In Bahasa Malaysia
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Ifwan Tun Tuah. "Latihan lasak jana komando elit". Skuad. Archived from the original on 5 October 2009. Retrieved 3 December 2009.In Bahasa Malaysia
  3. Zabry Mohamad Madzlan (26 November 2008). "Sang Moo Doo defeating an enemy without weapon". Utusan Malaysia. Retrieved 28 August 2009.
  4. "81 air force personnel complete basic commando training". Utusan Malaysia. 7 May 2004. Retrieved 2 December 2009.
  5. Christina Tan (4 October 2007). "54 sign up for training but only 20 make it". The Star. Retrieved 14 August 2009.
  6. 1 2 Technical Sergeant Aaron Cram (29 July 2009). "Air Commandos Provide Underwater Training To RMAF PASKAU". United States Air Force Special Operations Command (USAFSOC). Retrieved 14 August 2009.
  7. 1 2 Thompson, Leroy (December 2008). "Malaysian Special Forces". Special Weapons. Retrieved 23 November 2009.
  8. Zabry Mohamad Madzlan (10 December 2008). "Sig SG 553 is a new rifle for PASKAU". Utusan Malaysia. Retrieved 17 August 2009.
  9. Hafizuddin Sulaiman (March 2013). "Ops Daulat: PUTD Helicopters Have Arrived". Malaysia Flying Herald. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  10. Hardi Effendi Yaacob (November 2010). "High risk of humanitarian aid". Berita Harian online. Retrieved 30 December 2010.
  11. "Mist, Rain Hamper Search For Missing Copter". Bernama. 16 July 2007. Retrieved 2 December 2009.
  12. "Search For Missing Nuri Enters Fourth Day". Bernama. 16 July 2007. Retrieved 2 December 2009.
  13. Roslina Mohamad (16 July 2007). "Villagers help in ground search". The Star. Retrieved 14 August 2009.
  14. "Malaysia wants longer peacekeeping tenure". The Star. 18 April 2007. Retrieved 14 August 2009.
  15. "200 Soldiers To Play Role As UNIFIL Administrators". Bernama. 20 September 2006. Retrieved 2 December 2009.
  16. Ghazali Basri (28 June 2006). "Mayat juruterbang Hawk 208 ditemui di dasar laut". Utusan Malaysia. Retrieved 14 August 2009. In Bahasa Malaysia
  17. "Body Of Missing RMAF Pilot Found". Bernama. 27 June 2006. Retrieved 2 December 2009.
  18. Edward Subeng Stephen (26 July 2005). "Helicopter Crash: SAR Team Spots Signs Of Survivors". Bernama. Retrieved 2 December 2009.
  19. Borhan Abu Samah and Izwar Abdul Wahid (29 July 2005). "Satu mangsa dikesan selamat – Laungan minta tolong 3 lagi penumpang nahas helikopter turut didengar". Utusan Malaysia. Retrieved 14 August 2009. In Bahasa Malaysia
  20. Razak Din, Aizawati Ahmad and Sopi Samaile (29 June 2005). "2 lagi hilang di Brinchang, 4 belum ditemui di Bukit Fraser". Utusan Malaysia. Retrieved 14 August 2009. In Bahasa Malaysia
  21. "Mangsa nahas Piper minum air jeram tanpa makanan tiga hari". Utusan Malaysia. 18 March 2004. Retrieved 14 August 2009. In Bahasa Malaysia
  22. "Two bodies of air force commando be found, one still alive". Utusan Malaysia. 22 January 2003. Retrieved 14 August 2009. In Bahasa Malaysia
  23. Herman Shakri (21 February 1999). "Mayat juruterbang pesawat terhempas berjaya dikeluarkan". Utusan Malaysia. Retrieved 14 August 2009. In Bahasa Malaysia
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