In pictures: How the elite Special Operations Command train to deal with threats

In pictures: How the elite Special Operations Command train to deal with threats

SOC officers on bikes
The Special Operations Command's rapid deployment troops on tactical response motorcycles. (Photo: Jeremy Long) 

SINGAPORE: Sirens blaring, Special Operations Command (SOC) officers rode in on motorcycles, firing at their targets with live ammunition.

The scenario: Multiple simulated "gunmen" in a room during a hostage situation. 

SPF photo essay - Rapid Deployment Troops using Tactical Response Motorcycles
Rapid deployment troops make use of tactical response motorcycles (TRMs) to manoeuvre through traffic and reach the scene quickly. (Photo: Jeremy Long) 

Shots rang out - so loud and piercing that even we, as journalists standing some distance away with earplugs safely on, jumped in shock.

Within a minute, it was over, the "threats" neutralised by the SOC's rapid deployment troops and armed strike team.

SPF photo essay - Armed Strike Team beside Tactical Response Vehicle
Officers from the police tactical unit's armed strike team hold their positions beside the tactical response vehicle. (Photo: Jeremy Long) 

It was part of a behind-the-scenes look on Monday (Nov 27) at the Home Team Tactical Centre's drive-in range at Mandai Quarry Road, where Singapore's elite men in blue train to handle a gamut of threats, from counter-terror scenarios to hostage situations.

In another scenario, officers demonstrated how they breached a door and neutralised the threats behind it.

SPF photo essay - Rapid Deployment Troops, Armed Strike Team get into position
A unit, comprising rapid deployment troops and the armed strike team, gets into position as they prepare to breach the door. (Photo: Jeremy Long) 

SPF photo essay - Armed Strike Team breaching door
Officers breach the door using a tactic called mechanical method of entry, and fire at the targets. (Photo: Jeremy Long) 

SPF photo essay - target boards shot down
Smoke lingers after the target boards are shot down and the "threats" neutralised. (Photo: Jeremy Long) 

Outside the building, officers from the Special Tactics And Rescue (STAR) unit, which handles hostage rescue operations and high-risk scenarios, showed how they rappelled from a mock helicopter.

SPF photo essay - STAR members rapelling off mock helicopter
The Special Tactics And Rescue (STAR) team rappelling off a mock helicopter before regrouping on the ground and positioning themselves to enter a building compound. (Photo: Jeremy Long) 

Regrouping on the ground, the officers also showcased their ability to breach a building, using explosives to create an entry point.

SPF photo essay - STAR unit using explosives to enter building
The Special Tactics And Rescue (STAR) unit using explosives to breach a compound. (Photo: Jeremy Long) 

We were also taken through the mechanical method of entry (MMOE) houses - a facility that helps hone the ability of Singapore Police Force officers in general, not just those belonging to the SOC.

SPF photo essay - shotgun fire on door
Shotgun marks on a door. (Photo: Jeremy Long) 

SPF photo essay - target with bullet damage
A bullet-riddled target stands in a simulated living room. (Photo: Jeremy Long) 

Perhaps the highlight, for me, was the opportunity to step into the shoes of SOC officers responding to incidents and try out their weapons, including the HK USP (Universal Self-loading Pistol) compact and the FN SCAR (Fabrique Nationale Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle).

SPF photo essay - A STAR operator demonstrating rifle
A STAR operator demonstrating the capabilities of the FN SCAR (Fabrique Nationale Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle). (Photo: Jeremy Long) 

The operational gear - including one's weapon, helmet and ballistic resistance vest - easily weighed more than 20kg in all, and its sheer weight and bulk gave us a sense of how it was like not only to run with the load, but also hit targets after that. 

SPF photo essay - member of media carrying weight
A member of the media running in SOC operational gear. (Photo: Jeremy Long) 

SPF photo essay - media guided by SOC instructors
SOC instructors guided members of the media as they fired at targets from a six-metre distance. (Photo: Jeremy Long) 

SPF photo essay - FN SCAR uses 5.56mm calibre rounds
The FN SCAR (Fabrique Nationale Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle) uses 5.56mm-calibre rounds. (Photo: Jeremy Long) 

Source: CNA/dt

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