The Sri Lanka Army Special Forces Regiment (SF) is the elite Special Forces unit of the Sri Lanka Army. This Regiment is specialized in hard hitting encounters with the enemy using superior skills and fire power. The Special Forces Regiment has the distinction of taking part in almost all major offensives conducted by the Army since 1986. Their motto is “Determined, Dared and Done”.
The SF forms the Special Forces Brigade of the Sri Lanka Army. This force is very much similar to the United States Army Special Forces (“Green Berets”).
The Sri Lanka Army Special Forces evolved from organization initially known as “Combat Tracker Team”. This group at the inception in 1985 had two Officers and 38 men and was to be tasked to carry out small group operations which have capability of operating deep in enemy territory against LTTE terrorism in time of war. This Combat Tracker Team led by the dedicated and devoted leadership of Maj Gen (retired) G. Hettiarachchi WWV RWP RSP USP psc. (Then Major) and Col A.F. Lafir PWV RWP RSP (posthumous) (Then Lieutenant). Subsequently with the formation of the Special Service Group (SSG) the Combat Tracker Team becomes the reconnaissance element of the SSG. Later as the SSG concept failed to materialized, the Combat Tracker Team changes its name as Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) (Special Force) and operated independently. With the massive successful results of the RDF it was gradually expanded to 04 squadrons. In December 1988 the RDF (SF) was officially designated as 1st Regiment Special Forces. At present the Special Forces consist of a Regimental Centre, SF Brigade, Training School, 3 Battalions and Regimental Headquarter Battalion –Special Forces.
Current SF roles are believed to include
- Intelligence collection in the deep battlespace.
- Battlespace preparation by sabotage and offensive raiding in the medium and deep battlespace.
- Counter Terrorism operations
- Conducting unconventional warfare and special Ops in remote, urban or rural environment, both overt and covert.
- Rapid deployment force to meet unforeseen circumstances.
Selection and Training
Special Forces Training School was established on 15 th February 1992 and it is conducting the basic and specialized training for all Special Forces personnel. It also conducts special courses to train instructors from other battalions in the Army and has also helped to train Navy Special Boat Squadron personnel and Sri Lanka Air Force Regiment Special Force.
Selection criteria for the Special Forces is inherent to the organization and disqualification criteria used when recruiting and training personnel, however volunteers who wish to join special forces has to under go strenuous training and to be qualified the basic course to become a special forces member.
- 1st Regiment Special Forces has a Combat Rider Squadron which consist of highly trained Special Forces soldiers who are mounted on motorcycles which cross country capability. They are proved be forces to reckon-with, due to their quick reaction capability.
- 2nd Regiment Special Forces was initially raised on 1994 with 3 Squadrons. Today it is a fully fledges battalion with 04 fighting squadrons. Its has diving Team with assault boats and consist with highly train divers specialized in beach reconnaissance, surveillances and limited strike ops closer to beaches, and also under water demolition capabilities.
- 3rd Regiment Special Forces which was established on 1996 as a Sea born force has now been tasked to operate on the ground role as another SF battalion as that role has been taken up by Special Boat Squadron of the Sri Lanka Navy. Today the 3rd Battalion Special Forces conduct special missions.
The insignia depicts Eagle has been regarded as symbol of courage and warlike qualities, a sing qua non for any member of the Special Forces. The superior imposition of the eagle indicated the ability the unit of scooping towards its prey. It is well equipped for its task with its hooked beak. Wonderful keen eyes help to locate the target, powerful wings help to rush to the target, curved talons help to grab the target and hooked bear help to destroy the target. All those magnificently adapted to its requirements.
Four Sharp Arrows- Placed on the background of the insignia and pointing to either side, depict the regiments basic concept of a 4 – man team and its capability of deep penetration in to enemy territory and operating in small groups whose skills and have been sharpened as and arrows head. Placing them crossing each other is intended to give the idea of combined strength and mutual support within as well as with other forces in all types of operation.
Recipient of the Parama Weera Vibhushanaya
Colonel A.F. Lafir