The Royal Thai Navy has a 144-man Sea, Air and Land (SEAL) unit, which has trained with United States Navy SEALs. There are also some LRRPs and elite Infantry. A small element within the Royal Thai Navy‘s SEAL Teams has been trained to conduct Maritime Counter-Terrorism (MCT) missions. This unit has close ties with the U.S. Navy’s own SEAL teams.
History & Missions
In 1956 the Royal Thai Navy formed a small combat diver unit, based on the U.S. Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) concept. In 1965 the unit under went a re-organization — it was expanded and divided into two separate units, with a USN Mobile Training Team (MTT) providing assistance. The first group was organized into a Sea, Air and Land, or SEAL team. The second group formed a UDT. The SEAL team was assigned intelligence-gathering, and reconnaissance missions.
In 1953, “Sea Supply,” a CIA front company, was tasked with supporting the initial training of the Royal Thai Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team and also the Royal Thai Police Aerial Reinforcement Unit. The first group to take part in the UDT/SEAL training included seven Thai Naval Officers and eight members of the Royal Thai Police. This training started on March 4, 1953 on ‘Z island (ZULU)’. After 61 days, 15 of the recruits successfully passed the training.
Maritime CT operations have also been added to the unit’s primary tasks. The UDTs conduct salvage operations, and underwater demolitions, and obstacle clearance operations in support of RTMC amphibious operations. SEAL and UDT training is conducted at Sattahip.