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Irish special forces train to combat maritime terrorism

The Irish Defense Forces are well ahead of their counterparts when it comes to planning against terrorist passenger ferry diversion.

Sky News defense correspondent Alistair Bunkal reported that the French Special forces have just completed their first counterterrorism exercise on a ferry in the English Channel – the Irish have carried out several such operations in recent years.

Mr Bunkal showed pictures of the Irish surgery as an example of how a manual counterterrorism exercise should be conducted at sea.


The Army Ranger Wing successfully deployed elements of the assault team by sea and air on the Stena Superfast Ferry before securing the ship as it approaches Dublin Port. LE James Joyce and the CASA Air Corps were used to locate, track and monitor the ferry. ARW assault teams simultaneously boarded the ferry from AW139 helicopters and rigid-hull inflatable boats before securing the vessel.

The joint operations exercise was led by the Defense Forces Special Operations Task Force (Army Ranger Wing) and supported by the Air Corps and Naval Service with an element of command and control. control of the HQ of the defense forces (C2).

The Special Operations Forces-led scenario exercised the Defense Forces’ command and control, communications, intelligence and surveillance capabilities.


The Irish Army Ranger Wing (ARW) of the Republic of Ireland Defense Forces launches an air and sea assault on a passenger ferry over the Irish Sea as part of a major maritime counterterrorism exercise (MCT). The Army Ranger Wing is Ireland’s elite Special Forces group, made up of around 200 highly trained and skilled soldiers, and is the best-funded and equipped unit in the Irish Armed Forces. In this video, the ARW uses two Irish Air Corps AW139 helicopters (fast) and a number of Combat Rubber Raiding Craft (CRRC) and Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIB) from the ARW and the Irish Naval Service to succeed board the hijacked ship, kill the terrorists and rescue the hostages. This scenario is considered one of the most likely terrorism / hijacking possibilities in Europe, given increased aviation security in the Western world, but the Irish ARW shows that they are fully prepared if anyone dares .


Mr Bunkal pointed out that the Irish exercise featured special forces landing from a helicopter at the same time as others were climbing rope ladders after descending from RIBs (rigid inflatable boats) at high speed.

Mr Bunkal said it was an “incredibly difficult thing” to board a moving ship in such a coordinated fashion.

The Irish exercise took place in the Irish Sea, just off Dublin Bay, in mid-May and it was not the first.

Defense Forces sources have confirmed that such exercises have been taking place every two years for a number of years.

The assault teams boarded the Stena Line Superfast ferry, which had passengers on board who were told it was an exercise.

Read more : Irish special operations unit returns from Africa

The Special Forces Army Ranger Squadron descended both RIBs and a helicopter in a pincer movement to secure the ship.

They were also supported by LE James Joyce, who followed the ferry during the operation, and by an Air Corps aircraft providing surveillance.

A Defense Forces source said combining the naval service, air corps and military in an exercise is “a complex operation.”

The Army Ranger Squadron practiced a number of terrorist countermeasures long before the government recently announced that the threat of a terrorist attack in that country has been reduced from a notch to “moderate.”

The Army Ranger Squadron has specialized skills that were observed during the ferry exercise. Some are trained for a sea attack while others are adept at air assault tactics.

Read more: Irish Examiner

Featured media – Irish Examiner

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