The Marine Commando Force (MCF), also known as MARCOS, is a special forces unit that was raised by the Indian Navy in 1987 for direct action, special reconnaissance, amphibious warfare and counter-terrorism.
The force has gradually acquired experience and a reputation for professionalism over the two decades it has been in existence. Now it is one of the few units qualified to jump in the water with a full combat load.
Here’s what makes them one of the world’s Deadliest elite force:
Becoming a MARCO is not a cakewalk. The selection standards are extremely high Trainees have to go through a vigorous training process that lasts two and half to three years. Getting selected to be trained as a MARCO itself is very difficult.
The pre-training procedure consists of a three-day physical fitness and aptitude test, and then comes the Hell Week where physical endurance, mental toughness, pain and cold tolerance, teamwork, attitude, and your ability to perform work under high physical and mental stress, and sleep deprivation are tested. On average, only 20% of candidates make it through Hell Week.
Those that make it through, or don’t quit on their own, actually proceed to the actual training. Majority of the training is conducted at INS Abhimanyu which is also the home base of MARCOS.
The further training includes Open and closed circuit diving, advanced weapon skills, demolitions, endurance training, martial arts, Para training, Intelligence training & Various special skills such as language training, insertion methods, etc.
After this basic training, they are divided into groups for advance training. This includes training for counter insurgency, anti-hijacking, anti-piracy, clandestine operations, surveillance and reconnaissance, amphibious operations, unconventional warfare, and hostage rescue etc
All MARCOS personnel are freefall qualified (HALO/HAHO)-High Altitude Low Opening and High Altitude High Opening. In fact, They are capable of being para dropped into the sea with the full combat load & that’s what makes them special.
They train for High altitude mountain warfare in Tawang Arunachal Pradesh,Desert warfare in Rajasthan,Counter-insurgency and Jungle Warfare in Mizoram and at various other locations.
Their training makes MARCOS tough nuts to crack. An Indian MARCO on an exchange program in the US topped the US Navy SEAL course with ease.
The MARCOS are equipped with some of the best weapons in the world including Israeli TAR-21(or simply Tavor) assault rifle assault rifle with a selective fire system, Ranging between semi-automatic mode to full automatic fire mode.
MARCOS are widely feared among the terrorists, who call them “Dadiwala fauj”, meaning the “Bearded army” because of their bearded disguise in civil areas.