Indian Navy’s elite, MARCOS or Marine Commandos is the Special Forces unit of all men. The commandos are selected from the Indian Navy in their early 20s and have to go through a grueling training and difficult selection process.
The initial training process is assisted by American and British Special Forces now with a two-year course for new recruits. The regimen includes airborne operations, combat diving courses, counter-terrorism, anti-hijacking, anti-piracy operations, direct action, infiltration and ex-filtration tactics, special reconnaissance, unconventional warfare training etc. of which most are conducted at home base of MARCOS, INS Abhimanyu.
MARCOS are trained with other special forces officers of the Indian Army like Para Commandos at different elite Army schools across India for unconventional warfare which also host students from other countries. Thereafter, MARCOS are trained at agencies under Navy becoming skilled combat divers and parachutists.
Pre-Training selection process is divided into two parts. The first consists of the trainees to undergo a 3-day long physical fitness test and aptitude test which proceeds to eliminate about 80% application. The second screening is called as HELL’S WEEK which is a 5-week long process involving hardcore physical exercises with sleep deprivation.
Once a candidate is been through this, the actual training of MARCOS begins for a duration between two and a half to three years.
The basic training period of six months has rigorous physical tests which are cleared by only half who then proceed to learn the use of different types of weapons, conduct special warfare techniques and how to gather intelligence from the enemy for the next nine months. This includes firing while lying down, standing, running full-sprint, even backwards and looking into a mirror – with a reaction time of 0.27 seconds followed by training in various types of close combat including Krav Maga.
The MARCOS gets training in every kind of weapon and techniques from knives and crossbows to sniper rifles, handguns, assault rifles, sub-machine guns and bare hands. But the notably straining program is the “death crawl” – an 800-meter struggle through thigh-high mud, loaded with 25 kg of gear and after a 2.5 km obstacle course that most soldiers would fail. After that, when the trainee is exhausted and sleep-deprived, he has to undergo the final test – shooting a target 25 meters away, having a partner standing next to it.
The further training includes:
- Basic commando skills including advanced weapon training, endurance training and Self defence martial arts
- Open and closed circuit diving
- Para training
- Intelligence training
- Operation of submersible craft
- Offshore operations
- Anti-terrorism operations
- Operations from submarines
- Various special skills such as language training, insertion methods, etc.
They are likewise prepared to parachute into untamed water with a full battle stack.
Apart from all these, a major part of their training is kept private. The average MARCOS training drop-out rate is more than 90% and those who remain are trained to operate in every terrain the mission calls for