Famous Ops: A team authorised by Barack Obama killed Osama bin Laden in his compound in Pakistan. Three Navy SEALs also killed three Somalian pirates when they held a captain hostage.
Got a war, civil uprising or special mission you need sorted? Call in these crack units and then hope for the best.
2. Alpha GroupRussia’s trigger-happy counter-terrorist squad of 700 hardcore dudes, formed in 1974 and survived despite the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Famous ops: The 2004 Beslan school hostage rescue crisis, where 1200 hostages were held by Chechen separatists ended with 31 dead terrorists. A good result except they also terminated more than 350 civilians.
3. The KaibilesGuatemala’s fearless counter revolutionary commando forces are experts in jungle warfare and counter insurgency ops. Established in 1975, their motto is, “If I advance, follow me. If I stop, urge me on. If I retreat, kill me.”
Famous ops: Eight Kaibiles were killed and five wounded in an ambush in Congo as part of a UN peacekeeping force. The dead soldiers were part of a botched operation to capture the deputy commander of Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army.
4. Sayeret MatkalThe elite special forces of the Israeli defence force are experts in small arms, martial arts and gathering intelligence from deep behind enemy lines. These days they’re kept busy with counter-terrorism gigs and hostage rescue.
Famous ops: Best known for Operation Entebbe, a rescue mission to free hostages held on Air France flight 139 at Uganda’s Entebbe Airport in 1976. One Israeli soldier, 45 Ugandan soldiers, six hijackers and three hostages were killed in the operation, which at least managed to free 100 hostages.
5. KopassusFormed in 1952, the Indonesian Army’s feared special forces group quickly established a bad name for themselves by spearheading government military campaigns.
Famous ops: In 1981, an Islamic extremist group hijacked Garuda Flight 206. After the aircraft landed, Kopassus commando executed a fast-paced operation, killing three hijackers and freeing 50 passengers.
6. Special Service Group (SSG)Pakistan’s elite and seriously tooled-up fighting force carry out unconventional warfare, sabotage, intelligence gathering, close quarter battle and espionage.
Famous ops: In 1994, Afghan hijackers commandeered a school bus packed with 74 children and eight teachers. With negotiations leading nowhere, SSG commandos used an explosion as a distraction and then killed the three hijackers.
7. Delta ForceA seriously hyped-up US army special ops force, otherwise known as the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta.
Famous ops: They played important roles in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, allegedly entering Baghdad in advance to guide air strikes and sabotage Iraqi communication lines.
8. British SASThe SAS eat close target recon and counter-revolutionary warfare for breakfast. They’re at home in mountains, jungles, deserts and urban environments, and are tops at making a fortune writing bestselling books when they retire.
Famous ops: Ended the 1980 hostage crisis at the Iranian embassy in London. The troopers employed stun grenades to disorient the terrorists and killed five out of six and saved 19 hostages.
9. Eko CobraAustria’s crack counter-terrorism unit featuring 200 men are apparently highly respected for their climbing abilities and experts at Arnold Schwarzenegger impressions.
Famous ops: The Cobras are the only unit to have ended a plane hijacking while still actually in the air. In 1996, four Cobras were on board an Aeroflot Tupolev 154 escorting deported prisoners to Lagos. An escaped Nigerian prisoner threatened the aircrew with a knife and demanded to be taken to Germany or South Africa. The Cobras disabled the bloke and handed him to authorities on landing.
10. Special Air Service RegimentThe elite special forces unit of the Aussie army is commonly known as SAS. Broken up into three squadrons, our boys specialize in counter-terrorism, surveillance and reconnaissance and other assault operations.
Famous ops: SAS troopers Mark Donaldson and Ben Roberts-Smith were awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia for their gallant acts performed while serving in Afghanistan.