| GIS, Teste di cuoio ("Leatherheads")|
Gruppo di Intervento Speciale (GIS, in English "Special Intervention Group") is an elite airborne special operations counter-terrorism tactical response unit inside the Italian Carabinieri military police, first formed in 1977. In 2004 the GIS evolved into a special forces unit.
The unit has taken part in counter-terrorism operations and VIP, executive and dignitary protection security details ever since the inception of the GIS.
Gruppo di intervento speciale Wikipedia
In the fall of 1977, the Carabinieri's HQ decided to establish a CT Unit to counter the growing terrorist phenomena. Few months later, the GIS "Gruppo Intervento Speciale" was born. GIS is the Carabinieri CT unit and it responds directly to the Carabinieri HQ and to the Ministry of Interior. The focus of GIS has always been on very high risk CT operations, such as the storming of hijacked aircraft.
The 150-man GIS has three operational sections and one sniper/reconnaissance team. Every section is divided into a detachment of four men. In every moment there is a section ready to leave the base in 30 min. The sniper team is usually formed by two snipers, equipped with Mauser 86SRs, and by a scout, usually with a semi-automatic H&K PSG/1. During action men alternate in the scout role. Every GIS soldier is a volunteer from the 1st Carabinieri Airborne Regiment "Tuscania". During first selection, all candidates go to an interview with a GIS high officer to verify their motivation, which is a key element. The soldiers who pass the first selections go to a basic course which lasts five months. A great amount of time is devolved to martial arts (Wushu and Thai boxing), explosives, tactics, English language, topography, terrorist ideology, and photography as well as combat shooting. They use FATS (Fire Arms Training System), a laser-system which project on a screen interactive images and can record all students' reactions. Usually during this first course 50% drop out. From those who pass, only the best ones are selected to progress to a six-month-long Specialization Course, after which they become operative members. They are also trained in combat driving (reportedly held at Ferrari's famed factory and speed roadway).
GIS has very good relations with many top class CT units in the world, amongst these are Great Britain's SAS, Ireland's ARW & ERU, Spain's GEO and UEI, France's GIGN, American Hostage Rescue Team, Germany's GSG 9 and SEK, Belgium's ESI, Austria's GEK and the Netherlands's DSI.Beretta M92-FS, standard handgun
Glock 17 and 19
Smith & Wesson Model 28 .357 Magnum revolver (for backup in VIP Protection duties)
Benelli M1 Super 90
Benelli M3 - replaced the older Franchi SPAS-12, Franchi PA-3, Franchi PA-7/PA-8 series and Beretta M3P shotguns
Benelli M4 Super 90 - replaced the Franchi SPAS-15.
Beretta PM-12 series submachineguns, still in arsenal yet mostly superseded
Heckler & Koch MP5, the most common weapon to equip GIS operators in A5, SD3 and KA4 versions.
FN P90 (in limited quantities)
Steyr TMP (employed for VIP Protection duties)
Heckler & Koch MP7 (in limited quantities, most probably tested to supersede the Steyr TMP)
Beretta 70/90 Weapons system
Steyr AUG - adopted for ease of use from vehicles and helicopters, now mostly superseded
Bushmaster M4 carbine - procured in limited quantities jointly with the "Tuscania" Regiment to supersede the Steyr AUG
Heckler & Koch HK-53 - mostly superseded (last seen fielded during Operation Ancient Babylon, sometimes paired with the British-made Istec ISL-201 40 mm undercarried grenade launcher)
Heckler & Koch G-36 family of weapons - G36 with 1.5x scope and G36C
M203 grenade launcher, either under-carried or in Stand-alone configurations — interface/mounting system for weapons, as well as some parts (most notably the receiver) manufactured in Italy by PMAL (Polo di Mantenimento delle Armi Leggere, Italian Army arsenal) in Terni
Accuracy International AWP
HK MSG-90 and PSG1
Mauser 86-SR - Armed with synchofire systems