The Special Air Service is a British Army special forces unit, made up of three regiments: 21 Regiment SAS (Artists), 22 Regiment SAS and 23 Regiment SAS. 22 SAS is part of the regular army, while 21 SAS & 23 SAS are territorial army units. There is also a fictional and non-canon 27 Regiment SAS detailed elsewhere on this wiki.
Each Regiment comprises a number of "Sabre" squadrons with some supporting functions being undertaken within 22 SAS. 'Sabre' Squadrons are so called to distinguish the operational squadrons from administrative or HQ squadrons. 21 SAS and 23 SAS have three Sabre squadrons each, while 22 SAS has four.
'Sabre' Squadrons in 22 SAS are organised as four specialised Troops, although personnel are broadly skilled in all areas. 21 and 23 SAS do not distinguish between troops.
Air Troop personnel specialise in airborne insertion from fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft. Personnel are trained in three principal forms of parachute infiltration; Basic static line, High Altitude, Low Opening (HALO) and High Altitude, High Opening (HAHO).
Boat Troop personnel specialise in water-borne insertion techniques. Personnel are trained in diving using Open and Closed Circuit breathing systems, sub-surface navigation skills, approaching the shore or vessels underway and the delivery of maritime demolition charges. Much of this training is undertaken with the Special Boat Service.
One of the main forms of transportation is the Klepper canoe. Other transportation methods include the Gemini inflatable, used primarily for sending small groups of soldiers onto a shore undetected, and the fibreglass hulled Rigid Raiders - fast patrol boats which are larger and can carry more personnel or cargo ashore. Entry to the water is also achieved from rotary wing aircraft and by parachute drop. In case of the former, the helicopter hovers around 50 feet (15 m) above the water and personnel simply jump out. Airborne entry to the water carries a significant risk to equipment with weapons and other equipment sealed using a dry bag.
Deployment from submarines is also taught. Submarine egress bears a high risk given the effect of pressure at depth (nitrogen narcosis and oxygen toxicity), the cold, and the risks inherent in the use of mechanical breathing aids while underwater.
Mobility Troop personnel specialise in vehicle insertion techniques, similar to those of the Long Range Desert Group of the Second World War and allows a more sustainable patrol in the medium to deep battlespace but create logistical and force protection challenges.
Personnel are required to gain skills in vehicle maintenance across the range of vehicles used by the Regiment, particularly whilst on patrol with limited opportunity for combat support. Vehicles include the Jackal (MWMIK), Land Rovers, Supacat HMT, Honda 350cc Quad bike, CRF450X, and the Honda 250cc motorbike.
Mountain troop personnel specialise in the conduct of operations at high altitude and in mountainous terrain, requiring advanced skills in climbing, ice climbing, skiing and cold weather survival. Training is conducted in deserts and mountain ranges around the world. Those members that show particular aptitude are seconded to the German Army where they undertake the 18-month long Alpine Guides course in Bavaria.
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