This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you consent to our use of cookies. more info | ok
british special forces
UKSF SAS SBS SRR 14 Int SFSG E Sqn 18 (UKSF) Sigs Royal Marines Paras Pathfinders Aviation RAF Regt Gurkhas Artillery BRF EOD Intel Police
british special forces » special forces support group
▼ share this page

Special Forces Support Group (SFSG)

The Special Forces Support Group (SFSG) is Britain's newest special operations unit. Formed around a core component of members of the 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment (1 PARA), with additional troops from the Royal Marines and the RAF regiment, the SFSG provides infantry and specialised support to SAS and SBS special operations.

SFSG soldiers in Iraq
(click for fullsize image)
more sfsg photos

SFSG Roles

The roles of the SFSG include :

  • Acting as a quick reaction force for SAS/SBS operations
  • Sealing off and guarding an area of operation
  • Taking part in large scale offensive operations alongside SAS/SBS forces
  • Carrying out secondary assaults and diversionary raids
  • Acting as a 'blocking force' against counter attacks.
  • Training / mentoring foreign militaries
  • CBRN detection/protection
  • Domestic anti-terrorist support

A model for the kind of operation that the SFSG has been created for can be seen in the 2000 Sierra Leone 'Operation Barras', in which elements of 1 PARA attacked a rebel base whilst the SAS/SBS rescued fellow soldiers from a nearby camp. A comparable relationship exists between the 75th Ranger Regiment and SFOD-1 (Delta Force) in the U.S. Military. The Rangers provided perimeter security for Delta Force operations in Somalia in 1993, as portrayed in the film, Black Hawk Down.

The SFSG was 'stood up' at its base in St Athan, Wales in April 2006 and has reportedly been deployed in support of UKSF operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is thought that 1 Company of SFSG is deployed to Afghanistan, in support of the SBS, under the command of a SBS officer. At least one Company is deployed to Iraq where it supports the SAS.

Apart from giving direct support to SAS/SBS missions, the SFSG also provides specialist training support. One of the traditional roles of the Special Air Service has been to provide foreign militaries with specialist training. Since much of this training does not necessarily require the skills of the SAS, such training tasks can now be performed by members of the SFSG, thus freeing the SAS up for direct combat missions. It has been reported that the SFSG has been training and mentoring Afghan special forces and other troops. (read report)

It's also believed that the SFSG will also support the police during domestic terrorist incidents. The precise nature of this support is not publicly known but it is speculated that it may include providing additional area security around a large scale terrorist incident. Some sources indicate that elements within the SFSG have received counter-terrorist (CT) training from the SAS. Such SFSG CT elements would be able to assist the SAS/SBS in large scale CT operations. It's also beleived that CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiation & Nuclear) specialists from the SFSG would assist in event of a domestic terrorist attack.

sfsg insignia
SFSG insignia

SFSG Components

The makeup of the SFSG is as follows:


The bulk of the SFSG is made up from the 1st Batallion Parachute Regiment. Paras from the other 2 regular Batallions, 2 and 3 PARA, can apply to the SFSG after 2 years service.

Royal Marines

Commandos from the Royal Marines provide another element of the Special Forces Support Group. The Royal Marines contribution to the SFSG is in the form of F Company - around 120 men. F Coy are sourced from 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group, who run their own SFSG selection course.

RAF Regiment

The RAF Regiment comiited at least one flight (the equivalent of a platoon, around 30 men) of RAF Gunners from II Squadron to the SFSG. The RAF Regiment contingent includes Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) in the Joint Fires Cell.

SFSG Organisation

The exact SFSG order of battle (ORBAT) has not been disclosed to the public domain, although some details can be gleaned from open source publications. The SFSG is structured in a similar manner to a regular Parachure Regiment battalion, the most notable differences being the addtion of F Coy Royal Marines and the Joint Fires Cell.

  • Battalion Headquarters (BHQ)

  • Headquarters (HQ) Company (D Company)
    • Quartermasters
    • Motor Transport Platoon (MT Platoon)
    • Regimental Administration Office (RAO)
    • Regiment Aid Post
    • Catering Platoon
    • Operational Readiness Wing
      • General Training Cell
        Runs the 'Unit Operator Cadre' which trains new SFSG operatives to 'SFSG Operator Qualification' standards.
      • Counter Terrorism (CT) Cell
      • Campaigns Training Cell
      • Contingency Cell

  • 4 x Rifle Companies
    • A Coy
    • B Coy
    • C Coy
    • F Coy

    Each rifle company features a Fire Support Group (FSG) providing the company's organic heavy weapons capability (HMG, GMG, GPMG, Javelin).

  • Support Company
    Provides elements in support of the 4 SFSG rifle companies.
    • Sniper Platoon
      Provides sniper teams to support other SFSG elements.
    • Mortar Platoon (60mm / 81mm)
    • Signals Platoon
      provides signals detachments to other SFSG elements
    • Joint Fires Cell (JFC)
      Joint Tactical Air Controllers (JTACs) - calling in close air support from fast air (jets), helicopters and UAVs.
    • Medical Support Detachment
      Provides Combat Medical Technicians (CMTs).

SFSG Weapons

Aside from the standard array of weapons available to a British military unit, the SFSG is known to employ the L119A1/L119A2 carbine. Sidearms include Sig Sauer P226 and Glock 17 pistols.

SFSG armed with HK417 rifle
An SFSG operator takes aim with a Heckler & Koch HK417 rifle. When fitted with a sniper scope, the HK417 fills the same niche as the L129A1 Sharpshooter rifle that was brought into service with regular forces.

SFSG heavy machine gun team
An SFSG machine gun team (possibly with a Fire Support Group) operate a tripod-mounted L1A1 Heavy Machine Gun.

SFSG operations

Details of SFSG operations remain sketchy at this time, although a handful of reports have surfaced. On multiple occasions, the SFSG were deployed in support UKSF during operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Iraq - Task Force Red / Maroon

Shortly after the units inception, it was reported that a company from the SFSG had been assigned to the US-led Task Force 145 (TF-145). TF-145, later renamed as TF-88, operated in Iraq and was responsible for hunting down senior Al-Qaeda members such as al-Zarqawi.

The British element of TF-88 consisted of 1 SAS Squadron ('Task Force Black'), a company of SFSG (reported by different sources as 'Task Force Red' and 'Task Force Maroon') plus associated supporting units (SRR, 18 UKSF Signals, Joint Support Group, 7 & 47 Squadron RAF among others).

The SFSG operated as a quick reaction force (QRF) and security screen for SAS operations. One such occasion, the SFSG were positioned around the area of an insurgent's bomb-making factory, providing security for an SAS sniper team's operation.

The SFSG also supported the SAS operation to free British peace activist Norman Kember, who had been kidnapped by Iraqi criminals.


Operation Medusa

SBS and SFSG were reportedly involved in Operation Medusa, in September 2006. OP Medusa was a combined attack on Taliban forces in the strategically important Panjwayi district of Afghanistan that featured NATO units from the UK, US, Canada and Holland. The SBS and SFSG played key roles in the coordinated attacks acting as both attacking forces (SBS) and cut-off groups (SFSG).

UKSF Raid On Taliban Fort

Late August 2009 - SFSG troops supported a raid by the SBS on a Taliban bomb factory in Helmand Province. The SFSG reportedly carried out diversionary attacks during this operation.

more info : UKSF Raid On Taliban Fort

UKSF Raid On Taliban Fort

September 2009 - A Paratrooper with the SFSG is killed during an SBS/SFSG operation to free a British journalist and his interpreter held captive in Afghanistan.

more info : British Special Forces Free Hostage

Afghan Training

A report from December 2009 describes a SFSG role in training Afghani troops.

more info : Task Force Crichton

Parachute Assault

A December 2010 news item reports on combat jumps made by 1 PARA (SFSG) in Afghanistan.

more info : 1 PARA (SFSG) Parachute Raids In Afghanistan

Special Forces Support Group Related Items:

SAS Survivial Guide
John 'Lofty' Wiseman

The original and best survival guide for any situation in every climate is back. Now with added techniques for handling Urban dangers.

more info: SAS Survivial Guide
facebook facebook youtube
RM Green Team
Green Team
Royal Marines Boarding Team
view: RM Green Team
42 Commando Vikings
SFSG Marksman
SFSG soldier armed with HK417 rifle
view: SFSG Marksman
Squadron Reconnaissance Team (SRT)
view: 539 ASRM SRT


Share this page:

not endorsed by or affiliated with the ministry of defence | all information is non-classified & sourced from public domain |

all images are for educational purposes and sourced from the public domain where possible - image policy | privacy policy