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Special Air Service (SAS) - Organisation

The 22nd Special Air Service Regiment is organised in the following way:

Sabre Squadrons

22 SAS is divided into 4 main Squadrons - A,B, D & G. Each squadron is divided into 4 specialised troops and a command/HQ element.

HQ Element

Comprising officers and support staff:

  • At the head of each squadron is the OC (Officer Commander), usually an Army major.
  • The 2nd in Command, or 2ic, with the rank of captain.
  • Operations Officer
  • Squadron Sergeant Major (SSM)
  • Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant (SQSM)
  • Staff Sergeant


SAS troops comprise of 16 men, led by a captain. There are 4 troops within each squadron, each specialising in a different method of insertion. The troops are Air Troop, Boat Troop, Mountain Troop and Mobility Troop. Non-officers who pass SAS selection lose their previous rank and are assigned the rank of trooper. Troops are numbered e.g. B Squadron comprises 6,7,8 and 9 Troops. Each troop consists of a number of 4-man patrols, each typically led by a corporal.

Each squadron will rotate through different roles:

  • counter terrorism
    one squadron is on alert to deal with any terrorist threat within the U.K.
  • squadron training
    consisting of training exercises to teach new recruits the ropes and hone the skills of the veterans.
  • contingency / 'strip duty'
    on standby to respond to any emergency anywhere in the world
  • operational deployment
    - an SAS squadron is currently depoyed to Afghanistan, engaged in a campaign against insurgent forces.
    - during peacetime an SAS Squadron would often perform so-called 'team tasks' - small teams deployed on a diverse range of operations, including training and advising foreign militaries, close protection operations etc.

Other Elements

There are some smaller elements within the SAS.

Counter Revolutionary Warfare (CRW) Wing

The CRW wing is a specialised unit created during the 70s to prepare the SAS for its counter terrorism (CT) role. The CRW developed advanced pistol shooting techniques, explosive entry methods and room clearing drills for use by the anti-terrorst team. The CRW is responsible for training whichever squadron is on counter-terrorism standby duties.

The CRW Wing includes a Bodyguard Cell, responsible for training SAS operators in VIP close protection techniques.

Operations Research Wing.

The Operations Research Wing usually comprises of a couple of experienced SAS men who's job it is to evaluate and develop new equipment, weapons and techniques. Working with MOD technicians and scientists, the cell ensure that the Regiment stay on the cutting edge. The cell came up with the concept of Stun Grenades during the 70s. These stun grenades, or 'Flash Bangs' have since been adopted by militaries and police forces around the world.

Northern Ireland Troop

During the Troubles, the SAS provided a troop-sized unit for deployment to Northern Ireland. Initially, the Northern Ireland team comprised of a troop from the anti-terrorist team and would deploy for 6-9 months. Later, the troop was drawn from all 4 squadrons and deployed on 12 month tours.

Revolutionary Warfare Wing (RWW)

Not to be confused with the CRW, the RWW, or 'The Wing', is an elite cadre of hand-picked SAS operators tasked with supporting Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) operations. Along with contingents from other elite units including the Special Boat Service, Joint Support Group and Special Reconnaissance Regiment, this shadowy group, reportedly referred to by SIS as 'The Increment', carries out special operations as directed by SIS / The Foreign Office. Roles include acting as bodyguards / backup to SIS operatives, extraction of SIS personnel as well as so-called 'black operations' - examples of which include fermenting unrest and causing uprisings in foreign countries.

Note: recent press reports suggest the RWW has recently expanded and been renamed to 'E Squadron'.

more info : the Increment

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