United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF)
United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF) group is a directorate of the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD). UKSF is commanded by Director Special Forces (DSF), usually a Brigadier, a post that has to date always been filled by a SAS Brigadier. Note: the current DSF has been reported to be a Major-General, a higher rank than Brigadier.
UKSF was established in 1987 in order to bring all UK Special Forces under a single command structure. Since 2011, UKSF is a component of the newly established Joint Forces Command (JFC).
The establishment of UKSF was intended, amongst other things, to improve co-operation between staunch rivals the SAS and the SBS. One of the results of the formation of UKSF is that the SAS and SBS now have a common selection process for recruits (UKSF selection). The SAS and SBS are also doing more joint operations, leading to speculation that a merger between the two units will eventually happen. Adding to such speculation is the fact that, due to a lack of Royal Marines Officers wishing to command the SBS, SAS Officers are filling vacant positions in the SBS command structure.
The elements under the umbrella of UKSF are:
- Special Air Service
- Special Boat Service
- SBS (R) (reserves)
- Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR)
- Special Forces Support Group
- 18 (UKSF) Signals
note: 22 SAS and the SBS are sometimes termed 'Tier 1' special forces, due to fact they are the units usually tasked with direct action. The SRR, SFSG, 18 (UKSF) signals etc are 'Tier 2', as they fulfill a supporting role for the 2 Tier 1 units.
The following units provide direct support to UKSF:
- Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing (JSFAW)
Royal Air Force (RAF) and Army Air Corps (AAC) units that fly helicopters in the UKSF support role.
more info: JSFAW
- 658 Squadon AAC
Flies Dauphin helicopters in support of 22 SAS.
more info: 658 Squadon
- 47 Squadron RAF
Flies C-130 cargo planes in support of UKSF.
more info: 47 Squadron
- Elements of 47 Air Despatch Squadron Royal Logistic Corps (RLC)
Air Despatchers provide air drop of supplies via aircraft such as C-130s.
- 21 & 23 UKSF(R) Support Squadron RLC
RLC units providing drivers, technicians in support of the Special Forces.
- UKSF Medical Support Unit (MSU)
Combat Medical Technicians providing battlefield medical treatment to UKSF.
more info: UKSF Medical Support Unit
- Elements of 29 EOD and Search Group
provides assault IED disposal support to UKSF counter terrorism (CT).
more info: 29 EOD & Search Group
- Fleet Diving Unit 1 (FDU1)
Royal Navy Mine Clearance Divers providing assault IED disposal support for maritime counter terrorism (MCT) operations.
more info: FDU1