The special force of the Australian military is the Special Air Service Regiment, which is usually known as the SASR or SAS. This is a branch of the Australian army and is modeled after the British SAS. However, the SASR relies heavily upon Australian experience in World War II with regard to commando units and special reconnaissance. The SASR is considered to be a highly elite special forces unit and is based in Perth, Australia.
History Of The SASR
The SASR was established in July, 1957 and went on to get regimental status in 1964, at which time the SASR was firmly established. They first saw action during the Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation. They also participated in the Vietnam War, although they only lost two men through friendly fire. Another man went MIA when he was lost in the jungle. Despite that, they are said to have killed between 500 to 600 enemy combatants.
How To Become A Member Of The SASR
All male personnel of the armed forces, including enlisted men as well as officers can become a member of the SASR. Men are usually distinguished by superior officers to try to join this special forces unit and undergo the training. Those who endure the training become members of this special unit.
A candidate for the SASR has to undergo a three week selection course that is open to all male Australian personnel. They have to undergo psychological and medical suitability requirements for the job as well as make sure that they can meet the demands. Eighty percent will make this cut and then will go on to the entry test. Of these, 64 percent will go on to the three week course. About 25 percent of the applicants for the course will pass the SAS selection course. They then join a squadron as a junior trooper or troop commander where they serve two years and usually want to come back as a major.
Promotions are slow for those who are in the SAS but many of them stay in for life. A SASR trooper can earn up to $100,000 a year.
What Are They Best At?
The SASR has two roles. They are a reconnaissance team that will hold enemy territory in small patrols as well as provide information about enemy troops and their movements. The SASR does not generally engage with enemy units in this role. In addition to the reconnaissance role used in times of war there is also the counterterrorism and special recovery forces. The role they play in this area is to rescue hostages. There are two teams, TAG West that has some additional roles in rescue of hostages that include operations from outside Australian. In comparison, the TAG East team deals with all domestic terrorism cases.
The SASR has three sabre squadrons that are comprised of up to 100 of the best operators. In addition to the saber squadron, there is also the embedded squadron, the logistic support squadron and the operational support squadron. All of the regiments comprise of highly trained specialists who can provide support for all four of the different operations.
SASR are often broken down to small SASR patrols. Training is geared towards being “beret qualified” which means a pay raise. Beret qualified SAS are known as Blackhats because they wear dark blue berets.
Weapons Of The SASR
Basic weapons for the SASR for patrol are the M4 Carbine, with a grenade launcher as well as a F89 Minimi Para light machine gun. They also use a SR-25 rifle and the pistol used for the patrol is the Heckler and Koch USP. One third of the SASR members are qualified as snipers.
The SASR has been involved in missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and in Vietnam.
There are several units of the SASR. They consist of three sabre squadrons. Of these, the Blackhats are considered to be the top trained of all of the members of this special forces team.
Are They Professional Soldiers?
The SASR is comprised of only professional soldiers. Enlisted men as well as officers can become members of this elite squad. All of the members of this special forces unit are considered to be professionals as this unit is not comprised of volunteers.