The Special Forces Support Group (SFSG) is a special operations unit of the British Armed Forces. It is comprised of units from the British Army’s Parachute Regiment, Royal Marines, and the Royal Air Force Regiment . The SFSG was formed officially on April 3, 2006 to augment other United Kingdom Special Forces units on large-scale missions. It is a part of the United Kingdom Special Forces along with the Special Air Service, Special Boat Service, and Special Reconnaissance Regiment.
The unit’s creation stems from the need to provide infantry support to the special forces. Previously, this was done on an ad hoc basis as conventional units of the Royal Marines and the British Army assisted special forces teams when needed. Units like the Parachute Regiment were sometimes deployed in such a manner, such as for Operation Barras in Sierra Leone.
In December 2004, it was announced that a unit would be formalized for this role as part of the wider restructuring. It was initially coined as a battalion of Rangers in reference to the US Army 75th Ranger Regiment (although not similar).
Its creation was announced officially by the then Secretary of State for Defence John Reid in Parliament on 20 April 2006. Following the announcement, it was reported that a company of SFSG soldiers was operating in Iraq as part of the US-led Task Force 145.
The SFSG was established to support UKSF units in battle overseas and on domestic counter-terrorist operations. For this, it may encompass such roles as providing diversionary attacks, cordons, fire support, force protection, and supporting training tasks.
The unit includes Royal Marines commandos, Army paratroopers and a small part of the RAF Regiment. As a result, all those selected for the SFSG have passed either the Royal Marines Commando course, the Airborne Forces Selection course run by The Parachute Regiment or the RAF Pre-Parachute Selection course. Members continue to wear their own cap badge. In addition, they wear a new shoulder emblem that depicts a silver dagger on a green background, with a red-lined black flash of lightning running through it.
Although intended as a tri-service formation, it was announced that the initial core would be formed from the 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment. 1 PARA was subsequently cut from the line infantry.
It is based at RAF Saint Athan near Cardiff, south Wales. News reports of its strength have varied between 450- 1,200 personnel.