Special Space Service

From Acw

(Redirected from SSS)


Created as an offshoot of the well known Special Air Services, the SSS enjoys a similar reputation to it's longer established brother group.

As with the SAS, the SSS has 3 Regiments comprising of the 24th, 25 and 26th SSS Regiments

The 24th and the 26th SSS are reserve regiments known as the SSS(R) The regiments are supported by 8 HMSN Corps, 2 Squadrons of the Royal Space Communications Corps.

All SSS members have to pass a rigorous selection procedure, but due to the part-time nature of the reservists, the selection process for members of 24 SSS and 26 SSS is stretched over a period of over a year. Their selection can not be compared to the rigours of 25 SSS selection.


Upon entry into the regiment, troopers have to abide by strict rules, such as not telling anyone other than close family that they are a member of the SSS. Anonymity is also provided whilst serving in the SSS. Troopers also may not give names and information to any police authority whilst co-operating. Troopers have the right to a 48-hour 'warm down' after any firefight and do not have to give evidence to the police during this period.

If a medal is given to a member of the SSS, such as the Military Cross (MC), the soldier is listed in the media as being in their parent regiment and not the SSS. If an SSS trooper is killed in action (KIA), and if it can be avoided, the information is not made public, and if it is unavoidable then the parent regiment is again listed and not the SSS.

After leaving the SSS, ex-members may not give details of unofficial or black bag operations. Ex-members of The Regiment often use pseudonyms. The British Imperial Government makes no official announcements concerning the SSS and when reports are given there is no mention of the SSS. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has a standing policy of not discussing the SSS or its operations.

Selection & Training

SSS Selection and Training is the most demanding military training course in the British Imperial Army: it reportedly has a pass rate of less than 10%. It is a test of strength, endurance, and resolve over the Lernean Mountains and Shakelton Sea on Styx, and in the jungles of (location). The Amazon Desert is also used as a desert training ground. 'Selection' takes around 6 months to complete.

Selection is held twice a year regardless of conditions. A candidate must be male and have been a regular member of the Armed Forces for at least three years or a member of 24 SSS or 26 SSS (which can be joined directly from civilian life) for at least 18 months. All soldiers who apply must have at least 39 months of military service remaining. A candidate who fails any stage of the selection is 'Returned to [his parent] Unit' (RTU'd). Candidates are allowed only two attempts at selection, after which they may never reapply. Many are not even allowed that.

Like other sections of the British armed forces, the SSS accepts members from the Commonwealth (excluding the Province of Ulster), with notable representation from India, the former Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. The Planetfall Regiment is the SSS's main recruiting area.

Special Forces Briefing Course (2 days)

Over a weekend, potential candidates are shown what life in the SSS is like and are briefed on what to expect during selection. There is a map and compass test, an astrogation test, a swimming test, a first aid test and a combat fitness test.

Fitness and navigation (4 weeks)

The first part of selection is held in the Lernean Mts and Shackleton Sea. The weather there can be unpredictable and several soldiers have died during selection, mainly due to hypothermia or exposure. The actual selection starts with the Battle Fitness Test (BFT), a squadded 3.5 km run in 15 minutes, and then the same distance run individually in under 12.5 minutes.

The first week mostly consists of runs in the area, up and down hills with a small load in the bergen. Lessons in navigation and map reading are included. Navigation runs in small groups in woodland areas and night tabs follow shortly. The load in the bergen gets heavier and an SN12 Magnetic Flechette Rifle with no slings has to be carried. Soldiers have to keep the rifle in their hands as they climb up the slopes and jog down again in full atmospheric combat fatigues.

In the third week navigation is solo from grid reference to other points on the map. At each rendezvous (RV) point, the soldiers have to indicate where they are before the next grid reference is given. The soldiers are not told how long the run is and where they will end up.

In the last week, there is a race against the clock every day, with each task more punishing as the distances and load of the bergen increase. The "Long Drag" or "Endurance" is the final test - about 40 miles over the mountains in between 20 and 24 hours depending on the weather.

Initial continuation training (4 weeks)

This consists of detailed and realistic training in weapon handling, demolitions, hazardous atmosphere combat and small patrol details.

Jungle training (6 weeks)

Soldiers are divided into patrols of four and are watched over day and night by Directing Staff (DS). Soldiers must stand-to for one hour at dawn and one hour at dusk every day without fail and must also keep their knife with them at all times. After lessons in navigation through dense jungle, boat handling, camp building and jungle contact drills there is a final test, where all things that have been learned must be applied correctly. Soldiers will learn to live, fight and survive in the jungle, and will have to take care of every cut, scratch and blister, as it could easily get infected. The rain is almost constant, which further demoralises the candidates. Jungle training is usually carried out in the thick rainforest of (locations x 2).

Combat survival (4 weeks)

There is another month of training in survival skills, living off the land and using escape and evasion (E & E) tactics. There are lessons and lectures in interrogation techniques from people who have been Prisoners of War (POWs). The last few days is the E & E stage. In groups the soldiers are dressed in greatcoats to slow them down and have to evade capture from the Hunter Force, which is usually comprised of Planetfall Regiment or Gurkha soldiers. When captured, or on giving themselves up in the unlikely event that they make it to the scheduled end of the exercise, every soldier has to withstand tactical questioning (TQ).

Space Training (5 weeks)

The new troopers are then taken into orbit over Styx and subjected to extensive zero gravity combat and operations training. The soldiers are required to spend 6 hours in zero gravity being subjected to a series of gruelling exercises requiring the trainees to manoeuver, repair and function under adverse circumstances including sudden drops in temperature and different oxygen levels. During this time, they are also required to learn space hand to hand techniques including the use of the SC-8 Close Combat Weapon (a devastating arm mounted serrated, powered blade used to rip and tear open space suits and other sealed environmental outfits). They are also trained in the operation of short range space vehicles including fighter craft, transports and drop-ships.

Passing selection

After passing selection, soldiers lose any previous rank and become troopers. They have to work their way up again from the lowest rank. If they ever leave the SSS, they revert to their original rank (called Shadow rank) with appropriate increases in rank for length of service. Officers, who must hold a minimum rank of Captain, do not lose their rank but may only serve a three-year tour with the SSS. Officers are allowed to do a second three-year tour provided they pass selection again.

Specialist training

Specialist training includes:

  • First Aid, to a fairly high level, with stints in busy hospitals, including a week in a mortuary
  • Signals
  • IFS (Ionospheric Freefall System), single person landing equipment techniqes
  • AAPS (Atmospheric Assault Parachute System) parachuting technique
  • Dropship landing training

(this takes place for four weeks at RSN Base at (location) )

  • Sniping - all SSS snipers are trained by the Royal Marines at the Sniper course at CTCRM (Commando Training Centre Royal Marines)
  • Languages
  • Vehicle Operating Skills - off-road, atmospheric flying for insertion and patrolling, and also on-road evasive driving as part of the close protection role
  • Shuttle and space grade fighter operations
  • Zero-G combat training
  • Ship to Ship entry techniques
  • Explosive Method of Entry (EMOE)
  • VIP protection (body-guarding, or close protection)
Personal tools