Counter-Terrorist Tactical Assault Group

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Counter-Terrorist Tactical Assault Group

The Counter Terrorist Tactical Assault Group (CTTAG) was formed post 2000 in a bid to provide a dedicated counter terrorist capability within the New Zealand Defence Force without the need for using fully fledged badged members of 1NZSAS.

The group consists of an undisclosed number of fully-badged SAS soldiers with a smaller cadre of ‘un-badged’ soldiers. Though officially part of the SAS these non-badged soldiers do not pass through the SAS selection course and are not permitted to wear the SAS’s ‘winged dagger’ badge though they do wear the sandy beret. The CTTAG has the role of responding to domestic terrorist and special recovery incidents in New Zealand.

The CTTAG is composed of members of all three armed services, Army, Navy and Air Force under the control of CO 1NZSAS. The assessment criteria is rigrous even though the applicants are not required to attend the notoriously man breaking SAS selection course. Candidates must be at least 20 years of age to qualify for CTTAG training and of the highest calibre physically, professionally and mentally. Once a CTTAG member completes their training they are ready to respond to a domestic threat in a matter of hours. The CTTAG are based full time alongside the NZSAS at the Papakura Military Camp in South Auckland. The CTTAG and NZSAS also use the Ardmore Military Camp to conduct their CQB urban, dynamic entry and room clearing drills as well as their sniping skills.

The CTTAG is split into two teams, the sniping team and the assault team. It is also not uncommon to see the CTTAG driving around Auckland conducting covert training sessions amongst civilians. They use a number of Nissan Patrol 4WD vehicles, identical to the ones used by the AOS and STG. They also use the Ford Transit van to conduct covert surveillance and transport additional weapons.