The uniform of the regiment is Australian issue camouflage (Disruptive Pattern Combat Uniform, or DPCU) and a sand-coloured beret with metal gold and silver flaming Excalibur badge (often wrongly described as a winged dagger) on a black shield. This differs from the British 22 SAS, who have a woven cap badge of the same design. SAS ‘Ibis’ style parachute wings (rounded at the bottom and straight on top) are worn on the right shoulder only on formal Summer, Winter or Mess dress. SASR qualified Parachute Jump Instructors (PJI) on posting to the Parachute Training School wear the SAS hat badge on an airborne maroon beret and may wear a locally purchased DPCU parachute badge on their Para Smock.
In Iraq and Afghanistan, SASR operators were distinguished by their long hair and beards. Generally, shaving is not carried out whilst on patrol.
Basic patrol weapons are the M4 Carbine (designated M4A5 in Australia) with M203A1 40mm grenade launcher and F89 Minimi Para light machine gun. Another popular patrol weapon is the 7.62mm SR-25 rifle. The main pistol used in the CT role is the Heckler & Koch USP, in wartime roles however it is usually the ADF’s standard issue defence sidearm, the Browning Hi-Power that operators will carry. Many other weapon systems are used as the mission dictates. Up to a third of SASR operators are qualified snipers. Operators are multi-skilled and all are parachute-qualified, but they specialise in either Air, Water or Vehicle-mounted insertion methods.
The Regiment is organised into three ‘sabre’ squadrons, each of up to 100 ‘beret qualified’ operators, and an embedded signal squadron (152 Signal squadron), logistic support squadron, and Operational Support Squadron, which conducts the selection and training courses. Only a small percentage of the Regiment are ‘beret qualified’ operators. The majority of the regiment personnel are highly trained specialist staff who are posted to the unit to provide support for all operations. These include signallers, mechanics and technicians, medical staff, storemen, and various specialists. ‘Beret qualified’ SASR members are known as ‘Operators’ and support staff are affectionately known as ‘Blackhats’, due to the dark blue berets they wear. Infantry soldiers who are posted to the unit as storemen, drivers, clerks etc wear the dark ‘rifle’ green Infantry Corps beret.
There are also a number of support personnel who are qualified to wear the sandy beret but have chosen or been directed to remain serving in their particular specialist field. There are also beret qualified members who have been injured and subsequently moved into a support related area.
Signals Corps personnel undertake the same selection and reinforcement cycle training as the rest of the Army, but are rarely released for Corps transfer to Infantry due to the requirement to provide SAS qualified Corps signallers to the Regiment. Personnel from 152 Signal Squadron are encouraged to attempt selection, but as a rule, if successful they remain in the signal squadron and do not transfer into a ‘Sabre’ squadron. However, in being ‘Beret’ qualified, they receive a significant pay rise and increased posting longevity to SASR. Members of 152 Signal Squadron are affectionately known as ‘Chooks’ and are often fully integrated into the 5 man SASR patrols. One member of 152 Signal Squadron was awarded an Infantry Combat Badge during service with the “Gerbils” in Somalia. This was made on the basis that he held an Infantry Employment Code Number (ECN 353 SASR Trooper)and was deployed as part of an SASR team.
- SASR Role
- SASR Reconnaissance
- SASR Counter-terrorism and Special Recovery
- SASR Early days
- SASR Vietnam
- SASR After Vietnam
- SASR Peacekeeping
- SASR The Blackhawk tragedy
- SASR Broader horizons
- SASR in Afghanistan and Iraq
- SASR in Philippines and East Timor
- SASR Uniform and equipment
- SASR Selection and training
- SASR Alliances & Organisation