Two women have made military history by enrolling for Special Air Service (SAS) selection.
Having stormed through the pre-selection fitness test, the unnamed pair have progressed to the full six-month course, which consists of unrelenting hill marches, jungle warfare and disorientating interrogation tactics.
Women have been able to serve with the SAS after transferring from covert surveillance units – such as the Special Reconnaissance Regiment – since 2018. A handful have even donned the regiment’s iconic badge: a winged dagger with the motto ‘Who Dares Wins’.
But none have attempted the entire selection process. Until now, that is. The women came through Project Artemis, a programme aimed at boosting representation across UK Special Forces (UKSF) and making full use of the defence talent pool. (continued below)
It trains women for specialist support roles over a period of nine months, provided they have two years’ experience. “We are proud there are no bars to women playing a full role across our Armed Forces,” the MoD told The Sun.
SAS selection starts with an endurance stage called The Hills, set in the Brecon Beacons: a gruelling four-week test of recruits’ map-reading and navigation skill that culminates in a 40-mile trek dubbed The Long Drag.
Then, they’re sent to Belize, Brunei or Malaysia for jungle training, reportedly using live ammo. The final stage subjects recruits to a manhunt kitted out in World War II gear. Once captured, they must withstand a tactical questioning phase that can last for days.
The notoriously gruelling course is considered one of the toughest globally, with a dropout rate upwards of 85 per cent – the highest of any military branch. “We need female operators,” said Special Forces commander General Sir Patrick Sanders.
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