SAS considers watering down its gruelling selection tests to give women a better chance of joining the elite unit
- Test toughness could be lowered as women are given chance to join SAS in 2019
- It could mean women will carry a lighter load during marches in Brecon Beacons
- But a source said it is about ‘levelling the playing field’, not ‘lowering standards’
Britain’s most elite special forces unit could allow women to take an easier test to increase their chances of joining, it has been reported.
The SAS, whose selection process is considered among the toughest in the world, could be planning to permit female applicants to carry lighter rucksacks during gruelling marches.
Troops hoping to enter the legendary unit are expected to pass uniquely difficult challenges – some of which are so intense that candidates have died trying to complete them.
It would specifically affect the initial selection phase, during which candidates are pushed to their limits in the Brecon Beacons over a month-long period. Pictured: A female soldier during a training exercise
But according to sources who spoke to the Sunday Times, women – who can apply for all military roles from 2019 – might be allowed more time to complete tests and be given lighter loads to carry.
The potential watering down of selection criteria will also apply to the SBS (Special Boat Service), the sources add.
It would specifically affect the initial selection phase, during which candidates are pushed to their limits in the Brecon Beacons over a month-long period.
The Ministry of Defence, however, has not commented on the story.
One of the sources explained: ‘There is a determination to get women into the special forces.
‘There will be changes to the selection of women but it is not about lowering standards — it’s about levelling the playing field.
How to join Britain’s toughest unit
If you want to join the SAS, you certainly need to be tough.
Most of the soldiers who join the elite unit come from other elite units within the military – the Parachute Regiment or the Royal Marines Commandos.
But despite that, the near-impossible selection process – which lasts for five months – proves too difficult for 90 per cent of applicants.
The ‘Special Forces Aptitude Test’ applies to both the regular British Army unit (22 SAS) and also the reservist unit.
It likewise applies to Special Boat Service hopefuls.
There are two courses a year – one in winter and one in summer.
One of the walks includes the so-called ‘beast’ – a march over Pen Y Fan, the highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons. Picutred: British Army troops training in the range
In the first phase – unchanged since the 1950s – applicants must march across the Brecon Beacons carrying a rifle, water and a 45lb bag.
One of the walks includes the so-called ‘beast’ – a march over Pen Y Fan, the highest mountain in the range.
After these walks there is a map-reading tour which takes three weeks.
Then is there is ‘Test Week’, during which applicants are subjected to increasingly gruelling marches.
The final one, called ‘Endurance’, is 40 miles long and must be completed without any breaks.
Troops carry a 60lb bag, a rifle and a full water bottle – and are timed.
After that, with the number of applicants already halved, the small group deemed good enough are sent for even more training in the jungles of Brunei.
At the end of the process, the few strong enough to have passed are allowed entry into the legendary regiment.
‘For a woman to pass special forces selection, she will have to be very focused and very fit — exactly the same as her male colleagues.’
Despite this promise, however, there is reportedly displeasure among some of the senior officers in the SAS who wish to protect the exclusivity of the unit.
In 2016, David Cameron lifted a ban on women fighting in combat roles in the military.
Troops hoping to enter the legendary unit are expected to complete uniquely difficult challenges – some of which are so intense that candidates have died trying to pass them
About 9 per cent of military roles are currently filled by women.
But analysis has shown that only about 4.5 per cent of women would be able to pass the tests to join even the infantry or tank units, both of which have significantly lower requirements than the SAS.
The SAS was founded in 1941 as a commando unit designed to help defeat the Nazis in North Africa during the Second World War.
It has since become Britain’s most famous special forces unit.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5140649/SAS-considers-watering-tests-women-applicants.html#ixzz50EErtDRU
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In Spite of my wifes arguments about it. I still do not understand this great desire to put female bodies into body bags. War is a very messy & nasty business that take almost everything out out a man.
I was briefly a Cav Scout in the Cavalry and I could barely keep up. (I was also in pretty good shape too)
Let alone do the awesome stuff that the Special Forces and Rangers do almost everyday. Fortunately I am old and will not see the disaster that this trend is heading us for.