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Tour the Special Air Service Historical Collection
We hope you enjoy this virtual tour of our Historical Collection. Unfortunately, the SAS Historical Collection is not open to the general public. However, visits by appointment may be made for schools and other eligible organisations. For enquiries please contact us.
Open to all SASR Members Wednesdays 9am – 3pm or by appointment.
SASR: Operational Environments
The successful conduct of special operations requires SASR soldiers to operate effectively in various environments. Members of the Regiment are trained and equipped to live, work and fight in the majority of the earth’s environments, with specialised insertion and extraction skills and equipment for clandestine land, air and water environments attracting major importance. Exhibits in the Hangar Facility focus on the equipment and methods used by the Australian SAS since 1957 and include a variety of items unique to Special Force organisations.
Counter Terrorist Operations Exhibit
The SAS Historical Collection includes a number of vehicles and personal equipment used by the Regiment in the Counter Terrorist role since 1980. The vehicle shown is one of the F100 Ford Special Purpose vehicles that were issued to the Regiment in 1980 to provide mobility for the Tactical Assault Group. These vehicles carried soldiers and special equipment from a holding area to an incident site and remained in-service until the mid-1990s when the Nissan Patrol Special Purpose vehicles replaced them.
Also shown is the Low Profile Assault Vehicle, which was designed and built by members of SASR in the late 1980s. The role of this unique vehicle was to provide ‘quiet’ mobility for soldiers approaching the blind side of a parked aircraft with assault ladders. It was electrically powered by two car batteries and capable of speeds up to 50 kilometers per hour.
DID YOU KNOW?
In the late 1970s a SASR officer met with allied counter terrorist units overseas in an effort to ascertain the most suitable vehicle for the fledgling Australian Counter Terrorist Force to adopt. The overwhelming recommendation was the Range Rover. Australian Army procurement officers however disagreed with the recommendation, opting instead for in-service F100 vehicles configured as ambulances.
UNIMOG 1700L Truck ‘MOTHERSHIP’
The truck pictured is one of two Unimog ‘Motherships’ utilised as support vehicles by SASR from the early 1980s to 2003. This particular vehicle was part of an SAS Squadron’s first line resupply capability in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2002 and was used to resupply patrols in the field with rations, ammunition, water, fuel, radio batteries and other items approximately each fortnight. It was armed with 7.62mm and 5.56mm machine guns, and a 40mm mk19 grenade launcher.
UH1B Iroquios Helicopter
The Hughes or Huey, Utility Helicopter (IROQUOIS) is synonymous with the Vietnam War, and the SAS Historical Collection is very fortunate to have one included in its Vietnam era display. This particular aircraft, a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) B model started service on 8 January 1965 and crashed in South Vietnam on 6 June 1967. This aircraft supported 1 SAS Squadron in Vietnam during their first tour, mainly inserting and extracting patrols and it was returned to Australia for repair assessment at Point Cook Victoria in 1967. It was acquired by SASR for display purposes in 1999 and lovingly restored to its Vietnam era livery and display status by former members of 9 Squadron RAAF who maintain a close link with their SAS Vietnam War colleagues. The Huey display shows two sides to the aircraft’s role in Vietnam. On one side it illustrates casualty evacuation by winch and litter and the other side demonstrates how an SAS patrol would insert from the Huey into a small clearing or Landing Zone.
Uniforms Worn by the Australian SAS
Included in the display of equipment, vehicles, boats and parachutes used by the Australian SAS since 1957 is a collection of uniforms. Illustrated here are some of the field uniforms worn by SAS soldiers engaged in operations in Borneo, South Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq as well as garrison and ceremonial uniforms worn in Australia.
Unique to SASR
Although the British and New Zealand SAS, and the US Army Ranger Regiments also wear the 'Beige' or Sandy Beret, the Australian SAS Badge remains unique. The Australian SAS Badge, representing the flaming sword 'Excalibur', is of a common design to that of the British and New Zealand Regiments.
However, it is a metal gold and silver badge on a black shield as opposed to the cloth or bullion badges of our British and New Zealand counterparts, and the same badge is worn by all SAS qualified members of SASR from Trooper to Colonel.
A feature of the SAS Historical Collection is that it displays actual items and equipment worn or used by SAS soldiers on operations. The personal webbing pictured here, was worn by a SAS Warrant Officer during operations in Vietnam with the Australian Army Training Team and is a mixture of US and British issue. Also shown are his US pattern jungle boots and part of the US woodland pattern uniform, often worn by Australian SAS in Vietnam in the early 1970s.
Stealth on Water
The Klepper Aerius MK13 Canoe as you see it here was used by SAS patrols for clandestine movement between a submarine or surface vessel and shore, or to provide patrol mobility in a maritime or estuarine environment, usually at night. It was a robust and stable canoe and could be disassembled and carried in three, man-portable valises to a launching site where it was assembled and used. Although it was fitted with plastic seats, these were often removed and soldiers would sit on their packs during paddling. Personal webbing equipment and weapons would be tied onto the top of the canoe for easy access. SAS Water Operations Troops also proved the worth of these canoes by undertaking long distance ocean transits and also used them as drop off and collection craft for divers as their presence was extremely difficult to detect due to their very low profile.
Artist in Residence
The SAS Historical Foundation is extremely fortunate to count renowned military artist Ian Coate amongst its volunteer members. Ian has been given the honorary title of ‘Artist in Residence’ and through his paintings he has provided a rare insight into aspects of life in the Regiment, at home and on operations. His experience as a former soldier, with strong family ties to the Regiment has provided him with a unique ability to capture the spirit of the Regiment through his art. Ian also generously tutors members of the Regimental Family who are interested in fulfilling their artistic desires and through his contributions and efforts, remains a very valuable member of the Foundation. Ian’s artwork is displayed throughout the Historical Collection.
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