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Special Air Service (SAS) Weapons

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As one would expect of a special forces unit, aside from the range of standard weapons used by the UK military, the men of the 22nd Special Air Service (SAS) have access to a wider selection of firearms and other weapons than your average British soldier.

This section of the site takes a look at some of the weapons known to be used by the Special Air Service.

C8 carbine

C8 carbine

The Regiment's primary assault rifle / carbine

more info : C8 carbine



Ultra Compact Individual Weapon - a very short version of the M4

more info : UCIW


M16 & variants

5.56mm rifle / carbine

more info : M16



7.62mm battle rifle used by UKSF

more info : HK G3


HK33 / 53

5.56mm version of the G3

more info : HK33 / 53


HK G36

Modern assault rifle made by Heckler & Koch

more info : HK G36



World famous counter-terrorist weapons - the MP5 sub machine gun

more info : HK MP5

MAC 11


9mm SMG once used by the SAS in Northern Ireland

more info : Ingram MAC-10



Info on the Sig Sauer P226, Browning High Power and other pistols.

more info : Handguns



World War-era 2 silenced pistol

more info : Welrod

remington 870

Remington 870

Shotgun often loaded with special breaching rounds

more info : Remington 870

hk 417


Medium ranger sniper rifle

more info : HK417



The Regiment's long range sniper rifle

more info : L96A1


AW 50

.50 cal anti-material rifle

more info : AW 50

Arwen Launcher

Arwen 37

Tear gas canister launcher used for counter-terrorism operations

more info : Arwen 37

stun grenade


Stun Grenade devloped by the SAS CRW wing.

more info : Flash-Bang



Compact anti-tank rocket launcher

more info : M72 LAW



A portable anti-personnel mine used for defence and ambushes

more info : Claymore



40mm grenade launcher fitted to SAS rifles

more info : M203



A modern grenade launcher system

more info : UGL



40mm grenade launcher fitted to SAS vehicles used in the 1991 Gulf War

more info : MK19



Shoulder-fired Surface-To_Air missile (SAM)

more info : Stinger

read an article on UKSF weapons add-ons

view youtube video featuring SAS Counter Terrorism weapons

As with mmany other special forces units, Special Air Service troopers will train with many of the world's military weapons, such as Kalashnikovs. These are not weapons that they would normally choose to take with them on operations but due to their ubiquity amongst other armed forces, it is important for an SAS operator to have working knowledge of them. Not only might they be tasked with training foreign militaries with their use, they may also lead such forces into combat, using their weapons. The SAS may also need to use the enemy's guns in emergency situations - ie such as in escape and evasion, when a trooper may need to take and use guns from fallen enemy soldiers. Then there are 'false-flag' operations, in which the SAS may purposely use firearms likely to be identified with another force in order to cover their own identity.

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Special Air Service (SAS) Weapons (Britain)

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Special Forces | Arms & Equipment

As with other multirole special forces groups, the British Special Air Service (SAS) relies on a plethora of weapons to accomplish its many mission types.

There are a total of [ 35 ] Special Air Service (SAS) Weapons (Britain) entries in the Military Factory. Entries are listed below in alphanumeric order (1-to-Z). Flag images indicative of country of origin and not necessarily primary operator. Listing includes all past and present arms.

This listing is part of our Special Forces Weapons collection showcasing weapons used by special forces groups of the world.


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Taliban claim to carry assault rifle used by SAS and US Marines

The Taliban have said that they are now armed with an American advanced assault rifle used by US and British special forces in Afghanistan.

In a video, a Taliban insurgent is seen holding a 7.62mm special operations forces combat assault rifle (Scar), a weapon favoured by the SAS and US elite troops such as Navy Seals, Army Rangers and Marine Raiders. It is the first confirmation that the Taliban have acquired this specialised weapon, which can be used in close-quarter battles as well as longer-range firefights, and has been used by US troops since 2009.

At a time when the Islamic extremists have been seizing more territory, especially in southern Helmand, the video, which also shows US M16 and M4 rifles and trucks, will concern

SAS - Weapons Training

List of equipment of the British Army

Wikipedia list article

This article is about weapons and equipment. For details of uniforms and orders of dress, see British Army Uniform.

This is a list of equipment of the British Army currently in use. It includes small arms, combat vehicles, aircraft, watercraft, artillery and transport vehicles. The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. Since the end of the Cold War, the British Army has been deployed to a number of conflict zones, often as part of an expeditionary force, a coalition force or part of a United Nations peacekeeping operation.[1]

To meet its commitments, the equipment of the Army is periodically updated and modified. Programs exist to ensure the Army is suitably equipped for both current conflicts and expected future conflicts, with any shortcomings in equipment addressed as Urgent Operational Requirements (UOR), which supplements planned equipment programmes.[2]

Infantry section equipment[edit]

The British infantry section consists of eight soldiers who are normally organised into two four-soldier infantry fireteams. While equipment formations can be tailored as required by section and platoon commanders, infantry sections are usually issued with the following:[3][4][5]

  • Six L85A2/A3 rifles, two of which are usually equipped with an L123A2/A3 underslung grenade launcher (UGL)
  • One L129A1 sharpshooter rifle
  • One L7A2 general purpose machine gun (can be replaced by an additional L85A2/A3 rifle at commanding officer's discretion for a total of seven L85A2/A3 rifles)
  • Seven L3A1 bayonets for use with L85A2/A3 and L129A1 rifles (eight bayonets if the L7A2 GPMG is replaced with an additional L85A2/A3 rifle)
  • One L128A1 combat shotgun for use by the section point soldier (point position is subject to rotation between individual members of the section)[6]
  • Two NLAW anti-tank weapons
  • L72A9 or L2A1 anti-structure munitions
  • L109A2 high explosive grenades
  • L132A1 smoke grenades and/or L84A3 red phosphorus smoke grenades[7]
Vision systems
Communications equipment



Name Origin Type Cartridge Image Details
L105A1/A2, L106A1/A2, L107A1, L117A1/A2 Germany
Semi-automatic pistol9×19mmSIG Sauer P226 neu.jpgThe SIG Sauer P226 and its compact variants were originally used by the Special Air Service,[12] with additional quantities being purchased under an UOR for use by regular Army units in Iraq and Afghanistan to supplement the L9A1 pistol.[13][14][15] The P229 (L117A1/A2) was also a backup weapon for the Royal Military Police Close Protection Unit.[16] Although the L131A1 was later adopted as the replacement for the L9A1, P226 pistols will continue to be used until the end of their life cycles.[17]
L131A1, L137A1[18] AustriaSemi-automatic pistol 9×19mm GLOCK 17 Gen 4 Pistol MOD 45160305.jpgAdopted as the new standard issue sidearm to replace the L9A1 pistol, the L47A1 pistol, and, eventually, the SIG Sauer pistols.[19] The L131A1 is a double action sidearm used for close combat with a magazine capacity of 17 rounds;[20][21] where deemed appropriate, it is the primary weapon of personnel working in operational staff appointments and vehicle commanders and carried as a backup weapon by frontline personnel.[22] Over 25,000 were purchased for use by all branches of the British Armed Forces.[23] The compact Glock 19 variant was also adopted.[18]

Infantry rifles[edit]

Name Origin Type Cartridge Image Details
L85A2, L85A3, L22A2 United KingdomAssault rifle (L85A2/A3)
Carbine (L22A2)
5.56×45mmSA80-A2 Individual Weapon (IW) MOD 45160295.jpgStandard issue assault rifle with an effective range of 300 to 600 metres.[24][25][26] Can be fitted with SUSAT, ACOG, Elcan SpecterOS 4X or Thermal Viper 2 sights. The LLM-Vario Ray laser aiming module and the L123 Underslung Grenade Launcher (UGL) can also be attached.[9][27] A shortened carbine variant, the L22A2, is used primarily by vehicle and helicopter crews for self-defence and by dog handlers.[28][29] As the L85A1, it replaced the L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle as the standard rifle from 1987 to 1994 when the last L1A1 rifles were removed from service. L85A1 rifles were subsequently upgraded to L85A2 standard from 2001 to 2006, with a railed handguard and a vortex flash eliminator being introduced from 2007. On 11 April 2016,[30] the British Ministry of Defence announced the L85A3 upgrade programme to extend the life of existing weapons to 2025, with changes including upper receiver modifications, a new model of railed handguard to provide a full-length rail system, and a Flat Dark Earth coating for improved camouflage. An initial quantity of 5,000 rifles was upgraded to the new L85A3 standard, with further tranches being upgraded on an ongoing basis.[31]
L129A1 United StatesDesignated marksman rifle7.62×51mmL129A1 Sharpshooter rifle MOD 45162216.jpgThe primary designated marksman rifle, equipped with an ACOG optical sight for long-range engagements. There is also a Sniper Support Weapon version fitted with a 12x Schmidt & Bender scope and a suppressor for use by the second man in each sniper team.[32][33]
L119A1, L119A2 CanadaCarbine 5.56×45mm C8 semi-automatic rifle with EOTech.jpgUsed by the Special Air Service since 2000,[34] the 16 Air Assault Brigade's Pathfinder Platoon,[35] the Special Forces Support Group (which includes 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment),[12] and the Royal Military Police Close Protection Unit.[16] It has been upgraded from the A1 to the A2 variant.[18][36] The Pathfinder Platoon used to carry the full-length C7 version before transitioning to the L119A1 as a result of the C7 weapons wearing out.[12]
MCX United StatesAssault rifle .300 AAC BlackoutSIG-MCX-Rifle.jpegThe integrally suppressed variant of the SIG-Sauer MCX has been adopted in .300 Blackout by UKSF to replace the MP5SD3s.[37]
L101A2[18] GermanyCarbine 5.56x45mm HK 53 schattenriss noBG.pngThe HK53 version of the HK33 is used by the Special Air Service and the Royal Military Police Close Protection Unit.[35]
M6A2 UCIW United StatesCarbine 5.56x45mm LWRC M6A2.jpgThe M6A2 UCIW (Ultra Compact Individual Weapon) model of the LWRC M6 has recently been adopted in limited numbers by the UK Special Forces, apparently intended for use by UKSF dog handlers, team leaders, signallers and for use in vehicles and whilst conducting covert reconnaissance and close protection, replacing the 9×19mm MP5K in the latter role[citation needed]. The weapon is often seen in Afghanistan with a SureFire suppressor and either an Aimpoint Micro or EO Tech optics.[38]
L2A1[18] GermanyBattle rifle7.62×51mm Combater.jpgBattle rifle used by the Royal Military Police Close Protection Unit and UKSF.[39] 12", 16" and 20" variants are in use.[18]


Name Origin Type Image Details
L3A1  United KingdomSocket bayonet Royal Navy Bayonet.jpgThe L3A1 bayonet has a hollow handle that fits onto the muzzle of the L85 rifle. The blade is offset to the side of the handle to allow the rifle to be fired while the bayonet is fitted; it is shaped to produce good penetration when thrust and to part a person's ribs without embedding into bone, and a ribbed section for rope cutting. The bayonet handle is shaped so as to allow the bayonet to be used as a multi-purpose knife when needed. The L3A1's scabbard features a saw blade for use on wood, a sharpening stone to hone the bayonet, and a bottle opener; when combined with the bayonet, it also forms a wire cutter.[40][24][25][26] A rail-mounted adaptor was developed to allow the bayonet to be used with the L129A1 Sharpshooter Rifle.[41]

Long range rifles[edit]

Name Origin Type Cartridge Image Details
L115A3, L115A4 United KingdomLong range rifle8.6x70 mm (.338 Lapua Magnum) L115A3 sniper rifle.jpgNow regarded as the primary precision rifle for all British military trained snipers. It is equipped with a 25x scope, a suppressor, a folding stock, a five-round .338 Lapua Magnum magazine and has an effective range in excess of 1,100 m (3,600 ft).[42]Corporal of HorseCraig Harrison currently holds the record for the third longest recorded sniper shot in history at 2,475 meters (2,707 yd) with this rifle.
L118A1 AWC
 United KingdomLong range rifle 7.62×51 mm Accuracy International AW.pngEntered service in 1985, has an effective range of around 800 metres and is designed to perform in both desert and arctic conditions. The L118A1 has largely been replaced in front-line service by the L129A1 for section marksmen and the larger-calibre L115A3/A4 for snipers. The integrally-suppressed L118A1 AWC variant is used exclusively by the SAS.[43]
L135A1 United StatesAnti-materiel rifle12.7x99 mm M107 1.jpgRecoil-operated, semi-automatic anti-materiel rifle. The British Army uses the M82A1 under the L135A1 Long Range Precision Anti-Structure (LRPAS) Rifle designation.[44][18]
L121A1 United KingdomAnti-materiel rifle 12.7x99 mmAW50.pngThe L121A1 (AW50F) is intended to engage a variety of targets, including radar installations, light vehicles (including light armoured vehicles), field fortifications, boats and ammunition dumps. The standard ammunition combines a penetrator with high-explosive and incendiary effects in a single round. It is used by the SAS.[citation needed]
AI AXMC United KingdomLong range rifle 12.7x99 mm AXMC308 Malaysian Army (a) (cropped).jpgLong range standalone .50 BMG anti-materiel rifle that is based on and replaced the AW50.[45]

Submachine guns[edit]

Name Origin Type Cartridge Image Details
L92A1, L91A1, L80A1, L90A1 GermanySubmachine gun9×19mm Heckler & Koch MP5 b.jpgUsed by UKSF and the Royal Military Police Close Protection Unit.[46] The weapon comes in multiple variants, from the standard L92A1 (MP5A3, pictured) and the integrally-suppressed L91A1 (MP5SD3), to the more easily concealable L80A1 (MP5K) and L90A1 (MP5KA1), which are stockless and have vertical foregrips.

Machine guns[edit]

Name Origin Type Cartridge Image Details
L7A2 General Purpose Machine Gun BelgiumGeneral-purpose machine gun7.62×51 mm Pictured is a soldier of First Fusiliers operating a GPMG during a section level attack. MOD 45156947.jpgThe designated general purpose machine gun (GPMG) for sustained fire out to 1,800 m. It is used by two-man teams in specialised machine gun platoons for battalion-level fire support,;[47] it can also be carried by foot soldiers and was reinstated as the standard section machine gun following the removal of the L110A3 from service.[5] Variants of the GPMG are mounted on most ground vehicles within the British Army as well as some helicopters.[48]
L108A1, L110A2, L110A3
Minimi 7.62
 BelgiumLight machine gun5.56×45 mm
7.62×51 mm
Multinational Soldiers conduct MOUT training at Anakonda 2016 160614-A-TA175-006.jpgThe 5.56 mm FN Minimi saw use with the Special Air Service from Operation Granby onwards,[49][50] with the shorter-barrelled FN Minimi Para being adopted as the L110A1 Light Machine Gun for regular infantry fireteams during Operation Telic. Both variants are belt-fed and equipped with a fixed, folding bipod, with the L110A1-A3 being capable of sustained suppressive fire out to 300 metres.[51] The L110A2 and L110A3 are no longer in service with regular infantry following a review of their usage in dismounted close combat infantry platoons,[52] though weapons in service with Joint Force Command users were retained.[53]
L111A1 Heavy Machine Gun United StatesHeavy machine gun12.7x99 mm M2 Browning, Musée de l'Armée.jpgThe L111A1 is the British Army version of the American M2 Browning. It can be attached to both armoured and soft-skin vehicles, or a ground-mount tripod. The weapon has an effective range of 2,200 metres.[54]


Grenade launchers[edit]

Name Origin Type Cartridge Image Details
L123A2, L123A3, L17A1 GermanyUnderslung grenade launcher40×46 mmSA80-A2 with Underslung Grenade Launcher (UGL) MOD 45160296.jpgVariant of the AG36 grenade launcher introduced during the SA80A2 upgrade and issued on a scale of two per infantry section.[4][5] Compared to the preceding Rifle Grenade General Service, the underslung grenade launcher offers low recoil, ease of use, reduced ammunition weight and the ability to have a chambered grenade at the ready without affecting the ability to fire the L85 rifle.[27][56] Ammunition natures used include fragmentation, HEDP, white illuminating parachute, infra-red illuminating parachute, and red phosphorus.[24][26][57] The L17A1 version is used with the L119A1/A2 rifles.[58]
L134A1 GermanyGrenade machine gun40×53 mmHKGMW.jpgThe L134A1 is used for the suppression of enemy infantry and can be mounted on both armoured vehicles and tripods. It combines the advantages of a HMG and a mortar in one; delivering a high rate of fire with fragmentation effect. The weapon has a 320rpm rate of fire and an effective range of 1,500 m (4,900 ft)-2,000 m (6,600 ft).[59]


Name Origin Type Detonation Image Details
L109A2[60]  SwitzerlandHE hand grenadeFuse Grenade IMG 3098.jpgBritish version of the Swiss HG 85 Grenade. It differs from the original in that it has a matte black safety clip similar to the American M67 grenade. It has a 3–4 second fuse delay (climate dependent), contains 155g of high explosive and has an effective casualty radius of 15 m (49 ft).[61]
L83A1/A2, L132A1  United KingdomSmoke screening hand grenadeFuse SmokeGrenade2.JPGUsed for concealing unit movements.[62]
L84A2, L84A3  GermanyRed phosphorus smoke screening hand grenade Fuse Red phosphorus smoke grenade which is effective against visual sight and aiming equipment, night-vision devices, sensors operating in the near IR-spectrum and laser range finders.[63] A third iteration is currently in service.[7]
L68A1 Green, L69A1 Orange, L70A1 Red, L71A1 Blue, L100A1 Yellow, L101A1 Purple, L152A1 Green, L153A1 Orange, L154A1 Red, L155A1 Yellow, L157A1 Purple, L158A1 Turquoise  United KingdomSignal smoke hand grenade Fuse Smoke Grenade, Cardinham Moor - - 621690.jpgUsed for ground-to-ground and ground-to-air signalling and for marking target and landing zones.[62]
PE7, PE8  United KingdomPlastic explosive (RDX-based) DetonatorReplacements for the long-serving PE4 plastic explosive which had been rendered obsolete by new taggant requirements and by technical limitations associated with it being predominantly issued in stick form.[64] PE7 was developed from Eurenco's HEXOMAX explosive[65] and is available in 500g block (L20A1) and 2 kg slab (L21A1) forms.[66][67] PE8 was developed by Chemring and is available in 2 kg slab (L22A1) form only.[68] Both PE7 and PE8 slabs are issued in a 20 kg logistic pack containing two 10 kg bulk packs that have five 2 kg slabs each, with the 10 kg packs being capable of use for demolitions as a complete unit; the 2 kg slabs themselves contain four 500g blocks (designated L23A1 in the case of PE8 slabs) that can be removed and used individually.[69][70]
L1A1[68] United KingdomConical and linear user filled demolition charges Detonator User-filled plastic explosive containers that have replaced pre-prepared demolition charge variants in British service due to their lower cost (both in terms of acquisition and in terms of storage since unfilled containers can be stored indefinitely[71][72] while charges such as the L1A1 Necklace Charge had a shelf life of ten years[73]) and their improved safety and ease of use.[74] Both containers consist of a plastic body with a copper lining (with the conical container also including four wooden legs for an adequate standoff distance) and can be used in wet conditions without any reduction in effectiveness unless a body of water is present between the underside of the copper lining and the target; the conical container is filled with 12 kg of PE8 prior to deployment and produces a hole in the target,[75][71] while the linear container is filled with 8 kg of PE8 and produces a linear cut in the target.[76][72]
L26A1[77] United KingdomBangalore torpedo demolition chargeDetonator B Company 2 Battalion the Parachute Regiment MOD 45167475.jpgThe Chemring-produced L26A1 was chosen to fulfill a MOD requirement for an improved bangalore torpedo design, and is lighter and easier to use than its predecessors. The torpedo consists of an aluminium body filled with two kilograms of DPX1 explosive; detonation produces enhanced blast and fragmentation effects which in turn provide an enhanced cutting capability against both simple and complex wire entanglements. The L26A1 is also capable of cutting through up to six millimetres of steel plating. Up to eight L26A1s can be combined with one another, with the resulting assembly capable of defeating obstacles that are up to eight metres in length.[78][79][80]
M18A1 Anti-Personnel Mine[81] United StatesCommand-detonated anti-personnel mineRemote US M18a1 claymore mine.jpgUsed for specialist and defensive purposes.[82]
L9A8, L17A1, L18A1[83] United KingdomHE blast anti-tank mine, demolition charge (improvised) Pressure or detonator L9 Bar mine.jpgPrimary anti-tank mine. During the Gulf War, it was found to be highly resistant to mine ploughs, simply rotating under it to detonate below the vehicle, disabling some M60 tanks of the USMC after Iraq captured L9s from the Kuwaiti Army.[84] During Operation Herrick, barmines were split in half for use as improvised demolition charges.[85]

Indirect fire weapons[edit]

Name Origin Type Calibre Image Details
L16A2 United Kingdom
Mortar 81 mm 81mmMORT L16.pngOperated by a three-man team. It is often vehicle-borne; in mechanised infantry battalions it is mounted and fired from a Bulldog armoured vehicle.[86] Around 470 are in service.[87]

Portable anti-material weapons[edit]

Personal equipment[edit]

Protective equipment[edit]

A British Army infantryman showing full combat dress and standard personal kit as of 2011, including Mk. 7 helmet and Osprey Mk. 4 vest (back)
A British Army infantryman showing full combat dress and standard personal kit as of 2011, including Mk. 7 helmet and Osprey Mk. 4 vest (front)

A British Army infantryman showing full combat dress and standard personal kit as of 2011 (front and back views). The kit includes a Mk 7 combat helmet with a multi-terrain-pattern (MTP) cover and a mounted night-vision system with ballistic eye protection, an MTP under-body-armour combat shirt, Mk 4 MTP Osprey body armour with medical, ammunition and admin pouches, a personal role radio, a small-arms weapon system with advanced optical gun sight and underslung grenade launcher, pelvic protection, MTP trousers, knee pads and combat boots.[94]


Main article: Mk. 7 Helmet

Many soldiers are now equipped with the new Virtus helmet (Revision Batlskin Cobra Plus[95]) which provides increased blunt impact protection, has a lighter weight than the preceding Mk7, can be fitted with face and mandible guards for certain roles, is specially shaped to allow effective weapon usage while in a prone position and wearing body armour, and features a permanent universal night vision mount and a scalable counterweight attached to the helmet's rear in order to ease strain on the user's neck while a night vision device is equipped.[96][97]

Prior to this, the standard helmet in service was the Mk7 which replaced the older Mk6 and Mk6A helmets on operations. The Mk7 helmet offered the same protection as the Mk6A but had a lower weight and was equipped with a new harness that kept the helmet more stable on the head when night vision equipment was fitted. The shape of the helmet was better integrated with new weapon sights compared to the Mk6A, making it easier to use in a variety of fighting positions.[98][99] All helmets allow the soldier to wear a respirator, hearing protection, goggles and/or a radio headset as necessary.[98]

Combat body armour[edit]

Main article: Osprey body armour

The British Army utilises three combat body armour systems. For training activities, old stocks of Enhanced Combat Body Armour are utilised; first introduced in the 1980s,[100] this is a soft body armour vest that can be augmented with hard armour plates.[101][102] For operational activities since 2006, soldiers have been issued with a combined soft and hard body armour vest known as Osprey body armour, with the latest iteration being the Mk 4 and Mk 4A 'Osprey Assault' body armour. The Osprey Mk 4 vest provides the same level of ballistic protection as older Osprey vests while improving the comfort of personnel on operations by being closer fitting, less bulky and easier to move in; this is aided by having a thinner hard armour plate which is carried in an internal pocket as opposed to the external pockets of Enhanced Combat Body Armour and earlier Osprey vests. A new ribbed material lining on the inside of the vest improves breathability in hotter climates such as that of Afghanistan. The Mk 4A version achieves a further weight reduction by switching from a cummerbund to a smaller side plate pouch.[103] All versions of Osprey body armour are modular in that MOLLE loops on the outside of the vest allow soldiers to attach various load carrying pouches to suit their role, with the Osprey Mk 4 having a higher number of loops and introducing new pouches such as a "commander's pouch" for holding stationery and open magazine pouches with elastic draw-cords for easier access to ammunition (though pouches with Velcro flaps and Fastex fastenings were also included[104]).[98][99]

A British Army infantryman in CRBN equipment modelling the currently issued Virtus helmet and vest; he also wears the General Service Respirator issued since 2010

Osprey Mk 4 and Mk 4A body armour has mostly been replaced by the Scalable Tactical Vest component of Virtus body armour, which is even closer fitting and lighter than the Opsrey Mk 4 and can have its level of protection scaled up or down to match the prevailing type of threat. The vest also features a quick-release mechanism to aid safe extraction from hazardous situations such as burning vehicles or drowning and a dynamic weight distribution system which, when linked to a soldier's waist belt, aids in spreading the soldier's load across the back, shoulders, and hips; a mechanism in the small of the back allows the wearer to adjust the weight bias depending on the situation.[96][97]

Ancillary to regular body armour is a three-tier pelvic armour system issued since 2010 to mitigate against the effects of blasts, including shrapnel. The first layer is a pair of underwear shorts manufactured from a ballistic silk material. The second layer consists of detachable pelvic body armour that is intended to be worn while 'outside the wire' to meet the greater threats faced by soldiers on patrol; it can be rolled up and clipped to a belt and then pulled through the legs to form a protective pouch, ensuring that mobility is not impeded while the second layer is worn. The third layer consists of knee-length ballistic shorts worn over a soldier's combat trousers, offering coverage of the upper leg and wider abdominal region and designed for use by soldiers operating hand-held metal detectors to search for explosive devices or otherwise serving in a combat role where greater levels of protection are required.[105][106]


Main article: General Service Respirator

By January 2015, over 300,000 General Service Respirators had been delivered to replace the older S10 respirator.[107] These respirators are also used by the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Royal Fleet Auxiliary.


Main articles: Uniforms of the British Army and Multi-Terrain Pattern


A British Army infantryman modelling the currently issued brown boots.

In 2012, the MOD purchased a newly designed range of brown combat boots from Haix,[108] Alt-Berg,[109] and other manufacturers for the Army, Royal Navy and RAF to replace the black and desert combat footwear previously worn. Five different boots, developed to match the Multi-Terrain Pattern uniform, are available to Armed Forces personnel depending on where they are based and what role they are in. Each of the five boot types comes in two different styles, with personnel being able to wear the particular style they find most comfortable. Black boots have been retained for wear with most non-camouflage uniforms as well as units on parade in full dress uniform, such as regiments performing ceremonial duties in central London.[110][111]

  • Desert Combat – worn by dismounted troops conducting medium to high levels of activity in desert type environments with temperatures exceeding 40 °C
  • Desert Patrol – worn by drivers/armoured troops conducting lower levels of activity in desert type environments exceeding 40 °C
  • Temperate Combat – worn by dismounted troops for medium to high levels of activity in temperate (European) climates
  • Patrol – worn by mounted troops (drivers/armoured troops) taking part in lower levels of activity in temperate (European) climates
  • Cold Wet Weather – worn by dismounted troops for medium to high levels of activity in temperatures down to −20 °C.

Before the adoption of the brown boots, British troops were issued with desert combat boots manufactured by Meindl[112][113] and Lowa[114] for use in Afghanistan. Both boots remain listed as part of the MOD's 'Black Bag' of operational clothing despite their official replacement by the brown boots,[115] and may be worn by individual soldiers in lieu of the issue footwear.

Personal Role Radio[edit]

Main article: Personal Role Radio

A Personal Role Radio (PRR) is distributed to every member of an eight-strong infantry section.[11]

Load carrying equipment[edit]

Main article: Personal Load Carrying Equipment

A soldier with the 1 Yorkshire Regiment battlegroup during Exercise Prairie Lightning
A soldier with 1st Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers during Exercise Southern Warrior in the Falkland Islands

PLCE being used during training exercises

Soldiers need to carry ammunition, water, food, protective equipment, and various other supplies; Personal Load Carrying Equipment (PLCE), officially known as 95 Pattern Webbing,[101] is the current webbing system used by the British Army for this purpose. The webbing consists of a belt, a yoke harness, and various belt pouches, as well as two daysacks for use with the Combat Order; these can be attached to a larger 'Bergen' rucksack for use with the Marching Order. Associated with PLCE is a series of similar load carrying equipment and rucksacks.[116] PLCE webbing is capable of holding everything that a soldier needs to operate for 24 hours without resupply in its Fighting Order, for up to two or three days without resupply in its Combat or Patrol Order and for up to two weeks without resupply in its Marching Order.[117]

PLCE is now very unlikely to be spotted during operations due to the introduction of the Osprey body armour series and the later Virtus scalable tactical vest, both of which feature MOLLE loops for direct attachment of load carrying pouches as well as various associated load carrying items such as rucksacks that also feature MOLLE attachment loops,[98][97][118] though PLCE webbing produced in the newer MTP pattern does exist and, due to its durability and the quantity produced, the webbing is often seen in use during training exercises.[120][121][122][123]

Future Integrated Soldier Technology[edit]

Main article: Future Integrated Soldier Technology

The Future Integrated Soldier Technology (FIST) is a programme under development by the Ministry of Defence. The programme is designed to achieve enhanced military effect through the used of advanced technologies improving the situational awareness, lethality and survivability of soldiers. Ultimately, the programme is part of the wider British Armed Forces doctrine of network-enabled capability. 35,000 sets of kit are expected to be bought and issued between 2015 and 2020. This equipment is designed to bring the British infantryman up to standards and link with new technology currently employed, including the new underslung grenade launcher for the SA80 and the deployed Bowman communications network. It is not intended that every soldier be equipped with FIST: instead, unit commanders will request FIST kits as necessary so that they can be tailored to the situation and mission aims.


Challenger 2, Warrior, AS90, MLRS and Stormer of 1 YORKSbattlegroup


Name Origin Type Number Image Details
Challenger 2 United KingdomMain battle tank227[124]Challenger 2Equips three regular and one Yeomanry (reserve) Armoured Regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps.[125] To be reduced to 148 upgraded Challenger 3 models by 2030.[126]
Ajax United KingdomArmoured fighting vehicle14[127][128]AjaxSix vehicles delivered to Household Cavalry Regiment in July 2020. Another 8 have since delivered. All have been described by Forces News as "... all of which were without turrets and odd sizes".[127] Total of 589 on order.[127]
CVR(T) United KingdomArmoured fighting vehicle654[129][124]ScimitarRecce (201),[124]APC, command and ARV variants equip three Armoured Cavalry Regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps and their REME detachments. APC and command variants also in use with the Royal Artillery, while an ambulance variant is operated by the 1st Armoured Medical Regiment.[130] Some variants have been partially replaced by the Iveco LMV, entire family to be replaced by 589 Ajax (Scout SV) starting 2017.
Warrior United KingdomArmoured fighting vehicle 767[124]WarriorEquips six battalions of Armoured Infantry and their REME detachments. A small number are also used by the Royal Artillery for command and observation.[131] The programme to upgrade them was cancelled in March 2021 and the vehicle is to be gradually phased out and replaced by Boxer.[132]
Bulldog United KingdomArmoured fighting vehicle 891[124]BulldogFV 430 variants remain in service with the infantry, as command vehicles, 81mm mortar carriers, ambulances and recovery vehicles.[133]
Mastiff United States
 United Kingdom
Protected mobility vehicle396[124]MastiffThe 6×6 Mastiff and 4×4 Ridgback equip three battalions of Heavy Protected Mobility Infantry, the vehicles can be equipped with either a 12.7mm heavy machine gun or a 40mm grenade machine gun. The 6×6 Wolfhound is a protected tactical support variant of the Mastiff.[134][135]
Jackal United KingdomProtected mobility vehicle 437[124]JackalThe 4×4 Jackal equips three Light Cavalry Regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps. The vehicle is also used for convoy protection and various configurations exist for the SAS too. The 6×6 Coyote is a protected tactical support variant of the jackal.[136][137]
Foxhound United KingdomProtected mobility vehicle 398[124]FoxhoundEquips six battalions of Light Protected Mobility Infantry in 1 (UK) Division plus 2 battalions in Cyprus.[138]
Husky United StatesProtected mobility vehicle 311[124]HuskyProtected tactical support vehicle.[139]
RWMIK Land Rover United KingdomProtected patrol vehicle 371[140]RWMIK Land RoverThe Revised Weapons Mounted Installation Kit equips three Yeomanry (reserve) Light Cavalry Regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps. The vehicle is also used for convoy protection and various configurations exist for the SAS too.[141]
Panther ItalyCommand and liaison 401[140]PantherArmoured command and liaison vehicle for commanders and officers in various cavalry and armoured formations.[142]
TPz Fuchs GermanyCBRN reconnaissance 11[143]CBRN FuchsEquips Falcon Squadron, Royal Tank Regiment.[144]

Artillery and air-defence[edit]

Name Origin Type Number Image Details
GMLRS United StatesRocket artillery44[145]GMLRSThe Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS), operated by the 26th Regiment Royal Artillery.[146] To be upgraded to use the Guided MLRS Extended Range (GMLRS-ER) missile and the Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) by 2025, which have ranges of 150 km (93.21 mi) and 499 km (310.06 mi), respectively.[145]
L131 AS-90 United KingdomSelf-propelled artillery89[124]L131 AS-90The L131 AS-90 is a 155mm self-propelled howitzer and is the largest piece of field artillery in the British Army. The L131 is operated by three field regiments of the Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Artillery: 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, 19th Regiment Royal Artillery.[147]
L118 Light Gun United KingdomTowed howitzer126[124]L118 Light GunThe L118 Light Gun is used by four field artillery regiments: 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery and 29th Commando Regiment Royal Artillery. It can be towed by a medium-weight vehicle (such as a Pinzgauer) or carried around the battlefield underslung by Chinook helicopters.[148]
Rapier United KingdomSurface-to-air missile system 24[143]RapierThe Rapier Field Standard C is a Short Range Air Defence System (SHORAD), which is compact, mobile and air-portable, making it suitable for worldwide operations. It is a 24-hour, all-weather guided weapon system with the capability to engage two targets at once. Operated by the 16th Regiment Royal Artillery across four batteries, one of which is permanently based in the Falkland Islands.[149]
Sky Sabre United KingdomSurface-to-air missile system Sky Sabre is the Army's version of the Common Anti-Aircraft Modular Missile (CAMM), mounted on an 8x8 MAN SV.[150]
Starstreak SP HVM United KingdomSurface-to-air missile system 62[143]SP HVMThe Starstreak SP HVM is mounted on the Alvis Stormer AFV with an 8-round launcher and internal stowage for a further 12 missiles. The Starstreak HVM (High Velocity Missile) is designed to counter threats from very high performance, low-flying aircraft and fast 'pop up' strikes by helicopters. Operated by 12th Regiment Royal Artillery.[151]
Starstreak LML United KingdomSurface-to-air missile system 145[143]LMLThe Starstreak Lightweight Multiple Launcher (LML) is a short-range, highly mobile air defence system that holds three missiles ready for firing and can be used as either a stationary launch unit or mounted on a light vehicle, such as a Land Rover. Starstreak can also be used as a surface attack weapon, capable of penetrating the frontal armour of even IFV's. Operated by 12th Regiment Royal Artillery.[151]

List of obsolete anti-tank guided missiles[edit]

Mobile artillery monitoring battlefield radar[edit]

Mobile artillery monitoring battlefield asset (MAMBA)

Main article: Mobile Artillery Monitoring Battlefield Radar

The Mobile Artillery Monitoring Battlefield Radar (or Mobile Artillery Monitoring Battlefield Asset) is a counter-battery radar. It detects enemy artillery projectiles fired by one or more weapons and from their trajectories locates the position of the weapon that fired it. It has a detection range of up to 30 km and can process up-to 100 projectiles simultaneously. It is mounted on a Bandvagn 206 (Bv206) all-terrain vehicle. Five vehicles are operated by the 5th Regiment Royal Artillery.


Main article: Spike (missile)

The Exactor is a previously classified purchase of the Rafael Spike-NLOS missile system. The system is primarily used for precise indirect counter barrage attacks at long ranges (30 km (19 mi)) where the GMLRS would result in too much collateral damage. It originally consisted of six Mk2 or Mk4 missiles mounted on an M113 chassis, of which 12 were purchased directly from the Israeli Defence Force with a further two chassis leased.

In 2010, the United Kingdom hired Rafael to produce an improved Mk 5 missile and also ditched the M-113 based launchers as they were poorly air-conditioned and difficult to keep running. These new missiles were mounted on a simpler flatbed trailer containing four missiles each. This new system was dubbed the Exactor 2 by the U.K. Ministry of Defence.[152] 18 such systems now exist within the Royal Artillery in six batteries of three.[153]


Main article: Phalanx CIWS

Centurion is a C-RAM system based on the 20mm Phalanx CIWS, originally acquired for used in Basra, Iraq. It is operated by 16th Regiment Royal Artillery, and intended to intercept incoming rockets, shells and mortars out to a 1.2 km square area.[154] They are maintained by Babcock International in the United Kingdom. A total of ten sets were purchased in 2005,[155] but since then four have been reconverted back to the maritime variant.[156]

Engineering and logistics[edit]


Assault rifle sas

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H\u0026K's MP5 and the British SAS..... running CQB with 3-point slings (Feat. BOTR, Forgotten Weapons)

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