Submarine Parachute Assistance Group

In 1967 the Royal Navy identified that a parachute rescue team could be needed to provide assitance to Submarines in difficulty, particularly those Submarines operating in remote areas. The Submarine Parachute Assistance Group (SPAG) was formed using members of staff serving at the Submarine Escape Training Tank (SETT). They are tasked to be able to rapidly deploy a team of people with Escape and Rescue knowledge to provide advice and assistance to the crew of a DISSUB, survivors on the surface and any other rescue forces involved in the rescue effort. The SPAG are trained in water descent parachuting using both round and square static-line parachutes. They are on 6 hours notice to take-off, 24 hours a day, all year round.

They take with them the following equipment:
2 x inflatable boats (MIBs) twin engines, 8 x 25 man inflatable liferafts, Hot and cold rations, First aid equipment, Surface oxygen therapy equipment, Submarine compatible underwater communications, Surface to air communications, GPS navigation equipment, Ship to shore communications.

The SPAG are on call to provide assisstance to any Submarine or major accident at sea. They are able to provide various types of first aid and expertise in their field. Should the Submarine accident happen where surface ships could be in the DISSUB area quickly, SPAG would then be deployed as a SMERAT team. They would be despatched to the ships prior to sailing or by helo or parachute drop to offer on scene rescue forces expert advice and assisstance.

SPAG deploy SMASHEX 2010

BFPS reports on SPAG in Gibraltar


Italian SMASHEX 2009

Bold Monarch 08

UK & Italian SPAG deploy
Ex Helo Splash - Mar 08

SPAG deploy in Australia
Exercise Pacific Reach - Dec 07

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©2006 Ian Callow