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Submarine Parachute Rescue Team jumps over Gibraltar

13 September 2016
The Submarine Parachute Assistance Group (SPAG) has successfully completed a week long exercise in the skies and waters above and around Gibraltar earlier this summer.

Eleven members of the team conducted over 20 parachute jumps from the back of an RAF Hercules transport aircraft into the Mediterranean, both during the day and at night.

Seven of the team travelled with the aircraft from RAF Brize Norton to Gibraltar to prove the long range insertion abilities of the SPAG.

They teamed up with four new members of the SPAG in the UK Overseas Territory who made their first jumps from 2,000 feet to become fully qualified members of the group.

Proving our long range capabilities and blooding new team members made this a really successful trip.

Warrant Officer Coxswain Steve Thorpe

“Proving our long range capabilities and blooding new team members made this a really successful trip,” said Warrant Officer Coxswain Steve Thorpe, Senior Instructor, Submarine Escape Rescue and Survival (SMERAS).

“We were also able to develop our Army and RAF colleagues’ appreciation of our work by arranging a visit to Astute-class submarine HMS Ambush which was coincidentally in port.”

The Royal Navy’s Royal Gibraltar Squadron supported the training by providing catcher craft for the parachutists and safety vessels. 

The exercise was augmented by submarine chefs from HMS Talent.

The SPAG is continuously at six hours’ notice to go anywhere in the world if needed, taking inflatable boats, life rafts, hot and cold rations, first aid kit, and communications equipment to any stricken submarine.

The SPAG traces its history back to the late 1960s when the Royal Navy decided it needed a parachute rescue team – especially in remote areas.

It comprises volunteers from across the Royal Navy and Royal Marines and its work is supported by both the RAF and 47 Air Despatch Squadron of the Royal Logistics Corps.

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