Defence chiefs are launching a new multi-million pound SAS-style “Ranger Force” which will embed deep within foreign militaries and rebel troops.
Hundreds of crack “Army special operations” soldiers will be deployed all over the world in small numbers as part of a new U.K. military strategy.
The ranger regiment was announced today as the Royal Marines revealed their new look as Britain’s Future Commando Force, showing they could work alongside rangers and foreign armies.
The elite rangers will be part of the UK’s biggest defence overhaul since the Cold War and will free up special forces for even more global counter-terror and war missions.
Sources have said some Special Operations Rangers will be fully-trained and ready for deployment by the end of this year and eventually they will be 1,000-strong.
Four 250- strong ranger battalions will be modelled on US special forces “Green Berets” and have been funded with a £120 million over four years launch package.
Typically rangers could be used in operations like the western- backed Kurdish forces attack on ISIS, embedding in the local military and using their skill to amplify the effect of an attack.
The ranger regiment will be the core of a Special Operations Brigade and comes amid sweeping new changes in U.K. defence, which may include regular Army battalions being axed.
A large number of battle-hardened non-commissioned Army officers will be taken into the ranger regiment to take advantage of their experience.
A new defence Command Paper will be unveiled on Monday outlining the biggest overhaul in British defence post Cold War and a new “leaner and meaner” Army.
It is feared four Army infantry battalions of up to 800 troops each will be axed. Other soldiers from elsewhere in the Army and large numbers of tanks and war-fighting vehicles are also likely to be cut.
Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter, ask if a ranger deployment might have been used in the recent war against ISIS in north Iraq, said: “Yes, it is possible.
“As a highly trained and skilled force the rangers would have a huge effect on an enemy if operating with partner forces, whoever they are.
“These are soldiers who would typically be working with partner forces abroad to great effect and, if required, great lethality.”
Global conflict is now immensely complex with Britain facing a variety of threats from many different sources.
Witness the array of terrorist threats deployed by Islamic State and Al-Qaeda, from low- tech lone wolf knife attacks to large-scale drone and plane plots.
Add the threat of cyber attacks, chemical weapons assaults, poisoning by the Russian GRU and espionage by China, North Korea and Iran.
Then add to that the risk of U.K. troops having to fight a conventional war, alongside our partners,against an enemy state.
Intelligence agencies know all of the above have used proxy forces against Western interests, often even criminal gangs.
No longer do modern enemies line up in plain sight against each other on the plains of Europe and as one senior military source told me recently: “The threats are rising exponentially at an alarming rate.”
These changes are about creating an agile and more lethal force that will place Britain’s footprint all over the world, exerting power in high-risk environments.
U.K forces have for years been embedded with foreign security units across the Middle East and Africa and elsewhere.
Defence chiefs are know hoping that smaller numbers will be needed to leverage and influence conflict by embedding them within Armed foreign groups.
Typically handfuls of U.K. rangers will join and mentor foreign forces in fighting Britain’s enemies in what is known as a “force multiplier,” meaning their skill and equipment will magnify the force’s deadliness.
New-look Royal Marines, Britain’s Future Commando Force, practising lethal attacks and ambushes on “high value targets,” along with foreign forces.
Sporting new camouflage kit, C8 Diemaco assault rifles – dubbed “the jihadi stopper” and Glock 17 pistols they were also trying out chest worn tablet style communications kits.
The tablet allows troops to locate their comrades during a battle and real-time maps of assault targets.
Soon they will be able to download to the tablets, drone footage to spy on enemy forces as they attack.
Britain’s commandos and the future ranger force will also make use of tiny nano drones to spy on the enemy and large-scale drones to deliver supplies into the battle zone – as demonstrated in today’s war gaming in Bovington Camp, Dorset.
Sources also said next-generation drones are being experimented with to carry battlefield casualties in the air , as well as truck drones currently being used, as witnessed during today’s demonstration.
Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace said: “The best way to prevent conflict and deter our adversaries is to work alongside partners to strengthen their security and resilience.
“These Ranger battalions will be at the vanguard of a more active and engaged armed forces.”