Royal Navy parachuters train over Gibraltar

Royal Navy’s Submarine Parachute Assistance Group (SPAG) has successfully completed a week long exercise in the skies and waters above and around Gibraltar earlier this summer.

The Navy said that 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.

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.

According to the Royal Navy, 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 group 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.