Delta Force vs SAS

navy seals vs delta forceAre you wondering how the Delta Force vs SAS matchup as elite special operations units?

Check out the two services as we talk about how each group works. The British Army has the SAS – or Special Air Squadron. The US Army has their Tier 1 Operatives known as “Delta Force” or simply “the Unit”.

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To get into Delta or the British SAS you must serve as a Special Forces Operator (Green Beret/Ranger) with an impeccable record on and off the field. You will then be invited to try out. Not everyone of this super elite hand picked group makes the “try out”.

The United States Army Delta Force and the United Kingdom’s British SAS (Special Air Service) are two of the most elite and secretive special forces units in the world. While they share some commonalities in their objectives and training, there are also significant differences that set them apart. Here’s a detailed comparison between Delta Force and the British SAS:

DELTA FORCE Origins and History:

Delta Force (officially known as the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta) was established in 1977 and is part of the U.S. Army’s Special Operations Command (USASOC). Its primary focus is on counterterrorism and direct action missions.
The British SAS, on the other hand, has a much longer history, dating back to World War II. It is a part of the United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF) and was originally formed for desert warfare during the North African Campaign.

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Mission Focus:

Delta Force specializes in counterterrorism, hostage rescue, and high-risk direct action missions. They often operate in conjunction with other U.S. special operations units.
The SAS has a broader range of missions, including counterterrorism, reconnaissance, sabotage, and unconventional warfare. They have been known for their long-range reconnaissance and covert behind-enemy-lines operations.

Both units have incredibly rigorous training programs. Delta Force recruits are primarily drawn from the U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Berets) and the 75th Ranger Regiment. Training includes assessment and selection, followed by specialized training in marksmanship, explosives, and tactics.

SAS recruits come from various branches of the British military. SAS training includes an intense selection course followed by specialized training in jungle warfare, counterterrorism, and other areas. Their training is known for its physical and psychological demands.
Size and Structure:

Delta Force is believed to consist of around 1,000 operators, organized into squadrons.
The SAS is a smaller unit, with an estimated 400-600 personnel. It’s divided into four squadrons: A, B, D (Air), and G (Reserve).

Both units are shrouded in secrecy. Details about their operations and even their exact size and composition are closely guarded secrets. They often operate in the shadows, and their members are rarely identified publicly.


Both units have access to top-of-the-line military equipment, including advanced firearms, communications gear, and vehicles. They are known for adapting to the specific needs of each mission.
Global Reach:

Delta Force is primarily tasked with operations around the world, often working in conjunction with other U.S. special operations units like SEAL Team 6.
The SAS has a global reach as well, often operating in various theaters of conflict. They are particularly renowned for their operations in Northern Ireland, the Falklands War, and the Gulf War.

Cultural Differences:

While both units have rigorous training and high standards, the cultural differences between the U.S. and the UK can influence the way they approach missions, tactics, and team dynamics.

Delta Force Physical Standards Test (PST)
5-event physical fitness qualification test
(all while wearing boots and BDUs)
run, dodge and jump
inverted crawl
sit ups
2-mile run
100-meter swim
Timed 18-mile ‘ruck-march’ at night in which the candidate must carry 35 pounds in their rucksack
Timed 40 mile route while carrying a 45 pound ruck sack over rough, steep terrain.

Training is intense with 16 hour days and mind numbing pressure as the new picked but “seasoned” candidates work their way through the initial Tier 1 training.

Operatives are then formed up into cells and deployed around the world to hot spots to exterminate bad guys and rescued those in need.

SAS Special Forces Workout

SAS Special Forces workout

When the British want to bring in precision firepower for specialized missions – they call the British SAS.

The Special Air Service or SAS is a regiment of the British Army constituted on 31 May 1950.

The British SAS is known for their infamous saying “He Who Dares Wins”.

Check out these videos and workouts as we take a look at the hard work of the SAS as they train and hunt to kill bad guys.

The SAS traces its origins to 1941 and the Second World War, and was reformed as part of the Territorial Army in 1947, and named the 21st Battalion, SAS Regiment, (Artists Rifles).

There are 3 main training stages:

1. Selection: the first phase is meant to get rid of the weak and identify the strong. You will be blasted daily with hard physical workouts and constant mental stress. Those not ready are quickly weeded out.

2. Jungle training: the second phase is held in arduous conditions in hot bug infested jungle.  The trainees begin to learn tactical skills that they will apply in the field.

3. Survival training: the third phase is extremely harsh with survival escape rescue and evasion along with being subjected to interrogation under duress.

SEALgrinderPT workouts

The first part of the training is Selection. You have to ruck from point A to point B. Sounds simple but is incredibly hard once you add on a 50 lb Bergen (British rucksack).

SAS Special Forces Workout #1
75 pushups
75 situps
50 pull ups
50 four count flutter kicks
Ruck 5k over hilly terrain with creek crossings (get wet)
75 pushups
75 situps
50 pull ups
50 four count flutter kicks

3rd phase of training is spent trying to survive being chased by enemy combatants and keeping your wits if captured and interrogated.  Evasion can be through the countryside, edges of small towns and urban areas.

SAS Special Forces Workout #2
Run 5k
urban obstacle course 800 meters
Run 5k
100 pushups / 100 situps / 50 eight count bodybuilders / 50 toe to bar

Questions from SGPT Athletes

Question: Was Delta Force modeled after the British SAS training?

Answer: Lt Col Charlie Beckwith set up the original Delta Force training unit and used ideas from the SAS. He served as an Exchange Officer with 22SAS during the Malayan Emergency(1960) and conducted guerilla warfare alongside the SAS.

The US Army Delta Force is so secretive that they are not acknowledge and claim to not exist.

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