Army Ranger Wing

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Arw03.gif Army Ranger Wing

Unit Designation

The Unit is officially designated 'Sciathán Fianóglach an Airm' , which is translated as 'The Army Ranger Wing'. There is no direct English translation of the term 'Fianóglach' so the designation Ranger is the accepted version. 'Fianóglach' links the traditions of the 'Na Fianna' (Legendary Irish Warriors) with the present day Irish Defence Forces (Óglaigh na hÉireann). Qualified members of the unit wear the Fianóglach shoulder flash insignia.

Unit Motto

Glaine ár gcroí (The cleanliness of our hearts) Neart ár ngéag (The strength of our limbs) Agus beart de réir ár mbriathar (And our commitment to our promise)

The Unit motto is taken from an old Fianna poem and continues the link with which the name is associated. It is written in the Irish language.

Unit Evolution

In the late 1960s and early 1970s a small number of Defence Forces personnel attended American Army Ranger Courses at Fort Benning, Georgia in the United States. On their return, these personnel were responsible for organising similar type courses which were aimed at bringing standards of training throughout the Defence Forces into line with accepted international standards. Students on these courses were selected from among all ranks and all Units of the Army, the Air Corps and the Naval Service. These courses proved to be very beneficial in improving standards of physical endurance, marksmanship, individual military skills and small unit tactics.

The evolution of the Army Ranger Wing resulted from an increase in international terrorism in the late 1970s and 1980s. The kidnapping of politicians and businessmen as well as the hijacking of air and seagoing craft was of considerable concern to democratic governments. European and other countries realised that conventional police and military tactics were not suited to dealing with this escalating threat.

Ireland, a member of the European Community, was not immune from such incidents and recognised the need for a specialised anti terrorist organisation.

The Defence Forces was in a position to respond with a competent and highly trained Unit. The increased skills and endurance training of 'Ranger'-trained personnel provided the perfect basis for the new specialist unit. The Army Ranger Wing (ARW) was formally established, in accordance with the Defence Act, by Government order in March 1980 .


The Army Ranger Wing is an integral Unit of the Defence Forces. Its Roles are divided into Conventional Warfare roles and Specialist 'Aid to the Civil Power' roles. It also has an established role in the advancement of standards within the Defence Forces. Conventional Warfare

Military Tasks

Offensive Operations behind enemy lines :

Securing of vital objectives. Long Range Patrolling - Raids - Ambushes - Sabotage. Capture of key personnel. Diversionary Operations. Intelligence Gathering Defensive Operations

VIP Protection. Counter insurgency. Training in and conduct of specialist operations. Delay Operations Specialist Aid to the Civil Power (Anti-Terrorist Tasks)

Anti-Hijack Operations - aircraft, ferry, ship, bus, train. Hostage Rescue Operations. Airborne and Seaborne Interventions. Search Operations - Difficult or dangerous specialist tasks on land or at sea. Pursuit Operations over any terrain. Recapture of terrorist-held objectives - Vital Installations, Embassies, Airports, Gas & Oil Rigs, Summit venues, Broadcasting and Government facilities. VIP Security Operations/Close Protection of VIPs. Contingency Planning to Counter Terrorist/Subversive Threat Advancement of Defence Forces Standards

The ARW contributes to the improvement of standards in military and related skills throughout the Defence Forces by :

Testing and evaluation of certain military equipment for the Defence Forces. Organising and participating in Defence Forces training exercises. Conducting Specialist Courses. Returning highly skilled ARW personnel to all Corps of the Defence Forces on completion of service in the ARW.



The Selection Course is held annually by the ARW for potential new Unit members. It is open to serving members of the Defence Forces only. Candidates must be medically fit, have a good conduct rating, may be of any rank and must undergo a rigorous physical fitness test.

The Selection course is of four (4) weeks duration. The student must cope with physical and psychological pressures and is constantly assessed by instructor staff. The course covers Physical Training, Weapons Handling, Confidence Training, Mountain Navigation, Survival Skills and all aspects of special forces conventional tactics. Standards required are set at the highest level. Successful students continue with the induction process by completing an ARW Basic Skills Course, which is in effect a probationary period.

Basic Skills Course

The Basic Skills Course is of six (6) months duration where assessment of student suitability to serve in the ARW is detailed and continuous. Students learn all the new skills necessary for membership of the Units' assault platoons. These skills include :

Physical Training. Advanced Shooting and Marksmanship. Long Range Patrolling - Survival Training and Rough terrain navigation. Hostage Rescue Tactics - House, Aircraft, Bus, Train and Ship assaults. Specialist Training

Throughout the Ranger's career he/she will undergo further specialist training on a continuous ongoing basis ensuring peak of performance at all times. The Ranger will be trained to the highest level of skills such as helicopter rappelling, fast roping, boat handling, sniping, underwater combat diving, explosives intervention, close protection, parachuting and advanced navigation. These skills are unique to the Army Ranger Wing and affords the Unit much valued flexibility in contingency planning for operational tasks.

The Unit is supported by Defence Forces assets such as Air Corps aircraft, Naval Service Patrol Vessels, Army transport and specialised all weather military kit and high tech equipment. The availability of these assets enables the ARW to train for scenarios based on airborne as well as underwater and surface maritime operations. Training is carried out on gas and oil rigs off Ireland's Atlantic coast, in remote rural areas and in the urban environment.

Parachuting Boat Handling Combat Diving Advanced Navigation Sniping Explosives Intervention Communications Medical Foreign Exchange

Rangers are selected for training with other Intervention/Special Forces Units and selected personnel serve with the Defence Forces on overseas peacekeeping missions.

C3 Function

The normal military chain of command applies from junior leader upwards. The Officer Commanding the Army Ranger Wing is responsible for the Administrative, Disciplinary and Operational control of the unit. Officer Commanding ARW in turn is directly under command to The Chief of Staff at Defence Forces HQ. The Army Ranger Wing is on immediate call for operations throughout the State.

Secure communications between all Unit elements is essential. The ARW is equipped therefore with state of the art SINCGAR and RACAL communications equipment all of which have an inbuilt encryption and frequency hopping systems. It is also equipped with satellite communications

Weapons & Equipment

Image21 small.jpg Sig-Sauer P226 Image22 small.jpg Remington 870 Combat Shotgun

Mp33sg1 small.jpg Heckler & Koch 33/SG1 Image20 small.jpg Heckler & Koch MP5A3

Inf-9 small.jpg AI96 .308 Accuracy International