A MILITARY parachute exercise in the Firth of Clyde has been CANCELLED because of adverse conditions.   Exercise Clydesplash was set to take place at 3.30pm and 6.30pm today (Monday, October 26) with members of the Submarine Parachute Assistance Group (SPAG) jumping from an RAF aircraft into waters off Helensburgh seafront.  The exercise activity was always weather dependent however, and regrettably conditions mean that it cannot go ahead. It will NOT be rescheduled for tomorrow..

Daredevil military personnel from the Submarine Parachute Assistance Group make a drop in the Firth of Clyde.

By Lucy Ashton

MEMBERS of the public on Helensburgh waterfront are set for a front-row view of a military exercise when “Clydesplash” comes to the Firth of Clyde.

Daredevil military personnel from the Submarine Parachute Assistance Group (SPAG) will be testing their rescue capabilities, conducting two jumps from an RAF aircraft into the icy waters off Helensburgh on Monday, October 26.

The Group, which is now based at HM Naval Base Clyde after moving last year from their previous base in Gosport, act as first responders to a submarine in distress.

The mixed team of qualified Royal Navy submariners, divers, medics, Royal Marine and Army Commandos, can be rapidly sent to the scene and deploy by parachute to deliver medical supplies, food and communications equipment to the stricken vessel.

During the upcoming exercise, the team will conduct two jumps on October 26 – the first around 3.30pm and the second at 6.30pm.  Jumps are weather dependent so if they don’t happen on the Monday they may be rescheduled for same times next day (October 27).

Support vessels from 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines and the MOD Police’s Clyde Marine Unit will be on hand to help recover the parachutists from the water.

The Submarine Parachute Assistance Group were formed in 1960s and for many years were based at the Submarine Escape Training Tank (SETT) in Gosport.

Last year they relocated to HM Naval Base Clyde’s new state-of-the-art Submarine Escape, Rescue, Abandonment and Survivability (SMERAS) facility where submariners of the future will conduct their escape training.

Also based at Clyde is the NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS), capable of docking with a stricken submarine to ferry the personnel off and back to the surface.

Together the three elements – SMERAS, SPAG and NSRS – represent a world-class rescue capability, ensuring that our submariners receive the best possible training and support.

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