|Role||Long range reconnaissance, sabotage and tactical diversion|
|Part of||32. Reconnaissance Battalion|
|Motto(s)||"Vilja, mod och uthållighet" – "Will, Courage and Perseverance"|
War in Afghanistan (2001–14)
Northern Mali conflict
The Swedish Army Paratroop School was created in 1952 by Captain Nils-Ivar Carlborg and modelled after the German and British post–World War II airborne commando forces such as the Parachute Regiment and the Special Air Service (SAS), with the objective to create a highly mobile force which had the flexibility to operate behind enemy lines and carry out long range reconnaissance missions to passively gather military intelligence.
Around 2001, the Swedish Armed Forces organized a new special forces unit, called FJS IK, or Fallskärmsjägarskolans Insatskompani (Swedish Parachute Ranger School Rapid Reaction company), which consisted of contracted former Parachute Ranger conscripts for international deployment. In 2002, FJS IK were deployed to Afghanistan, and in 2003, FJS IK were deployed alongside Särskilda Skyddsgruppen (SSG) in Congo during Operation Artemis. In 2006 FJS IK was renamed Särskilda Inhämtningsgruppen (SIG), which along with SSG made up Sweden's special forces. These two units were later amalgamated into Särskilda operationsgruppen (SOG). Their operations and structure are classified.
The unit recruits soldiers, NCO's and commissioned officers from units across the armed forces. Public information on SOG is extremely limited.
The Parachute Rangers operational field of expertise is intelligence gathering deep inside enemy-controlled territory. They have secondary duties in sabotage and tactical diversion. The unit has special training in Arctic warfare and can sustain operations for extended periods (in excess of one month) deep inside enemy territory without resupply or support from other parts of the armed forces. The main mode of deployment is by parachute but the unit can also be deployed via helicopter or boats. The small and agile 8-man teams operate in autonomous squads trained for long term independence and autonomy. Each squad consists of a squad leader, a deputy squad leader, a sniper, a demolitions expert, a medic and a communications expert. If required for the mission, an interpreter may be assigned to the unit to handle local civilian interaction or interrogations. The unit mainly conducts their operations on foot, but they may use all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles if the missions demands it.
The unit today is formed of permanent military staff who have completed basic military training and who are in many cases commissioned officers. In the past the unit was made up of both conscripts and career officers but its configuration was changed between 1990-2000. Candidates today are either required to have at least one year of service in the Swedish Armed Forces prior to applying to the unit, or must have completed their military service (conscription) at either the Parachute Ranger Company or at one of the Swedish Armed Forces Ranger units prior to their application . Selection to the unit is one of the toughest in the Swedish army, including a two-day pre-selection and three induction weeks in addition to the regular armed forces recruiting process. The basic Parachute Ranger course is roughly three months long with an attrition rate at over 50%. The course is considered to be one of the most physically and mentally demanding training programs within the Swedish Armed Forces, culminating in the “Eagle March”. The Eagle March is preceded by a number of squad tasks after which the units are deployed via parachute and set out to complete a 60–70 km march with a 30 kg combat pack in rough terrain followed by a ~10 km individual navigation test-course carrying combat gear and weapons. The march and navigation test must be completed within 24 hours and without being captured in order to graduate as a Parachute Ranger. Note that "The Eagle March" must be successfully completed by all military personnel serving at the company once a year. A candidate can at any time during the course (and in particular during the induction weeks) be separated from the unit and sent home or transferred to other units in case standards are not met. Injuries are common and injured candidates are frequently given the opportunity to come back the following year if desired. Successful candidates who complete the march within the prescribed time frame is awarded the "Golden Eagle". Candidates who successfully complete the training program may receive a position within the unit. Upon beginning his/her service with the unit, the candidate is put through another six months of training before fully becoming a member of the Parachute Ranger Company.
The Parachute Rangers have been involved in low intensity conflicts under UN flag, notably Kosovo and Bosnia, where they served as the intelligence platoon to KFOR, primarily working with human-based intelligence gathering (HUMINT) and also in Afghanistan as support for the International Security Assistance Force as well as in Congo. In 2015 the company formed the reconnaissance squadron of the first rotation of the SWE ISR TF in Mali.
The unit’s insignia (förbandstecken) is a parachute circumscribed by laurel leaves. This is worn on a maroon beret, which is awarded after the first parachute jump. The maroon beret is common headwear for parachutists in the western world's armed forces. The individual sign of having passed the unit’s training course, which culminates in the Eagle March, is the Golden Eagle in metal which is worn on the left hand breast pocket on the dress uniform or as a patch on the right sleeve of the M/90 field uniform. The eagle is considered the real mark of a Parachute Ranger as it is only given to those who completed the training course, whereas the beret with the insignia is worn after having completed the first parachute jump. The eagle can be worn on uniforms in any unit as it is an award for completed training whereas the insignia shows the affiliation to a particular army unit.