– Secret SAS ‘kill room’ bunker revealed: Elite unit to build futuristic £10million training complex… beneath its base (Daily Mail, April 26, 2014):
- Training complex to be built beneath SAS headquarters in Herefordshire
- Multi-million pound unit to include ‘kill rooms’, firing range and simulator
- Plans for top secret bunker expected to be approved by local authority
Britain’s most elite fighting force, the SAS, is being equipped with a futuristic new £10million training base – beneath its Herefordshire HQ.
Hundreds of troopers will carry out exercises in bunkers complete with custom-made ‘killing rooms’ – designed to mimic the kind of buildings they might one day have to fight in.
And the soldiers will also use firing ranges up to 200 yards long dug hundreds of feet into a densely wooded hillside.
The state-of-the-art complex will be constructed below ground to reduce the threat of an Al Qaeda attack and also to cut the noise currently caused by explosions and constant rifle fire during exercises.
Residents living near the base have described the exercises as sounding ‘like an earthquake’.
An SAS source said: ‘Once finished, the complex will be crammed with gadgets and the lads will fire the most lethal rifles and pistols they can get their hands on. Everything inside will be state-of-the-art – money is no object. The rule is, if we need it, we’re getting it.
‘Being below ground will make the ranges more secure and we won’t be visible to the naked eye and satellite surveillance will be rendered ineffective.Protection of the base is a critical factor given the weapons we use and the threat of a terrorist strike. We’ve also got to keep the noise down for the locals’ sake. They’re getting fed up with us.’
Hundreds of pine trees will be felled and thousands of tons of earth excavated from the Pontrilas Army Training Area (PATA) in rural Herefordshire to make way for the ranges. The building will be cast in concrete with a ventilation system to pump air in and to remove fumes released when live ammunition is fired.
The walls, ceiling and floor of the ranges will be coated in rubber and polyurethane matting to protect soldiers from rounds which ricochet off targets – an effect known as ‘secondary fragmentation’.
Planning permission has not yet been granted but it is expected the local authority will rubber-stamp the scheme.One man living near Pontrilas, who did not want to be named, said: ‘It is like an earthquake at the moment when all the weapons are being fired and the explosions are going off. I complained to the officers in charge but I never heard back from them.’
He added: ‘The helicopters create a thunderous noise too when they’re landing and taking off.’
Local garage owner Ron Weaver, 68, added: ‘People living around here have been told nothing about the developments through the council but that’s no surprise.
‘There’s a secrecy issue and it is done on a need-to-know basis. They tell us afterwards, rather than before.
‘The soldiers have got an important job to do, so we’ve got to put up with all the bangs.’
Complaints from residents in the village of Ewyas Harold have led to a ban on SAS helicopters flying low over properties. Pilots must now take a longer route, flying over agricultural land.
Meanwhile, the SAS’s counter-terrorist team has taken delivery of a Boeing 747 in which to practise a hostage crisis situation.The wings and tail fin were removed before the aircraft was transported to the SAS’s base and the fuselage was also broken down into three 80ft sections for the journey.
These sections were driven on the back of low-loader lorries to Pontrilas, where they were then reassembled ready for the soldiers to stage their highly realistic exercises.
SAS sources said the 747 will be used at least once a week by the counter-terrorist team, which is on permanent standby to respond to any threat to national security, including hijack situations.
Civilian workers employed by the SAS will be used to play hostages and air crew.
Last night, the Ministry of Defence declined to comment.
Herefordshire County Council said the confidential and sensitive nature of the bunker plans meant it was unable to release any detailed information about the design or lay-out of the site.