Special Forces Group (SFG): Belgian Prime Special Operations Forces unit

Author: Eric Sof

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Special Forces Group (SFG) is an elite component and prime special operations force of the Belgian Armed Forces. The unit long operated under the auspices of the paratroopers. Still, new challenges in the past year have led to allocating the Special Forces Group parachute regiment as a special investigation unit.

Special Forces Group is a land component of the Belgian Armed Forces, and its missions so far proved their quality and proven to hold positions of high among the world’s elite units. It is considered the Tier 1 unit of the Belgian Armed Forces. To attend the Special Forces Group selection, a candidate must have at least three years of experience in the Belgian military.


Belgians and part of other people in occupied Europe began to make their military forces on the United Kingdom territory during World War II. In January 1942. Under the command of Captain Edouard Blondeela formed the Belgian Independent Parachute Regiment.

They operated alongside the British SAS. In the beginning, they were engaged mainly in Africa, and after the Normandy landings, the focus changed to France, Holland, and Belgium, of course. After World War II, members of the unit continued their work and focused mainly on searching for war criminals.

In the World War II, the Belgian soldiers fought alongside the British Special Air Service
In World War II, the Belgian soldiers fought alongside the British Special Air Service (Photo: History)

In 1955, Belgium’s special forces were reformed in Special Forces reconnaissance – Opsporing eenheid (SOE). In 1961, the Reconnaissance Team spéciales – ESR (from the character units) was formed.


Like their counterpart in other Western special forces, Belgian Special Forces Group (SFG) are also specially designated, organized, selected, trained, and equipped forces using unconventional techniques and modes of employment. These activities may be conducted across the full range of military activities to achieve the objective. Politico-military considerations may require discreet or covert techniques and the acceptance of a degree of political, military, or physical risk not associated with conventional operations.

The Belgian Special Forces Group (SFG) primary tasks are:

  • Special Reconnaissance (SR)
  • Direct action (DA)
  • Military assistance (MA)


Even in the postwar years, the Belgian special forces were involved in covert operations. Following the fall of the Iron Curtain and several regional conflicts, SFG members were deployed worldwide. During the 90-year compressed, SFG participated in operations in DR Congo (formerly Zaire) in 1993. Have participated in operations in Somalia.

Another chapter in the history of the Belgian Special Forces is the Balkan. In 1994, the Special Forces Group had a duty to protect general Briquemonta in Bosnia. They also served in Kosovo during the conflict in 1999 as part of the International peacekeeping mission. In 2003, they returned to Africa on a mission where Silver Pack supported the evacuation of foreigners from Rwanda. A year later, the SFG was deployed in DR Congo and Cote D’Ivoire. And the past few years, SFG operators have been deployed in Afghanistan to support Operation Enduring Freedom.

Belgian Special Forces Group (SFG) operator with the SCAR rifle in Jordan, pictured in November 2014
Belgian Special Forces Group (SFG) operator with the SCAR rifle in Jordan, pictured in November 2014 (Photo: XY)


Members of SFG (Special Forces Group) are under the direct command of the army. Base-in Flawinneu. The unit is divided into two main components.

The first component is directly responsible for the conduct of special operations. Within the first component 10, a line consists of a commanding frame, coupling unit, training unit, four different units specialized for air operations, two operations on the water, and four units specialized in warfare on land, including fighting in extreme conditions (mountains or polar regions, etc.).

The second component is the Special Forces Group Department and the Security Service. They care about the private affairs of members, logistics, weapons, and equipment and test them.

Weaponry and gear

Belgian Special Forces Group mainly used infantry weapons, domestic production easily. A certain part of the unit still uses the FN FNC rifle, but most of the unit is issued a national pride, the FN Herstal SCAR rifles. For CQB (Close Quarter Battle) unit uses the short SCARs or the legendary P90 submachine guns. If necessary, strong fire support is provided through the FN Minimi machine guns. As a backup weapon, I mainly used the gun Browning Hi-Power.

The FN SCAR is a standard-issue rifle in the Belgian Special Forces Group (SFG)
The FN SCAR is a standard-issue rifle in the Belgian Special Forces Group (SFG) (Photo: Portuguese Army)

SFG operators wear standard military uniforms. Tactical vests and other equipment are usually green, but they are not unusual pieces with camouflage patterns. In urban combat, the operators cannot do without protective equipment, including ballistic helmets, gloves, goggles, and other tactical gear.

The connection is provided via standard radio relay and satellite connections. Divers have the latest equipment as well as a special navigational console. Paratroopers are also well equipped and have a special parachutes, helmets, suits, and breathing apparatus.

To transport people and materials, the unit uses standard military equipment. Light off-road vehicles, rubber boats, and air transport use helicopters and tactical transport aircraft, C-130 Hercules.

Selection and Training

Qualification as a Special Forces Group operator consists of four parts:

  • selection phase
  • basic training
  • complementary education
  • functional training


It consists of a selection week, where candidates are tested on their physical condition, map reading ability, general military knowledge, and shooting techniques. A psychological evaluation is also performed. This is followed by a one-week specialized training program, which focuses on reaching the basic level necessary for beginning the actual stage. While many topics are covered, map reading and shooting techniques are emphasized. Finally, there is a one-week ‘Identification of Military material’ (IM) course.

Belgian Special Forces Group Selection phase
Belgian Special Forces Group Selection phase (Photo: XY)


Training is generally similar to other special units. Every member must first spend at least four years in the Belgian army to compete for the unit; besides, they must be in excellent physical health and condition. Basic training takes about six months, during which improves research skills, combat tactics, and training. Commando training expands the ability of candidates and determines their specialization.

Special Forces Group offers specialization in parachuting, diving, reconnaissance, artillery observation, mining, mountain units, and VIP protection.

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