SAS war kit blows away military fans

By Derek Cheng

New Zealand's SAS soldiers have won plenty of praise for their role in quelling a Taleban attack this week, but it's the military gear they are packing that has military enthusiasts salivating.

A group of SAS soldiers were photographed this week on the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan, after playing a crucial role in a battle with Taleban terrorists at the Inter-Continental Hotel.

The photo has been printed widely in the international media and on the internet, and military forums are awash with praise for the New Zealand troops - and their gear.

Of particular note are the AN/PVS-21 night-vision goggles, which an SAS unit used to move through the five-storey hotel hunting members of a nine-man Taleban team that had earlier entered the building undercover of night.

The goggles are equipped with thermal imaging, which detects heat radiation, and an image intensifier, which greatly illuminates the image the troops see.

The goggles use a system that projects the image into a pair of see-through optics, which means the wearer can move through changing light conditions - for instance dark rooms to bright corridors - without having to adjust them.

The top-of-the-line goggles also have a digital display of real-time data, so information could be beamed directly to the SAS soldiers as they cleared each floor of the hotel.

The goggles are up to 10cm slimmer than others and allow more depth perception and peripheral vision so troops can cover terrain more rapidly.

The SAS troops in the photo are armed with M4A1 semiautomatic assault rifles, with Special Operations MODification (SOPMOD) kits so the soldiers can modify their guns to individual needs - for example specialised grips, silencers, night-vision sights and laser pointers.

They are wearing MultiCam camouflage gear - considered the best in the world - and breathable Ubac (under body armour combat) shirts under Molle webbing vests with four magazine pouches.

They have radios and kevlar helmets with mounts for the night-vision goggles. It is not clear if they are wearing body armour.

Another man was photographed with the unit wearing black combat trousers, body armour and what appears to be an EOG (Explosive Ops Gear) helmet, which is designed for work with bombs.

The SAS unit helped local forces to secure the building while another SAS unit neutralised insurgents on the hotel rooftop from a US Black Hawk helicopter.

Two SAS soldiers received moderate injuries: one shrapnel wounds to the ear, another thought to have a broken leg and jaw.

Comments on military websites were full of praise for the SAS.

"These guys are truly harder than woodpecker lips," said one.

"They are Kiwis and just like their Aussie brother fighters are something very special! They are the real deal without all the bells, whistles and BS!" said another.

- NZ Herald

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