The precise history of Vympel is unknown, but the unit was formed in 1981 by KGB General Drozdov as a dedicated Spetsnaz unit. They specialize in deep penetration, sabotage, universal direct, and covert actions. Many Vympel operatives are fluent in two to three languages, since they were intended to act covertly in other nations.
Vympel gained reputation as being among one of the best Soviet special forces units, surpassing its GRU and MVD counterparts. However, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Vympel was essentially destroyed by endless re-organization and redefinintion. It passed as the Security Ministry for some time, until it was receded to the GUO. It was then further folded into the MVD (Interior Ministry). The bulk of Vympel operatives could not stand being subordinated to the police, and many resigned. Only 57 chose to remain with the MVD.
In 1995, the FSB Special Operations Center was granted control over Vympel. The group retained its original name and was reintegrated into the Intelligence Services structures. The emphassis of Vympel operations shifted from covert and clandestine sabotage to counter-terrorism and nuclear safety enforcement. Vympel operatives undergo special training related to improvised or special explosive devices, permitting them to use "terrorist-like" tactics to carry out operations. Physical training includes CQB/hand to hand fighting, parachute training, diving, underwater combat, climbing, and to some degree, alpine rope techniques. Regional groups of Vympel are deployed in cities with essentially important nuclear facilities.
Vympel is still a classified and very secretive unit. It participated in Russia's Chechen campaigns and stormed the Supreme Soviet building during the 1993 Russian constitutional crisis. Little else is known about their operations and activities in recent times.
Vympel training is the same as Alpha Group. All Vympel operatives are trained in tactical operations, parachuting, driving various vehicles, and trained in methods of intelligence gathering.