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Airborne forces from the UK and France have been taking part in a training exercise.
The exercise, which took place this week in Toulouse, France, brought Colchester-based 16 Air Assault Brigade and the French 11e Brigade Parachutiste (11e BP) together to strengthen the close military co-operation between Britain and France.
Both brigades provide their armies’ rapid reaction forces, held at high readiness to deploy on operations anywhere in the world. This exercise was an opportunity for troops to plan and fight, side-by-side, to further prove their readiness and develop an understanding of the similarities and differences between the 2 forces.
Brigadier Nick Borton, commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, said:
It has been a great opportunity to train alongside our French partners in 11e BP, both on the ground and in the air.
This exercise has been hugely successful in bringing all of these maturing relationships together to demonstrate how we would plan and operate as a joint force able to carry out complex operations anywhere in the world.
Brigadier General Olivier Salaün, commander of 11e BP, said:
The main benefit of these sort of exercises is to reinforce the level of interoperability between both brigades. Field exercises are the best way to learn the challenges of working with each other; they also help us to develop our working relationships and ensure we are able to operate together when required.
Training overseas on unfamiliar terrain not only strengthened how the 2 units work together, but also provided an opportunity for the soldiers to gain a cultural understanding of the 2 brigades.
Colonel Xavier Vanden Neste, deputy commander of 11e BP, said:
For the British soldiers, the exercise is a great challenge. We have proved we can work together in the headquarters, but now the soldiers are put to the test, working alongside their counterparts on the ground.
On this exercise, the main training advantages are being able to use each other’s equipment and assets, and being able to plan together.