News story

British and French forces train together

Airborne forces from the UK and France have been taking part in a training exercise.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Members of 16 Air Assault Brigade exit a helicopter during the training exercise [Picture: Corporal Andy Reddy RLC, Crown copyright]
Members of 16 Air Assault Brigade exit a helicopter during the 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.

Members of 16 Air Assault Brigade
Members of 16 Air Assault Brigade taking part in the training exercise [Picture: Corporal Andy Reddy RLC, Crown copyright]

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.

Members of 11e Brigade Parachutiste
Members of 11e Brigade Parachutiste taking part in the training exercise [Picture: Corporal Andy Reddy RLC, Crown copyright]

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.

British and French airborne forces personnel
British and French airborne forces personnel parachuting into the training area [Picture: Corporal Andy Reddy RLC, Crown copyright]

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.

British and French airborne forces personnel
British and French airborne forces personnel taking part in the planning stage of the training exercise [Picture: Corporal Andy Reddy RLC, Crown copyright]
A member of 16 Air Assault Brigade
A member of 16 Air Assault Brigade [Picture: Corporal Andy Reddy RLC, Crown copyright]
British and French airborne forces personnel
British and French soldiers planning their next manoeuvre [Picture: Corporal Andy Reddy RLC, Crown copyright]
Published 27 June 2014