British and French paratroopers yesterday parachuted into Exercise Joint Warrior in Scotland.
1,300 troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade, the British Army’s rapid reaction force, and 300 French troops from the 11th Parachute Brigade arrived by air in the West Freugh area of Scotland.
The exercise scenario tasked them with stabilising an area disputed by 2 fictional nations divided by economic and ethnic factors.
A joint force from 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (2 PARA) and the French 1st Parachute Chasseur Regiment parachuted in to capture Castle Kennedy Airfield.
West Freugh Airfield was then seized by troops from 2 PARA in a helicopter assault, followed up by a rapid landing by a C-130 transport aircraft to deliver more troops and equipment.
Securing the airfields marked the beginning of demanding training that will confirm the 2 brigades’ readiness to deploy together at short notice on contingency operations ranging from disaster relief to war-fighting.
The 2 brigades provide their respective armies’ rapid reaction forces and are at the forefront of closer military co-operation between Britain and France.
Joint Warrior marks the culmination of more than a year of work to develop the Intermediate Combined Joint Expeditionary Force for contingency operations. Headquarters staff have worked together to integrate command and control procedures and units have carried out joint field training in both countries.
Colonel ‘Jacko’ Jackson, Deputy Commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, explained:
As the Air Assault Task Force we are trained and capable of operating in an uncertain world. We are held in very high readiness to conduct forcible theatre entry worldwide at short notice; having a strategic effect due to the force’s agility, reach and ability.
Joint Warrior has given us the opportunity to formally demonstrate this, and, as a binational land component with our sister French brigade, we have rapidly developed a credible and progressively validated capability with them.
French Colonel Bruno Helluy added:
The exercise demonstrates that we can plan and conduct operations together, both airborne and air assault.
Joint Warrior is also providing the final training opportunity for the 2 PARA Battle Group to confirm their readiness to take on the Air Assault Task Force role from May.
The role sees the unit’s airborne infantry bolstered by artillery, engineers, medics and logisticians from 16 Air Assault Brigade and ready to deploy anywhere in the world at short notice to conduct the full range of military operations.
Exercise Joint Warrior involves nearly 13,000 military personnel from 9 countries – including 5,250 from the UK, more than 30 warships and over 65 aircraft and helicopters. Taking place twice a year, the training aims to test how the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force work together and with allied forces.