News story

Troops gather for mission specific training at Otterburn

Over 600 troops descended on Otterburn Training Area to take part in a major exercise that will prepare them for deployment on operations.

Soldiers take part in Exercise Pashtun Sabre on Otterburn Training Area [Picture: Crown copyright]
Joint Fires exercise on Otterburn Training Area

Soldiers from 1 (UK) Armoured Division, 1 Artillery Brigade and 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery took part in a 12-day training exercise – Joint Fires Group to Arm Live Mission Specific Training – at the Northumberland ranges to ensure they are ready for their roles overseas.

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) maintains the training area, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where the exercise provides mission specific training for 3 specific sets of troops: Battery Tactical Groups, including the Battle Group Joint Fire Cells, Gun Groups and Brigade Mortars.

Proactive, flexible and resourceful

Soldier in the grass
Soldiers take part in a Joint Fires exercise on Otterburn Training Area [Picture: Crown copyright]

Brigadier Simon Humphrey Royal Artillery, Commander of 1 (UK) Armoured Division, said:

Otterburn is undoubtedly one of the best training areas in Europe for the integration and delivery of Joint Fires training. Across 2 major training exercises over the last 6 months [Exercise Steel Sabre and Exercise Pashtun Sabre], I have found staff to be hugely proactive, flexible and resourceful in supporting high-tempo, complex and rugged military training.

There is no doubt in my mind that without this forward-leaning, friendly and collaborative approach to training, the units under my command would not have received such high-quality training opportunities.

The exercise enabled Fire Support Teams and battery commanders to conduct battle group and company level tactical group training. Gun Groups also had the opportunity to conduct the full spectrum of live firing missions, defence, manoeuvre and anti-ambush drills.

The exercise is a required live firing exercise for mortar fire controllers. It also gives them the opportunity to integrate their fires within a fully-fledged Joint Fires integration exercise.

DIO delivers the Training Service, enabling Defence users to live, work, train and deploy at home and overseas.

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Holden, Regional Commander DIO Operations Training North, said:

DIO’s priority is to support our Armed Forces and their allies as they prepare for operations. This exercise offers an opportunity for these 3 units to come together and conduct joint training.

The size and nature of Otterburn Training Area means that it offers excellent training facilities, ideal conditions and the perfect backdrop for complex and diverse exercises such as these.

Otterburn Training Area

Otterburn Training Area is over 23,000 hectares (57,000 acres), of which some 11,700 hectares (28,900 acres) are set aside for dry training – where no live ammunition is used. The diverse training facilities enable the British Army to meet its training requirements to prepare for operations worldwide.

Published 18 June 2013