Joint Warrior tests Armys ability to react
The British Armys rapid reaction force has demonstrated the unique reach and agility that its specialist air manoeuvre capabilities provide to the military.
An aviation assault to capture the airfield at Kinloss Barracks today (Mon 7 Apr) marked 16 Air Assault Brigades arrival on Exercise Joint Warrior, the biggest annual military exercise in Europe.
Troops from the 3 PARA Battlegroup landed at Kinloss in Chinook, Merlin and Puma 2 support helicopters, protected by Apache attack helicopters, to assault the airfield. Once secured, more troops and heavier equipment were delivered across the day by C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.
Airfield capture is a key skill required for the brigades role as the Air Assault Task Force, which is ready to deploy anywhere in the world at short notice to conduct the full range of military operations from non-combatant evacuation operations to warfighting.
The operation was planned and launched from West Freugh, some 250 miles away near Stranraer. The troops deployed from their base in Colchester last week, passing through the Joint Air Mounting Centre (JAMC) in South Cerney, Gloucestershire, for vehicle and personnel checks. On Saturday (5 Apr) they took over West Freugh from 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines and carried out battle preparations, including a parachute jump. Kinloss will now be established as a base for further missions, which could include helicopter-borne infantry strikes and stabilisation operations.
The 1,600-strong 3 PARA BG deployed on Joint Warrior is built around the airborne infantry of 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment bolstered by artillery, engineers, medics, signallers and logisticians from 16 Air Assault Brigade. The 600-strong Joint Helicopter Force, part of the Joint Helicopter Command, which includes Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force helicopters providing transport, attack and reconnaissance support to troops on the ground, is bein