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8 octobre 2013 2 08 /10 /octobre /2013 17:20
Active Eagle puts Paras through their paces

Paratroopers dismount from a Chinook helicopter [Picture: Corporal Obi Igbo, Crown copyright]

 

8 October 2013 Ministry of Defence and Defence Infrastructure Organisation

 

From helicopter assaults to dealing with public disturbances, the British Army's rapid reaction force is ready for action.

 

Exercise Active Eagle has seen the 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (2 PARA) battle group undergo demanding and varied training at the Stanford Training Area (STANTA) in Norfolk.

The exercise saw the Air Assault Task Force (AATF) deploying to extract European citizens from a fictional country with long-standing frictions along sectarian lines, and dealing with a terrorist threat.

Paratroopers launch an assault on a compound
Paratroopers launch an assault on a compound during Exercise Active Eagle [Picture: Corporal Obi Igbo, Crown copyright]

The 2 PARA battle group is based around the airborne infantry of 2 PARA, with the attached artillery, engineering, signals, aviation, logistics and medical support from 16 Air Assault Brigade needed to conduct operations.

The 2 PARA battle group is currently serving as the AATF, which is ready to deploy anywhere in the world at short notice to conduct the full spectrum of military operations, from non-combatant evacuation operations to war-fighting. Active Eagle helped to provide a run out for the battle group, ensuring it is ready to deploy, and provided refresher training on key skills.

Paratroopers receive a tactical briefing
Paratroopers receive a tactical briefing using a map of the area of operations [Picture: Corporal Obi Igbo, Crown copyright]

The battle group converged on Rock Barracks in Woodbridge to mount for the operation before being inserted into STANTA by parachute and helicopter. Scenarios the troops had to deal with included protecting an embassy against a rioting crowd who bombarded them with abuse, petrol bombs and missiles, and assaulting a village to free local police under siege from insurgents.

The 2-week-long training concluded with live fire battle runs that saw troops manoeuvring across hostile countryside by day and night, with fire support from 105mm light guns, 81mm mortars and Apache attack helicopters, and surveillance from RAF Tornado GR4 fast jets.

Paratroopers dismount from a Chinook helicopter
Paratroopers dismount from a Chinook helicopter [Picture: Corporal Obi Igbo, Crown copyright]

Lieutenant Colonel Adam Dawson, Commanding Officer of 2 PARA, said:

This exercise is designed to corral within 1 scenario the multifaceted challenges that the AATF may face. It gave the opportunity to run out the planning team’s functions within the headquarters and access a broad range of assets. Combined with challenging and enjoyable training, it has resulted in a confirmation of our readiness for any challenge that may require our intervention.

Corporal Dan Bradley, aged 27 from Droitwich, is a member of the Patrols Platoon which parachuted in to set up covert observation posts to monitor movement at an insurgent position.

Battle group commanders pore over a map
Battle group commanders pore over a map during Exercise Active Eagle [Picture: Corporal Obi Igbo, Crown copyright]

Corporal Bradley said:

We work ahead of the main body of troops to establish where enemy forces are and what their pattern of life is to inform the commander’s planning. Our role is all about seeing without being seen and is a real test of the basic soldiering skills of living in the field and camouflage.

I’ve been on 2 tours of Afghanistan and this is a very different style of working – we move on foot carrying all our kit and supplies – but the experience of operations has put us in a good place to adapt.

Lieutenant Tom Glinn briefs his men during a night operation
Lieutenant Tom Glinn briefs his men during a night operation on Exercise Active Eagle [Picture: Corporal Obi Igbo, Crown copyright]
Paratroopers fire an 80mm mortar round
Privates Craig Pott, Terry Little and Thomas Wike fire an 80mm mortar round [Picture: Corporal Obi Igbo, Crown copyright]
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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 07:50
Javelin missiles fired at Norfolk training range

A Javelin anti-tank missile is fired at Stanford Training Area in Norfolk (Picture Corporal Obi Igbo, UK MoD)

 

19 September 2013 Ministry of Defence and Defence Infrastructure Organisation

 

Javelin anti-tank missiles have been launched at Stanford Training Area (STANTA) for the first time.

 

 

Paratroopers from Colchester-based 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (3 PARA) fired 4 of the highly accurate and potent missiles, marking the culmination of a training course for the unit’s anti-tank platoon.

3 PARA was the first unit to fire Javelin on operations, in 2006 in Afghanistan, and is now a key part of the Army’s high readiness force for contingency operations.

STANTA provides a key location for troops preparing for Afghanistan. The end of combat operations in 2014 has seen that demand on STANTA fall, freeing up capacity for different training, such as Javelin firing.

Paratroopers prepare to fire a Javelin anti-tank missile
Paratroopers prepare to fire a Javelin anti-tank missile [Picture: Corporal Obi Igbo, Crown copyright]

The missile is intended primarily to destroy tanks and light armoured vehicles, but also provides a potent, all-weather, day or night capability against fixed defences such as bunkers and buildings. It is designed to be both operated and carried by a 2-man crew.

Platoon commander Captain Ruari Hahndiek said:

For its range and purpose, Javelin is the most precise and powerful weapon available to the infantry soldier. It gives the commander on the battlefield a lot of confidence to know that this weapon is within their armoury and able to deal with armoured vehicles and bunkers with little risk of collateral damage.

Private Ashley Bowers said:

I’ve learnt a lot about Javelin in training but this is the first time I’ve seen it fired for real, let alone fired one myself. Firing it really helps you understand its capabilities and I’m massively impressed. With the rest of the platoon watching there’s a lot of pressure to hit the target and the missile didn’t let me down.

Stanford Training Area (STANTA)
Paratroopers launch a Javelin missile during training
Paratroopers launch a Javelin missile during training [Picture: Corporal Obi Igbo, Crown copyright]

STANTA is maintained by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), which is responsible for managing and maintaining MOD’s land and properties. At 35 square miles the ranges cover 2% of Norfolk and are used 350 days every year by an average of 80,000 troops.

Lieutenant Colonel Tony Powell, Deputy Commander DIO Ops Training East, said:

DIO’s priority is to support our Armed Forces as they prepare for operations. The size and nature of STANTA mean that it offers excellent training facilities, ideal conditions and the perfect setting for specialised exercises such as these.

3 PARA’s core role is to alternate with 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment as the lead unit in the Air Assault Task Force (AATF), which is ready to deploy anywhere in the world to conduct the full range of military operations. 3 PARA is training to take on the AATF role from May 2014, with the unit’s airborne infantry bolstered by artillery, engineers, medics and logisticians from 16 Air Assault Brigade.

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