Joint military training for the British and French airborne artillery units Otterburn United Kingdom

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United Kingdom British Army News

 
 
Wednesday, November 2, 2011, 03:38 PM
 
Joint military training for the British and French airborne artillery units in Otterburn, United Kingdom.
The airborne gunners of 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery (7 Para RHA) have been reinforcing links with their French counterparts as they train to form part of the British Army's Rapid Reaction Force. 7 Para RHA was joined on Exercise Eagles Resolve by senior officers from its French sister unit - 35e Régiment d'Artillerie Parachutiste (35e RAP).
     
The airborne gunners of 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery (7 Para RHA) have been reinforcing links with their French counterparts as they train to form part of the British Army's Rapid Reaction Force. 7 Para RHA was joined on Exercise Eagles Resolve by senior officers from its French sister unit - 35e Régiment d'Artillerie Parachutiste (35e RAP).
A night shoot during the ten-day joint exercise with 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery and 35e Régiment d'Artillerie Parachutiste on the Otterburn Training Area
[Picture: Sergeant Rupert Frere, Crown Copyright/British MOD 2011]
     

The ten-day exercise on the Otterburn Training Area, Northumberland, saw 7 Para RHA carry out live firing of 105mm L118 Light Guns, directed by Fire Support Teams (FSTs) who work with infantry on the ground to co-ordinate artillery, fast air and attack helicopter support.

By the end of the exercise the 105mm live firing was synchronised with close air support to demonstrate the joint aspects of air-land integration. The French officers observed British drills and shared their own operational experience.

     
Lieutenant Colonel Gary Wilkinson, Regimental Sergeant Major Warrant Officer Class 1 Richard Price and Colonel Charles Romain discuss the finer points of the 105mm L118 Light Gun
From left: Lieutenant Colonel Gary Wilkinson, Regimental Sergeant Major Warrant Officer Class 1 Richard Price and Colonel Charles Romain discuss the finer points of the 105mm L118 Light Gun
[Picture: Sergeant Rupert Frere, Crown Copyright/British MOD 2011]
     

Colonel Romain Charles, Commanding Officer of 35e RAP, said:

"I have been very interested to see the 105mm gun-firing, and how 7 Para RHA co-ordinate joint fires with their FSTs. There are interesting differences between how our regiments operate, but these are compared with our many similarities.

"Our two units have always been twinned, and attending this exercise has been a great way to reinvigorate our relationship."

Lieutenant Colonel Gary Wilkinson, Commanding Officer of 7 Para RHA, said:

"We are looking at many options for how we can strengthen our link with 35e RAP, which had reduced in recent years simply due to the tempo of operations.

"Interests that are vital to the UK are highly likely to be shared by France, therefore it's key that our armies can operate together to maximise our combined capabilities."

     
Members of 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery firing 105mm L118 Light Guns during Exercise Eagles Resolve
Members of 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery firing 105mm L118 Light Guns during Exercise Eagles Resolve
[Picture: Sergeant Rupert Frere, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
     
The aim of Exercise Eagles Resolve was to prepare elements of 7 Para RHA for the Airborne Task Force (ABTF) role, which will see 16 Air Assault Brigade maintain a force ready to deploy anywhere in the world at short notice.

The unit will provide a gun battery, including FSTs, for the ABTF, which steps up this month.

Lt Col Wilkinson said:

"We have deployed on three tours of Afghanistan in the last five years and become used to that environment.

"Gun positions in Afghanistan have now developed to become relatively fixed, but for ABTF operations they will need to be able to manoeuvre tactically and dynamically, just as they did in our earlier tours of Helmand in 2006 and 2008.

"This exercise has been about going back to the basics of field soldiering and gunnery, and I'm delighted at how my soldiers have performed.

"They've been out on the ground in atrocious weather conditions, living under ponchos and constantly on the move to set up different gun positions.

"Spirits have remained high and everyone has enjoyed proving their skills so they can be ready for a different challenge anywhere in the world.

 

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