British Royal Artillery in action on Salisbury Plain

Exercise Congreve Spear has seen soldiers from 26th Regiment Royal Artillery (RA) spend the last five weeks on Salisbury Plain Training Area exercising in their new role as the Army’s Divisional Fires Regiment.

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M270 MLRS battery in action  (Picture source: British MoD)

Previously, a close support artillery regiment equipped with the AS90 they deployed on exercise for the first time since their return from Germany where they were comprehensively tested on their new weapons systems the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS). With the intensity of the exercise progressively building from initial low-level training in the field that included improving core artillery skills, through the Battle Craft Syllabus, to enhancing the soldiers tactical acumen, the MLRS detachments faced a number of challenges designed to test their ability to operate as and respond to the demands of a Divisional Fires Regiment against a peer enemy. Among these challenges was a serial to see how the MLRS crews would react and look to avoid, detection by unmanned aircraft systems deployed by colleagues from 32nd Regiment RA.

As Lieutenant Colonel Kieran Sheldon Commanding Officer 26th Regiment RA explained: "Exercise Congreve Spear has provided us with an opportunity for the young soldiers to transfer skills learned in training..." and understand how to apply these drills working together as a crew in controlled pressurised environments. Building on these understandings we have then progressed from detachment level to a point at the end of the exercise where we have operated as a complete Regiment, systematically testing our communications, sustainment and operating procedures; thereby enabling us to learn, redesign doctrine and concepts to reflect modern warfare. For us, this exercise has been vital in bringing the Regiment together and proving that we are ready to go and war fight in our role - it has been a real success.”

The exercise culminated with General Officer Commanding 3(UK) Division, Major General James Swift OBE, and Brigadier Mark Pullan MBE, Commander 1 Artillery Brigade, visiting to witness the Regiment’s capabilities in action.

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M270 MLRS from 26th Regiment Royal Artillery (Picture source: British MoD)