Ground Warfare

US-led Exercise Swift Response 24 Putting British Army’s Paratroopers to The Test

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US-led Exercise Swift Response 24 Putting British Army’s Paratroopers to The Test

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US-led Exercise Swift Response 24 Putting British Army’s Paratroopers to The Test
US-led Exercise Swift Response 24 Putting British Army’s Paratroopers to The Test

NATO airborne forces are honing their capabilities to respond together in crises as exercise Swift Response 24 ramps up across Europe from the Baltics to the Balkans. 13,000 troops from 17 nations are participating in the month long exercise. In Estonia, the British Army’s Global Response Force, 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team, is leading a force of more than 2,300 soldiers, sailors and aviators from four countries. The UK’s 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment Battlegroup Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Dave Mans, said that the training had given his soldiers “a huge degree of realism and pressure” and praised their “controlled aggression and focus”.

“From Estonia, we do not need to look very far to see real battles being fought in trenches. We need to develop, maintain, and excel at operating in these conditions. ut also, the more we do at this scale and complexity, the better prepared we are for any environment. Training builds relationships, we learn how we react under pressure, and understand what our capabilities are to make the battlegroup as effective as possible, whatever it is asked to do,” said Lieutenant Colonel Dave Mans.

Wildcat reconnaissance helicopters conduct strafing runs to help subdue enemy strongpoints.
Wildcat reconnaissance helicopters conduct strafing runs to help subdue enemy strongpoints.(Photo by UK MOD/ Crown Copyright)

More than 2,000 troops and 500 vehicles under the command of 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team (16 Air Asslt BCT) have travelled across Europe to take part in Exercise Steadfast Defender. The training will see a force of more than 2,300 soldiers, sailors and aviators from four NATO countries working together under the BCT’s leadership to practice how they can respond together to international crises. Getting the force across Europe to the exercise’s start line has tested 16 Air Asslt BCT’s readiness, expeditionary mindset and logistic skills.

Exercise Swift Response is part of Steadfast Defender 24. Steadfast Defender is NATO’s largest military exercise since the Cold War, which involves approximately 90,000 troops from all 32 NATO nations. Steadfast Defender 2024 or Steadfast Defender 24 (abbreviated STDE24 or SD24) is the 2024 NATO Steadfast Defender exercise that takes place from 22 January to 31 May 2024 throughout the Trans-Atlantic region. It will be used to practice the response to a hypothetical aggression by a power or adversary against a member country, activating Article 5 (alliance case) of the North Atlantic Treaty. The exercise is part of the series of Steadfast Defender maneuvers.

The General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) is used to defend the positions captured by 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment's Battlegroup.
The General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) is used to defend the positions captured by 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment’s Battlegroup.(Photo by UK MOD/ Crown Copyright)

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