Formation of 16 Air Assault Brigade

16 Air-Assault Brigade was formed on 1 September 1999, through an amalgamation of 5 Airborne Brigade and 24 Air-Mobile Brigade. This created a highly capable, versatile and rapidly deployable force, able to operate across a spectrum of conflict varying from counter-insurgency to high intensity combat operations.

The brigade’s name is derived from the 1st and 6th Airborne Divisions of Second World War fame. Its ‘Striking Eagle’ emblem was adapted from the Special Training Centre in Scotland, which trained Special Forces and airborne troops between 1943-5. The maroon and light blue colours of the badge embody the airborne and aviation elements that make up the brigade.

Brigade Aviation Support is provided by 3 and 4 Regiment Army Air Corps at Wattisham and 9 Regiment at Dishforth. This provides a mix of light utility helicopters and the highly capable Apache Attack Helicopter.

The main ground fighting element of the force is two Parachute Regiment Battalions and a light infantry battalion specialising in Tactical Air Landing and Rapid Air Land Operations. The brigade’s self-sufficient order of battle includes Signals, Pathfinders, Air Assault Aviation, Artillery, Engineers, Armoured Recce, Logistic and Equipment Support, Medical, Provost and parachute support regiments and squadrons. These components, alongside Royal Air Force transports and helicopters and Offensive Air-Support, makes the brigade a flexible and potent force, suitable for world-wide deployments.

The brigade's first deployment was to Macedonia in 2001, assisting to implement the Ohio Agreement by disarming Albanian rebels. 5,500 members of the brigade played an important part during the Operation TELIC land campaign in Iraq in 2003 as well as major deployments to Afghanistan in 2006, 2008 and 2010. Numerous deployments have also been made to Northern Ireland and smaller commitments to Africa and the Balkans.   


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