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British and American airborne engineers have worked together to develop their key skills of building and repairing runways.
Exercise Pegasus Gaul has seen 23 Parachute Engineer Regiment training with the US Army’s 37th Brigade Engineer Battalion and 173rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion. The soldiers familiarised themselves with each other’s equipment and techniques, before working together to build a temporary landing strip at Rock Barracks in Woodbridge.
23 Para Engr Regt’s Major Dave Stead said: “The US is among our closest allies and learning to work together with their airborne engineers is a key objective for the Regiment. The focus of this exercise is developing our common skills of constructing semi-improved surfaces for transport aircraft to operate from. There are three elements to that – training to use each other’s equipment; understanding the different criteria we work to and merging them so a US aircraft could fly from a UK-built airstrip and vice versa; and then building trust and understanding between us by getting out and doing the job together.
“It’s going really well. Under close supervision, US operators are finding it remarkably easy to use our equipment and we’re sharing experiences and learning from each other.”
Airfield construction is a key skill for the rapid reaction role, enabling further troops and equipment to be brought in to develop a force’s capabilities. Building a landing strip from scratch involves clearing vegetation and topsoil away with diggers and bulldozers; levelling it with a grader to stringent length, width and gradient standards to enable aircraft to take off and land; and then compacting it with a roller.
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British Army Press Release Dated 19 May 2015.