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A fleet of helicopters flew into Colchester for soldiers and airmen to practise the basic skills behind planning and executing air assault operations together.
Air assault – using helicopters to deliver troops and equipment into battle – is one of the defining capabilities of 16 Air Assault Brigade. Today’s (Tue Nov 5th 2019) Exercise Decisive Manoeuvre saw 100 troops transported by two Chinook and three Puma support helicopters from the Royal Air Force, escorted by two Army Air Corps Apache attack helicopters.
Troops were lifted from a landing zone set up on sports pitches off Berechurch Road, which tested 13 Air Assault Support Regiment Royal Logistic Corps on how they run marshalling areas to load helicopters. The paratroopers of 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment were landed in Friday Woods, practising getting on and off helicopters in tactical conditions. For the helicopter crews, the training gave valuable experience in formation flying and moving personnel.
Exercise planner Major Adam Parmenter, of Headquarters 16 Air Assault Brigade, said: “An air assault operation is a hugely complex event, with lots of elements to co-ordinate on the ground and in the air. This exercise has been a great opportunity to bring the RAF’s support helicopters, the paratroopers they transport and the AAC Apaches that escort them together to practise all the individual skills that go into making it work.”