1991 - 2000
Kosovo was the first operational deployment for 5th Airborne Brigade apart from the Falklands and Northern Ireland for 17 years and reflected the British Army’s increasing commitment to dampen regional conflict whilst acting as a peacekeeping and intervention force in the Balkans and Sierra Leone.
Kosovo (Operation Agricola)
On 6th June the 1 PARA group reinforced by 125 men from 3 PARA was deployed in Macedonia under 5 Airborne Brigade to spearhead a forced entry by the NATO KFOR Peacekeeping Force. The aim was to clear any pockets of hard-line resistance that might impede the negotiated Serb Army withdrawal.
At H-Hour on 9th June 1 PARA Battle Group secured the Kacanik Defile with an air-mobile helicopter insertion on the Serbian border with Macedonia, and later participated in the KFOR ground advance to the capital Pristina.
Sierra Leone (Operations Palliser and Barras)
The United Nations Mission troops in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) were under strength and of insufficient quality to face down rebel forces intent on encroaching the capital. The 1 PARA battle group with D COY 2 PARA was in place, within 64 hours of receiving the first telephone call.
Rwanda (Operation Gabriel)
On 30 July, after only 5 days preparation in Aldershot, the advance elements of the contingent, under the command of CO 5 Airborne Brigade Logistic Battalion arrived at Kigali airport on the outskirts of the capital. They came after 100 days of fighting and murder which caused the death of nearly a million civilian men, women and children.
Peacekeeping in Kosovo
On 24th June 1999 the 1 PARA Battle Group assumed control of the whole of Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, for peace-keeping duties. Two weeks before they had conducted an air-mobile helicopter insertion to secure the Kacanik Defile during the NATO KFOR ground force intervention.Read More
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.Read More