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16 Air Assault Brigade

16 Air Assault Brigade was formed on 1 Sept 1999 from two pre-existing formations, 5 Airborne Brigade and 24 Airmobile Brigade. Based in Colchester, Essex, the Brigade Headquarters is formed from both Army and RAF personnel enabling it to integrate Air and Land operations.

Rapid Reaction Force

16 Air Assault Brigade is the British Army’s largest brigade with some 6,200 soldiers, combining the speed and agility of airborne and air assault troops with the potency of Apache attack helicopters.

The brigade's core role is to provide the Air Assault Task Force (AATF), the British Army's rapid reaction force, which is ready to deploy anywhere in the world at short notice to conduct the full spectrum of military operations, from non-combatant evacuation operations to warfighting.

A paratrooper waits for the signal to jump from a Hercules aircraft
Recent years have seen the Brigade’s soldiers deploy multiple times on operations in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as supporting civilian authorities in UK. Most recently, soldiers from 16 Brigade deployed out to support the emergency services during the flooding at the start of 2014 and provided a significant element of the security team for the London 2012 Olympics..

The brigade has also provided troops to assist in training indigenous forces in a number of different countries across Africa. It also works closely with its French and American counterparts on both operations and exercise.

As the structure of UK defence changes with Army 2020, so too will that of the brigade. Numbers will reduce as we become a more streamlined and fit-for-purpose organisation. The brigade continues to forge strong ties with our Army Reserve counterparts and frequently deploys with them on operations and exercise.

Units and elements of the Brigade

7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery
23 Engineer Regiment (Air Assault)
1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment
2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment
3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment
3 Regiment Army Air Corps
4 Regiment Army Air Corps 
13 Air Assault Regiment Royal Logistics Corps
16 Medical Regiment
7 Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
216 (Parachute) Signals Squadron
156 Provost Company Royal Military Police
Pathfinder Platoon

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