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The Airborne Gunners

“Airborne Gunners are ready to deploy to any part of the world within five days”


7 Para YouTube video

Soldiers of 7 Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery (7 PARA RHA) – aka ‘The Airborne Gunners’ – have been practising their air assault skills on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire.

7 Para RHA Primary Role

Primary Role

The primary role is to provide Offensive Support to 16 Air Assault Brigade (16 AA Bde), the British Army's very high readiness rapid response force. 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery (7 Para RHA) forms a crucial element of 16 AA Bde’s Air Assault Task Force (AATF) which stands ready to deploy to any part of the world within five days. The AATF can insert into a theatre of operations via air manoeuvre, air assault or airborne means; thus providing a unique and flexible capability

7 Para RHA Organisation


7 Para RHA produces elite soldiers who are fit, robust and highly motivated. Trained to parachute or air assault into battle, they have confidence and determination   As well as being highly skilled artillerymen, our gunners rightly take pride in their infantry skills; gunners from 7 Para RHA have worked alongside the Parachute Battalions in the infantry role on operations ranging from Afghanistan to Kosovo. This flexibility of action and mindset is at the very heart of being an Airborne Gunner.
logo for 7 Para

P-Company is mentally and physically tough but the training is progressive

How do I join?

We are continually looking for fit and motivated personnel who will volunteer for service with Airborne Forces and can live up to our exacting standards.

Upon completion of Phase 1 Training (‘basic training’) at an Army Training Regiment or the Army Foundation College, Royal Artillery recruits move on to Phase 2 Training at the Royal School of Artillery, Larkhill.


“P-Company is mentally and physically tough"

At this stage you can volunteer for service with 7 Para RHA and you will then conduct extra physical training and assessments to prepare you for the rigours of the All Arms Pre-Parachute Selection course – the infamous ‘P-Company’.

P-Company is mentally and physically tough but the training is deliberately progressive to ensure that you are in the best possible condition to pass at the first attempt. The culmination of P-Company is Test Week where you need to pass the following -

• 10 Mile March. This simulates a move from a Drop Zone to an Assembly Area. The march is conducted as a squad over undulating terrain with individuals carrying a 37lb bergen and a weapon. The march must be completed in 1hr 50mins to score maximum points.

• Trainasium (Aerial Confidence Course). Representative of the ‘exit’ phase of a parachute descent. This tests candidate’s ability to react instantly to orders in conditions of stress and uncertainty. This is a pass/fail event.

• Log Race. This simulates an ammunition resupply. It is a team event with up to 9 candidates carrying a 60kg log a distance of 1.9 miles over undulating terrain.

• Steeplechase. This tests a soldier’s speed and agility over obstacles that may be found in a rural or urban environment. Candidates run over a 1.8 mile cross-country course followed by an obstacle course to complete the test.

• 2 Miler. Representative of a rapid move from the Assembly Area to the Forming up Point. The march is conducted over undulating terrain with each candidate carrying a 37lb bergen and a weapon. Helmets and Combat Jackets are also worn.

• Milling. 60 seconds of ‘controlled physical aggression’ against an opponent of similar height/weight. A test of courage and raw fighting spirit.

“P-Company (continued)

• Endurance March. Representative of an insertion march over 18 ½ miles of demanding terrain. Conducted as a squad, each individual carries a 37lb bergen and a weapon.

• Stretcher Race. Representative of a casualty evacuation from point-of-wounding to the Regimental Aid Post. Teams of up to 20 men take turns to carry a 175lb stretcher over a distance of 4.5 miles. Individuals wear stripped-down webbing and carry a weapon.


Maroon beret

On successful completion of P-Company you will be brimming with confidence, fitter than ever before and can return to the Regiment wearing your maroon beret with pride.

Your then loaded onto the Basic Parachute Course at RAF Brize Norton. This three week course will teach you how to safely parachute into any theatre of operations with all of your equipment. On completion you will be awarded your parachute ‘wings’ and will be a fully qualified Airborne Gunner, ready to deploy anywhere in the world.


7 Para RHA Batteries

7 Parachute RHA Batteries

The Regiment is a light and agile force, organised into three sub-units known as batteries:

• F (Sphinx) Parachute Battery RHA (F Para Bty RHA) is a Gun Battery equipped with six L118 Light Guns and five Fire Support Teams (FSTs).
• G Parachute Battery (Mercer’s Troop) RHA (G Para Bty RHA) is a Gun Battery equipped with six L118 Light Guns and five Fire Support Teams (FSTs).
• I Parachute Battery (Bull’s Troop) RHA (I Para HQ Bty RHA) is the Headquarters Battery and provides the command, control and coordination for the Regiment.

The Gun Batteries (F Para Bty RHA and G Para Bty RHA) are both split into two groupings: a Gun Group and a Tactical Group:

• The Gun Group is equipped with the highly versatile 105mm L118 Light Gun which can be manoeuvred around the battlefield in many configurations – it can be towed by a vehicle, delivered by parachute heavy drop, under-slung from a helicopter or, in extremis, manually dragged into position. The Airborne Gunners who man the guns are responsible for the firing of rapid and accurate 105mm rounds up to 17km in support of the Parachute Battalions.

“The Airborne Gunners who man the guns fire accurate 105mm rounds up to 17km in support of the Parachute Battalions”

• The Tactical Group consists of five FSTs and the Battery Commander’s Party. Embedded within the Parachute Battalions’ Rifle Companies, they will deploy forward in the light role (by foot and/or by vehicle). The FSTs are responsible for the coordination and integration of all aspects of Joint Fires. They are highly trained in the coordination of a variety of Joint Fires weapons systems, such as guns, mortars, attack helicopters, fast jets and precision strike guided weapon systems (GMLRS). They are able to deliver a devastating strike onto a known enemy position.

F (Sphinx) Parachute Battery RHA

In 1800, a troop of the Bengal Horse Artillery was first formed to accompany the expedition to Egypt that year.
After fighting in the first Burma War from 1824-26, the troop found itself involved in the famous retreat from Kabul (1842) during the Afghan Campaign and it was during this retreat that all the guns were lost.

One of these guns was recaptured during the Second Afghan War (1878-1880).

F Battery

G Parachute Battery (Mercer's Troop) RHA

Formed in 1801 at Mallow in Ireland and led by Captain Frazier it was involved in the recapture of Buenos Aires.

In 1815, in the Battle of Waterloo under Captain Mercer, the decision was made to remain with their guns despite being ordered to withdraw. This decision ensured victory against the French Cavalry in the bloody battle that followed. It was to commemorate this epic role that the troop was named after Mercer.

G Battery

I Parachute HQ Battery (Bull's Troop)

I Troop RHA was raised at Colchester on 1st February 1805. Captain Robert Bull assumed command of the battery and was after Captain Bull that the Troop was named.

In 1809 the battery joined Wellington’s Army in Portugal fighting against the invasion forces of Napoleonic France. It was during the course of one action, Feuntes d’Onoro, that the battery performed its most desperate and famous act.

I Battery

7 Para RHA Location

7 Para RHA Location

7 Para RHA Location

Merville Barracks, Colchester, Essex CO2 7UT.

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