Evacuation of 400 in Parachute Battlegroup exercise

The British Army’s global response force has been proving its skills at protecting the UK’s citizens in emergency overseas evacuations.

A planned exercise in Kenya, as part of protecting the UK and involving troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade, has been practising moving 400 people away from danger. 

During Exercise Askari Storm, troops rehearsed the vital skills needed to move endangered people out of the way of disease, a natural disaster or conflict.  

In the exercise, an assault force from 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment parachuted in to secure an airfield, with additional troops and vehicles following on.  Soldiers fanned out across the countryside to protect citizens from the UK and allied countries, bringing them back to the airstrip for food, shelter and medical care, before being flown out to safety. 

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Swann, battlegroup commander, said: “In this exercise we’re proving our skills as the UK’s global response force; being at 48 hours’ notice to move means we can come straight into an evacuation operation without any build-up training.” 

The mission kicked off the six week-long exercise, which is about testing the 3 PARA Battlegroup’s skills and readiness to serve in the Air Assault Task Force - a formation held at very high readiness to deploy by air to anywhere in the world.  Troops have the skills to carry out the full spectrum of missions, from non-combatant evacuation operations to war fighting.

Captain Jody Harris from 3 PARA said: “One of the capabilities of this Brigade is to carry out a non-combatant evacuation operation at very short notice.  So these exercises are extremely important as they create an atmosphere of realism to test our units.” 

3 PARA Battlegroup is built around the airborne infantry of Colchester-based 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, bolstered by artillery, engineers, signallers, medics and logisticians from across 16 Air Assault Brigade.