Wessex Storm tests airborne allies

British, French and US Army paratroopers are training side-by-side to be ready to respond together to international crises.

Exercise Wessex Storm sees the 2 PARA Battlegroup training on Salisbury Plain to confirm its skills and readiness to serve as the lead infantry unit within 16 Air Assault Brigade, the British Army’s global response force.

The battlegroup includes a company of some 150 troops from the French 2e Régiment Etranger de Parachutistes (2e REP) and a 40-strong platoon from the US Army’s 2nd Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment. Their involvement is about growing understanding of each other’s capabilities and tactics, to be able to operate together better on any future operations.

The six-week manoeuvres (2 Nov-12 Dec) started with live-fire training for the French and US paratroopers to introduce them to British training procedures. The exercise builds up to a demanding simulated mission involving parachuting, rapid airlanding and air assault operations. 

The 2 PARA Battlegroup is a 1,300-strong unit built around the paratroopers of Colchester-based 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, supported by signallers, engineers, artillery, medics and logistics specialists from 16 Air Assault Brigade. It is training to be ready to deploy at short notice on operations around the world.

Wessex Storm is being carried out with strict protocols to manage the threat of coronavirus.