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Urban operations firepower demo follows Jordanian dawn desert drop

The shaped charges may not have been seen, but they would have definitely been heard after being triggered by the detonation cords as doors to buildings blew open - the urban assault was in full flow.

A platoon of the Jordanian Special Forces Group (SFG) had previously rallied after being parachuted into the drop zone from 1,200 feet by C-130, awaiting support from the British Army Lead Assault Force (LAF), which arrived in the form of soldiers from A Company, 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment.

2 PARA, ably supported by engineers, signallers, artillery, logisticians and medics, knew the Pathfinders were also in place with an arsenal of heavy weapons capabilty loaded onto the RWMIKs (Revised Weapons Mounted Installation Kit) vehicles. They had dropped into place days before to prepare the battlespace and ensure the security of the drop zone.

“This is a proving ground for our ability to work in concert, a multi-domain approach, which can provide unparalleled advantages in warfighting and other operations,” Brigadier James Martin, Commander 16 Air Assault Brigade

What then follows, witnessed by Defence Attaches from around the world, is an illustration of what Brigadier James Martin, Commander 16 Air Assault Brigade, calls the “speed of relevance”.

“This is a proving ground for our ability to work in concert, a multi-domain approach, which can provide unparalleled advantages in warfighting and other operations,” he said.

“It also provides the wherewithal for us to consistently get better because there is no better way to learn lessons than by doing.”

In total, three C-130s had parachuted in what was needed for the urban assault in Jordan - the troops needed to carry the fight forward and the essential stores required, known as the Container Delivery System, packed chock full with quad bikes, trailers, ammunition and other heavy gear to allow the Lead Assault Force to sustain itself in the field.

The Jordanian SFG assaulted the first phase of buildings, clearing enemy and holding the ground, allowing the LAF to echelon through their position and into the fight, all under flanking cover from the Pathfinders Fire Support Group fully exercising their General Purpose Machine Guns, Heavy Machine Guns and Grenade Machine Guns.

The LAF fight started with the lead section from 2 PARA, blowing off doors into a building using shape charges and detonation cord. The explosions shaking the ground and ringing the ears of all watching on, including the UK Ambassador to Jordan, Bridget Brind, the UK Defence Attache, Brigadier Jamie Piggott, and Director Land Warfare, Major General James Illingworth. The Jordanian Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Major General Yousef Huneiti, was also present.

Two UK Typhoons from Cyprus, who are held at readiness to support operations near the Eastern Mediterranean, were joined by two of the Jordanian Air Force’s F16 fighter aircraft in supporting the urban assault.

Brigadier Martin, who was part of the LAF parachuting in with top cover from the Carrier Strike Group, said: “It takes skill, coordination and institutional exposure to each other, under pressure, to ensure our joint operations will work.

“Evolutions like Operation Fortis provides an invaluable opportunity to integrate forces and capabilities from across the different domains of maritime, air and land, as well as, in today’s world, space and cyber domains.

“But it’s not just about UK forces because ensuring opportunities to work with our allies and regional partners is fundamental. We have an extremely long-standing relationship with our Jordanian partners and I can think of nothing more appropriate than conducting this level of joint training with them in this, the country’s centenary year.

“It is also important to recognise just how vital the UK’s Global Hubs, like Cyprus, are to the brigade’s ability to posture and respond at short notice, in some cases in hours rather than days.

“They provide us with a proving ground, excellent training facilities and a firm base from which to conduct operations regionally to meet emerging threats and demonstrate the UK’s commitment to a forward presence and the Future Soldier intent.”