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Paratroopers hone their heavy weapons skills

02 February 2017

Paratroopers have demonstrated the firepower they can bring to bear as part of the British Army’s airborne rapid reaction force.

Support Company, 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment has fired its full range of weaponry – Javelin anti-tank missiles, 81mm Mortars, Grenade Machine Guns and Heavy Machine Guns – during Exercise Blazing Steel, a demanding two-week battle camp in Sennybridge, South Wales.

Support Company packs the most potent and precise weapons carried by the airborne infantry of 2 PARA in their role in the Air Assault Task Force, which is ready to deploy anywhere in the world to conduct the full range of military operations.

Troops fire Grenade Machine Guns in Brecon.

Captain Alex Young said: “We do this firing camp twice a year with a large quantity of ammunition, so the soldiers can get really confident with the weapons. The training has built progressively from firing on the ranges to realistic tactical scenarios - both defensive and offensive, and day and night - that will prepare the soldiers for what they could face when we deploy on operations.

“As well as working with the weapon systems, we’ve worked on our soldiers’ basic infantry skills of patrolling and section attacks. It’s useful for us to understand how the rifle companies operate, so that we can support them with our heavy weapons more effectively.”

Private Ben Shaughnessy, 26 from Brighton, said: “It’s been an awesome exercise, with a lot of ammunition to fire that’s let us work through all of our skills. I particularly enjoyed the delaying operation, where we practised how to use our firepower to hold up an advancing enemy force by making them think we’re a much bigger force.”

Colchester-based 2 PARA is training to take on the AATF role in the spring, with the unit’s airborne infantry bolstered by artillery, engineers, signallers, medics and logisticians from 16 Air Assault Brigade. The next major exercise for Support Company will see them join the rest of 2 PARA on Exercise Joint Warrior in March, with the whole battlegroup practising how they operate together.

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