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The British Army's Military Engineers

23 Parachute Engineer Regiment

Airborne, versatile and ready

23 Parachute Engineer Regiment provides military engineering support to 16 Air Assault Brigade, the British Army's rapid reaction force. Wearing the famous maroon beret, we're specially trained and equipped to insert by parachute, helicopter and air.

Facts & Figures


Active From

6 January 2003



Military Engineers




Our Skills

Our Regular and Reserve sappers are multi-skilled combat engineers, tradesmen and parachutists. As part of 16 Air Assault Brigade we are held in a very high state of readiness. Our specialist role requires the most physically and mentally robust soldiers.

  • Inserting by parachute, helicopter or planes beyond the front line
  • Demolitions of vital infrastructure, such as bridges
  • Constructing runways for planes and helicopters to use
  • Clearing routes through obstacles such as minefields
  • Bridging over rivers to allow vehicles to move forward
  • Using construction skills to build camps and roads
  • Engineer reconnaissance, to be our eyes and ears looking ahead


Current Deployment

Air assault task force.

Previous Deployments

Operation RUMAN - Deployed to the Caribbean for humanitarian air and disaster relief.

Operation BRANTA - Deployed to build protective structures for a multinational peacekeeping organisation.

Our People

Our people and their families are the heart of our unit.

We take great pride in training and developing outstanding junior leaders who are given responsibility early and motivated to achieve great things.

Our people work hard and play hard, so if you think you have what it takes to become an Airborne Sapper use the links below to find out more.

Our Location

Rock Barracks is located in Sutton Heath just outside the town of Woodbridge, Suffolk.

Built on the site of RAF Woodbridge, the airfield is still regularly used by the Army Air Corps and RAF.

On the edge of an area of outstanding natural beauty and on the banks of the River Deben, Sutton Heath has a community centre, primary school and local shop. Woodbridge has all the amenities of a large town.

The nearest large towns are Ipswich and Colchester, accessible via the nearby A14 and A12. The nearest train station is in the nearby Melton village.

I'm technically traded, but also love being in an airborne unit. I haven't looked back! Ollie, 24

Life as an Airborne sapper

Airborne sappers are tasked with making sure that 16 Air Assault Brigade can live, move and fight anywhere, often at extremely short notice. We also make sure that an enemy will find it hard to do the same - It makes our job very exciting!

We are a truly hybrid regiment, with a Reserve squadron based in the North of England. 299 Parachute Squadron also boasts a national troop that recruits from all regions.

We are light, fast and have to think on our feet, we earn the right to say "follow the sapper". As a team, we are ready to fight anytime and win.

If you are interested in becoming an airborne sapper, you will have to complete basic training, your basic combat engineer course and trade course before hand. Once these are complete, you can start your path to becoming an airborne sapper.

It's an honour to wear the much respected maroon beret, so it won't be easy, but nothing in life worth gaining is! If you think you have what it takes, apply below.

23 Parachute Engineer Regiment Timeline

Although the regiment formed in 2003, airborne engineers were first formed in 1941 and have lived up to the Corps' motto of "Ubique", which means "everywhere"! Airborne troops have been deployed to provide our specialist support all over the world, on numerous Exercises and Operations since World War II.

  1. 1941

    1st Air Troop Royal Engineers formed

  2. 1944

    The invasion of Normandy (Operation OVERLORD) Airborne engineers demolish and capture key bridges

  3. 1944

    The famous Arnhem bridge is defended by airborne engineers

  4. 1982

    9 Parachute Squadron and attachments deployed to liberate the Falklands Islands

  5. 2003

    The invasion of Iraq saw 23 Engineer Regiment (Air Assault) formed and deployed

  6. 2001-2011

    Deployed in Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 4, 8 and 13

Airborne Fundamentals


Interested in joining the Corps of Royal Engineers?