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Global Response Force

16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team

The Army's Global Response Force

16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team is the British Army's Global Response Force, held at very high readiness to respond to crises worldwide. It is specially trained and equipped to deploy by parachute, helicopter and airlanding.

A soldier in uniform is about to parachute from a plane, other military personnel look on.

Our role

16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team’s (BCT) core role is to maintain and command the Air Manoeuvre Task Force (AMTF), comprising infantry and aviation battlegroups held at very high readiness to deploy anywhere in the world to carry out the full spectrum of missions, from non-combatant evacuation operations to war fighting. Based in Colchester, Essex, the BCT’s Headquarters includes Army and Royal Air Force personnel enabling it to plan and execute air manoeuvre operations.

It is at the forefront of developing interoperability with the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and the French Army’s 11e Brigade Parachutiste.

Recent operational deployments include the evacuation of Kabul in August 2022, delivering medical care in Turkey after the February 2023 earthquake, and the evacuation of Sudan in April 2023.

Timeline

16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team was formed on 1 September 1999 from two existing formations, 5 Airborne Brigade and 24 Airmobile Brigade.

Its emblem is drawn from Greek mythology and depicts the warrior Bellerophon astride the winged horse Pegasus, with a soldier being delivered to battle by air as the BCT’s defining role.

Its soldiers wear the maroon beret, a colour adopted when British airborne forces were formed in the Second World War that has become an international symbol of airborne forces.

  1. 1999

    Formed on 1 September 1999 from two pre-existing formations

  2. 2022

    Led Operation Pitting, the evacuation of 15,000 entitled people from Kabul.

  3. 2023

    Delivered medical care in Turkey after the February earthquake.

  4. 2023

    Supported the evacuation of entitled people from Sudan.

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Airborne medics care for Kenyan villagers

UK & Kenyan medics have joined forces to host mobile clinics for the rural Kenya population.

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British and German airborne forces build parachute partnership

British paratroopers have earned their German parachute wings, developing the ability of British and German airborne forces to serve together as NATO allies.

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Our contact details

The Brigade Headquarters is based in Colchester, Essex.

Colchester

Merville Barracks