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SWIFT RESPONSE 2022 ~ British Army In North Macedonia

Soldiers from 2nd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment during the live fire phase of Exercise SWIFT RESPONSE, 08 May 2022 [Crown Copyright: Cpl Alexander Morris]

SWIFT RESPONSE 2022 ~ more than 2,000 members of the British Army’s Global Response Force are on manoeuvres in North Macedonia.


Press Release, Whitehall, 13 May 2022: More than 2,000 members of the British Army’s Global Response Force have demonstrated their ability to react to global crises during an exercise with NATO allies.

Some 3,000 personnel from eight NATO countries are training together in North Macedonia on Exercise SWIFT RESPONSE, under the command of 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team (BCT). The UK contingent is made up of the 2 PARA Battlegroup, built around the airborne infantry of 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment. They have been supported by artillery, engineers, logisticians, medics, and signallers from 16 Air Assault BCT; and Aviation Task Force 1 with Apache attack helicopters and Chinook support helicopters.

Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment were inserted for the live fire phase by Chinooks and American Black Hawks during SWIFT RESPONSE 2022, 08 May 2022
[Crown Copyright: Cpl Alexander Morris]

Minister for the Armed Forces, James Heappey MP said: “Exercise SWIFT RESPONSE shows how the British Army is transforming to become more lethal, agile, and expeditionary. Exercises alongside our partners and Allies are necessary to maintain our advantage in a complex and ever-changing world.
“I remain proud of our Armed Forces who continue to serve their country on postings around the world, providing leadership in uncertain times.”

Some 200 logistic, medical and engineering vehicles were loaded onto roll-on/roll-off sealift ship MV Eddystone at Marchwood Military Port 17-18 March for SWIFT RESPONSE 2022
[Crown Copyright: Cpl Danny Houghton]
Soldiers unloading vehicles that have arrived in North Macedonia by rail for SWIFT RESPONSE, 26 April 2022 [Crown Copyright: Cpl Alexander Morris]

Travelling by road, rail, sea and air to North Macedonia – NATO’s newest member since joining in 2020 – troops carried out joint training to build their capabilities and relationships. The soldiers then deployed onto the rugged Krivolak training range by parachute and helicopter to secure and defend a foothold in simulated hostile territory, and then take the offensive.

A sergeant from 3rd Parachute Battalion acts as safety staff for French forces during live fire training in North Macedonia, 26 April 2022 [Crown Copyright: Cpl Alexander Morris]

Brigadier Nick Cowley, Commander of 16 Air Assault BCT, said: “On Exercise SWIFT RESPONSE, 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team, alongside multiple Army and RAF units, has truly demonstrated the lethality, agility and expeditionary capabilities of the Global Response Force. We have deployed thousands of miles across Europe to link up with our NATO allies to conduct arduous training in a challenging environment to make sure that we are ready to deploy on the most demanding missions, at short notice.

“I have been hugely impressed by the quality of our soldiers and their ability to integrate with NATO allies. This exercise has absolutely showed me that we are ready for anything.”

RAF Chinooks drop of soldiers from 2nd Parachute Battalion during the live fire phase of SWIFT RESPONSE, 06 May 2022 [Crown Copyright: Cpl Alexander Morris]

The manoeuvres in North Macedonia are one element of Exercise SWIFT RESPONSE, which will see multinational forces under the direction of US Army Europe and Africa conducting simultaneous training across Europe – from the High North to the Balkans – to practice how airborne units can rapidly project force in response to developing crises.

9 Parachute Battery, 7th Parachute Regiment RHA firing a 105mm light gun in support of Paratroopers carrying out a ground assault, 08 May 2022 [Crown Copyright: Cpl Alexander Morris]
  • 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team is the British Army’s Global Response Force, specially trained and equipped to deploy by parachute, helicopter and air landing. Its 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.
Here a British Paratrooper from 2 Para has successfully completed his jump with Italian Paratroopers, 12 May 2022 [Crown Copyright: SAC Jason Russell]


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