16 Air Assault Brigade
16 Air Assault Brigade (16 AA Bde) is Britain's airborne rapid reaction force. In it's role as the Air Assault Task Force (AATF), the Brigade is an air-mobile force with the capability to deploy around the world at short notice. When combined with RAF transport aircraft and heavy lift helicopters, 16 AA Bde has the capability to put 3 battalions of air assault infantry on the ground, supported by up to 18 105mm howitzer guns.
Amongst other tasks, the Brigade might be used to quickly protect another ground force's flank, capture key installations such as enemy-held airfields, or insert behind an enemy to stop their retreat.
16 Air Assault Brigade is based around core component of the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the Parachute Regiment, together with other infantry units, specialized artillery, combat engineers, signalers and other supporting units, many of which are parachute trained. Air transport and close air support are provided by helicopters from the Joint Helicopter Force.
The make up of 16 Air Assault Brigade is felixible and depends on the availablity and suitabilty of units for any given deployment. The current makeup of 16 AA Bde is:
- 16th (Air Assault) Brigade Headquarters and Signal Squadron (216)
- The Pathfinder Platoon (Pathfinder Group)
- 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment (2 PARA)
- 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment (3 PARA)
- 4th Battalion Parachute Regiment (4 PARA)
- 2nd Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles (2 RGR)
- Joint Helicopter Force (Contingency)
- WAH-64 Apache helicopter support to 16 AA Bde provided by 3 Regiment, Army Air Corps (AAC) and 4 Regiment, AAC on a rotating basis
- 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery (7 PARA RHA)
- 53 (Louisburg) Battery, 5th Regiment Royal Artillery (RA)
- operating in Surveillance and Target Acquisition (STA) role
- 12 (Minden) Air Assault Battery, 12 Regiment RA
- operating Starstreak HVM in air defence role
view video of the unit training
- 21 (Gibraltar 1779 - 83) Air Assault Bty, RA
- operates DH3 (Miniature Unmanned Aerial Systems)
- 613 and 616 Tactical Air Control Parties (TACP), RAF Regiment
- 4-man teams of Forward Air Controllers (FAC) (2) and Signallers (2).
- 23 Engineer Regiment (Air Assault), Royal Engineers
- 7 (Air Assault) Battalion, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
- 13 Air Assault Support Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps
- 16 Close Support Medical Regiment, Royal Army Medical Corps
- 156 Provost Company, Royal Military Police
(Attached from 4 Regiment RMP. Includes close protection team for 16 AA BDE's Brigadier)
- 14 Signal Regiment (EW) Regiment
- PARA-trained Light Electronic Warfare Teams (LEWT)
Equipment employed by 16 Air Assault includes:
- Lynx AH9A utility/attack helicopters
- WAH-64 Apache helicopter gunships
- MWMIK Jackals
- WMIK Land Rovers
- Pinzgauer 4x4s
- Supacat ATMP
- L118 105mm Howitzers
16 AA Bde Deployments
16 Air Assault Brigade took part in the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Since 2006, 16 Air Assault Brigade has been deployed on several tours of duty in Helmand Province in Afghanistan.