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Major military training exercise takes place in Norfolk and Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 13:55 05 April 2017 | UPDATED: 16:21 05 April 2017

Soldiers from 2 Para Battlegroup jump into Stanta training area, near Thetford, as part of Exercise Joint Warrior from a C130 Hercules aircraft, from Wattisham Airfield, near Stowmarket. Picture: Cpl Georgina Coupe/Sgt Shane Davies

Soldiers from 2 Para Battlegroup jump into Stanta training area, near Thetford, as part of Exercise Joint Warrior from a C130 Hercules aircraft, from Wattisham Airfield, near Stowmarket. Picture: Cpl Georgina Coupe/Sgt Shane Davies

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Hundreds of soldiers are in Norfolk and Suffolk for a major military exercise to help them be prepared for action.

Soldiers from 2 Para Battlegroup jump into Stanta training area. near Thetford, as part of Exercise Joint Warrior from a C130 Hercules aircraft, from Wattisham Airfield, near Stowmarket. Picture: Cpl Georgina Coupe/Sgt Shane DaviesSoldiers from 2 Para Battlegroup jump into Stanta training area. near Thetford, as part of Exercise Joint Warrior from a C130 Hercules aircraft, from Wattisham Airfield, near Stowmarket. Picture: Cpl Georgina Coupe/Sgt Shane Davies

The nature of the armed forces’ work means they often need to be ready at the drop of a hat to serve, wherever that may be.

So twice every year, the three-week Exercise Joint Warrior is held at the Stanford Training Area (Stanta), just north of Thetford, to ensure our servicemen are ready whenever the call comes through.

Involving around 2,000 troops, more than 400 vehicles and 12 helicopters from the Air Assault Task Force (AATF), those involved take part in a range of exercises designed to simulate realistic battleground conditions.

The last exercise - to attack an insurgent stronghold - involved around 700 troops flying from Wattisham Airfield, near Stowmarket, to Stanta via helicopter and saw a company of 180 soldiers parachuted from an RAF Hercules.

As part of a major military training exercise involving around 2,000 troops, paratroopers from 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment are transported by RAF Chinook helicopter, from Wattisham Airfield to the Stanta training area, near Thetford. Picture: Cpl Steve DuncombeAs part of a major military training exercise involving around 2,000 troops, paratroopers from 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment are transported by RAF Chinook helicopter, from Wattisham Airfield to the Stanta training area, near Thetford. Picture: Cpl Steve Duncombe

Brigadier Colin Weir, Commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, said: “Joint Warrior is an excellent opportunity for 16 Air Assault Brigade to be put through its paces in its role as the British Army’s airborne rapid reaction force.

“This realistic and well-resourced training reflects the type of operations that the Brigade could be called on to do, both in terms of the tactical challenges and their expeditionary nature.

“The missions that we will be tasked to achieve within a short space of time are a powerful demonstration of the unique flexibility, reach and agility of airborne troops.”

The operation started at Keevil Airfield on Salisbury Plain on March 20, before the troops were relocated to Woodbridge.

A major military training exercise involving around 2,000 troops has taken place across Norfolk and Suffolk. Chinook crews at Woodbridge Airfield and refuel, alongside Apache helicopters, before commencing low level training and night flying. Picture: Cpl Georgina Coupe/Sgt Shane DaviesA major military training exercise involving around 2,000 troops has taken place across Norfolk and Suffolk. Chinook crews at Woodbridge Airfield and refuel, alongside Apache helicopters, before commencing low level training and night flying. Picture: Cpl Georgina Coupe/Sgt Shane Davies

Exercise Joint Warrior also aims to test how the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force work together and with allied forces.

It also involves the Joint Helicopter Force 1, commanded by 4 Regiment Army Air Corps with Apache attack helicopters, an RAF Chinook and Puma 2 transport helicopters.

Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Mann, commanding officer of the 2 Para Battlegroup added: “We make sure that we’ve built the team from the bottom up and this effectively is testing the battalion working for the brigade at the highest level.”

Second Battalion the Parachute Regiment (2 Para)  prepare to clear a building as part of a major military operation taking place across Norfolk and Suffolk. Picture: Cpl Georgina CoupeSecond Battalion the Parachute Regiment (2 Para) prepare to clear a building as part of a major military operation taking place across Norfolk and Suffolk. Picture: Cpl Georgina Coupe

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