December 6 2013 Latest news:
Sunday, September 22, 2013
Paratroopers have given a powerful anti-tank missile its first outing at a Norfolk training area.
Troops from Colchester-based 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, fired four Javelin missiles, known for their accuracy and potency, at the Stanford Training Area (Stanta), near Thetford, on Thursday.
The firing was the culmination of a training course for the unit’s anti-tank platoon, which was the first to fire Javelin on operations in 2006 in Afghanistan.
Stanta has been a key training facility for troops preparing for Afghanistan but the end of combat operations in 2014 has seen demand fall, freeing up capacity for different training.
Just last month troops from 654 Squadron, 4 Regiment Army Corps carried out the first live firing of a 30mm cannon at Stanta.
Platoon commander Captain Ruari Hahndiek said: “For its range and purpose, Javelin is the most precise and powerful weapon available to the infantry soldier.
“It gives the commander on the battlefield a lot of confidence to know that this weapon is within their armoury and able to deal with armoured vehicles and bunkers with little risk of collateral damage.”
The missile is intended primarily to destroy tanks and light armoured vehicles, but also acts as an all-weather weapon against fixed defences, such as bunkers and buildings, and is operated and carried by a two-man crew.
Private Ashley Bowers fired one of the missiles. The 25-year-old from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, said: “I’ve learnt a lot about Javelin in training but this is the first time I’ve seen it fired for real, let alone fired one myself.
“Firing it really helps you understand its capabilities and I’m massively impressed. With the rest of the platoon watching there’s a lot of pressure to hit the target and the missile didn’t let me down!”
Stanta is maintained by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, and covers 35 sq miles – 2pc of Norfolk – and is used 350 days every year by an average of 80,000 troops.