RAF AKROTIRI, Cyprus (AP) — British paratroopers have trained together with Jordanian soldiers in an airdrop over the Middle Eastern country to underscore the U.K.’s support for Jordan and its commitment to regional stability, Britain’s armed forces minister said.
Minister James Heappey said in a statement that Wednesday’s joint exercise of 150 paratroopers from Britain’s 16 Air Assault Brigade and 84 Jordanian parachutists demonstrates that U.K. armed forces “stand with Jordan against shared threats in the region.”
Brigade Commander Brigadier James Martin said British forces will play a role in deepening “strong, historic bilateral ties in the Middle East and North Africa region, which are vital to U.K. prosperity and security.”
The jump by the paratroopers — the Brigade’s lead assault force — took place during Jordan’s 100th year of independence.
The brigade is a key element of the U.K.’s Global Response Force, a versatile force that can quickly undertake assigned missions around the world.
“They are the soldiers of the future, ready to tackle changing threats around the world,” Heappey said.
The British paratroopers jumped from a C130 Hercules transport aircraft flying at 1,000 feet that took off from RAF Akrotiri, a British air base on the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus. Armed with SA80 and sniper rifles, light and heavy machine guns, an 81mm mortar and a light artillery gun, the British paratroopers were joined by Jordanian troops in assaulting a mock village.
The Brigade is also conducting other military exercises with Jordanian forces including infantry and artillery training.