British Airborne Forces prepare for South Sudan peacekeeping mission


The British high-readiness paratroopers are set to serve on a UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.

The troops, which are part of 16 Medical Regiment, will travel to South Sudan with a specialist field hospital which can be dropped by parachute and used for emergency surgery.

The members will join the UK personnel already in central Africa.

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced in September this year that up to 100 extra UK personnel would join the peacekeeping mission, adding to 300 that were announced under the previous government.

Fallon said: “Britain is committed to tackling the instability that leads to mass migration and terrorism.

“This deployment shows how Britain is stepping up its global commitments, in the interests of humanity but also because it makes Britain and the world a safer place.”

This British brigade can be sent on operations at long range by parachute, aeroplane and helicopter.

Together with French counterparts, the 16 Air Assault Brigade forms the airborne element of the combined joint expeditionary bilateral force developed by the UK and France.

"We’re preparing for deployments with the UN to South Sudan, we’re deployed on operations in Kabul, and we are engaged with allies in the Middle East to help develop their capabilities in the face of the Daesh threat."

It is also partnered with the US 82nd Airborne Division as part of the US Global response force.

16 Air Assault Brigade commander Brigadier Colin Weir said: “British Airborne Forces possess unique qualities.

“Elements of our Brigade are at very high-readiness here in case of a global crisis, we’re preparing for deployments with the UN to South Sudan, we’re deployed on operations in Kabul, and we are engaged with allies in the Middle East to help develop their capabilities in the face of the Daesh threat.”


Image: UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon meets members of 16 Air Assault Brigade. Photo: © Crown copyright.