RAF Hercules transport aircraft enabled a historic first jump into southern Ukraine by over 200 British paratroopers this week, say the Royal Air Force.

Flying directly from their base at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire and carrying out air-to-air refuelling on route, the C-130 aircraft dropped 250 soldiers from 16 Air Assault Brigade into the Ternivsky training area from a height of 600 feet as an opener for Exercise Joint Endeavour.

According to the Royal Air Force:

“Exercise Joint Endeavour, beginning on 22 September, will be the first multinational exercise in Ukraine since the country achieved NATO Enhanced Opportunity Partner status in June. The exercise will develop the relationship between the UK and Ukrainian armed forces, in turn providing both nations with vital experience of deploying rapidly from air to land to counter threats. A total of 8,000 personnel including a small number from the USA and Canada will help Ukraine gain further experience of working closely with NATO militaries, sharing best practice and matching capabilities.

The UK and Ukraine have built a strong defence relationship in recent years, with British troops having trained over 18,000 members of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the five years since the start of Operation Orbital, the UK’s training mission in the country. Established in 2015 following the annexation of Crimea by Russia a year earlier, Operation Orbital is a demonstration of the UK’s unwavering commitment to Ukrainian independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty.”

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I do hope the situation in Ukraine can be de-escalated peacefully, but it is important that Ukraine receives the support it needs to ensure their sovereignty and deter Russia further aggression. Russia pushed the boundaries far beyond what is considered an act of war in just about every conceivable notion.


The situation is already effectively resolved. If Russia wanted to attack the rest of Ukraine, it would steam roll them pretty quickly, especially as it now knows the US and NATO will do nothing of substance, like last time.


A successful and timely reminder of the utility of the para’s at a time of uncertainty in the Defense budget….


Do you really think a C130 is survivable anywhere near Crimea? The risks are far to high against modern missiles for a mission like this.


How is this a reminder of their utility? We’ve all known Paras can jump out of planes for ages, the question is can their transports survive, can they fight effectively, and can they manoeuvre once on the ground? Big questions, the answer of which seems to be “no.”


Its just one capability that adds an extra dimension. The lads are well trained Infantry soldiers, with an excellent fitness level and a very can do attitude. We dont all get to hung up on it, as parachuting is not an end state, its just a means to an end. Yep very unlikly ever to much more than a Coy group lob, certainly in a peer on peer conflict, but its the old “when its gone its gone”. We lose the capability we will pretty much never get it back. The main issue we have at the moment is while… Read more »


Good news and proves the capability but raises as many questions as it answers methinks – 250 – a reinforced Coy group , Putin will be quaking in his boots. More importantly why C130 not A400M . We all know the answer, it’s not a terribly well guarded secret either, the RAF haven’t been able to make the A400 work with Para’s , theyve been seen over the Plain doing a lot of drops with freight but not as yet pax. The question is why not – what’s gone wrong with the A400M ?


My reading says that the A400 was certified to drop 116 paratroopers in May ’20.

Daniele Mandelli

One of the posters here is expert on the Atlas, having worked with the aircraft. He will be able to explain I’m sure.

16AA has not had brigade level drop capability for years. Nice to have but if a reinforced company group plus support is the max and the rest of the brigade can be air landed once an airhead is secured is this not sufficient?

I’m more worried by 16AAs lack of firepower than airlift.


Agreed D. Let’s hope the training mission doesn’t include teaching them what seems to be recent MOD doctrine that plenty of (and layered weight of) artillery is not that important.

Daniele Mandelli

That is bonkers. I think the RA has been neglected above all else and is the area of the army I would prioritise. More Guns, more mortars, more smart munitions.

I’m sure any potential peer enemy ( Russia ) has not forgotten the value of artillery.

How does Ben Wallace’s love of Cyber counter weight of fire?


I think I read in the Times that improving the artillery is being looked at in the next defense review. Lets hope so.

Glass Half Full

HI Daniele. I think fires is up there on the UK list, all the way up to Long Range Precision Fires launched from MLRS and perhaps with additional HIMARS wheel based capability for rapid deployment. It was called out explicitly as being of interest in the recent UK agreement with the US.

Daniele Mandelli

Agree. Considering our track record concerning replacement armour for the army maybe its best we just jump aboard the US programmes and buy direct OTS!


Spot on once again mate!


C130’s to Ukraine and presumably back again for 250 Para’s. That must be 4 or 5 aircraft plus the AAR planes. Why not use just 2 C17’s?


THE RAF C17s are not parachute certified, cargo only.


Sorry caps lock I wasn’t shouting lol


TBH, l was surprised we committed as many as 250 paras given our previous efforts abroad. Are they still relevant today? As someone said here earlier, when they’re gone, they’re gone, so yes let’s retain the capability and give them the best equipment including means of insertion as possible. Fat chance.
At least this regiment will be a ‘snowflake’ free zone and hopefully diversity BS as well. If you’re good enough you’re in. Simple.


Bet Putin has his tiny panties in a twist over this. lol


Small deployment bigger picture! Come on it’s not about the tactical picture it’s a strategic message, alongside thousands of other NATO troops.