The Pathfinders leap from a C-17 Globemaster during their High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) jump into Northern Macedonia.
Pathfinders, the tip of the spear for the British Army’s global response force, have parachuted in to North Macedonia to be first in for a major multinational exercise.
The team of reconnaissance experts took off from RAF Brize Norton in a C-17 Globemaster, parachuting from 18,000ft using High Altitude Low Opening techniques to discreetly drop into the Krivolak training area.
On the ground, the Pathfinders’ role on Exercise SWIFT RESPONSE is to scout out enemy positions and mark drop zones for the main body of British, Italian and French paratroopers jumping in a few days later.
Exercise SWIFT RESPONSE sees a force of more than 3,500 soldiers from eight NATO countries working under the command of 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team to practise how they can respond together to international crises.
Some 2,000 British troops and 500 vehicles from the 2 PARA Battlegroup and Aviation Task Force 1 have travelled across Europe by road, rail, air and sea for the six-week-long exercise (21 Apr – 31 May). It started with preparatory training to build the joint force’s skills and relationships before it deploys by parachute and helicopter to practise offensive and defensive operations.
The manoeuvres in North Macedonia are one element of a wider exercise, with four multinational forces under the direction of US Army Europe and Africa conducting simultaneous training for airborne operations across Europe – from the High North to the Caucasus.