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Paras to be grounded due to wrong chutes

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Paras to be grounded due to wrong chutes

Old 25th Jul 2022, 20:33
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Originally Posted by uxb99 View Post
I thought Paras were so hard they didn't need chutes?
What about HALO?

btw has there ever been a parachute mission that was successful?
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Old 25th Jul 2022, 21:28
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As I understood it, following "Bold Guard" in '75, the JATFOR concept wasn't used again. I'm long retired, so willing to be corrected.
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Old 25th Jul 2022, 23:48
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Originally Posted by langleybaston View Post
I hold no brief for sensational press media and have very low expectations of accuracy.

However, much of the media [including broadcasting and the posh papers] are to a degree self-censoring.

If there is a grain of truth in sensational aviation/ military stories [probably leaked by a middle-ranking serving member] then I for one would wish to know of it.

Always provided that such leaks did not advantage potential enemies ............. a difficult proviso.

A free press is a most precious jewel in a democracy. Don't shoot the messenger!
Do shoot the messenger as the Daily Mail has long been incapable of self restraint when actually deciding what is objective and subjective news. Their weather forecasting is more accurate.
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Old 25th Jul 2022, 23:52
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Originally Posted by langleybaston View Post
Quite so. In WW II the German fallschirmjaeger had some successes but casualties were usually severe and such troops take a long time to replace.
Watch the VDV meme Youtube videos taking the mick as IL 76 full of VDV troops attacked defended air strips in Ukraine. "200 guys on an one way trip!" The Crete op is mentioned.
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Old 26th Jul 2022, 06:32
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Originally Posted by uxb99 View Post
....
btw has there ever been a parachute mission that was successful?
Yes, Operation LEOPARD/BONITE in Kolwezi in 1978.

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Old 26th Jul 2022, 09:25
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I'm not sure why large-scale para drops have been dismissed as ancient history in this thread. If you need to insert troops at scale over larger distances and where simply landing isn't an option you quickly find yourself looking at para. Clearly this tactic is not new but it has its place in warfare.

From the UK perspective a number of Herc crews became spectators and then manned evacuation aircraft when Turkey undertook a massed para drop to seize a good chunk of Cyprus in 1974. By 1982 the weather limits curtailed the planned static-line para insertions for the Falklands Islands but SF and stores insertions were used extensively, including drops into very uninviting seas. The planned but clearly ridiculous drop in 1991 was successfully avoided when the (US-directed) UK AoR became so localised that the joint event with the USAF would have taken troops further away from their objective than they already were and with less kit and logistics. By 2001 the UK found itself conducting warfare over strategic distance where parachute insertion was the only option until FoBs were established - very much an SF event for sure but it drew crews from across the TacAT squadrons that worked at or beyond human endurance levels with repeated 24hr+ crew days in unforgiving terrain, weather and by night with almost zero support. When the requirement for a low-level static line mass drop hit the planning table in 2001 it was clear that the RAF TacAT fleet would have no ability to support the task with everything already committed. Likewise with the tasking for massed static-line para in 2003, with the US objective now so far away from the UK AoR and the mistakes made in UK assumptions pre-conflict (seemingly focused on a certain FJ basing option that was not asked for or needed by the US vs actually planning for the one the US had actually asked for and did need... but involved "that aircraft with propellers").

From the US (and our principal war fighting partners) perspective, they did conduct operational massed-para drops through the '50s, '60s and '70s. By the '80s massed static-line drops were used less frequently but did include US Rangers into Panama in late 1989, with further drops that continued into early 1990. The operational drops for Gulf War 1 followed and by later that year a force was massed from late '91 to early '92 with the 82nd Airborne Division for contingency ops in Haiti. In 1994 the US were at it again, this time launching on the largest para insertion since MARKET GARDEN on objectives across Haiti. 2 hours into the mission with 60+ aircraft en-route an agreement was made for Cedras to leave power and the troops conducted an administrative landing in Haiti, complete with all their unused chutes. By 2001 the US had a new conflict with the UK as its principal partner in Afghanistan and in Oct 2001 the US conducted a massed para drop into Objective Rhino to start the ground offensive (the small UK element of this is often forgotten). 2003 was clearly the next major conflict to use massed-para insertion and did so on a few occasions. The most significant of which was the large-scale drop, primarily by C-17s, mounting in Italy for a low-level (400ft & 600ft) drop near the bottom of a large valley complex in horrendous weather on a pitch-black night in northern Iraq. Starting from 30,000ft+ with a rather rapid descent, on SKE, to drop height, surrounded by an unhealthy mix of cumulonimbus and cumulogranite. Respect.

No doubt I've missed quite a few but these are the ones that standout in my (rapidly failing) memory. I do not claim to be an expert in such things and easily dismissed as an ex-FJ dude, who knows nothing of the other realms, but I did serve on 47 Sqn, albeit for the smallest sliver of my career. I got to do amazing things, with amazing people in the most demanding of environments. My skin crawls when those around me who know nothing of that world dismiss it so readily. They do not know what they do not know.
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Old 26th Jul 2022, 11:12
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Just because the current MOD can't envisage a future need for a use of some particular form of warfare is not a good reason to discount it.

Pre the Falklands campaign, the Nimrod entered service without air-to-air refuelling 'because it could fly the sortie lengths contemplated without A2A', and without a bombing system 'We are MR, old boy'. Availability of a long range aircraft already fitted with Inertial Nav, and with refuelling capability and bombing software would have enabled the Black Buck missions far easier and more effective. Staff College concentrates on how to fight the last war (or the war before the last) more effectively - not to think ahead.
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Old 26th Jul 2022, 11:16
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Wouldn´t drop aircraft be easy prey to even a medium skilled air defense system? Panama, Haiti, Afghanistan etc were certainly not at the same skill and equipment level we are potentially facing in the east. Those were not near peer conflicts.
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Old 26th Jul 2022, 11:48
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Just because the current MOD can't envisage a future need for a use of some particular form of warfare is not a good reason to discount it.
We can’t afford the kit for the roles we are currently tasked with, without worrying about those we aren’t.

I too have nostalgia for what the Cold War UK forces were capable of, even into the early 2000s. But the army and the RAF are both far smaller with numerous shortfalls and “capability holidays” which need solving before worrying about anything else.
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Old 26th Jul 2022, 11:48
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It must have been known that the old chute was not qualified for the new aircraft. Is it a case of not enough time? Did someone forget? Or is there anyone left whose job it was?

Edit to add. 16AAB is mentioned specifically. As JTO intimated, there are people in eg 16AAB who do far more than "normal" paras, and who must train extensively for their role.
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Old 26th Jul 2022, 11:54
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Originally Posted by wondering View Post
Wouldn´t drop aircraft be easy prey to even a medium skilled air defense system? Panama, Haiti, Afghanistan etc were certainly not at the same skill and equipment level we are potentially facing in the east. Those were not near peer conflicts.
This has been the case since the start of military paradrops, which is why SEAD etc is such an important factor in the planning. Even with Air Superiority any Air insertion is risky, it's the nature of the mission.
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Old 26th Jul 2022, 12:48
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Based in Colchester, Essex, the Paras are the only force in the world to use the so-called Low Level Parachute (LLP), which allows them to jump at just 450ft from the C-130J Hercules aircraft.
Long used by Russians, going back to Soviet days. 150 metre jump, no reserve, typically from an Antonov 2, which can get down to about 50 knots. One or two British skydiving clubs (including mine) went over there on visits in the 1990s and took the chance to give it a shot.
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Old 26th Jul 2022, 14:10
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Originally Posted by cheekychimp View Post
This has been the case since the start of military paradrops, which is why SEAD etc is such an important factor in the planning. Even with Air Superiority any Air insertion is risky, it's the nature of the mission.
A purely theoretical discussion because we have no ability to conduct mass drops, and they are in any case high risk and should only be ordered for extremely high stakes. A niche market in which we have no substantial ability.
NATO is supposed to be defensive, whereas drops are usually offensive. And so far as national interests are concerned, where on earth might we wish for a mass drop?
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Old 26th Jul 2022, 15:17
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Originally Posted by langleybaston View Post
A purely theoretical discussion because we have no ability to conduct mass drops, and they are in any case high risk and should only be ordered for extremely high stakes. A niche market in which we have no substantial ability.
NATO is supposed to be defensive, whereas drops are usually offensive. And so far as national interests are concerned, where on earth might we wish for a mass drop?
Who knows? That's the nature of a lot of conflicts, you don't see them coming. Which is why we keep certain capabilities or aspire to have them.
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Old 26th Jul 2022, 17:03
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Trying to find my reference books (not easy with re-decorating going on at the mo') to see how many op descents the Rhodesian Fire Force teams used to carry out in one day (I think at a push they could manage 3) - all dropped from low level in close co-ordination with heli-borne troops, armed helis and (if within range) arty and CAS. Year after year of tactically - and occasionally strategically - successful para ops.
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Old 26th Jul 2022, 17:36
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Isn't the point with Paras that they take heavy casualties in the drop (potentially but not always) but then are able to punch well above their weight? The only force that can be deployed behind the enemy.
Also they are special forces ground troops irrespective of their airborne nature.
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Old 26th Jul 2022, 17:58
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Originally Posted by uxb99 View Post
Isn't the point with Paras that they take heavy casualties in the drop (potentially but not always) but then are able to punch well above their weight? The only force that can be deployed behind the enemy.
Also they are special forces ground troops irrespective of their airborne nature.
Are the paras "special forces" as such? Is there such an official grouping, and, if so, other than SAS and SBS [or any new titles] who are the others?
Once on the ground alive, with wounded to care for, paras are soon short of ammunition, support weapons, mobility, artillery and often with rubbish comms.
Prime Minister, I have to advise against this venture.

Last edited by langleybaston; 26th Jul 2022 at 18:03. Reason: addendum
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Old 26th Jul 2022, 18:05
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Originally Posted by langleybaston View Post
Are the paras "special forces" as such? Is there such an official grouping, and, if so, other than SAS and SBS [or any new titles] who are the others?
No, they are highly motivated infantry. SAS, SBS and SRR are SF, supported by SFSG and SF Sigs.
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Old 26th Jul 2022, 18:09
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Thank you. I will go with highly motivated light infantry.

White Range Rovers pulling up on my drive, I wonder ..................
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Old 26th Jul 2022, 18:39
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the Paras are the only force in the world to use the so-called Low Level Parachute (LLP), which allows them to jump at just 450ft from the C-130J Hercules aircraft.
The Specification for the LLP originally required a minimum drop height of 250 ft AGL at max AUW.
Towards the end of its trials at Boscombe someone came up with the idea of conducting a live drop at that height. The problem was, that whilst the test team were confident that the parachute would be OK 250 ft AGL was way below the minimum drop height for the (then) current reserve parachute. To de-risk the drop it was decided to carry it out over a French lake with some of the team deciding not to bother with the useless reserve, making it the first (non emergency) British Military parachute descent without a reserve since 1956. Once the trial was all planned it was quite comical the number of phone calls the team received from senior officers trying to pull rank so that they could be on the drop, only to be told that "we have all the Sergeant PJI's we need thank you". In the end the drop was a touch higher than 250 ft as there was some concern that the Hercs rad alt was reading the bottom of the lake and not the water surface. However, the time in the air for the jumpers from leaving the step to landing in the water under a fully inflated LLP was around 9 seconds.
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