(Photo: US Air Force)
The sky over Fort Bragg, North Carolina rained freedom in early April. Then, in the largest exercise of its kind there in 20 years, the US Air Force, Marine Corps, Air National Guard, and Royal Air Force dropped a combined 2,100 troops to the ground. The purpose of this exercise was to demonstrate the interopability of these forces and make it easier for the US and UK to engage in joint operations in the future. The Army Times reports:
The long-term goal is to have the ability to integrate the 16 Air Assault Brigade into the 82nd Airborne Division, allowing the two units to operate quickly and seamlessly if they're ever called upon to respond together in an emergency. […]
The American and British soldiers have taken advantage of their time together to learn about each other's equipment, tactics and standard operating procedures, said Lt. Col. Mike Shervington, commander of 3 Para.
One example is having U.S. soldiers jumping out of British aircraft and vice versa, he said.
"That sounds easy, but it's not," Shervington said.
For starters, the two armies use different parachutes – the T-11 for the Americans and the Low Level Parachute, or LLP.
The T-11 carries more weight, while the LLP opens at a lower level, Shervington said. The LLP also has a shorter count before the static line releases the parachute; three seconds instead of six for the T-11, he said.