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Airborne Task Force

Volume 469: debated on Monday 10 December 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) which battalion forms the Airborne Task Force (ABTF); whether it is fully equipped; whether the ABTF is deployed; and when the next ABTF will take over from the current ABTF; (170803)

(2) which brigade forms the Joint Rapid Reaction Force (JRRF); whether it is fully equipped; whether the JRRF is deployed; and when the next JRRF will take over from the current JRRF.

[holding answer 4 December 2007]: The Joint Rapid Reaction Force (JRRF) is made up of 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines, 16 Air Assault Brigade and the High Readiness Mechanised or Armoured Brigade. None of these units is currently deployed in a JRRF capacity. The elements of the JRRF that are currently held at high readiness, therefore, are the Lead Commando Group (LCG) and the Lead Airborne Task Force (ABTF). The LCG is made up of elements of 3 Commando Brigade, while the ABTF is currently provided by the 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (2 PARA). The remaining element of the high readiness reserve is provided by the Spearhead Land Element. The ABTF is due to be replaced by a Small Scale Focused Intervention Battlegroup, based on a Light Infantry Role Battlegroup, between February 2008 and January 2009; its readiness may vary over time depending on the unit rostered.

For non-discretionary JRRF tasks, equipment holdings exist to ensure mission success. However, some equipment types might need to be re-apportioned from supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, dependent on the task, to ensure that appropriate quantities were available.