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Armed Forces: Paratroopers

Volume 704: debated on Monday 13 October 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many members of the Armed Forces are qualified paratroopers; how many entered training in each of the past five years; how many qualified; and how many were injured during training and had to be discharged from the forces on medical grounds. [HL5356]

For the purposes of answering this Question, a qualified paratrooper has been taken to mean a trained soldier in the Army's Parachute Regiment.

Those who wish to join the Parachute Regiment as a soldier do so in two ways: as a junior entrant, a recruit will complete phase 1 training at either the Army Foundation College Harrogate or Army Training Regiment Winchester and then go on to phase 2 PARA training at the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick (ITC(C)). If joining as a standard entrant, the recruit completes the combined phase 1/phase 2 PARA combat infantryman's course (CIC) at ITC(C).

During their time at Catterick these recruits will complete the test week element of Pegasus Company's pre-parachute selection course, and if successful, go on to join the Parachute Regiment. They will subsequently complete the four-week basic parachute training at No 1 Parachute Training School at RAF Brize Norton.

At 1 July 2008 there were approximately 1,400 soldiers in the Parachute Regiment.

Information on the number of Parachute Regiment regular recruits commencing and completing training at ITC(C) is as follows:

Number Commencing Course

Number Completing Course

2003-04

627

190

2004-05

588

169

2005-06

522

183

2006-07

561

204

2007-08

585

197

Notes:

1. These figures show soldiers only and include those attending the CIC PARA, and the phase 2 PARA course.

2. The numbers commencing the course will include those attempting it for the first time but also some who are attempting it again.

Information on the number of Parachute Regiment personnel attending basic parachute training at RAF Brize Norton is as follows:

Number commencing Course

Number Completing Course

2003-04

152

143

2004-05

168

153

2005-06

64

53

2006-07

262

255

2007-08

140

128

Notes:

1. These figures include officers and soldiers.

2. The number commencing the course only includes those whose course was completed and not those whose course was not completed due to unavailability of airframes or poor weather.

Information on the number of recruits to the Parachute Regiment who have been medically discharged following injury suffered during training is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.