British troops prepare for post-Afghanistan conflicts

01/05/13

French Paratrooper

For more than a decade the Army's focus in both Afghanistan and Iraq has been on war in the desert, but from 2014, British combat forces will leave Afghanistan.

It means that not only do tactics need to change, but also equipment and most importantly training.

In future they will have to be ready for environments from cities to jungle.

To demonstrate how they will meet new challenges the Army has taken part in Joint Warrior.

Involved in the exercise were more than 40 warships, 40 aircraft, 30 helicopters along with more than 12,000 troops in multiple areas across Scotland.

They came from the Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy as well as forces from nine other nations.

See more photos from the Joint Warrior exercise

Air assault

Many soldiers have spent their career after basic training preparing for threats specific to Afghanistan, such as counter-insurgency warfare.

That is where an enemy can be hidden within a civilian population.

You've got the likes of Africa and the Middle East in turmoil so you just have to go back to your roots and make sure you're prepared for all scenarios
L/Cpl Morrison
1 Royal Irish Regiment

Lance Corporal William Morrison was 12 when the war broke out and says it's important to continue training for operations other than Afghanistan.

"I think you'll always get skill fade," he said. "If you concentrate on one thing too much other skills suffer as a result, but it's good to see we're getting back on track now and focusing on the more conventional side of things."

The military on the whole is shrinking.

The Army's numbers will drop from 102,000 troops to 82,000 and will rely more on reserve forces.

To make up for the drop the British military will work much more closely with European counterparts.

Britain has recently signed a treaty with the French to co-operate with each other in military operations overseas.

Chinook
Image caption More than 5,000 of the troops involved in Exercise Joint Warrior were British

When the French intervened in an armed rebellion in northern Mali the British transported some of their equipment and troops.

Newsbeat recently went to part of Exercise Joint Warrior to see an air assault.

It involved French and British troops being airlifted and parachuted into a simulated conflict zone by helicopter and aircraft.

The focus was on quick action, delivering soldiers to take an airfield with the aim of evacuating British civilians and not get drawn into a long conflict like Afghanistan.

Ranger Johannes Ratte
Image caption Ranger Johannes Ratte was carrying more than 30kg of equipment

"The world is chaos," Lance Corporal Morrison, 24, said.

"You've got the likes of Africa and the Middle East in turmoil so you just have to go back to your roots and make sure you're prepared for all scenarios."

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