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Parachute training

General discussions on joining & training in The Parachute Regiment.
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tractorboydan
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Parachute training

#1 Post by tractorboydan »

Going back to the first quarter of 2013 there was a lot of reports and articles, both online and in newspapers of the talk of greatly reducing the number of Paras that will be parachute trained.

Many can be quoted as saying that the regiment will only maintain 'a company sized parachute trained force of around 80 men', while others state that this 80 man force is a rapid deployment force, and that the parachute trained numbers as a whole will be higher, though not the full regiment (of which I believe is roughly 1,500 full timers...?) as has been the case in the past.

Obviously this is linked to the strategic defense cuts of the 2010 (?) spending review, and 'justified' by the fact that the Paras hadn't performed an operational jump since Suez. (Yes, for me justified deserved quotation marks - but that's a whole other topic...).

What I want to know, preferably from current serving Paras, is what is truth and what is false in this?
As much as I look in to it, googling this and searching that, I cannot find anything anywhere that actually says that recruits passing out after P-Coy are no longer being sent to RAF Brize Norton, or even that they're being sent in reduced/selective size.

Can anyone separate the fact from fiction for me?
Are those who complete training and P-Coy in Catterick still being sent to RAF Brize Norton to be parachute trained?
If they are then are they still being sent in their entirety, or are a select few being sent?
If only a select few then what sort of numbers/percentage of those that pass out are being sent?
And finally, if a reduced number are being sent then what is the criteria by which these soldiers are being selected for parachute training above the ones that aren't?

Also, as a side note, I've seen things online (admittedly blogs, and not out-&-out news sources) and spoken to an ex-TA serviceman (not of the Paras, but the RA) that suggest in time that the Paras could be amalgamated in to another regiment. I can't see that being likely, what with the Paras being considered the most formidable of the British Army's line infantry, as it would basically act as watering down a fine operational machine. But again, just to clarify, is there any truth what-so-ever in this talk?

Essentially, it seems that since the cuts to MOD funding that the Paras get a huge amount of attention regarding belief that they could well be the hardest hit, but there is so much smoke and mirrors you can't tell what's what.

If anyone can help me with this (once again rather lengthy) issue and let me see the wood through the trees it would be greatly appreciated.

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Tab
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Re: Parachute training

#2 Post by Tab »

I think you will that 1 Para is in the US at the moment doing a lot of parachute jumps. To get your wings these days you only have to do five jumps as they have cut out the balloon jumps and the night jump. As Afghanistan winds down and the RAF has more transport aircraft available you will probably see more jumps taking place as the RAF are running an air bridge to Afghanistan and this is taking up most of the transport aircraft.

tractorboydan
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Re: Parachute training

#3 Post by tractorboydan »

I see, thanks, Tab.

So essentially Parachute jump training was cut down as aircraft availability and man power to train has been low during Operation Herrick, but as it all winds down we should see it increased again?

Surprised about the night jump being cut.

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Re: Parachute training

#4 Post by Tab »

The night jump I suppose it was some of those health safety people getting involved in this but it was one of the trickiest jumps to do when there was no moonlight. It was like jumping into nothing and waiting to hit the ground or some thing else.

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Re: Parachute training

#5 Post by Carl Dowd »

I'm afraid that since 1940 military Parachute Training in the UK has not been able to swerve the political agenda! It chops! it changes! but at the end of the day it generally comes up with the goods! PTS will normally reach the targets and quotas set by the Army Chiefs! It suffers from defence cuts just like any other units and quite frankly is never in control of its own destiny, be that a lack or Aircraft, a lack of kit or plain and simply the weather!

Static-Line Parachuting isn't the only hostage to fortune and I can assure you that Military Free-fall suffers the same acrimonious path! but hey Ho! the job finally gets done... I still believe that the training is some of the best in the world. It is intilled into PJI's from a very early stage that injuries are unacceptable during synthetic training and they work hard to ensure that those attending the course, those who have progressed through whichever selection course to get there, get through!

Who attends PTS is of course another subject but I will make this one comment about it. Generally, and there are very, very few exceptions to this, one can only attend through what we call a 'Sponsoring' Unit... Sponsoring units are listed but just occasionally due to a shrotfall in course numbers they will bring in other 'trained soldiers' to make up numbers. This is Rare but can happen! Just sometimes the OC PTS may grant someone the privilege to attend a course for knowledge based purposes, perhaps the OC of General, Special Forces Hercs or Standby and Dispatch but once again this is very Rare...

Times are changing though and so is Parachute Training... but hey! the world evolves...

Trust this helps...

Carl Dowd

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