16 Air Assault Brigade
(16 Air Asslt Bde
) is a formation of the British Army
based in Colchester
in the county of Essex
. It is the Army's rapid response airborne formation and is the only Operational Brigade in the British Army capable of delivering Air Manoeuvre, Air Assault and Airborne operations.
It was formed as part of the defence reforms implemented by the Strategic Defence Review
on 1 September 1999 by the merging of 24 Airmobile Brigade
and elements of 5th Airborne Brigade
. This grouping created a highly mobile brigade of parachute
units and airmobile units which employ helicopters.
As the British Army's rapid response formation, 16 Air Assault Brigade has served in the vanguard of all the Army's recent operational deployments to Sierra Leone
, and is the largest brigade in the British Army
with 8,000 personnel. Its structure makes it a highly flexible and capable unit. It comprises a Formation Reconnaissance Squadron
, an artillery
regiment with an attached air defence battery, an engineer
regiment, two parachute infantry
battalions and two air assault infantry battalions, three aviation regiments, logistics, medical and mechanical engineering regiments or battalions and the Pathfinder group.
The brigade HQ is based in Colchester Garrison
and is under the operational command of the tri-service Joint Helicopter Command
(JHC) and is assigned to the British-led Allied......