France is hosting its biggest military exercise in decades. The second phase of Exercise Orion involves 7,000 personnel from eight NATO Allies — including host nation France — and focuses on defensive operations on land, in the air, at sea and in cyberspace.
France has launched its biggest military exercise in decades. The second phase of Exercise Orion involves 7,000 soldiers including assets from host nation France and US and UK joint assets, as well as naval assets from NATO Allies Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, and focuses on defensive operations on land, in the air, at sea and in cyberspace.
As part of the exercise, three French Air and Space Force A400M transport aircraft dropped 700 French troops from the 8th Marines Infantry Parachute Regiment and an attached company from the 17 Engineer Parachute Regiment over an airfield in Castres. Another three aircraft dropped 48 hours’ worth of equipment and supplies for the force to secure and hold the area.
During another phase, 700 amphibious troops came ashore from the French Navy’s amphibious ships Tonnerre and Mistral, along with vehicles and equipment. They disembarked in the coastal town of Sète before heading further north to practise manoeuvres and operations.
Footage includes various shots of French paratroopers landing in Castres and French amphibious troops coming ashore in Sète, as well as interviews with French officers.
“Air transport allows us to strike fast, hard and far. It is a unique combat tool for the French Army, allowing us to free ourselves from spatial constraints and strike behind enemy lines,” said Captain Thibault.
“The advantage of these exercises is that they mobilize the three armies: air, sea and land forces, as well as cyber defense. In other words, many forces train separately throughout the year, and little by little we increase the training requirements until we all work together. It’s a bit like a rugby or football team, the attack and defense have to work together, after having trained in their respective areas” said Captain Charles, 1er Regiment, Étranger de Genie, French Army,
“Today we are deploying land forces on two amphibious helicopter carriers, and here I am in charge of one of the two sites, counting the equipment and making sure the site is secure.”