Royal Air Force Hercules transport aircraft flew 250 British paratroopers over Southern Ukraine for a historic first jump ahead of the multi-national exercise Joint Endeavour.
Flying directly from their base at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire UK with air-to-air refueling en route, the C-130J Hercules aircraft dropped 250 soldiers from 16 Air Assault Brigade into the Ternivsky training area from a height of 600 feet.
Exercise Joint Endeavour, beginning on September 22, will be the first multinational exercise in Ukraine since the country achieved NATO Enhanced Opportunity Partner status in June. The exercise will develop the relationship between the UK and Ukrainian armed forces, in turn providing both nations with vital experience of deploying rapidly from air to land to counter threats.
A total of 8,000 personnel including a small number from the USA and Canada will help Ukraine gain further experience of working closely with NATO militaries, sharing best practice and matching capabilities.
The UK and Ukraine have built a strong defense relationship in recent years, with British troops having trained over 18,000 members of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the five years since the start of Operation Orbital, the UK’s training mission in the country.
The UK will also lead a multinational maritime training initiative that will allow the Ukrainian Navy to improve its capabilities. Naval personnel from Sweden, Canada and Denmark will also help train Ukraine in areas such as navigation, operational planning, military diving, sea surveillance, fire-fighting and damage control.