FAR paratroopers on exercise

Conditioning, moral preparation and meticulous control of equipment and material… Some 140 Moroccan paratroopers from the Parachute Infantry Brigades were hard at work on Wednesday June 22 before boarding three American planes to take part in an operational jump from night in Al Mahbes area. This exercise was carried out as part of the Moroccan-American maneuvers “African Lion 2022”.

In accordance with the High Instructions of His Majesty the King, Supreme Leader and Chief of General Staff of the FAR, the Moroccan Armed Forces are joining forces with the American Armed Forces to co-organize the 18th edition of the “African Lion 2022” exercise. (AL22), June 20-30, 2022. AL22 includes a Combined Joint Task Force Headquarters Command Post Exercise, Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise, Maritime Exercise, Air Exercise with C- 130J Super Hercules, KC-135 Stratotankers and American bombers. These operations are supplemented by a joint forcible entry by paratroopers in a field training exercise, a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear response exercise and a humanitarian civil assistance program. It is in this context that the 140 paratroopers among the brave members of the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) composing the first and second Parachute Infantry Brigades (BIP) were mobilized.

The newspaper “Le Matin” had the opportunity to attend the preparations preceding the aerial exercise and the joint break-in operation involving the paratroopers. This operation, which was to have taken place since yesterday in the Al Mahbes area in the Moroccan Sahara, was briefly prepared within the headquarters of the Parachute Infantry Brigade (BIP) in Salé as well as at the level of the FAR Air Base. from Kenitra.

Psychic preparation

Preparations have started in Salé from the “Personnel parachute maintenance and piloting company”. There, the equipment, more particularly the gains (a bag of more than 30 kg containing the rations, the weapons, the material… to be used by the paratrooper once on the ground) and the military parachutes, were meticulously checked. The psychic preparation and the conditioning of this body before embarkation procured the same attention, if not more. “The preparation is carried out according to international security standards under the control of highly qualified executives with the recognized competence of the airborne units of the first and second BIP”, explained to us, Wednesday morning, a FAR official. This equipment conditioning and verification operation must be carried out before boarding the planes intended for this exercise: three American C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, already on site at the airfield of the FAR Air Base in Kenitra. These devices will transport the paratroopers participating in the operational night jump in the Al Mahbes area as part of the field training exercise. It should be noted that while the joint operation with the American military essentially mobilized Moroccan BIPs, the planes used and their crews are American.

check again and again…

Before taking off, it was necessary to carry out new checks before taking place on the benches of the American military planes C-130J Hercules. The infantry members had to check their equipment (sheath, parachutes, weapons…). Not only to check them, but also to put them on, knowing that in addition to the weight of the parachutes (ventral and dorsal), the sheath had to be worn. The accompanying instructors (soldiers who do not make the jump) in turn examined the equipment worn by the paratroopers, inviting them to get rid of all accessories, such as glasses, watches which could pose a risk during the jump. The main watchword being safety, everything must be done according to strict instructions. After being divided into three groups, the 140 members of the two brigades had the right to clear instructions from senior officers on the objectives of the mission and its progress. They were thus informed about the drop zone and its specificities. Similarly, instructions are given to them for specific jumps according to the strategy adopted. Because this “combined” military training simulates real combat situations in the presence of a “conventional enemy” (fictional enemy in military jargon). This is why the boarding operation was preceded by a briefing bringing together Moroccan and American military officials. The goal is to ensure that the climatic conditions are favorable (very important element for the navigation of the planes, but also for the dropping of the parachutists) and to discuss the possible adjustments to be made.

Direction Al Mahbes

The preparations which lasted all day on Wednesday having ended, the parachute troops were finally able to settle in the three planes which took off around 9 p.m. Direction the area of ​​Al Mahbes where other military devices have been put in place to carry out this operational night jump, an exercise which should last 48 hours. Lieutenant Oualid Ezzerouali, company commander at the second BIP, told us in a statement that “in accordance with the High Instructions of His Majesty the King, Supreme Leader and Chief of the General Staff of the FAR, the airborne units of the first and second BIP participates in joint Moroccan-American military maneuvers, with the participation of other partner countries of the AL22 exercise. The objectives of these maneuvers are to exchange experiences between the armies of the countries participating in this exercise and to strengthen their interoperability. In this context, the airborne units will carry out, after the drop, joint land military maneuvers already programmed to weaken and destroy a conventional enemy”, he specified. Indeed, starting Monday, at the level of the General Staff of the South Zone in Agadir, the military exercise of the AL22, which mobilizes more than 7,500 soldiers, goes to field operations.


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