Joint Rapid Reaction Force
|Joint Rapid Reaction Force|
16 Air Assault Brigade, a key element of the JRRF
|Role||Expeditionary & Rapid response|
|Part of||British Armed Forces (tri-service)|
Royal Air Force
The Joint Rapid Reaction Force (JRRF) is a formation of the British Armed Forces; it consists of a pool of specialised units from all three armed services tasked with rapid deployment worldwide at short notice. The force is intended to be capable of mounting operations up to medium scale warfighting. It can be employed nationally, or multinationally under the auspices of NATO, the European Union, the United Nations or any other coalition.
The JRRF was an initiative in the 1998 Strategic Defence Review. An initial rapid reaction capability was declared in April 1999 and was fully operational in 2001. It was originally intended that JRRF would be able to mount up to two simultaneous operations of up to 15,000 personnel each. A major military exercise called Saif Sareea II was held in Oman in September 2001 to test the deployment of the JRRF.
In the event of the JRRF being activated, the force commander is the Chief of the Joint Rapid Reaction Force (CJRRFO) who is responsible to the Chief of Joint Operations (CJO) at the Permanent Joint Headquarters at Northwood. A Joint Task Force HQ (JTFHQ) would accompany the force to provide local command, which is maintained at 48 hours notice to move. Until deployed, operational control of the various units is the responsibility of the single-service Commanders-in-Chief.
The Joint Rapid Reaction Force can be deployed in three phases. The first element is known as the Spearhead Forces that are kept at a high state of readiness. This is composed of:
- The Spearhead Land Element (SLE) of special forces (SAS or SBS), and either a light infantry battalion or a commando group.
- The Spearhead Naval Force (SNF) of two frigates or destroyers, an attack submarine and a support ship of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
Following that, if required, is the First Echelon, composed of
- A Maritime Task Group of major warships.
- A Mine Countermeasures Group.
- An Amphibious Task Group which can deploy
- A Joint Landing Force drawn from either 3 Commando Brigade or 16 Air Assault Brigade.
All of these elements can be supported by helicopters, transport and combat aircraft as required.
Elements of the Joint Rapid Reaction Force were activated for the British military intervention in the Sierra Leone Civil War in May to September 2000. The Spearhead Land Element consisted of the standby special forces squadron and 1 PARA plus a single rifle company of 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment, both part of 16 Air Assault Brigade. Also deployed was an air element provided by the Joint Helicopter Command, consisting of four RAF CH-47 Chinooks which flew direct to Sierra Leone from the UK. A Royal Navy Carrier Group led by HMS Illustrious and an Amphibious Task Group led by HMS Ocean were also deployed.
Elements of 16 Air Assault Brigade were deployed to the Republic of Macedonia as a spearhead for Operation Essential Harvest in August 2001, a NATO operation in support of a ceasefire ending the insurgency. The brigade also formed the United Kingdom's first response to the War in Afghanistan.
- Response Force Task Group
- UK Joint Expeditionary Force
- Combined Joint Expeditionary Force
- Allied Rapid Reaction Corps
- Ministry of Defence - The Permanent Joint Headquarters
- "Top Guns". Oman Economic Review. United Press and Publishing, LLC. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- Ministry of Defence - The Permanent Joint Headquarters - PJHQ organisation Joint Rapid Reaction Forces
- Ripley, Tim (2008), 16 Air Assault Brigade, Pen and Sword Military, ISBN 978-1-84415-743-3 (pp. 11-12)
- Ripley p. 154)
- The Permanent Joint Headquarters (gov.uk) - some information on the JRRF as of December 2012