The subject of this JPM was Airfields. 23 Parachute Engineer Regiment has a vested interest in this topic – one of its specified tasks on operations is to assist Joint Theatre Entry operations by creating or repairing runways for the Royal Air Force's C130s to in-load equipment and personnel.
The meeting was a great success, with presentations from subject matter experts across the two professional bodies. Major Steve Neville, the Second in Command of 23 Parachute Engineer Regiment and Glen Owen, ICE for East of England Regional Director opened the proceedings with an introduction and welcome. Capt. Ed Harris, Operations Officer for the Regiment then outlined the Regiment's support to the Air Assault Task Force, the Army's high readiness force element drawn from 16 Air Assault Brigade.
Next to present was Major Leigh Fleming, Officer Commanding 529 Specialist Team Royal Engineers, the Army's airfield experts. His brief described the technical specifications required for a tactical landing zone (TLZ) for an RAF C130 Hercules tactical air transport aeroplane. Following this, Capt. Matt Williams, the Reconnaissance Troop Commander of 23 Parachute Engineer Regiment, explained the selection and reconnaissance of a TLZ from the tactical perspective.
The final two briefs were provided by the Officers Commanding the two regular Parachute Squadrons that make up 23 Parachute Engineer Regiment. Major Ross Wendover, Officer Commanding 51 Parachute Squadron, presented on the establishment of a Minimum Operating Surface (MOS), which is the main effort in the rapid provision of a TLZ to get an aircraft onto the ground. Following this, Major Dave Stead, Officer Commanding 9 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers, gave his perspective on the challenges of TLZ construction, speaking from experience having recently constructed TLZs in both Kenya and the UK.
Following the presentations, discussion thrived as the two groups of engineers shared their knowledge in their specialist areas. Contact details were exchanged, with the result that two professional bodies are now aligned to share technical expertise across the civil military engineering community into the future.
Glen Owen said; 'Thanks to 23 Parachute Engineer Regiment for hosting the evening and providing such a warm welcome. Joint meetings between the professional engineering institutions help foster a wider appreciation of the challenges facing our members and also offer the opportunity to get a different perspective on how to meet them.
'This evening has given us a fantastic insight into how the military are supported with some first class presentations and an engaging discussion. Special thanks also go to the catering staff for the delicious curry buffet – and for the extra chillies for those guests that were unwise enough to suggest that they liked hot curries!'
Lieutenant Colonel John Clark MBE RE, regional head of the InstRE for the East of England said; 'The joint professional meetings are a great opportunity for us as Military Engineers to foster and develop our links with the wider engineering community.
'We are a learning organisation, and the knowledge available from the private sector is of great value to us, particularly in such a specialist environment. We are very grateful to the members of the ICE for taking the time to participate and share their expertise.'