News story: Defence Minister makes reassurance visit to RAF Marham

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  1. Armed Forces Minister Mike Penning has visited Royal Air Force personnel at RAF Marham to reassure them after last week’s attempted abduction.

    During his first visit as a Minister of State to the Norfolk air station, Mr Penning discussed operations and emphasised the commitment to keeping personnel safe.

    As well as military personnel he met civilian staff, family members and supporting organisations.

    Minister for the Armed Forces Mike Penning said:


    I was pleased to visit Marham to reassure personnel and their families that their security is of the utmost importance. We’re are in constant liaison with police and intelligence services around the country and review and amend our security arrangements continually to try and ensure our people and their families are safe.

    During his tour of Marham he also discussed the progress of the F35 Lightning II joint strike fighter, the RAF variant of which will be based at Marham. He also discussed the vital role RAF aircraft are playing in operations against Daesh, supporting the Iraqi forces as a central actor in the global coalition. The RAF has now conducted 948 strikes in Iraq and Syria.

    Earlier yesterday Mr Penning witnessed British forces hosting a multinational peacekeeping exercise for the first time. Around 300 UK troops are working alongside more than 200 US and central Asian counterparts, training Kazakhstani forces prepare for future United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions as part of NATO Exercise Steppe Eagle. The annual UK-US led exercise has been held since 2003, but this is the first time in its 13-year history it has been held here.

    Taking place at the Stanford Training Area in Norfolk, soldiers from 1st Battalion Rifles, operating under 160th Infantry Brigade are sharing peacekeeping expertise and techniques including weapons training, establishing base security and managing displaced civilians.


    As a leader on the world stage the UK is committed to international peace and security.

    By training troops from Kazakhstan and other central Asian countries, we are bolstering their peacekeeping abilities and supporting them as they progress towards becoming a part of the UN’s peacekeeping operations

    Brigadier Martyn Gamble, Commander 160th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Wales said:


    Exercise Steppe Eagle is the cornerstone of UK-Kazakhstan defence engagement and is vital in assisting their development of a capable peacekeeping force which can be deployed on UN peacekeeping operations in the future.

    Exercise Steppe Eagle takes place ahead of the London Peacekeeping Ministerial on the 8th September.

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