For two weeks in November a company group of 170 German Jägers, equipped with a fleet of GTK BOXERS and other armour, fought their way across Salisbury Plain on Exercise LIGHTNING ACE II.
This cooperative exercise involving British and German troops would no doubt have been of great interest to our readers, both at home and around the globe, and we would have loved to have been invited onto Salisbury Plain Training Area to cover it. Unfortunately, although both the Senior Media Officer whose patch the exercise was held on and the SO1 News [Army] at MoD Main Building have our editor’s direct phone numbers and email address, no invitation was forthcoming.A cynic might presume our presence was undesirable in case we overheard grumbles from the troops about equipment that is giving cause for concern, or that we might hear British soldiers’ opinions about the BOXER, which some pundits reckon will be selected for the seemingly delayed UK MIV (Mechanised Infantry Vehicle) requirement without a competitive evaluative trials programme being held. Others might presume that the British Army is now so undermanned that they do not have sufficient resources to spare to provide media escorts for a large bi-national exercise like this even though it was held in their back yard. A few might think that they just really don’t care any more, and as morale does not appear to be particularly high in Britain’s armed forces at the moment there is some mileage in that view.
Fortunately, even though the British Army has made no mention of LIGHTNING ACE II on the Army News web pages and (although a week has now passed since EndEx) has posted no images on their news imagery database, the Bundeswehr has today posted a nice article. Unfortunately, at the moment it is only in German, but you can find it here:-