RIR changes from air to land-based regiment

Reservists taking part the air assault in Scotland
Reservists taking part the air assault in Scotland

The 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment yesterday officially changed from an air to a ground assault focused organisation, taking delivery of five new types of vehicle.

Up until now the regiment has mainly roped or dropped into action from helicopters, but as from yesterday it will officially change its designation to a light-armoured vehicle-based group.

The changes are a part of the ongoing UK-wide restructuring plan known as Army 2020.

Formerly classed as an Air Assault Infantry Battalion, the regiment will now be known as a Light Protected Mobility Battalion operating from a range of new vehicles, including Foxhound, RWMIK, Wolfhound, Husky and Ridgeback.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said the Foxhound is at “the cutting edge” of protected patrol vehicle technology and provides “unprecedented levels of blast protection for its size and weight”.

RWMIK (Revised Weapons Mounted Installation Kit) is a lightly-armoured, highly-mobile fire support and force protection Land Rover to be manned by a commander, driver and gunner. It can carry a range of weapons including the general purpose machine gun, heavy machine gun and grenade machine gun.

The Wolfhound is a six-wheeled variant of the acclaimed Mastiff, which provides troops with increased protection as they support missions in high-threat areas, the MoD spokesman said.

And finally, the Ridgeback belongs to the family of mine-protected, multi-role and medium vehicles intended to suit a wide range of operations.