Exercise DESERT FOX: Logistics Mentorship to the Jordanian Armed Forces Quick Reaction Force

A helicopter flies in the desert with a package hanging below it
Quick Reaction Force 91st Battalion logistics personnel conduct aerial resupply sling operations during Ex DESERT FOX. (Photo by Canadian Armed Forces)

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By a member of the Logistics Support Mentor Team, Roto 3 QM Mentor

The Canadian Training Assistance Team-Jordan deployed to Jordan in August 2016 to build partner capacity by providing equipment and training to the Jordanian Armed Forces.

One part of that training team is the Logistics Support Mentor Team (LSMT). It works in a mentorship role with the Jordanian Armed Forces Quick Reaction Force (QRF) 91st Battalion. This force was established in January 2015, centred on a light infantry battalion group.

Having since expanded to a Brigade construct, each of the QRF’s battalions are able to deploy a company as a rapid reaction force. Their primary tasks include securing Jordan’s borders, reacting to incidents within the Kingdom, and supporting domestic humanitarian assistance. As of December 2017, the QRF has expanded to a brigade-sized element consisting of three light infantry battalions.

The aim of Exercise DESERT FOX 18 was to validate 2nd Company, 91st Battalion. By the end, they were declared operationally ready to assume the rapid reaction force task. A similar exercise is conducted quarterly, and drives the 91st Battalion’s readiness cycle. QRF companies form an essential part of the Jordanian Armed Forces’ response to security incidents, and have deployed along the Syrian border to provide critical support to Jordanian Border Guard Units.

Ex DESERT FOX 18 took place in Jordan’s Southern desert region of Al-Quwayrah with training teams from both Canada and the United States. The LSMT deployed with the 91st Battalion’s combat service support element, which consisted of sections from maintenance, logistics, and health services. While observing individual field-craft and sustainment operations, the LSMT mentored the 91st Battalion by incorporating NATO standard operating procedures.

Training for the forward support area (FSA) was focused on real life support and sustainment to 2nd Company. The FSA consisted of supply, transport, maintenance, military police, and medical personnel in a platoon-sized element. A helicopter landing zone was sited nearby, for air resupply and casualty evacuation operations. The FSA carried sufficient quantities of rations and water, petroleum products, and ammunition to support 2nd Company throughout the exercise. Due to the harsh desert environment and heat (40°C daily), water resupply was particularly important in supporting the Company during their operations.

The rough terrain put restrictions on vehicle mobility, so the battalion support personnel made use of rough terrain vehicles (RTV). Despite its small chassis, the RTV is a robust mode of transport. It is capable of carrying a 600-kg load as well as casualties on side-mounted stretchers. The FSA also practiced aerial sling load resupply operations in collaboration with Royal Jordanian Air Force Super Puma helicopters, a capability unique to the 91st Battalion. Sling loads were used to bring water forward from the QRF home station to the FSA.

The sandy terrain also caused a number of repair and recovery operations throughout the exercise. The maintenance section provided assistance with a Medium Tactical Vehicle Wrecker. The 5 ton wrecker, with its lift and tow capability for either front or rear recovery, successfully retrieved disabled vehicles at various sites in the training area. The maintenance section also prepositioned enemy targets for training scenarios throughout the exercise.

This exercise strengthened military relationships between Canada and Jordan through joint training and the sharing of best practices. Following Exercise DESERT FOX 18, the logistic support mentor team is better positioned to support Jordanian Quick Reaction Force logistics personnel during upcoming courses and training. Having CAF logistics experts train and mentor the Jordanian Armed Forces premier land force unit strengthens operational capabilities within Canada’s Middle East Strategy.

Jordan remains an important and valued bilateral partnership nation for the Canadian Armed Forces, contributing to regional security within the Middle East.

Image gallery

  • A helicopter flies in the desert with a package hanging below it
  • A 5 ton wrecker picks up a junk car
  • A soldier drives a rough terrain vehicle in the desert
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