The British Army is conducting a joint live firing artillery exercise, Steel Sabre, with French Army personnel at Otterburn Training Area in Northumberland, UK.

Around 1,600 personnel from 18 British regular and reserve regiments are participating in the exercise, alongside soldiers of the 35th Parachute Artillery Regiment and 40 French troops to enhance their readiness for contingency operations.

The two-week exercise aims to train UK artillery units for future missions, including being part of contingency forces, such as the Airborne Task Force or commando lead elements.

Commenting on the exercise, 1st (UK) Armoured Division Royal Artillery commander brigadier Simon Humphrey, who is responsible for coordinating the exercise activities, said the drill brought together all the components of an effective artillery group to train in delivering fire-power on the battlefield.

The Royal Artillery live firing exercise serves as an indication of how the UK Army will function in the future, as a significant number of reservists are being integrated alongside their full-time counterparts.

Exercise Steel Sabre represents one of several joint exercises scheduled being conducted by the two countries this year, as part of a declaration on defence and security co-operation agreement signed between UK Prime Minister David Cameron and then French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the UK-France Summit in London in November 2010.

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Aimed at seeking greater focus on joint training between the two armies, the agreement also enhances further cooperation in nuclear safety, cybersecurity and international security domains.

Defence Technology