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PICS: 1,300 members of Defence Forces take part in massive miltary exercise

All images via Irish Defence Forces/Flickr
All images via Irish Defence Forces/Flickr
All images via Irish Defence Forces/Flickr
All images via Irish Defence Forces/Flickr
All images via Irish Defence Forces/Flickr
All images via Irish Defence Forces/Flickr
All images via Irish Defence Forces/Flickr
All images via Irish Defence Forces/Flickr

A massive training exercise by the Irish Defence Forces has been ongoing now for two weeks.

The operation, known as Exercise Dark NIghts has utilised over 1,300 members of the Defence Forces in two separate locations in Ireland.

The Defence Forces have described the operation as a 'conventional Battalion level exercise' and it has been ongoing at the Defence Forces Training Centre in Kildare and Kilworth Training Area in Cork.

The operation, which concludes tomorrow, is using a wide range of equipment and forces, with the Air Corp providing AW139 helicopters and PC-9 ground attack aircraft. The Army is also using one of its UAV drones to monitor the 'battlefield' and realy information back to base in Kildare. 

The aim of the exercise, according to the Defence Forces, is to 'assess operational readiness and to maintain and develop skills and capabilities'.

The operation has been in the planning since June but it comes at a time when the need for our Defence Forces to be ready for all eventualities has arguably never been greater.

Speaking in today's Irish Daily Star,the officer in charge Lt Col Mark Hearns said that the skills being used during the exercise would be useful if there ever was a Paris-style attack here.

"The Defence Forces are ready to respond to whatever demands the Government makes of us," he said.