Skip to main content

Cavalry Corps

The Cavalry Corps

The Cavalry Corps is one of the ‘teeth’ Corps of the Irish Defence Forces. The Cavalry Corps has a long, proud tradition of service to the State and the current incumbents of the Corps are reflective of the best values and qualities the Corps has maintained. Originally, the Cavalry Corps was called the Armoured Car Corps, with a fleet of light armoured vehicles. Over the decades, the fleet evolved with the introduction of light Landsverk tanks and later in the 1950s the introduction of Main Battle Tanks in the Comet and Churchill. During the 1960s the Panhard AML was first introduced to the Cavalry Corps. This fleet was the backbone of the Corps and it gave considerable service, especially in overseas deployments, such as UNIFIL in the Lebanon and with UNMIL in Liberia. In the 1980s the Corps received the CVR(T) or Scorpion. The latest AFV investment into the Corps is that of MOWAG Piranha III, with two variants the Close Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV) and Medium Reconnaissance Vehicle (MRV) entering service in 2008.

Strategic Vision

The Cavalry Corps will continue to develop, sustain and deliver effective, flexible and appropriate Combat Support resources to the Defence Forces to ensure that it has sufficient intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), armoured reconnaissance and direct fire support capabilities to enable it to fulfill its commitments to on-island security and international peace and security.

Cavalry Corps Advice and Policy

The Corps advises the General Staff on armour in the Defence Forces. This includes the procurement and refurbishment of armoured vehicles in the Defence Forces. The Director of Cavalry is responsible for the driving standards of armoured vehicles in the Defence Forces. In this regard the Director is the designated issuing authority for all armoured vehicle driving licenses in the Defence Forces.

The Cavalry Corps is responsible for the Defence Forces Armoured Vehicle Training Policy.

The Cavalry Corps advises on Defence Forces armour doctrine as required.

The Cavalry Corps ensures Corps personnel and vehicles are prepared for deployment on UN mandated peace support operations overseas.

Corps Activities

The Cavalry Corps provides sufficient forces with the capabilities to assist in a sustained significant contribution to multinational peace support, crisis management and humanitarian operations. The Corps continuously improves its operational capabilities in order to provide for the Military Defence of the State’s territorial integrity.

The Corps continues to educate, train and exercise Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, and Troopers to develop and maximize individual potential, collective readiness, operational efficiency and effectiveness.

The Corps achieves the required capabilities by:

  • Conducting courses in accordance with the DFHQ Annual Training Directive
  • Completing the necessary Corps Career and Instructor courses for all ranks
  • Conducting Junior Leadership and Career Courses for Officers and NCOs
  • Conducting Technical Officer Course in accordance with Corps policy as appropriate
  • Conducting Conventional Tactical training for all Ranks
  • Conducting training for the full spectrum of Peace Support Operations
  • Validating all Gunnery and Driving testing within the Cavalry Corps
  • Supporting Unit and Collective integrated and non-integrated RDF Training

Tasks of the Cavalry Corps

Whilst Cavalry are characterised by their operation in armoured vehicles, all elements are trained to operate in both the mounted and dismounted modes. This enables them to operate in the most appropriate mode in the varying environments encountered on operations such as urban, woods and forests and open terrain. Such flexibility is vital to allow the Cavalry Squadrons as the Brigades main reconnaissance asset to penetrate cover, establish contact with third parties and carry out reconnaissance missions that are either beyond the capability of routine infantry patrolling or are in areas that are inaccessible to vehicles. Given increasing urbanisation, clutter and asymmetric threats, this capability is increasing in importance.


As a result of Cavalry Corps training policy in recent years, the multi skilling of personnel and the procurements of modern armoured vehicles fitted with sophisticated surveillance equipment, the Cavalry Corps has become one of the primary assets in Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) operations (both symmetric and asymmetric) in the Defence Forces. A comprehensive ISTAR capability is now fundamental to the Defence Forces approach to operations. ISTAR links surveillance, reconnaissance and target acquisition systems and sensors. It encompasses the collection and management of information and intelligence to provide situational awareness for commanders and their staff. Reconnaissance is undertaken to obtain, by visual observation or other detection methods, information about the activities and resources of an enemy or potential enemy, or to secure data concerning the meteorological, hydrographic or geographic characteristics of a particular area.

Cavalry Corps units acting as an essential component of the ISTAR framework, can provide the formation commander with real-time, high resolution battlefield information and intelligence, produced from the observations and judgment of the vehicle crew on the ground. A Cavalry unit’s major attributes are its flexibility and ability to self re-task on its own initiative in order to exploit the tactical situation as it develops, thereby exercising mission command and serving to enhance the tempo of operations. In addition, the inherent versatility of the Cavalry Corps gives it a wide utility around the full spectrum of conflict.

Visit the Cavalry School >>