Army

Army Officer Cadets Complete Final Training Exercise Before Graduation

Exercise Dynamic Victory saw every cadet wear the new Virtus 3 body armour system.

British Army officer cadets from Sandhurst have taken part in a training exercise as the final hurdle before graduating from the prestigious military academy, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 10-day-long Exercise Dynamic Victory is designed to test every skill the cadets have learned on the 44-week course.

Tim Cooper watched the exercise unfold - here is what he saw.

I am waiting in a thicket of woodland on the Stanta Training Area in East Anglia.

In the far distance I can see the subtle movement of troops moving through a hedge line. 

They are forming an outer cordon, before an attack on two properties thought to contain enemy insurgents.

The 10-day-long exercise aims to test all the skills cadets have learned on the 44-week course.

9am is 'H' hour and the attack begins. 

Scores of young officers run through the trees and circle around the buildings, before going in, neutralising the enemy and taking control. 

The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst has an enviable reputation, which attracts cadets of numerous nationalities, training alongside their British counterparts. 

It has been almost a decade since Exercise Dynamic Victory took place in the UK.

For the last few years the American base of Grafenwöhr in Germany, with American troops supporting the exercise, has been home.

Coronavirus ruled that out, so Stanta has ably substituted. 

The exercise is designed to test every skill the cadets have learned during their 44-week course and, crucially, it has been able to continue despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

The exercise saw all cadets wear Virtus 3 body armour, which is more adjustable for a better fit.

Colonel Adam Crawley, the officer in charge of all training at Sandhurst, said that cadets were previously separated and monitored for 14 days to ensure they were a "clean cohort".

They then formed platoon households to continue with their training.

"COVID-19 absolutely has had an impact," Col Crawley said.

"We have still hit every single training objective that we needed to in the term and on this exercise.

"The experience for the cadets has just been slightly different."

He continued: "What makes it work is all about prevention.

"Keeping them protected from the outside world, stopping them becoming infected and then isolating."

WATCH: Officer Cadet Peony Grainger spoke to Tim Cooper about the kit.

Col Crawley added there have been no positive tests for COVID-19 this term.

The Sandhurst cadets wore a new design of body armour, Virtus 3, which is far more adjustable for a better fit.

It is being rolled out to the whole Army, but the cadets were given it early because of the high proportion of women going through the course. 

Officer Cadet Peony Grainger told Forces News that the kit is a huge improvement: "As a small female in the Army, it’s brilliant because finally I’ve got kit that fits me. 

"For a while it was always hanging off me and not very comfortable at all," she added.

"Having your own, sort of, personalised kit, that everything works [on] and everything functions properly and fits you properly is great."