Army

Paratroopers Test Simulated Environments In New Urban Training Facility 

The facility can simulate a Middle Eastern shopping centre at night or an African jungle village in a heavy rainstorm.

Paratroopers have tested out a new innovative facility built to train them for the demands of the urban battlefield.

Troops from C (Bruneval) Company, 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, have been training in the Urban Training Facility (UTF) at Merville Barracks in Colchester, Essex, for the first time.

The facility boasts moveable walls, interactive smoke, light and sound effects and a video monitoring system for soldiers to review their performance.

In their role as the British Army’s global response force, the soldiers of 16 Air Assault Brigade need to be prepared to fight in challenging urban surroundings.

Colonel Martyn Wills, Deputy Commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, said the UTF gives soldiers "the best training possible for the urban battlefield".

"These effects make training a more immersive experience, adding extra pressure to what the soldiers are doing," Col Wills said.

The facility at Merville Barracks, Colchester, has moveable walls, interactive smoke, light and sound effects and a video monitoring system for soldiers to review their performance (Picture: British Army).

"We can then take the skills that have been perfected here into more challenging training in the villages built on the Army's training areas, adding the scale of larger units operating together."

The British Army said the facility recognises "the world's population is increasingly living and working in built-up areas" and is designed to let troops enter and move through buildings, clearing the enemy as they go.

Layouts, light levels and the soundscape can be changed in the facility, allowing troops to train in simulations of a Middle Eastern shopping centre at night or an African jungle village in a heavy rainstorm.

Cover image: Paratroopers training at the new Urban Training Facility at Colchester's Merville Barracks (Picture: British Army).