Gurkha soldiers 151118 Credit BFBS
Gurkhas

New Specialist Gurkha Battalion Among Additions To Brigade

There are also plans for two further Signals squadrons and a new Engineer squadron among the increase to the size of the Brigade of Gurkhas....

Gurkha soldiers 151118 Credit BFBS

A new battalion is to be established in the Army's Brigade of Gurkhas.

The 3rd Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles will be established as a Specialised Infantry Battalion comprised of 270 personnel and will begin recruiting later this year.

Several other units are also being formed, meaning an overall increase of around 730 personnel the Brigade, bringing its strength up to roughly 4,000 troops.

Personnel in the new 3rd Battalion will join members of the Specialist Infantry Group, completing plans to establish five Specialised Infantry Battalions.

However, it is not expected to be at full strength for several years.

The Specialised Infantry Battalions are designed to provide expert capacity building and training skills, with a focus on niche capabilities or areas of the world.

There are also plans for two further Signals squadrons and a new Engineer squadron among the increase to the size of the Brigade of Gurkhas.

The Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas will also increase, while the UK-led NATO Allied Rapid Reaction Corps will become almost entirely made up of Gurkhas.

Royal Gurkha Rifles in New Zealand
Personnel from the Gurkha Rifles during Exercise Pacific Khukri (Picture: British Army).

Selection for the Gurkha intake is bigger than ever, with the largest number of Nepalese recruits joining the British Army since 1985.

Recruitment from Nepal will remain capped at 432 new recruits from 2019, with the increased capacity allowing for more Gurkhas to serve a full 24-year Army career.

The majority of Gurkha troops serve their 12-year contract in full and the new battalion will offer more high ranking positions and greater opportunities for promotion.

Minister for the Armed Forces Mark Lancaster said: "The Gurkhas have built an outstanding reputation for their skill and bravery as soldiers through centuries of service and sacrifice.

"They bring unique expertise and perspective to the United Kingdom and British Army which makes them an ideal choice to form a third battalion of the Royal Gurkha Rifles as a Specialised Infantry Battalion."

This year's Gurkha recruits are being used to trial the proposed tests.
Recruitment of Gurkha personnel from Nepal is capped at 432 recruits from 2019.

Colonel of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, Major General Gez Strickland DSO MBE said: "The Royal Gurkha Rifles is delighted to be able to support the Army by creating a third battalion.

"The specialised infantry role is exciting and challenging and we look forward to learning new skills and making new partnerships around the world as we begin the new task.

"We are enormously proud of the Army’s confidence in our ability to take this on."