BATUK goes interactive

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The British Army has improved force-on-force training conducted in Kenya under a bilateral agreement by introducing a Saab laser engagement training system under a £25 million service contract awarded earlier this year.

The British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) provides pre-deployment training for troops scheduled for deployment to Afghanistan.

Jane`s Defence Weekly recently reported that the deal requires Saab Training to set up, run and supporting the system in northwest Kenya for three years.

The British Army website describes BATUK is a small permanent administrative element based on the outskirts of Nairobi that provides the logistic support to visiting units.

“Under an agreement with the Kenyan Government, three infantry battalions per year carry out six-week exercises in Kenya.

“A Royal Engineer Squadron also deploys to Kenya over the same period to carry out a civil engineering project.

“The training, named Exercise GRAND PRIX, takes place over the winter months and allows infantry battalions to carry out live firing, as well as experience a wide variety of climatic conditions, from desert to rain forest. They even learn some Swahili to aid relations with the local population.”

The Saab upgrade gives BATUK similar capabilities to the larger British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) in Canada.

Comparable to the SA Army Combat Training Centre at Lohatlha, BATUS, established in 1972, allows the British Army to exercise mechanised warfare on a sparsely populated part of the Alberta prairie.

Five “battlegroups” (battalion groups) each of about 1400 soldiers train at BATUS every year.



Pic: US troops use a laser engagement system in this file photograph (US military uniforms has since changed to a “digital” format.)