Some more information has been coming to the light regarding Army 2020, thanks to a speech delivered by general Nick Carter to the International Institute for Strategic Studies that was clearer and more honest than any announcement, speech or description delivered so far to the british public.
I also found the video of another IISS conference during which part of the Army 2020 approach was explained by Mayor General K. D. Abraham, and this confirmed the identity of the brigades contained in the Force Troops command:
1st Artillery Brigade
8th Engineer Brigade
1st and 11th Signals Brigades
1st Intelligence & Surveillance Brigade
2nd Medical Brigade
104th Logistic Support Brigade
Security Assistance Group
The Reaction Division will be supported by 101 Logistic Brigade, and the Adaptable Division will have the support of 102 Logistic Brigade.
Some additional indications (not much in terms of new info, actually) came from the hearing of the Chief General Staff, general Peter Wall, with the Parliamentary Defence Committee, of which is already available the uncorrected transcription. It is also possible to watch the hearing in video here.
Moving on to the solid information that these sources provided, i'll start by saying that, in part to provide a figleaf to politicians, the Multi Role Brigade is not entirely dead.
As we know, the October 2010 SDSR promised a 95.000-strong regular army formed in five 6500-strong Multi Role Brigades, one of which would be based in Scotland, each with:
1x Tank Regiment (size unspecified, possibly as small as 38 tanks per regiment)
1x Recce Regiment (during the planning it emerged that each would have 2x FRES Scout squadrons and 1x Jackal-mounted squadron)
1x Armoured Infantry Battalion (mounted on Warrior)(6 Battalions would have been mounted on Warrior, with the sixth having a Training and Demonstration role, filled on rotation)
1x Mechanized Infantry Battalion (mounted on Bulldog, then on FRES UV)
2x Light Role Infantry battalions
1x Artillery Regiment (it was intended that each regiment would have 2x AS90 batteries and 1x L118 Light Gun battery)
Full Embedded Logistic Tail
Accordingly, there were big promises of army manpower increases in Scotland, and, with heavy armor headed up north, there even were talks to open a large training area in Scotland, a "Salisbury Plain" north of the border.
Big promises that are all going to be broken, entirely or almost entirely, with Army 2020 and the Basing Plan announcement that will come early next year.
The infamous supplementary "3 months Exercise" (effectively a second, emergency Review) in July 2011 eventually ended with the Army ordered to plan for a regular force of just 82.000 men, and a much smaller budget, and that spelled the end of the Multi Role Brigades as originally intended. A team guided by general Nick Carter put together the Army 2020 plan to accommodate the savage cut to manpower and deliver a force structure still able to (somehow) meet the (unchanged) Defence Planning Assumptions that had been written for a 95.000-strong regular army of 5 Multi Role Brigades.
The key planning assumptions are:
- The Army must be able to deploy, at the same time, a 6500-strong brigade on an enduring operation, a 2000-strong battlegroup on a complex but not enduring intervention and a 1000-strong force in support of a non-complex, non-enduring operation such as a Non-Combatant Evacuation.
- The Army must be able to deploy, with suitable warning, a Division of 3 brigades, roughly 30.000 strong for a non-enduring operation.
The Multi Role Brigade, complete with its own artillery and logistics and with the full spectrum of capabilities (from heavy armor down to light infantry) was ideally suited to ensure that the Army was realistically capable to meet the needs of a complex, enduring operation, even if this required deploying tanks and heavy artillery.
The number of 5 is not casual: the Army works with harmony guidelines that expect personnel to deploy in the warzone for a 6 month tour, followed by 24 months at home to rest, reset, train for a new tour. This means that out of 5 men, one is deployed and 4 are back in the UK. The five brigades, supported by services also organised to the "Rule of the Five", would have be able to support an enduring operation with minimal disruptions and changes to their structure, ending a long practice of "patchworking", pulling battalions and units from multiple brigades to put together a deployable force package containing all of the various capabilities needed.
A new concept that the Army had been planning out since 2008.
The 3 month review has brought the Army back, effectively, a concept of operation that is, in good measure, a return to its pre-2004 structure. Back then, the army took its force from the 3-year rotation (Low Readiness year, Collective Training year, High Readiness year) of 3 Armored and 3 Mechanized brigades: under Army 2020 it will use the same concept, but will have 3 Armoured Infantry Brigades (Reaction Force) and 3 Adaptable Infantry Brigades on the same 3 year readiness cycle, supported by a further 4 Adaptable brigades.
And here comes the figleaf: for the Army and for the Government, the 3 Reaction and 3 of the 7 Adaptable brigades are "basis for Multi Role Brigades".
On the composition of the Army 2020 brigades, we have some detail:
the 3 Armoured Infantry brigades will have each a tank regiment (Type 56, so with 56 Challenger 2s), a Cavalry/RECCE regiment, with Scimitar first and then, in the 2020s, with the FRES Scout (CVR(T) vehicles will not be fully replaced before 2026...!) in 3 large squadrons with 16 vehicles each. 9 Squadrons of 16 vehicles means more vehicles needed than with 5 regiments each with two squadrons of 12, even if, of course, there would have been also 2 more tank regiments needing their own embedded Recce component with 8 Scouts (unless the recce element in the tank regiments is removed, at this point nothing would surprise me anymore...).
Each brigade will have 2 Battalions of infantry on upgraded Warrior vehicles (6 armoured infantry battalions, as for earlier MRB plan, and indeed with all six in full frontline role, instead of 5 + training unit).
A third infantry battalion will be present, mounted on Mastiff when the vehicles are brought back from Afghanistan and, in the future, on FRES UV if it'll ever arrive for real.
The composition of the 7 Adaptable brigades is far less clear. Nonetheless, we know the regular army will have 14 Light Role infantry battalions and 6 Light Protected Infantry battalions (infantry mounted in Foxhound vehicles) to distribute in them.
The Army 2020 brochure indirectly suggested that, in the end, only 3 of the 7 Adaptable brigades would really be relevant and base for deployable maneuver formations.
The brochure provided a graphic illustration of the 3-year Readiness Cycle, and showed an indicative adaptable brigade output comprising one Light Cavalry regiment (on Jackal), one battalion of infantry on Foxhounds and one Light Role battalion, each with a paired Reserve formation.
An internal Army briefing document, initially not released to the public, shows the 3 brigades formed by:
- Cavalry regiment - with paired reserve formation
- 2x Light Protected Infantry battalions - with paired reserve formations
- 3x Light Role Infantry battalions - with paired reserve formations
|The Adaptable brigade output; general overview from the Army 2020 brochure|
|The Adaptable brigades as shown in the internal Army briefing package|
Both general Wall and general Carter report that the 3 "main" Adaptable brigades are intended as the basis for the generation of "Multi Role Brigades" to be used to sustain a future enduring operation, and they would be responsible for the Fourth and Fifth tour in theatre.
A future enduring operation, in fact, would be met with a rotation of this kind:
Reaction Brigade, Reaction Brigade, Reaction Brigade, Adaptable Brigade, Adaptable Brigade, Reaction Brigade...
and so along.
The 3 main brigades in the Adaptable Force are described by the two generals as "light-ish brigades", which is frankly more than a bit pathetic as they will in fact be light brigades with the addition of some Foxhounds.
It is to be expected that the 6 Protected Mobility Infantry battalions and a good number of the regular light battalions will be concentrated in these 3 brigades that, and here comes into play the figleaf again, will be based in Scotland (i can already hear the secretary of state saying "we promised a Multi Role Brigade, and here it is!"), in Edimburgh area (with units in Leuchars too, it seems, but until the Basing Plan is announced we can't be really sure), one in Catterick and one on the ex-RAF Cottersmore base, now Kendrew Barracks, already selected as home to the 2nd battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment and 7 Theatre Logistic regiment RLC.
The generals also confirmed that the regular infantry battalions in the Adaptable Force will be smaller, but did not venture into details. As i've reported for a long time now, this means, apparently, that each infantry battalion will lose one platoon from each of its 3 rifle companies.
It is not casual, therefore, that the generals described the "formed unit" to be provided by the Reserves as company-sized elements: general Carter in his speech says that the regular battalions, reduced to a total establishment of 561 men (Light Role) and 581 (Light Protected Mobility) will be paired to Reserve battalions that he expects will be 400 to 450 strong.
Only working together, the regular and reserve battalions will be able to put in the field a complete battalion which, Carter hopes, will actually be larger than before, assuming the reserve element can really generate deployable formations.
The new look of the Territorial Army, or Army Reserve as it will almost certainly be renamed, is not known in detail yet, but the outline of roles for the existing reserve force has been announced: one battalion will be in the Air Assault role and will be part of 16 Air Assault brigade, in the Reaction Force. That will be 4 PARA, which has indeed been recently assigned to the brigade command.
That will leave 13 infantry battalions (The TA counts 14 infantry battalions in total), of which 6 would (in theory, since all documents show the Foxhound battalions paired with TA formations) support the Foxhound-mounted regular infantry, leaving only 7 other battalions.
This is a controversial point: the internal briefing graphic on the Adaptable brigades output alone shows 15 TA battalions, 9 Light plus 6 Light Protected.
Again, we are told that the regulars will have 14 Light Infantry battalions, and even if the 2 Gurkha battalions get no paired TA formation (despite seeing their establishment reduced to 567), up to 12 other reasonably should.
Will some TA battalions support more than one Regular formation at once? Are the Foxhound-mounted battalions really going to get a paired formation from the reserve? Will some more battalions be raised in the Reserve component? At the moment, it is impossible to say.
The generals then explain that the remaining four brigades in the Adaptable Force will be very much like the current regional brigades: non-deployable HQs tasked with administration of a variety of units (mostly Reserves, but also 1/2 regular units) based in their area. General Wall provides the example of the Welsh brigade, which he says will contain "one regular battalion, one reserve battalion, a big training area and a lot of other TA units". More interesting than this pretty vague description, is the point he makes: the brigade will mostly be about UK resilience tasks (support in the event of floodings etcetera) and upstream defence engagement abroad, with the possibility of using the brigade to build enduring relationships with a particular region of the world, as the americans hope to do by "regionally align" some of their Brigade Combat Teams.
If the graphic from the internal army briefing is correct and not just an example, 9 of the 14 regular Light Infantry battalions will be in the 3 "main" adaptable brigades, leaving 5 for the other 4 brigades. Even if not exactly 100% correct, it should be quite close to a ratio of this kind.
Gone the Multi Role Brigades, it seems that supports like Artillery, Engineers and Logistics will be removed from the single brigades, and all reunited in the Force Troops formations. But this, even if it happens, is kind of an illusion that the Army 2020 document itself destroys: we know, for example, that there will be 5 Artillery regiments, 3 of which will line AS90 and GMLRS batteries, while 2 more will only have L118 Light Guns.
Similarly, there is going to be 3 fully-regular manned engineer regiments and 2 "integrated" regiments with a strong embedded reserve component.
There are even 3 Armoured Medical Regiments and 3 Armoured Close Support REME battalions! Even if they are formally removed from the maneuver brigades and managed centrally, it is pretty clear which regiments will support who.
Indeed, the supporting elements arrangement gives away the trick, showing that the Army is indeed still planning to the rule of the five: even though the "Deployable" Adaptable brigades are 3, for them there is only going to be 2 Engineer Regiments, only 2 Artillery regiments ("paired" to two Reserve artillery regiments also on L118 Light Guns), only 2 regular Close Support Battalions REME, only 2 regular Medical Regiments... In short, there is only going to be the elements needed to support the Fourth and Fifth roulements within an enduring operation.
With a difference: compared to the original Multi Role Brigades plan, the Army loses the capability to deploy formed regiments of tanks, heavy cavalry, armoured engineers and heavy artillery enduringly. It will be realistically able to sustain such elements in the field for around 18 months only. After that, only sub-units will be sustainable in the long term if the men within the affected regiments have to see their break between tours protected.
It is not casual that both Carter and Wall have observed that the "6 months deployed, 24 months at home" rule "might not be the right solution". It is "about right", and "a good benchmark", and but not set in stone.
I have the benefit of not having to justify the cuts imposed by government, so i can say that the above expression are weak diplomacy: the reality is that the generals are entirely aware that, in the future, regular soldiers in many roles and trades will possibly be deploying for 6 months, but won't have 24 months to spend at home before going again if the operation becomes an enduring effort. The rule of the 5 is no longer sustained by the new army structure: in many trades, there are going to be only 3 men in the role.
Even in terms of infantry, light artillery and other "simpler jobs", the dependency on reserves is going to be great. The adaptable battalions will have 3 companies, but that will be "virtual": if 3 platoons are removed for real, it will be like having only 2 companies. The battalions will depend on reserves to achieve their intended trinary structure, and there is no telling if the "war time" establishment on 4 companies (1 for Maneuver, 1 for Support, 1 as Reserve and 1 Echelon) will ever be obtainable again.
A slide from an Army briefing helps in better understanding the impact of the changes:
In support of the Reaction Brigade tours, most of the reservists will be Individual Augmentees, with some formed sub-unit or unit at logistic and medical level. But when the 4th tour comes around and the first Adaptable Brigade deploys, the number of formed Reserve units required to support the operation grows dramatically.
It is also evident, that Army 2020 maximized the use of "patchworking" to form deployable force packages by picking units up from all over the army: a concept that is not wrong in itself, but that will impact the lives of serving personnel and the efficiency of basing, training and of the brigades themselves, which will end up missing pieces more often than not.
In addition, it must be kept in mind that reservists are intended to be at readiness for a year in five, which means six months of deployment followed by five years at home. Eventually, the harmony guidelines will collapse: the british army is now severely limiting the meaning of "enduring", because the manpower will simply be insufficient to sustain operations abroad beyond a certain amount of time.
The generals also noted that, to deliver the "Best Effort" and deploy a 30.000-strong division in the field, the new army will need 12 months of notice. The Army's feeling is that, given less warning, it will only be able to deploy a couple of brigades.
Earlier figures released tell us that the composition of the Reaction Force will be 20.000 regulars and 2000 reserves, while the Adaptable Force will have 12.500 regulars and 8000 reserves, with the rest of the personnel part of the other units and of Force Troops.
Another interesting change is the committment to develop a collaboration with industry, to exploit the training period of the Reaction Brigades to test and innovate: the armoured infantry brigade in its training year will spend part of the time working in an experimentation role, to define new tactics, approaches and, of course, requirements that industry can work upon.
The generals provide evidence that Gurkha battalions will continue to rotate in and out of Brunei, and the Falklands will continue to be garrisoned. Two infantry battalions will continue to be based in Cyprus, as well, and here comes the big surprise, when general Carter drops in the mention of one of the two battalions being expanded into a battlegroup. How and why, this is not at all clear at the moment.
General Carter also interestingly notes that, in the long term, the Royal Artillery is likely to adopt one single calibre for its guns, kind of confirming that the long delayed program to replace the 105 mm L118 Light Gun will look at acquiring a 155mm weapon. The M777 lightweight howitzer has always been considered the perfect solution, and this is unlikely to have changed, but there won't be a budget to replace the Light Gun until well into the 2020s, so for now this is philosophy.
39 Regiment Royal Artillery will disband, as we know. It has been expanded to 5 batteries to support the constant deployment of one in support of operations in Afghanistan (well over 800 rockets have been fired, with great success) and it is also supporting the entry in service of the Fire Shadow loitering ammunition, but it will nonetheless be lost in the cuts in coming years.
3 Batteries of GMLRS will move into the 3 "heavy" artillery regiments: these will have 2 batteries of AS90 guns and 1 battery of GMLRS each. A further battery contains the Fire Support Teams.
A Reserve GMLRS regiment will also be maintained: currently, 2 batteries are found in the 101 (Volunteers) regiment of the TA: it is not clear if there will be changes to this arrangement or if it will stay exactly the same.
89 AS90 self-propelled guns will be retained (down from an earlier figure of 95), while 48 will be stripped of all valuable parts and scrapped. The six batteries planned, i hope, will at least grow back to an 8-gun establishment.
The "Heavy" artillery regiments are expected to be 1 Royal Horse Artillery, 19 Royal Artillery and 26 Royal Artillery.
3 Royal Horse Artillery and 4 Royal Artillery will be "adaptable" artillery regiments, with just two batteries of L118 Light Guns and a battery of Fire Support Teams.
There will be 2 reserve regiments using the Light Gun in support.
There are also been no known developments regarding the promise of a "force protection system to protect against indirect fire such as artillery and mortars". Some C-RAM artillery would surely be a welcome capability.
Carter also says that the Army has considered improving and expanding communications and data-sharing (C4ISR) down to Company level if not further down the scale, but that the Army is now looking at expanding communications capability at battlegroup level: the budget won't allow much more than that. On the issue of communications in the Army, i had already written, noting this very problem and very urgent requirement, here and here.
Talking about communications, the changes in the Royal Signals have been explained in great detail and can be read here.
In terms of communications, efforts have also been announced in trying to make brigade and even more so division HQs better able to "talk" to HQs from other NATO nations, with which the UK obviously expects to work frequently.
In terms of Engineer support, as we said, there will be 3 regiments fully manned by regulars. These will probably be heavy, armored engineer units which will have the majority (or very possibly all) of the Trojan and Titan vehicles.
The other two regiments will be "integrated", sporting a smaller regular component supplemented by embedded reserve sub-units. My guess is that there will be only 2 regular squadrons in each of these two regiments, supplemented by 2 reserve squadrons.
Encouraging my guess is the recently released breakdown of roles planned for reserve units, where 4 Close Support Engineer squadrons appear. Details here.
There will also be 3 Reserve regiments in the Force Support role, helping 36 and 39 Regiments delivering the wide range of engineer capabilities needed to enable land and air operations. In this field, apparently it is not yet fully decided how the wide river crossing capability will fit in the force structure: currently, the M3 rigs are based in Germany with 23 Amphibious Squadron, 28 Engineer Regiment, but 28 Regiment is to be disbanded, and the unique capability of the amphibious squadron will have to be retained somehow.
I suspect 36 Regiment will, in good time, inherit the M3 rigs and have a Squadron in the amphibious role, assuming that 39 Regiment maintains its airfield and air support focus. I think it is less likely that the M3s will be made a wholly-Reserve managed capability, although it must be noted that, already now, one of the 3 Troops composing 23 Squadron is 412(V), the only unit of reservists based outside the UK.
It is also not clear what will happen to TALISMAN, the family of systems and vehicles procured to give the Royal Engineers an invaluable Route Clearance capability, for which an impressive training simulator solution has been just acquired. My hope is that at least a Squadron in the Force Support engineer regiments will have a Route Clearance role and will continue using this precious kit: too many times in the past the British Army has developed this kind of capability only to throw it away at the end of the operation at hand, regreting it just a few years later.
The British Army is retaining 227 Challenger 2 tanks, plus 16 more than will be converted in Driver Training Vehicles. The army already had 22 Driver Training Vehicles: the 16 new ones might replace some of the old ones, or be a partial compensation for the loss of A Squadron, 1st Royal Tank Regiment, which used to have 12 to 16 Challengers for training and demonstration role.
102 Challenger 2s will be harvested for spares and then sold for scrap. As we said, there will be 3 regular Type 56 tank regiments, established for 587 men, all ranks, all trades, and a Reserve regiment tasked with providing replacement crews.
|Challenger 2 Driver Training Vehicle|
The Army hopes to upgrade "at least" 381 Warrior vehicles. The Capability Sustainment Programme is progressing, and 11 prototypes will be prepared: 6 in the Infantry Section Vehicle configuration, 2 in the Infantry Command variant and one each in the Recovery, Repair and Artillery Observation.
It must be noted that the Artillery Observation variant will need a separate upgrade, which the Royal Artillery is trying to determine and secure at least since 2010, to modernize its artillery-specific sensors and electronics.
The Battery Command Post variant of the Warrior is probably destined to vanish: it used to be a command post for AS90 gun batteries, but some or perhaps all of them had been turned into ambulances by the REME. So far, i've heard nothing about the future of these Warriors.
In 2005 it was also decided that many Warriors, removed from disbanded Armoured Infantry battalions, would be converted into Armoured Battlegroup Support Vehicles, with an APC, Ambulance and Mortar variants planned: it was to be part of the wider Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme, but i never heard anything about it ever since, unfortunately.
Lastly, in 2011 a Warrior Bridgelayer was showcased, fitted with a multipurpose front mount point which allowed swapping the bridgelaying arm for other engineering devices including mine ploughs: such a bridgelayer Warrior could at some time be chosen as solution for a requirement for up to 35 medium weight engineer support vehicles for the FRES-equipped Cavalry regiments.
Prototypes should be demonstrated from 2014 onwards, with production starting in 2016 and with dDeliveries of the first upgraded Warriors for service in 2018. The first armored infantry company on the upgraded Warriors should be ready in 2020 and full capability should be reached by 2022.
Armored infantry battalions will number 729 men.
The new Scout vehicles will replace Scimitar and will be fielded in 3 Heavy Cavalry regiments, each with 3 squadrons of 16 vehicles. The regiments are established for 528 men.
The 3 main Adaptable Brigades will each have a Light Cavalry regiment, on 3 squadrons of 16 Jackal vehicles each. Establishment is for 404 men, and each Light Cavalry regiment will be paired to a reserve cavalry regiment.
The Army Air Corps will suffer a significant downsizing with the retirement of the Lynx AH7 by 2015, but will retain the 22 AH9A helicopters out to 2018. The number of Wildcat helicopters to be delivered to the Army are unclear: everywhere you can read of a plan for 34 machines (6 of which will actually go to the Royal Marines in 847 Naval Air Squadron, however), but in Planning Round 2011 a decision was made to convert 4 Wildcats into "Light Assault Helicopter", and procure a further 4 new LAH, bringing the total to 38 machines in two variants instead of 34 in one.
The 8 Light Assault Helicopters were expected to go to 657 AAC Squadron, supporting the Special Forces, but there has been no update on this plan ever since, and i'm waiting for the NAO Major Projects report 2012 to discover what happened.
The Army is planning to have 4 Squadrons equipped with Wildcat helicopters within 1st Regiment AAC: this is down from 5 Lynx squadrons today (2 in 1st Regiment and 3 in 9th Regiment) and includes the announced merging which will see 9th Regiment vanish.
1st Regiment AAC will return from Germany and find home at Yeovilton, where the Navy's own Wildcats will be based. This is likely to mean closure for Dishfort, current home of 9th Regiment AAC.
The Army Air Corps is also fearing reductions in its Apache force, despite SDSR promises to retain the whole Attack Helicopter fleet. From a six squadrons force plus Conversion to Type training squadron, the apache force could go down to just four squadrons plus training formation. Details here.
In the meanwhile, one airframe was written off after a very hard landing in Afghanistan in 2008, reducing the fleet to 66 from 67.
In terms of base-ISTAR, the RAF Regiment and the Army are collaborating under Project Outpost to determine the best way to retain in the long term the valuable network of sensors built up under Project Cortez to protect bases in Afghanistan.
Watchkeeper's future is certain, while more of a question mark hovers on the Desert Hawk III: for all the talk of focusing on ISTAR and on providing the soldiers with enhanced surveillance, there is at the moment no certainty about this UOR's future. The Treasury will stop funding it when operations in Afghanistan end, and the Army will need to bring it into the core budget somehow, if it has to stay.
The RAF will have to make the same kind of decision for the Reaper fleet itself.
I believe that the two Royal Artillery regiments using drones will be moved into the Military Intelligence & Surveillance Brigade although i have no evidence for it at the moment, while it has already been officially announced that 14 (Electronic Warfare) Signal Regiment is definitely moving in. Unfortunately, a (highly questionable at best) decision was made to size the EW regiment at 4 Field plus Support Sqn. Even this vital capability, when Afghanistan operations end, won't meet the Rule of the 5.
5 Regiment Royal Artillery will probably remain in 1st Artillery Brigade, and i can only hope that at least this regiment, which has been keeping at least a battery on the field for over 10 years, constantly, is allowed to retain the five deployable batteries that have been raised in these years: in 2003, 5th Regiment had the 4/73 Sphinx special ops observation battery, K and P batteries and Q (HQ and Support) Battery.
53 Battery was added in 2004, Z battery followed in 2009 and 93 Battery was added over the course of last year. In a decade, this rarely celebrated regiment provided constant Surveillance and Target Acquisition to over 100 different battlegroups and introduced into service more than 30 different UORs. 4/73 Bty provided a 'behind enemy lines' observation patrol which kept the men totally isolated in hostile territory for 56 days, the longest patrol since World War II.
This regiment now needs to receive new Battlefield Surveillance and Artillery Locating radars, since the COBRA has been prematurely dismissed, and i hope the formation is properly resourced and supported in its current form, to be ready for the next operations.
A review into the future training areas for the new Army is ongoing, but decisions might not be taken before 2014 or 2015.
Salisbury Plain is the only true certainty, with the 3 Reaction brigades headed there. BATUS, in Canada, should also be retained, while the british army base in Kenya is being expanded to accommodate greater use.
The "Salisbury of Scotland" is, i think, definitely a dead idea.
There is also an option for retaining a presence in Germany, and the army is, in particular, evaluating the possibility of using much more frequently the US training areas in Hohenfels and Grafenwoehr in South-Eastern Germany, which make up the largest US training area outside of the USA and have received huge investment in the last years. These two areas offer a much more complex environment, more challenging than that offered by BATUS, and thanks to american investment the targetry and infrastructure is top class. There is also another advantage, which is the possibility to train alongside very relevant contingents from the US and from other european allies, while in the BATUS area the US and Canadian presence is not constant and normally numbers in tens or a hundred men at most.
However, the areas are much, much smaller than BATUS, possibly too much to accommodate all of the heavy armor maneuvering training.
Anyway, the 5th Rifles battlegroup will train there next year, instead of going to BATUS and last October the 3rd Mercian also trained there, participating in the massive Saber Junction NATO exercise. And the soldiers liked it.
Are we in for a major surprise regarding BATUS in the coming years...?
General Carter mentions expanding the presence in Cyprus by transforming one of the two resident infantry battalions in a full battlegroup, and i suspect this is connected to training plans.
And lastly, Brunei is willing to engage more widely with the british forces on its territory.
For an army that is shrinking rather dramatically, there sure seems to be abundance of training areas.
Earlier Articles explaining Army 2020
Strenght of the Army after the cuts http://ukarmedforcescommentary.blogspot.it/2012/09/the-force-of-army-2020.html
An in depth analysis of the british infantry's weapons and capabilities http://ukarmedforcescommentary.blogspot.it/2012/07/the-infantry-of-army-2020.html
Beyond the announcement: an in depth analysis of Army 2020 http://ukarmedforcescommentary.blogspot.it/2012/07/army-2020-in-detail.html