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DSEI 2021: British Army battlegroups to dwell in Kenya and Oman

British Army battlegroups are to spend extended periods on deployment in Kenya and Oman from later this year as part of a drive to enhance regional deterrence and persistent presence.

Under the plans, revealed by Lieutenant General Chris Tickell, the army's Deputy Chief of the General Staff, at the DSEI exhibition in London on 14 September, light-infantry-roled battlegroups will spend between two and three months at a time in Kenya compared to the six weeks for the current ‘Akari Storm' series of exercises.

Lt Gen Tickell said a similarly extended dwell time would also involve battlegroups deploying to the Omani-British Joint Training Area near Duqm for the ‘Khanjer Oman' series of exercises. Unlike in Kenya, which will involve light infantry units, the deployments to Oman will involve a mix of unit types, including armoured or mechanised units. The first extended deployment to Oman this year will involve an aviation task force, said Lt Gen Tickell.

The lieutenant general said these exercises could be expanded to involve indigenous and other allied forces.

The boosting of training in Kenya and Oman is part of a wider restructuring of the British Army's overseas collective training programme. This will see a reduction in the resources devoted to armoured warfare training in Canada at the British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) facility where vehicles and equipment for an armoured battlegroup have been prepositioned for more than 30 years. Earlier this year 112 armoured vehicles, including Challenger 2 main battle tanks and AS90 self-propelled guns, were transferred from BATUS to the Sennelager training area in Germany. This equipment will be held in readiness to be issued to an armoured battlegroup for training or operations in Central and Eastern Europe, said Lt Gen Tickell.

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