British and Omani soldiers are conducting low-level training together, including practicing patrolling, pilot escape and evasion tactics, and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and search techniques.

According to the British Army here, the desert in Oman is the perfect training area for these drills, and provides a realistic environment to train for tasks that soldiers may be asked to do in the future.

“More than 650 troops from across the 4th Infantry Brigade and HQ North East (known as the ‘Black Rats’) are deployed on Exercise Khanjar Oman, which will test British capability and strengthen the relationship with our Omani partners.

Activity within Oman, which will be designated as one of the Army’s Land Regional Hubs (LRHs, designed to support expeditionary roles across the world), will also support the strategic effect of Operation Fortis, the deployment of the UK’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG).

LRH (Oman) will form part of the Global Hub, enabling the British military to meet the challenges of the 21st century. As well as commitments nearer to home, these deployments strengthen our national security by providing greater understanding of parts of the world where the UK has security interests and providing a firm base from which to rapidly respond if required.”

You can read more here.

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John Clark
John Clark
11 days ago

So are we actually planning to permanently forward base Army assets in Oman in numbers, i.e at least a Battalion in strength?

SwindonSteve
SwindonSteve
11 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Littoral Response Group (South) is going to be based there.

We’ve also got extensive port facilities there too, as well as a large training area, as I understand things.

John Clark
John Clark
11 days ago
Reply to  SwindonSteve

Cheers Steve and how big is that supposed to be, I assumed a RM force, or is it going to be a bit of an all arms effort?

SwindonSteve
SwindonSteve
10 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

No worries,

I don’t think anything firm detail has been released in terms of units and equipment as of yet, although you would think a RM contribution would be a no brainer.

I suspect it will be majority Army though, mainly Light Infantry with some mobility, no heavy armour.

I’m only stating what I recall to have been announced so far and there are far more knowledgeable contributors who will no doubt correct and clarify in due course.

Cheers!

Last edited 10 days ago by SwindonSteve
George Parker
George Parker
10 days ago
Reply to  SwindonSteve

Thank you Steve. It’s a return to the good times when there was a RAF Masirah airbase. Closed in the late 1970’s it is again a very strategically important location. Particularly given the increased Chicom Iranian cooperation.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
10 days ago
Reply to  SwindonSteve

Yes. Ras Radrakah.

John Williams
John Williams
11 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

And another battalion in the Far East

Joe16
Joe16
10 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

We have a Joint Training Area in Duqm, Oman already. I’m pretty sure this exercise is going on there. Apparently the plan is to triple the area in size and it will be used for mechanised units too. They’re stripping our training armour out of BATUS and splitting it between Germany and Oman to achieve that, I understand. According to UK Armed Forces Commentary, units will rotate through the JTA but for months at a time rather than just for a few weeks for an exercise, meaning that the Marines from LRG south will have mechanised and light infantry units… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
10 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

Cheers Joe, so actually creating something with teeth by the sound of it, I would assume with a SF element at it’s core…

Seems like a good idea, actually putting forces in a part of the world were they can be deployed to the middle, or far east in relatively short order..

Joe16
Joe16
10 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Yeah, some sensible thinking, by the sounds of it. Not sure what the regular squaddie will think of a few months at a time in Oman, but I’m presuming they signed up with the expectation of a bit of travel.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
10 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

Soldiering must be very dull right now, with no major op tours. Overseas deployments (for training & mentoring) are in penny packets and not all get to go. They should love a bit of Oman time as the training will be tough and realistic.

geoff
geoff
10 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Oh man this place is great!(geddit?)😂

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
9 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Geoff, you should be on the comedy circuit!

geoff
geoff
9 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

😆

Airborne
Airborne
7 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

They will love it, it’s a great training opportunity with a bit of cultural as well!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
10 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Some of the BATUS kit is going there I believe. The rest to Sennelager.
The training fleet will be duel hatred as an in theatre armoured BG if needed.
Will complement LRS (S) at Duqm.
We need to sort out a Norwegian BG to support LRG (N)

Joe16
Joe16
10 days ago

Hi Daniele, do you know how good that ex-BATUS kit is? I’m imagining that not a lot of it will be upgraded to the latest current standards, let alone CR3…
Do you think the Norwegians would be up for that? I imagine they would- I’d be surprised if there isn’t some attachment of Norwegian marines or similar to the LRG itself too. A lot of those exercises up north will likely work those interactions.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
10 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

Challenger Tanks, Warriors, AS90 guns, Titan, Trojan.
On upgrades I don’t know.
We no longer have enough armoured vehicles for a dedicated BG miles away from where it might be needed on the Canadian plains, so I support the move.

I’d hope so. I would like to see a dedicated army BCT/ Brigade For Norway.

John Stevens
John Stevens
10 days ago

Hi Daniele

What would be the situation when it comes to the Boxer armoured vehicles and that part of the world. Guess what i’m getting at is the fact they are wheeled not tracked. Good looking vehicle and will be a big plus for the British army. Just wondered about you’re thoughts when it comes to the Boxer operating in different environments..

Have a good Sunday.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
10 days ago
Reply to  John Stevens

Morning John. I’m not the one to ask of Boxer regards its abilities in differing conditions, sorry. As far as I’m concerned they wanted Boxer to race on roads to Estonia with wheels. Why not just load onto trains? Oh, the army cut most its already minimal railway capability. I just know the army blew its budget on it and one of the most expensive vehicles in Boxer we could have picked is being acquired with a RWS on the roof and few variants and minimal firepower. Because the army has blown 5 billion on Ajax. While losing Warrior. The… Read more »

John Stevens
John Stevens
10 days ago

Are Ok. Thanks for the reply.

James Fennell
James Fennell
10 days ago

From a forward basing perspective, having the nucleus of a heavy BCT in Oman – close to a large port at Dukm, with LRG(S) and sealift close by, provides an ability to respond in the Middle East and Indo-Pac region. A similar heavy BCT nucleus in Estonia (with elements in Poland and Romania) and a base in Germany provides for a NATO response to a threat in the region. Light BCT nucleii in Kenya, Brunei and the Falklands provide capacity to respond in Africa, Indo-Pac and South Atlantic (can re-enforce Middle East too). Peacekeeping, Ranger, Security Force Assistance and other… Read more »

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Last edited 10 days ago by James Fennell
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
10 days ago
Reply to  James Fennell

“I think we need two Special Operations Brigades operating in the grey zone – one aligned with Africa/Middle East and one in the NATO region.” Interesting proposal. I guess furnishing them with the amount of required kit will decide that. The S Ops Bde has already formed and has no CS and CSS support whatsoever as far as I’m aware. You’d think light wheeled armoured vehicles would be a must, with modern precision fires, helicopters, signals and EW/SIGINT teams. I am sceptical that enough of these would even be available to furnish 1 S Ops Bde as things stand, certainly… Read more »

Andy a
Andy a
10 days ago

Are U.K. buying er land ceptor? Thought we were barely getting 4 batteries as is, of which I haven’t heard much

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
9 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

I read a tweet somewhere where the commander of 7 ADG confirmed extended range was coming, yes.

However, the army says lots of things that are complete cobblers so lets wait and see!

John Clark
John Clark
9 days ago

I believe ER has a stated range of 25 miles, I would be willing to bet it’s closer to 40 maximum range in reality, with a no escape zone of 30. Certainly a robust local area AD capability. I hope the RN shift to ER too eventually. As Daniele points out, we can only hope this is all properly funded, it certainly makes the Army a relevant reaction force in the 21st century … ‘If’ funded correctly. From an Army perspective, the only change I would make is withdrawal from the European Central area, let Germany and Poland cover that,… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
10 days ago

Why is BATUS being denuded of heavy kit?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
10 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Because there is not enough of it left for large numbers of armoured vehicles in Canada far from where they may be needed.

The lack of publicity of withdrawal tells its own story.

With the plan nicely outlined by James F in the post above the armour can be placed at Sennelager and at Duqm or Ras Madrakah in Oman for training and forming the nucleus of an armoured force forward deployed where needed.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
9 days ago

Thanks Danielle.

The BATUS fleet has always been seen as a training fleet that stays out there to enable training in a temperate environment and is not double-hatted as part of the operational fleet. What is the future for BATUS?

Surely it would make sense to supply the Oman training establishment with armour from Ashchurch?

Why isn’t there already armour at Sennelager (aka Athlone Bks, Paderborn) or Ayrshire Bks, Moenchengladbach?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
9 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Ayrshire bks already has the Controlled Humidity storage hangers I believe. There were vehicles there though unsure if they still are.

BATUS isn’t closing as far as I know. But armoured BG training ends there.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
9 days ago

That BATUS news has certainly been kept quiet. It has been a marvellous training facility for decades for armoured BG training with both TES and live fire phases – so much space. The troops loved it. Where is the army going to do that armoured BG training now? Salisbury Plain has always been too small. We came out of Soltau-Luneburg years ago, although Sennelager is still available, but very heavily used by all of NATO. The training area in Poland formerly used by Brits is too far, and may have closed down. The Oman facility will only be good for… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
9 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

“Do I sense that, for UK, serious and large-scale armoured warfare is withering on the vine – the new equipment and upgrades saga is a disgrace as we all know.” Pretty much! 23 years ago we had 6 Armoured or Mechanized brigades! BATUS was needed. 6 Armoured Regiments, 9 Warrior AI Battalions, 6 Saxon, then Bulldog Battalions, 5 Armoured Recc Regiments, 6 Regiments of AS90 SPG were part of that force. Now we have 3, 6, 0, 3, 3 of the above, moving shortly to 2,0,0,4,2, with 4 Boxer MI Btns coming in. Do we need BATUS? Some view we… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
9 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Where is the army going to do that armoured BG training now?”

Would SPTA work with smaller BGs?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
8 days ago

A good article in Wikipedia on BATUS: ‘1,400 soldiers and over 1,000 vehicles, including 22 Challenger 2 tanks, 112 CVR(T)s and 103 Bulldog armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs), are based in BATUS, alongside an undisclosed number of Warrior infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), AS-90 self-propelled artillery, Trojan combat engineering vehicles, Titan armoured bridge layers and Gazelle helicopters (of 29 (BATUS) Flight AAC).’ BATUS is 7 times the size of SPTA, and provides excellent manouevre space for one BG (which includes one tank squadron). SPTA covers 25 miles x 10 miles. I am sure you could say that SPTA provides sufficient space for… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
7 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Agreed, not a chance it’s too small!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
10 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

A Battalion sounds a lot to me, when we don’t have so many of those – perhaps a Company Group that could be reinforced quickly?

John Clark
John Clark
10 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I suppose it depends on where you think our military needs to be stationed post Afghanistan.

I would like to see Battalion strength maintained, with the ‘modern’ equipment in place for a brigade sized deployment.

Jacko
Jacko
11 days ago

A bit of topic but does anyone think the Sultan will go for CR3

AAMatt
AAMatt
11 days ago
Reply to  Jacko

Possible. I did wonder whether when we committed to CH3 they could get their CH2s upgraded at a discount. Why? Because adding additional numbers to the programme delivers economies of scale which if they were significant, could mean we could have upgraded a few more of ours for the same price that we are committed to now.

Joe16
Joe16
10 days ago
Reply to  Jacko

Might do, but those latest models of the Abrams are really something…

David Steeper
David Steeper
10 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

Yeah guess it comes down to price not just upfront but operating cost that’s where Abrams has a problem. That engine.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
10 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Are the Omanis worried about high operating costs? Really?

David Steeper
David Steeper
10 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

In GCC they’ve got the lowest per capita income. They don’t have the oil money the others have.

Sonik
Sonik
10 days ago
Reply to  Jacko

Its not the same Sultan anymore, who brought the CR2s.

Jacko
Jacko
10 days ago

Well it would be handy if we do deploy tanks that the host nation has the same!
servicing and logistics etc would be a lot easier.

Chris
Chris
9 days ago

Oman has incredibly useful geography. Close to Iran and the strait of hormuz, close to the Red Sea, and close to East Africa.

Really critical choke point.

Sonik
Sonik
8 days ago
Reply to  Chris

^This. Just need to make sure we keep the Omanis onside, it’s not a BOT.