British paratroopers have started training in a new facility to prepare soldiers for demanding urban battlefield requirements.

The Urban Training Facility (UTF) is located at Colchester’s Merville Barracks and will let troops simulate scenarios, and practice entering and moving through buildings while neutralising enemies in urban surroundings of towns and cities.

The centre features moveable walls, interactive smoke, light and sound effects, as well as a video monitoring system for performance review.

The UTF was developed in response to the growing trend of urbanisation with the global population increasingly living and working in built-up areas.

The paratroopers of C (Bruneval) Company, 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment completed a five-day training at the facility earlier this month.

16 Air Assault Brigade deputy commander Colonel Martyn Wills said: “We’ve invested in this innovative facility to give our soldiers the best training possible for the urban battlefield. It allows soldiers to really focus on getting their skills and drills right, starting simply and then adding complexity through the built-in effects system.

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“These effects make training a more immersive experience, adding extra pressure to what the soldiers are doing. We can then take the skills that have been perfected here into more challenging training in the villages built on the army’s training areas, adding the scale of larger units operating together.”

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