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Military Exercises

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 10 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many urban warfare exercises have been conducted in each year since 2001. (154232)

The information is not held in the format requested as all three services conduct urban warfare exercises at varying scales.

Land units are mandated to conduct urban training throughout the training cycle. However, urban training does not take place in isolation but is integrated into wider exercises. Training may involve low level activity focusing solely upon the urban environment or as part of wider collective training. The intensity of this urban training differs according to time and exercise area. By way of example, for the period September 2006 to September 20071, the Copehill Down Urban Training Village on Salisbury Plain was used for 296 days of urban training.

Both the RN and RAF also conduct urban warfare exercises but at a much smaller scale. Since 2001 the annual programme for Commando Training Centre Royal Marines has routinely included urban warfare exercises, specifically 22 for Recruit Training, five for the All Arms Commando Course and two for Young Officer Courses, making a total of 29 annually. For the RAF, 14 urban warfare exercises were conducted in each year in the period 2001-03, rising to 18 annually thereafter.

The individual training programme also includes urban training, though to varying degrees dependent upon the assessed need. By way of example, training at both the Infantry Battle School and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst routinely incorporates urban exercises as part of their courses.

Urban training is extensively practised within Pre Deployment Training for current operations, and incorporated into all unit training packages for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The exact emphasis upon urban operations is driven by the role of the unit concerned.

1 Records for the amount of urban training across the entire Defence Estate are not held.