British Army ‘will leave Canada for new base in the Middle East’

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace is expected to make the announcement this week

Joe Middleton
Wednesday 24 November 2021 00:31
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<p>Soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment take part in a training exercise on the Salisbury Plains</p>

Soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment take part in a training exercise on the Salisbury Plains

The British Army will leave Canada and set up a new training base in the Middle East as part of plans to modernise the armed forces, according to reports.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace is expected to announce later this week that a new facility is being developed in Oman.

At the moment the British Army Training Unit Suffield (Batus) is located in Alberta, western Canada and is home to more than 1,000 vehicles, including tanks and helicopters.

The 2,700 kilometre-square base currently trains British soldiers in live firing exercises and is used by multiple different regiments, as reported by The Telegraph.

It is understood the move to the Omani desert is part of plans to modernise the army but also a strategic element in that core British hardware will be closer to partner nations such as Ukraine.

A defence source close to the plans told The Telegraph: “If you only have 148 tanks and 22 of them are stuck in Canada, that’s 22 tanks that are not at readiness and not available to do anything operational.

“If they are training in Poland or Duqm, the logic is that they are having a more operational and deterrent effect.”

A further motivating factor for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) is thought to be that it will take less time to respond to a crisis.

An MOD spokesperson told the newspaper that Batus would not close before 2023 as a number of big tank exercises are scheduled to take place.

The base is expected to be set up in Omani desert near Duqm airbase and port, however a small number of British military personnel would still be located in Canada.

The Batus base - which currently has 400 staff - and the nearby Wainwright training facility would both close.

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