British Army to introduce ‘gender and age-neutral’ fitness tests to make sure all close combat soldiers are prepared for the front line
- New tests will come in next year and aim to ensure combat soldiers are prepared
- Soldiers will have to complete a fire and move exercise in less than five minutes
- Tests aim to closely replicate combat scenarios by mimicking real-life tasks
The Army is to introduce ‘gender and age-neutral’ fitness tests, the Ministry of Defence has said.
They will replace the current assessments, which make allowances based on sex and age and see soldiers completing tasks including push-ups and sit-ups.
The new tests, which will come in next year, aim to ensure all close combat soldiers are physically prepared for the rigours of modern battle, said the MoD.
Field Army Sergeant Major Gavin Paton said yesterday: ‘I don’t care if you are a man or a woman, I don’t care what you do, and the enemy doesn’t either.’
Soldiers demonstrate part of the fire and movement stage in the British Army’s New Physical Employment Standards
Soldiers demonstrate the vehicle casualty extraction stage
The tests aim to more closely replicate combat scenarios by mimicking real-life tasks such as carrying casualties, moving through enemy lines and transporting equipment.
They will include a 4km march carrying 40kg of equipment in less than 40 minutes, followed by a 2km march carrying 25kg of equipment in under 15 minutes.
Soldiers will then have to complete a fire and move exercise in less than five minutes, followed by other exercises involving carrying heavy weights over several distances.
Soldiers demonstrate the repeated lift and carry stage in the new test
Lance Corporal Nicola Cotton of the Scots Guards (pictured), demonstrates the repeated lift and carry stage in the new test
Speaking at the Army base in Aldershot, Lance Corporal Nicola Cotton of the Scots Guards said: ‘People underestimate females in the British Army.
‘I think it is about time we upped the ante and make it equal and not make allowances for gender or age.’
Sergeant Major Paton would not comment on whether the new tests would have an impact on the recruitment of women and older people, but said that anybody who meets the physical requirements was ‘more than welcome’.
Similar changes to Army entry testing are due to be announced in December.
Soldiers take part in a demonstration of the Fire and Movement stage of the new test