A suite of simulators, which can an immerse soldiers into a virtual battlefield to provide critical mission readiness training to British Army forces, has so far trained over 125,000 troops.

As armoured warfare has increased in lethality and intensity, it is ever more necessary for soldiers to be able to train and rehearse for varying threat scenarios.

The Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (CATT), which is based at the Land Warfare Centre in Warminster Wiltshire, and in Sennelager in Germany, can accommodate combined arms training for ground, air and logistics missions at the company, battle group and brigade levels. The system, which is critical to preparing the British Army for operations, was commissioned by Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) in 2002. Twenty years on it continues to adapt to meet the ever-changing demands of contingency training.

“It’s hard to believe that CATT has been in service for 20 years and yet is just as important and relevant to Army training today as it was on day one. When it went into service, CATT was designed to provide battle group training in line with the cold war set up of forces in Europe,” said Nick Taylor, Head of Soldier Training and Specialist Projects (STSP) at DE&S. “As the nature of conflict changed to operations in Iraq and Afghanistan so CATT changed – growing to become a key part of the mission specific training for operations Telic and Herrick.”

Delivered by Lockheed Martin, CATT can provide more than 15,000 training days a year and since it opened more than 125,000 troops have been trained.

Each site covers an area the size of three football pitches and consists of over 200 networked simulators linked to create a combat area of over 10,000 square kilometres. It can accommodate over 400 warfighters with all arms support such as artillery, air and aviation training together as a coherent unit.

Colonel Simon Ridgway, Commander for the Command, Staff and Tactical Training Group, said: “The Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (CATT) has supported combined arms collective training within a simulated environment for commanders, staff and force elements at formation, battle group and sub unit level for 20 years. It has evolved in line with developments in technology in partnership with Lockheed Martin and continues to be a fantastic facility that prepares our people for operations, readiness and whatever His Majesty’s Governments asks of us. It’s a true honour to command this facility and all the hard-working individuals (military, civil servants, contractors and locally employed civilians) within it.”