TA to go high-tech as part of new role

RESERVISTS will get £40 million of new kit and extra overseas training opportunities as part of the latest bid to increase the size of the part-time forces.

Members of the Territorial Army – set to be renamed the Army Reserve under the shake-up – will be able to use high-tech equipment including helmet-mounted night vision and upgraded SA 80 rifles.

A white paper on Wednesday will set out fin­ancial incentives for small firms employing reservists.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It will set out how the number of trained reservists will increase from 19,000 to 30,000 by 2018 in preparation for them taking on more operations alongside their Regular counterparts.

Under plans set out in 2010, the size of the regular army will be cut by 20,000 to 82,000 by 2020.

Critics have labelled the strategy an attempt to create an “army on the cheap”and questioned how effective the reserves will be.

The proposals will give greater predictability over the liability for call-out of reservists to give employers greater ability to plan.

Reservists will benefit from improved training including an expansion of overseas exercises.

Reserve units will be paired with regular units performing similar roles from 2015, with joint training.

The Government is committing £1.8 billion over ten years to deliver a transformation in the reserves.

In April Tory MP and former commander in Bosnia Col Bob Stewart savaged the reservists strategy. He said some TA soldiers would be unable to deploy because it was “inconvenient’’ for them, others would be prevented by domestic or work pressures.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said: “The Government, my Government, is trying to get as inexpensive an army as possible… an army on the cheap.”