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Allan
November 2, 2015 10:56 pm

I know TD sees this as good news but may I ask why it is good news?

Challenger
Challenger
November 2, 2015 11:18 pm

May sound like a silly question to someone more informed but why does the British Army require jungle training centers in both Belize and Brunei?

stephen duckworth
November 2, 2015 11:27 pm

The plant/wildlife is enough different in both locations in terms of survival skills , similar but still different in enough ways to kill you if you get it wrong . Myself , I think we should of just expanded the use of the facilities in French Guiana.
Perhaps the growing instability in Mexico or more trouble from Guatamala may be a reason?

Challenger
Challenger
November 3, 2015 12:14 am

@Stephen Duckworth

I can’t imagine the UK government regards protection and assistance to Belize in quite the same way as it did when it was a vulnerable, fledgling nation that we arguably had a moral responsibility towards 34 years ago. Nor can i see us being particularly bothered by the situation in Mexico or Central America in general seen as it’s not one of our spheres of interest or influence and isn’t likely to become one anytime soon.

Fair point about the subtle differences in type of jungle though. I imagine the running costs of such a small commitment are pretty low anyway.

ChrisM
ChrisM
November 3, 2015 12:46 am

I was amused by the For Sale sign above the ‘British army live firing area’ one, and the local reporters assertion that it was the first time some of the Guards had been out of Britain! Even if they hadn’t been deployed in Afghanistan I can’t imagine any of them have never been on a foreign holiday!

Observer
Observer
November 3, 2015 1:05 am

@Challenger

The Sultan of Brunei pays for the Brunei deployment IIRC.

HMArmedForcesReview
HMArmedForcesReview
November 3, 2015 4:00 am
Reply to  Challenger

to train to fight jungle warfare. You can’t predict future conflict.

HMArmedForcesReview
HMArmedForcesReview
November 3, 2015 4:06 am

Still the UK must decide, Belize for training or Brunei? Or is Brunei just for Special Forces training only?

Obsvr
Obsvr
November 3, 2015 7:37 am

The trouble with Brunei is that it is, flat and close to sea level so not a great deal of variety, not all jungle is the same. Of course go ENE a hundred miles it gets much more interesting (well it used to, but since the grand scale corruption that has destroyed just about all the primary jungle in Sarawak its a bit different now), but head a bit more north into Sabah and it should be OK.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 3, 2015 8:30 am

@ SD, the Dutch used to do this, but have now started their own in the adjacent ex-colony.
“Myself , I think we should of just expanded the use of the facilities in French Guiana.”

Don’t know what caused the change of heart (the scale would be less than ours, as for the numbers passing through). Perhaps they were worried that a military presence might potentially draw them into the racial disturbances, which by now seem to have died down.

HMArmedForcesReview
HMArmedForcesReview
November 3, 2015 9:15 am
Reply to  Obsvr

Brunei is tough for lots of troops, UK and the other Southeast Asian militaries that train there.

Obsvr
Obsvr
November 3, 2015 10:06 am

No jungle is tough for properly trained jungle soldiers. The jungle is your friend.

Observer
Observer
November 3, 2015 11:16 am

Obsvr, and the alligators are friendly. We still lose people once in a while.

HMArmed, the Sultan of Brunei pays for a battalion to be stationed there IIRC. Usually your Gurkhas. They function as his emergency reserve.

HMArmedForcesReview
HMArmedForcesReview
November 3, 2015 2:08 pm
Reply to  Observer

Yup I know that. The agreement is a bit restrictive–they can’t move without his permission.

jim30
jim30
November 3, 2015 6:33 pm

Why BATSUB and Brunei? At its simplest they are two very different facilities, with different life support and access. Belize offers access to virgin jungle, a diverse range of training areas and shore bombardment facilities. It also provides the ability to easily stage, host and support a wide range of exercising troops. Brunei is a bit further away, has less ability to easily host, and is less likely to be used for NGFS training and the like.
Additionally Belize is a useful commitment to show UK presence in the Windies region at stupidly low cost, and helps reassure allies of our commitments in the area. Its a low level place, which doesnt need much to keep it working well – we’d be fools to give it up.

CheshireCat
CheshireCat
November 3, 2015 7:08 pm
Waylander
Waylander
November 3, 2015 8:47 pm

BATSUB! The British answer to Guatemala’s Jimmy Morales!

BATSUB returns to Belize after drawdown

Waylander
Waylander
November 3, 2015 9:00 pm

Above links did not copy correctly, so here they are again:

The Belizeans are concerned by Guatemala’s increasing belligerence over the border dispute, especially after the comments by Presidential candidate Jimmy Morales

http://amandala.com.bz/news/batsub-british-answer-guatemalas-jimmy-morales/

Some very positive/relieved comments from Belizeans, below the article.

http://www.breakingbelizenews.com/2015/10/29/batsub-returns-belize-drawdown/

Observer
Observer
November 4, 2015 12:00 am

@TD

That is actually very common. Biggest problem is judging distance between the plane and the ground without any physical feedback. The textbook case is the German one where the pilot cut power thinking the plane was already on the ground when it still had air beneath the wheels. It’s a lot more common than people think. And people still want UCAVs with this problem still existing.

HMArmedForcesReview
HMArmedForcesReview
November 7, 2015 4:58 am
ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 7, 2015 7:40 am

This note to the costs should (probs?) have said “refunded”:
(1) The majority of the expenditure is funded by the Sultanate of Brunei.

If Brunei has an Inf. Bn and Belize nothing but security guards when the exercises are not on (worth remembering that they were only restarted in this year), then the discrepancy is understandable. There were (before its closure) a couple of commercially maintained helicopters in Belize, but even they don’t cost much (if this will again to be the case) as flying will be minimal between the exercises.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 7, 2015 7:54 am

Though there is a long tradition of cost effective operations in and around what today is Belize: a long refuelling chain produced a “virtual carrier” lurking off the coast and scared off an imminent attack, as wiki tells us

“In 1972, Buccaneers of 809 Naval Air Squadron operating from HMS Ark Royal took part in a 1,500 mile mission to show a military presence over British Honduras (modern day Belize) shortly before its independence, to deter a possible Guatemalan invasion in pursuit of their territorial claims over the country.[The original source is White, Rowland. Phoenix Squadron: HMS Ark Royal, Britain’s Last Topguns and the Untold Story of Their Most Dramatic Mission. London: Bantam Press, 2009]