The British Army is to scrap fitness tests that make allowances based on gender and age and will introduce new “gender and age-neutral” physical assessments, the Ministry of Defence has said.
The new physical employment standards tests, which will be rolled out during 2019, have the general aim of ensuring all close combat soldiers are physically prepared for the rigours of modern battle.
They have been devised over a period of three years in conjunction with the University of Chichester, with the specific aim of more closely replicating combat scenarios by mimicking real-life military tasks such as carrying casualties, moving through enemy lines and transporting equipment.
Under the new system soldiers will have to:
- Complete a 4 km march carrying 40 kg of equipment in less than 40 minutes, followed by a 2 km march carrying 25 kg of equipment in under 15 minutes.
- Complete a fire and move exercise in less than five minutes, followed by a 20 m drag of a 110 kg weight.
- Carry two water cans weighing 22 kg each over 240 m in under four minutes, followed by lifting a 70 kg weight and holding it for three seconds.
- Carry bags weighing 20 kg 20 times over a distance of 30 m.
Under the old system, which had not been significantly updated for 20 years, soldiers completed tasks including press-ups and sit-ups.
The British Army stated the new tests need to “fit with the modern approach” to sports science.
Similar changes to the British Army’s entry testing for recruits are set to be announced in December.
ITV. (2018) Army to introduce gender and age-neutral fitness tests. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.itv.com/news/2018-09-21/army-to-introduce-gender-and-age-neutral-fitness-tests/. [Accessed: 26 September, 2018].