In September 2018, the British Army demonstrated its new In-Service Physical Employment Standards (PES) for all ground close combat roles which will come into effect for the “Infantry and Royal Armoured Corps” from April 2019 (Soldier, 2018, p.7). Tests tailored to other soldier roles will be introduced in 2021.
“It is envisaged the incoming system will be up and running in April next year, when fresh measures to replace the Personal Fitness Assessment will also be introduced.” (Soldier, 2018, p.7).
Current policy on physical employment standards had not been changed for 20 years and needed updating.
There was some concerns that the annual set of assessments they replace – based around an eight-mile
loaded march – is out of step with operational requirements and leaves soldiers vulnerable to injuries.
The new PES are objective, measurable, role-related and gender-free to ensure Army personnel have the physical capability to meet the necessary force preparation and operational requirements.
The PES will be incorporated into a new structured suite of Army Role Fitness Tests – a series of tests to assess whether personnel are fit for a specific role.
Troops will now undertake six exercises mimicking fighting and casualty evacuation drills (Soldier, 2018).
- Loaded March: 2.5 mile (4 km) T.A.B. carrying 40 kg (88 lb) within 50 minutes, followed by a further 1.25 mile (2 km) with 25 kg (55 lb) within 15 minutes.
- Fire & Movement: Twenty 7.5 metre tactical bounds controlled by a physical training instructor (PTI), followed by a 15 metre crawl and a 15 metre sprint in 55 seconds.
- Casualty Drag: 110 kg (242 lb) bag pulled over 20 metres in 35 seconds.
- Jerrycan Carry: Simulates moving with a stretcher. Carry two 22 kg (48.5 lb) cans over 240 metres in 4 minutes.
- Vehicle Casevac (Casualty Evacuation): 70 kg (154 lb) lift, hold for 3 seconds.
- Repeated Lift Carry: Shifting bags weighing 20 kg (44 lb) 20 times over a distance of 30 metres.
The PES are based on detailed analysis of roles, with the scientific research being conducted by the University of Chichester.
British Army. (2018) New physical fitness standards for combat roles. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.army.mod.uk/news-and-events/news/2018/09/new-physical-fitness-standards-for-combat-roles/. [Accessed: 27 October, 2018].
Soldier. (2018) Phys test hauled into 21st Century. Soldier: The Magazine of the British Army. October 2018, pp.7.