New Non-Ground Close Combat Fitness Tests in April 2021

From April new gender-free physical employment standards tailored to cap badge and job role will be introduced for non-ground close combat personnel.

Unlike the annual fitness test (AFT), which assesses aerobic endurance and a limited number of physical requirements, the incoming regime will entail soldiers carrying out a wide range of tasks to gauge their fitness for the specific demands of their day-to-day jobs.

In the run-up to the introduction of the standards, personnel can prepare by consulting with their Royal Army Physical Training Corps instructor or PTI and follow the Army physical training system (APTS).

The APTS provides the overarching training principles and delivery mechanism for units to maintain role-related fitness standards and, where necessary, enhanced levels of performance for operations or tasks.

It is a scientific, evidence-based, and uses a holistic approach to physical conditioning which, when applied correctly, can support all unit requirements.

Physical training instructors (PTIs) are able to manage the process via the APTS management tool on Defence Connect (search “APTS information” for details).

So what are the physical employment standards (PES) that those performing these roles have to achieve?

  • Loaded Carriage:
    • A two-stage loaded march that varies in length, weight carried and time allowed to finish, depending on your role.
    • For example, RAPTC and certain Royal Engineers and Royal Artillery personnel have to lug 40kg for 4 km in 50 minutes, then carry 25 kg over 2 km in 15 minutes.
    • At the other end of the scale Service chaplains are required to carry14 kg for 2 km in 25 minutes and then 5 kg over 1 km in 8 minutes.
  • Tactical Movement:
    • This mimics moving into and out of cover over a distance of 7.5 metres each time – up to a maximum of 90 metres at the high end of the scale – finishing with a 7.5 metre crawl and a 7.5 metre sprint completed to a set time.
    • Examples include Royal Signals or Intelligence Corps personnel at the top end.
    • Army musicians are among those required to complete this test over a less demanding 30 metre course.
  • Casualty Drag:
    • This simulates pulling a casualty weighing 110 kg over a distance of 10 or 15 metres.
    • Depending on cap badge, the standard for completion varies between covering 10 metres in 60 seconds and 15 metres in 35 seconds.
  • Stretcher Carry:
    • This involves carrying two 22 kg jerry cans over either 120 metres in 120 seconds or 240 metres in 240 seconds.
    • Distance depends on cap badge.
  • Vertical Lift:
    • Everyone, regardless of cap badge, is required to pull up and hold a 60 kg weight with both hands for at least 3 seconds.
  • The Repeated Carry:
    • This is broken down into two groups – medium and heavy – with certain cap badges (including RE and REME) required to complete the more demanding tests.
    • Medium:
      • Carry a 15 kg power bag over a 30 metre course then run 30 metres unloaded.
    • Heavy:
      • Carry a 20 kg power bag for 30 metres, followed by a 15 metre unloaded leg.
      • Then carry 22 kg water cans over 30 metres, followed by a 15 metre unloaded leg.
    • In both groups a maximum of 10 minutes is allowed to conduct a set amount of shuttles (28 or 32).
  • Incremental Lift:
    • Lift a weight on to a platform one metre high, then on to your shoulder, then into a classic overhead press.
    • The weight for each phase of the lift can vary between 15 and 35 kg, with RAPTC and certain RE and RA personnel expected to lift 35 kg for phases on and two, and then to press 25 kg.
    • This test varies according to role, and Military Provost Guard Service staff, for example, are required to lift only 15 kg each time.

See the below document for the agreed Regular and Reserve tests and standards that will apply to all cap badges and employment roles.

The tests, standards, and protocols will be published in MATT 2 prior to implementation in April 2021.


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