A Brief Overview of 16 Air Assault Brigade’s Urban Training Facility


16 Air Assault Brigade has a remit of being able to engage the enemy, or conduct rescue missions, anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice.

This requires sharp close quarter battle (CQB) fighting skills which must be learned and then practised on a regular basis. With this in mind, the brigade has installed its own state-of-the-art, interactive urban training facility at Merville Barracks in Colchester.

Built by UK training simulation company 4GD, using defence innovation fund cash, the facility is now the most sophisticated equipment of its kind outside the special forces.


  • Moveable walls.
  • Interactive smoke.
  • Light effects.
  • Sound effects (for example someone screaming or gunfire).
    • All the above can be controlled from a tablet device in real-time.
  • A CCTV system.
  • An after-action review suite that scrutinises soldiers’ every move in some painstaking detail.
  • Hundreds of different layouts and scenarios can be set up, from bustling shopping centres to dark, deserted office blocks with confusing corridors.
  • Can be switched around on-the-spot by a single person thanks to the kit’s lightweight material.
  • For the users, this creates agile, fast-paced training that mirrors the quick thinking required of troops when they move and fight through buildings.
SimWall Panel System1. Allows the layout to be reconfigured in hundreds of different ways.
2. Panels can be safely and quickly moved by one person, meaning sections or platoons can modify it between serials.
Video Monitoring System1. Provides a near-perfect top-down view of the entire facility.
2. In the after-action review this means soldiers can understand how the whole team performed and get a better understanding of the tactical problems.
Special Effects Suite1. Filters in background effects as well as battle simulation.
2. It features immersive audio and lighting.
Intelligent Facility Management System1. Controls the whole site and is easy to operate so personnel can run their own serials.
2. Operated through a portable dual tablet display that gives control from anywhere inside.

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