NEW facilities for thousands of armed forces personnel learning to drive the latest military vehicles and their instructors have been officially opened.
The development – which includes classrooms for 200 students and facilities for instructors, as well as three huge storage facilities for Mastiff and Wolfhound vehicles – was erected in just 20 weeks at the Defence School of Transport at Leconfield.
The buildings are the latest addition to the world’s largest driver training establishment.
About 850 civil servants and support staff are employed on site beside 230 military staff, who put 16,000 students through their paces every year.
Most students go on to frontline operations in Afghanistan.
The new facilities, called the “Herrick” block, referring to recent operations in Afghanistan, were officially unveiled by director general of Army recruiting and training, Major General Gerry Berragan.
Major Shaun Robjohns said as well as four state-of-the-art classrooms, 60 instructors who work day and night shifts were getting their own facilities, including showers and a kitchen.
Even modern vehicles needed regular modifications, he ex- plained, adding: “The new vehicles are designed in such a way with such an emphasis on safety that it is giving soldiers so much confidence to do their jobs.”
Engineers have been installing the latest seats in Wolfhound vehicles which protect drivers from explosions – at a cost of £10,000 each.
During their Leconfield training, students are put up against mock river crossings, gullies and other obstacles they are likely to encounter in Iraq and Afghanistan.