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High-tech insight into Army role

PUBLISHED: 17:01 01 April 2010 | UPDATED: 11:32 12 August 2010

BATTLEFIELD simulations and a laser shooting test are among the latest high-tech gadgets at the Army s first hybrid showroom.

BATTLEFIELD simulations and a laser shooting test are among the latest high-tech gadgets at the Army's first hybrid showroom.

Bromley is at the centre of the Army's drive to show visitors and soldiers of the future it is leading the way in recruitment through technology with a new £400,000 facility.

Billed as a "non-threatening" showroom, it marks a departure from careers' centres of old to appeal to the latest generation of youngsters bidding to join one of the 147 professions within the Army, from foot soldier to architects, engineers and even zoologists.

Opened last Saturday in Market Square, visitors to the showroom could find themselves test driving virtual tanks, or see if they have what it takes to survive in a conflict situation using the same virtual battlefield simulators that British soldiers use prior to deployment in war zones.

There are even computer generated Apache helicopters flying overhead to mimic air support scenarios.

Head of London recruiting, Lieutenant Colonel Paul Meldon said: "It's the first centre of its kind in the country and an opportunity to see what Army life is like and speak to men who have served in places like Afghanistan.

"The simulator technology is the latest on the market, it enables people to get a realistic feel for battlefield situations."

Using four screens, earphones and microphones, users appear on the screens and communicate with each other or simulate contacts with the enemy.

Deputy commander of the Army in London, Brigadier David Paterson, said: "It's an absolutely fantastic facility. People can come in and have a look round in a non-threatening environment.

"It's aimed not just at potential recruits, but parents, schoolteachers and the general public who want to find out more about the Army and its worldwide operations."

Visitors can have a go at firing a replica SA80 rifle fitted with a laser to shoot at targets as they fly across a large screen.

Touchscreens on the ground floor show where British forces are deployed across the globe, with video footage to accompany the selected region. While upstairs there are facilities to interview candidates and assess mental aptitude to find suitable roles.

Centre manager, Regimental Sergeant Major, Clive Towell of the King's Royal Hussars, said: "My ambition is that this facility will be seen as a major hub for recruiting across the whole of London. This is the perfect location to achieve that.

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