One of our major commitments at DIO is providing first-class facilities to support the training of our armed forces, both at home and overseas.
One example is the work we’ve done with local contractors and our Overseas and Training Region colleagues to construct a new, £70-million headquarters and training facility for the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) at Laikipia Air Base East.
UK Armed Forces in Kenya
BATUK delivers combined arms, light role infantry battle group exercises in Kenya, and the new, purpose-built infrastructure will ensure that training continues to be delivered to a world-class standard.
For many years, BATUK rented land from the Nanyuki Agricultural Society, and had to vacate annually for the local agricultural show. The new Nyati Barracks will enable a significant increase in training capability, with the permanent accommodation and facilities specially geared to help incoming troops acclimatise for training and future operations.
Kenya is one of our leading Defence partners in East Africa and the new Nyati Barracks will cement our partnership for future decades, supporting stability and security in the region. To mark the significant occasion, the recent official opening ceremony for Nyati Barracks was attended by Ben Wallace MP, UK Secretary of State for Defence.
About Nyati Barracks
Our training unit in Kenya is a vital facility where UK soldiers prepare for operations around the globe. The UK currently has around 230 military personnel based permanently in Kenya, most of them at BATUK, with thousands more visiting the country every year to take part in exercises. Over the past two years, the British Army and the Kenyan Defence Forces have conducted five joint training exercises from BATUK, involving around 600 Kenyan troops and 4,500 British troops.
Facilities at the new site include a training headquarters, welfare facilities, 158 Single Living Accommodation and 1,400 transit accommodation bed spaces, a combined mess, a finance building, offices, stores and Joint Forces Enabling Exercise buildings which enable the Royal Engineers to undertake vital training in the construction of permanent infrastructure.
Supporting the local economy
The programme provided approximately 400 jobs for local staff and contractors. It also included around 30 women who were working in traditionally male dominated trades such as electrical and plastering work.
To make sure that all employees were operating in a safe environment, we worked closely with local authorities and supply chains to introduce UK certified health and safety practices.
A major programme of upskilling for local workers also took place, which enabled the transfer of skills into the local community and will assist workers with future employment.
Overcoming geographical and logistical challenges
The programme was a testing one, with seasonal rains and a challenging logistical context presenting obstacles to be overcome. However, working alongside our Overseas and Training Region colleagues, we were able to overcome these issues in order to successfully complete the project.
The Ministry of Defence secured a substantial settlement of more than £24 billion over four years, allowing us to strengthen our investment into Defence accommodation, training facilities and bases for our service personnel at home and across the globe.
DIO is proud to have played a role in delivering this superb new facility in Kenya as part of our mission to support the UK Armed Forces by providing what they need to live, work and train.