Troops from 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment have been focussing their training with new weapons and sight systems.
The ARILLS (Assault Rifle In-Line Low Light Sight) fits seamlessly onto the SA80 A3 rifle for increased infrared and thermal-recognition capability.
Lance Corporal Brandon Allen, 23, from York, has been one of the soldiers in Cyprus handed this latest kit as 2 YORKS continues its new role as the Enhanced Light Force Battalion, tasked with trialling cutting-edge technology as architects of how the British Army will fight and win in the future.
"It feels special to be handed this responsibility and have that sense of being one step ahead of everyone else, so it’s a real privilege to have." Lance Corporal Brandon Allen, 2 YORKS
“The ARILLS is a new sight system for the SA80 A3 which fits to the picatinny rail, but you can also use it as a slung sight system,” said Brandon.
“The thermal imaging is a lot clearer and more accurate and you can see and actively engage targets to a greater range than previous systems, also outlining positions for you as halos. That means it’s a lot more effective and a further improvement of a soldier’s capability.”
Brandon has been with the unit for five years, having previously studied public services for two years at college.
He said: “You can tune the ARILLS to meet your individual needs, to locate and target the enemy from much further away. It feels special to be handed this responsibility and have that sense of being one step ahead of everyone else, so it’s a real privilege to have.
“I’m a section 2IC but do step up as a section commander. Our feedback from testing the equipment helps decide whether it gets issued to the wider Army and that's an important responsibility.
“I’ve always wanted to do something different every day and with the Army you get to do that. It’s been quite a fast-paced life in the battalion, having deployed on Op Toral and then into a battlegroup Exercise called Wessex Storm. Following that I completed my NCO cadre, Junior Brecon, then onto Cyprus.”
2 YORKS have also recently been involved in Operation Pitting, the evacuation effort from Kabul in Afghanistan. This involved working alongside 16 Air Assault Brigade, which is the British Army's Global Response Force.
Private David Johnson, 23, from Teeside, has been in the unit for two years, previously working as a forklift driver in Hartlepool and now operating cutting-edge kit in the field.
He said: “I think it’s an exciting adventure for us. The ARILLS feels very new and easy to use and makes our jobs so much easier. To be a central part of the Army’s future intent with all this new kit and equipment does feel special. We’re very happy to crack on and make the most of it, to break new ground.”