5 Battalion The Rifles (5 RIFLES)

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5 RIFLES is a Regular Infantry Battalion based in Bulford Camp, Wiltshire. The battalion consists of around 600 Riflemen who deploy from their base location on training and operations worldwide. The Battalion is an Armoured Infantry Battalion that is part of 20 Armoured Brigade, within 3rd (UK) Division - 'The Iron Division" that is the only division at continual operational readiness in the UK.


5 RIFLES is equipped with the Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicle and other armoured support vehicles. Riflemen command, drive, provide the gunners and dismount from these formidable armoured fighting vehicles. Riflemen in 5 RIFLES are trained to conduct the full range of operations, especially those requiring heavily armoured, combined arms rapid intervention such as that used in the Gulf War. 

Since 2007, 5 RIFLES has deployed on four tours to Iraq and Afghanistan, together with numerous other operations and training missions worldwide.

In 2017, the Battalion provided the lead element for the UK's first ever Enhanced Forward Presence in Estonia and is scheduled to return there for a second tour a couple of years time.

Facts & Figures

  • 5 RIFLES were the first Infantry Battalion to deploy as a part of the UK's Enhanced Forward Presence, based in Estonia in 2017.  In Estonia the 5 RIFLES Battlegroup will support UK allies and act as the lead elements to confront threats to European security.


  • 5 RIFLES routinely deploy overseas to Canada onto large exercises involving thousands of personnel and hundreds of armoured vehicles.


  • The Battalion is an Armoured Infantry Battalion that is part of 20 Armoured Brigade, within 3rd (UK) Division – “The Iron Division" that is the only division at continual operational readiness in the UK.


5 RIFLES is based in Bulford, Wiltshire.

Bulford is a village and civil parish in Wiltshire, England, close to Salisbury Plain. The village is close to Durrington and about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) north of the town of Amesbury. The Bulford Camp army base is separate from the village but within the parish and a short drive from Salisbury.

There are plenty of events that take place in and around the city from the world-renowned Salisbury International Arts Festival through to the annual Christmas Market.

Arts venues include Salisbury Playhouse, the South West’s leading producing theatre, City Hall and Salisbury Arts Centre.

Eating out in Salisbury is a pleasure thanks to an enticing range of tea and coffee shops, pubs and restaurants, clubs and bars, with plenty on offer throughout the day and on into the early hours.

As a result of this and the great array of events on offer, Salisbury has been awarded Purple Flag status – the ‘gold standard’ for a great night out.


Our People

Rifleman Evan Watson

"I arrived at 5 RIFLES in 2014 and was quickly integrated into the Platoon. So far, I have lived in Germany and England and deployed on exercises all over the world, including to my home country of Canada. I have deployed on operations to the Falklands as part of the ongoing commitment to the islands and to Estonia; as part of NATO’s enhanced forward presence. The Army has given me many skills and has enhanced my self-confidence. Being a Rifleman has helped me develop mentally and physically. With home still in Canada, 5 RIFLES welcomed me with open arms and soon became a second family. The battalion has given me the respect, friends for life and independence that I was looking for."


Lieutenant Richard Smart

"The job of an Armoured Infantry Platoon Commander is as rewarding as it is challenging. No two days are the same and it is the Riflemen under your command that makes the job particularly enjoyable. They're from all across the UK and all have their own personalities, strengths and weaknesses; there really is no such thing as an "average" Rifleman. It is a true privilege to serve alongside the Riflemen and an honour to lead them. Another great thing about The Rifles is that it has given me the opportunity to continue pursuing the sports I enjoy. I have taken the Battalion rugby club on tour and also represented the Infantry."


At Work

The Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle is currently undergoing an upgrade which will exchange the 30mm Rarden Cannon with a 40mm Cannon. Not only does that mean that the ammunition packs more of a punch, but for the first time the gun will be stabilised to allow firing on the move. 5 RIFLES was the first Armoured Infantry Battalion to deploy to Estonia as a part of the NATO deterrent to Russia and will soon redeploy there.  


At Play

5 RIFLES host the Battalions Athletics team, consistently placing well in the Army Cross Country Championships. 5 RIFLES also send Riflemen across the world on adventurous training and have had success in recent years with Riflemen competing in both Alpine and Nordic skiing.

5 RIFLES Timeline

  1. 1st Feb 2007


  2. Iraq 2007 -

    1 Tour of Duty

  3. Afghanistan 2007 -

    2 Tour of Duties

  4. Worldwide Operations

    OP Olympics, Falklands and Estonia. 

  5. Overseas Training

    Germany, Canada, Australia, France, Austria, Kenya and Turkey. 

  6. Future

    Will be deployed to Canada in summer 2018 before deploying to Estonia in 2019. 

Armoured Infantry Battalion


388 Warrior infantry fighting vehicles currently in active service

Combat vehicles

Bulldog & FV430 series

409 Bulldog & FV430 series currently in active service

Combat vehicles


CVR(T) vehicles Samaritan is an ambulance vehicle, Sultan an armoured command vehicle and Sampson an armoured recovery vehicle

Reconnaissance vehicles

SA80 Individual Weapon

Tests On its introduction, it proved so accurate that the Army marksmanship tests had to be redesigned.

Small arms and support weapons

L115A3 Long Range 'Sniper' Rifle

600 metres They are designed to achieve a first-round hit at 600 metres and harassing fire out to 1,100 metres.

Small arms and support weapons

L129A1 Sharpshooter Rifle

7.62mm The rifle fires a 7.62mm round and has enhanced accuracy of engagement during longer-range firefights.

Small arms and support weapons

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