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British Army says training base near Medicine Hat will remain open, despite UK reports

British soldiers in the Prairie Storm Training Program at causing quite the explosion at the Canadian Forces Base in Suffield. Demi Knight / Global News

The British ministry of defence confirmed Wednesday that military operations at British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS), which have been in place since 1972, will remain operational.

Read more: Military flight reveals extent of damage in B.C. extreme weather disaster

Reports from British media on Tuesday said the longstanding training base adjacent to Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Suffield near Medicine Hat, Alta. would be moving its operations to the Middle East.

“We are not closing British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS),” a spokesperson with the ministry of defence told Global News.

“Canada is one of the UK’s closest allies and continues to be a vital training base for the British Army.”

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While confirming operations would continue in Alberta, the ministry of defence said the British Army is restructuring “to be lighter, more agile and more lethal to meet the threats of the future,” which would include rebalancing of vehicle fleets to deal with threats and focus on Europe’s armoured forces.

Read more: British troops explode onto Canadian Forces Base with live-fire Prairie Storm training

To remain in line with defence priorities, the ministry said armoured training may be flexed to locations such as Oman.

It will work with the federal government and Canadian Armed Forces in reviewing base activities at BATUS.

Click to play video: 'British troops take part in live-fire at Alberta military base' British troops take part in live-fire at Alberta military base
British troops take part in live-fire at Alberta military base – May 17, 2018

With a training area of 2,700 square kilometres, BATUS has more than 1,000 vehicles, 400 permanent staff and 1,000 temporary staff.

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It’s directly next to CFB Suffield, which is the largest military base in the Commonwealth.

Read more: Troops partake in NATO chemical training exercise at CFB Suffield in southern Alberta

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