The PFA is dead. Long live the PFA!

We should be...on my last course in September 18 i did one.....then my mate did one on another course in December 18.....however for the blokes doing their LCpl Infantry course they don't do them anymore..and haven't done one since last September...very strange.....
If there is any DS on here then this needs scrapping and moving us on to the new system, so we are fully prepared to hit the ground running instead of keep continuing to use the "old" system.....as we will all look like d!cks for 6 months trying to understand wtf we are supposed to be doing.....very professional.....:rolleyes:
 
Latest from various groups of RAPTC is that for GCC units it will be in effect from 01 Apr 19, with training already started or starting in Jan 19, roughly 6 months build up before PES testing.

For Non GCC, some confusion and no one direction yet. Most are assuming normal jogging of PFA/AFT, others that it will just be AFT, others that it will be AFT and some aspects of PES. But, in essence, confusion still.
The position could hardly have been made clearer on MODNET and in MoD public statements and media briefings.

PES for GCC units are being introduced now, following the trials, to be complete by April, while the PES for the remainder of the Army and entry standards for new recruits will be introduced later this year and in place in 2020.

That women are already allowed in GCC roles in the RAC is totally irrelevant to whether changes from the old PFA to new PES on promotion courses have to have already taken place as, even for a superstar, none will yet be eligible for those courses.

I can't help being amused by the Major / Army Sergeant Major's clutching at straws claim that “I’ve got plenty of combat experience. I’ve never done a sit-up on the battlefield, but I have dragged casualties. I’ve never done a push-up on the battlefield, but I have been expected to lift and carry repeatedly ...The new stuff is representative of what I need our soldiers to do” and the suggestion that "the new tests are clearly not some “watering down of the old AFT and PFA to suit girls” as some dinosaurs have been ranting on t’internet." when the unavoidable reality is that the tests simply don't "represent" what they're supposed to and while the PES may not have been 'watered down to suit girls' it's beyond any possible doubt they've been watered down to suit everyone, male or female, young or old.

The bar, like it or not, has been put absurdly low, whether some here like to acknowledge that or not, and the tests are a far lower standard than both the AFT and PFA and the tasks they're supposed to represent.

To quantify the tests in detail:

RMT 1 ~ Loaded March: Part 1 carrying 40kg over four kilometres in under 50 minutes and Part 2 carrying 25kg over two kilometres in under 15 minutes.

Part 1: The load is similar to that carried by inf on the AFT / CFT, as the overall weight now includes weapon, weapon ancillaries, helmet and water which were previously carried but excluded from the set weight, but it's less than a third the distance of the AFT / CFT (4 kms instead of 13), over considerably easier terrain (flat easy going instead of mixed) and considerably slower (20%: 4.8 kph instead of 6 kph).

Part 2: The load is considerably less than that carried on the AFT / CFT so effectively little more than 'skeleton order', for a shorter distance than the BFT / PFT (2 kms instead of 2.4 kms) at 8 kph, while the BFT had to be run at 12.5 kph in boots and denims and the CFT at 6 kph for 13 kms carrying over 10 kgs more over considerably harder terrain.

That's a measurable "watering down" of RMT 1 of at least 30%, however it's dressed up, so the equivalent of running a PFA in over 13 minutes instead of ten, or scoring 200 instead of 300.

RMT 2 ~ Fire & Movement: Part 1, cover 150 metres in 7.5 metre bounds in under 5mins20 and Part 2, crawl 15 metres then spring 15 metres in under 55 seconds.

The Maj / ASM may well have plenty of combat experience and never done a sit up or a press up on a battlefield, but I doubt he or any one else has ever done fire and movement on a battlefield that was a sports pitch. Totally unrealistic, and far from physically demanding. A far more realistic and demanding standardised course could have been made very easily with the addition of a mix of benches and boxes.

RMT 3 ~ Casualty Drag: Pull a 110kg for 20 metres in under 35 seconds.

The 110 kg drag-bag simply doesn't represent the weight or difficulty of moving a fully dressed and equipped battlefield casualty with 40 kgs of kit. Another unrealistic test.

RMT 4 ~ Water Carry: Move two 22kg jerrycans, as a pair and not individually, a total of 240 metres in under four minutes.

The test is supposed to represent carrying "half an 88 kg stretcher for evacuation". It doesn't, even remotely, and even an infantry recruit is required to carry the same two jerrycans 150 m in two minutes, so less distance but at a faster speed, before doing any physical training at all. Carrying two jerry cans is nothing like carrying a casualty on a stretcher, particularly when you can put the jerrycans down every few metres and still easily pass the test.

RMT 5 ~ Vehicle Casualty Extraction: Lift a 70kg dead weight and hold for three seconds.

70 kgs is below the average weight, even without uniform and kit, and the lift is effectively nothing more than a deadlift. Anyone who could only pass that as a maximum would never be able to extract an average casualty from a vehicle roof hatch. The test is inadequate.

RMT 6 ~ Repeated Lift & Carry: Move twenty 20kg burdens, without handles, over 30 metres each and lift over 1.4 metres vertically in under 14 minutes.

The "burdens" are 20 kg powerbags, supposed to represent sandbags or ammunition boxes. These are lighter than the power bags lifted for initial recruit assessment, which start at 15 kgs and increase in 5 kg increments to 40 kgs (a 40 kg lift is required for an infantry recruit), and which have to be lifted slightly higher (1.45m instead of 1.4m), so this is no harder than a recruit is required to do before even starting training. While 20 kgs is a similar weight to sandbags or ammunition boxes, powerbags are far easier to lift and carry and sandbags and ammunition boxes are readily available. Another totally unrealistic test, for which there is no excuse as sandbags and ammunition boxes are more readily available than powerbags.

I'm not a dinosaur blaming women for the watering down of standards, but I'm happy to be a dinosaur ranting about the watering down of fitness standards which women are inevitably being used as the excuse for. The standards are simply unacceptly and absurdly low, with some barely above infantry recruit standard, and some tests don't even test to the level they're supposed to.

Equally disappointing and equally important, although no-one's mentioned it here, is that while the Army's happy to make fitness the individual soldier's personal responsibility it's now removed the major incentive for anyone to train for and do more than the minimum. While the BFT, PFT, PFA, Step Test, Beep Test, etc, all gave soldiers the incentive to compete, to train harder and do better, to get a faster run time or a higher score, the new PES doesn't just not give that incentive but it doesn't even allow for anything more than the minimum to be measured. The tests should, and could, have been a major step forward in measuring fitness and setting realistic standards; instead, they're just window dressing.
 
Yes John, but that unsurprisingly isn't what RAPTC PTI's are briefing to their units having had other documents galore.

So currently it's unsure and not the same across all units (or even across many Garrisons)
 
John

Many thanks for that detailed brief and explanation.
I will let you guys know if there is one on my RSDCS next week too.
This will be interesting to see if they are still doing it in Jan 19.

With regards to fitness standards taking a turn for the worse, i think they are just trying to reduce the injuries on soldiers as there was a hell of a lot from the old tests...

Tabbing and doubling for miles and coming in on a CFT in 1 hr 37 mins shaking like a sh!tting dog with knees immediately collecting fluid and then going medically sick and pulling the MD card....it will save money too.

We are going very much like the Americans. Heavy lifting...not a lot of running but still a fair amount of load carrying.

War is changing now. Operations are different now. Herrick/Telic has been replaced by Torrel/Shader...and it has changed for a reason.

Let us do this cross fit warrior fitness stuff. I am all for it.
 
John

Many thanks for that detailed brief and explanation.
I will let you guys know if there is one on my RSDCS next week too.
This will be interesting to see if they are still doing it in Jan 19.

With regards to fitness standards taking a turn for the worse, i think they are just trying to reduce the injuries on soldiers as there was a hell of a lot from the old tests...

Tabbing and doubling for miles and coming in on a CFT in 1 hr 37 mins shaking like a sh!tting dog with knees immediately collecting fluid and then going medically sick and pulling the MD card....it will save money too.

We are going very much like the Americans. Heavy lifting...not a lot of running but still a fair amount of load carrying.

War is changing now. Operations are different now. Herrick/Telic has been replaced by Torrel/Shader...and it has changed for a reason.

Let us do this cross fit warrior fitness stuff. I am all for it.
Mate, you are relatively new around here, I fear like the rest of us, you are going to learn the hard way :)
 
If PES is an attempt to improve standards then I feel the reality will not match the theory, it’s a long test, requiring a great deal of admin and logistics to implement. There will be many units who just won’t use it. It would have made more sense if it was run as well as the PFA and CFT rather than instead of.
 
Does anyone know when the BFT first came in and what preceded it?
 
Yes John, but that unsurprisingly isn't what RAPTC PTI's are briefing to their units having had other documents galore.

So currently it's unsure and not the same across all units (or even across many Garrisons)
Obviously it's not the same across all units / garrisons as it's in the process of being introduced! The policy and dates couldn't be clearer, but unsurprisingly and inevitably some people are trying to show how clever they are by being the best informed.
John

Many thanks for that detailed brief and explanation.
I will let you guys know if there is one on my RSDCS next week too.
This will be interesting to see if they are still doing it in Jan 19.

With regards to fitness standards taking a turn for the worse, i think they are just trying to reduce the injuries on soldiers as there was a hell of a lot from the old tests...

Tabbing and doubling for miles and coming in on a CFT in 1 hr 37 mins shaking like a sh!tting dog with knees immediately collecting fluid and then going medically sick and pulling the MD card....it will save money too.

We are going very much like the Americans. Heavy lifting...not a lot of running but still a fair amount of load carrying.

War is changing now. Operations are different now. Herrick/Telic has been replaced by Torrel/Shader...and it has changed for a reason.

Let us do this cross fit warrior fitness stuff. I am all for it.
1 hr 37 CFT would be a fail and whoever took it, as well as any officers present, should be looking for a new job.

"Heavy lifting ... load carrying" ? I think you need to look at the tests again. A recruit needs to lift and carry similar weights before he / she can join the infantry!.
 
Does anyone know when the BFT first came in and what preceded it?
1974. Before that the only formal test was the 10 miler.

I recently posted this in another thread:

.... IIRC the BFT (boots, denims) was introduced in 1974 (not long before I joined), the 10 miler with pl wpns was formalised to the CFT (8 miler) in 1979/80 (prior to Corporate), initially with pl wpns which were phased out in the mid 80's at the same time as there were changes to course conditions (mainly from x-country to off-road / tarmac) and the BFT changed from boots to black baps in 1989/90 following a dramatic rise in lower limb injuries with the change from DMS to BCH, particularly at trg depots. Dress for the BFT then gradually changed from denims to blue baggies and from black baps to trainers, until the BFT was changed to the PFA and the CFT to the AFT in 1998/99 (after my time). The change from PFA and AFT to the new PES is due to be complete by 2019/20.

In my view the new PES are a major step in the right direction but a totally wasted opportunity. The idea's good, but the execution's appaling.

As for defending it on the basis that there's funding for the kit, WTF do you need to waste money buying powerbags to 'represent' sandbags and ammo boxes when it would be a far better test using sandbags and ammo boxes??!!

Why use jerrycans of water to 'represent' a casualty on a stretcher when you can put 4 x 20 kg sandbags on a stretcher for a better test??!!
 
Obviously it's not the same across all units / garrisons as it's in the process of being introduced! The policy and dates couldn't be clearer, but unsurprisingly and inevitably some people are trying to show how clever they are by being the best informed.
1 hr 37 CFT would be a fail and whoever took it, as well as any officers present, should be looking for a new job.

"Heavy lifting ... load carrying" ? I think you need to look at the tests again. A recruit needs to lift and carry similar weights before he / she can join the infantry!.
RMT 1 ~ Loaded March: Part 1 carrying 40kg over four kilometres in under 50 minutes
I am guessing this is pretty much patrol pace?
 
John

Many thanks for that detailed brief and explanation.
I will let you guys know if there is one on my RSDCS next week too.
This will be interesting to see if they are still doing it in Jan 19.

With regards to fitness standards taking a turn for the worse, i think they are just trying to reduce the injuries on soldiers as there was a hell of a lot from the old tests...

Tabbing and doubling for miles and coming in on a CFT in 1 hr 37 mins shaking like a sh!tting dog with knees immediately collecting fluid and then going medically sick and pulling the MD card....it will save money too.

We are going very much like the Americans. Heavy lifting...not a lot of running but still a fair amount of load carrying.

War is changing now. Operations are different now. Herrick/Telic has been replaced by Torrel/Shader...and it has changed for a reason.

Let us do this cross fit warrior fitness stuff. I am all for it.
I don't remember seeing the drama you describe regarding CFT's. Unfit people will always be vulnerable to injury and there's the rub. Soldiers are supposed to be fit. Downgrading fitness requirements based on the next war 'being different' is not the act of the Professional Army. Nobody can predict what the next war will look like.

On a positive note the new test give plenty to moan about, because there's been a hell of a lot of piffle and moaning going on about the very arduous 1.5 mile run of yesteryear. The drama of it all. Pages and pages of the stuff. Here on ARRSE we can't even agree if the 1.5 mile run should have been taken at a steady canter, or if a best effort was required. It's all complex stuff.
 
RMT 1 ~ Loaded March: Part 1 carrying 40kg over four kilometres in under 50 minutes
I am guessing this is pretty much patrol pace?
It's a long time since I did a patrol, but I can't recall any being over in 50 minutes apart from a clearance patrol around a patrol base at the end of a rather longer day's patrolling.

As for injuries, yes of course they should be minimised but that doesn't mean doing no training. It's the equivalent, in every respect (speed, terrain, etc) of a slow walk a dozen times round a football pitch, FFS.

I don't have a problem with the pace, but the idea that this is any sort of test is delusional.
 
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