Defence CBRN Centre

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Defence CBRN Centre
Winterbourne Gunner
Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg

Flag of the British Army.svg

Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Near Winterbourne Gunner, Wiltshire in England
The Defence Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Centre (DCBRNC) at Winterbourne Gunner, Wiltshire MOD 45152657.jpg
The entrance to Thorneydown House, part of the Defence CBRN Centre.
Defence CBRN Centre Winterbourne Gunner Badge.gif
Supereste Ut Pugnatis
(Latin for Fight to Live)
Defence CBRN Centre is located in Wiltshire
Defence CBRN Centre
Defence CBRN Centre
Shown within Wiltshire
Coordinates51°06′43″N 001°44′16″W / 51.11194°N 1.73778°W / 51.11194; -1.73778Coordinates: 51°06′43″N 001°44′16″W / 51.11194°N 1.73778°W / 51.11194; -1.73778
TypeMilitary training centre
Area130 hectares
Site information
OwnerMinistry of Defence
OperatorRoyal Air Force
Controlled byNo. 2 Group (Air Combat Support)
WebsiteDefence CBRN Centre at GOV.UK
Site history
Built1917 (1917)
In use1917-Present
Garrison information
  • Defence CBRN School
  • Defence CBRN Technical Support Group
  • Joint CBRN Medical Faculty

The Defence Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Centre (the Defence CBRN Centre or DCBRNC for short) is a United Kingdom military facility at Winterbourne Gunner in Wiltshire, south of Porton Down and about 4 miles (6 km) northeast of Salisbury. It is a tri-service location, with the Royal Air Force being the lead service. The centre is responsible for all training issues relating to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) defence and warfare for the UK's armed forces.

It is also the home of the National Ambulance Resilience Unit's Training & Education Centre[1] which, among other things, is responsible for training the NHS ambulance service's Hazardous Area Response Teams (HART). The centre was the home of the Police National CBRN Centre until it moved to NPIA facilities at Ryton, Warwickshire.


The site was established as an element of the Porton Down research facility in 1917. Known as Porton South Camp it served as a Trench Mortar experimental site.

Reducing in scale immediately following the cessation of hostilities in 1918, research into chemical weapons and defence recommenced in 1921, with South Camp becoming the Chemical Warfare School in 1926. In 1931 the site became part of the Small Arms School as the Anti-Gas Wing. It would later become an independent entity, in 1939, as the Army Gas School, later Army School of Chemical Warfare.

Until 1947 the establishment was operated purely by the Army, becoming a joint Army and Royal Air Force establishment at this point. The emergence of a nuclear weapons threat led to the inclusion of radiological defence into the portfolio. In 1964 the biological threat was included into the operation of the centre, becoming the Defence Nuclear, Biological and Chemical School.

In 1999 the RAF took over the operation of the site, following the 1997 decision that they became the lead service for NBC training.

A full refurbishment of the site completed in 2005 with the legacy World War I accommodation being fully replaced by a modernised training facility used by all three services.

DCBRNC courses[edit]

An instructor at the centre operating the Manportable Chemical Agent Detector.

The Defence CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) School is the instructional element of the CBRN centre. Its mission is to deliver the UK's CBRN Defence Training for Operations on land.[2]

CBRN Defence Advisors' course[edit]

The 10-day CBRN Defence Advisors' is aimed at military officers within a battlegroup or unit who have responsibility to assist/ advice the commander in the planning and execution of CBRN measures and unit CBRN training, or who fill CBRN staff appointments. The course is to train CBRN Defence Advisors operating at battlegroup or deployed at an operating base at Staff Officer level.[2]

CBRN Defence Senior Officers' symposium[edit]

The CBRN Defence Senior Officers' Symposium is split into 3 main forums concentrating on the UK's CBRN defence capabilities, the threat and countering the threat.[2]

CBRN Defence Cell Controller[edit]

This is a course for military personnel who manage and carry out the functions of CBRN Warning & Reporting and Collection Centres in line with Allied / NATO standards. This task includes dealing with CBRN data, interpreting that information and issuing subsequent reports on the threat. The emphasis of the course is on the automated plotting of threats.[2]

GSR Conversion course[edit]

This 5-day course will allow existing CBRN defence instructors to fit, test and maintain the new General Service Respirator and operate the Advanced Respirator Testing System.[2]

CBRN Defence Trainer course[edit]

This course aims at providing military personnel with the knowledge and skills to conduct and deliver instruction and testing on MATT 4 / CCS. It incorporates instruction on the GSR. Depending on their training requirements, individuals can apply for the course alone or apply for both the Defence Trainer and Defence Operational Instructor courses[2]

CBRN Defence Operational Instructor course[edit]

This course is aimed at providing military personnel with the knowledge and skills to conduct unit instruction in CBRN incident response.[2]

CBRN Defence Equipment Manager's course[edit]

This course is intended for civilian and military stores staff who are responsible for storage, maintenance and management of CBRN defence equipment.[2]

CBRN Defence Casualty Decontamination Area course[edit]

This course is designed to train military band personnel (who in war are stretcher bearers) to perform casualty decontamination in a CBRN environment.[2]

CBRN Medical[edit]

The Defence CBRN Centre is the home of the Joint CBRN Medical Faculty. The centre provides CBRN medical training to all medical officers in the UK Armed forces and courses are available to NATO/Allied Nations. As well as military training, Defence CBRN Centre also supports civilian response in partnership with the Health Protection Agency.[2]

The Joint CBRN Medical Faculty supports CBRN medical doctrine development, training and curriculum development and SME support to defence research programmes working closely with partners in the health sector.

CBRN medical centre[edit]

The Joint CBRN medical supports the medical response to a CBRN incident and the management of CBRN casualties. It is a cross-government group with the remit under the surgeon general to develop CBRN clinical guidance, medical training and research. According to the website the CBRN clinical training objectives are to:[2]

"manage any CBRN casualties including trauma, manage the medical aspects of a CBRN incident, treat chemical casualties, treat biological casualties including sepsis, treat radiological casualties including nuclear, The principles of CBRN casualty management are: recognition, safety, First Aid, triage, quick look, life saving interventions, casualty hazard management, supportive management, definitive management[2]

CBRN Emergency Medical Treatment (Medical Officer) course[edit]

The Emergency Medical Treatment course is a 3-day course developed to provide military doctors with an awareness of the effects of CBRN agents and teach the competencies to provide Role 1 CBRN casualty management.[2]

CBRN Clinical course[edit]

The CBRN Clinical course is designed to train Role 1 (pre-hospital), 2 (hospital) and 3 (medical, nursing and allied health) professionals in the recognition and treatment of all casualties in a CBRN environment through to Role 3 advanced medical care including critical care. This course supports the military competencies for Emergency Medicine, Acute Medicine, Intensive Care and specialist nurse training.[2]

Defence Medic CBRN course[edit]

The Defence Medic CBRN course is designed to train Role 1 (pre-hospital) medics in the recognition and treatment of all casualties in a CBRN environment. This course supports includes advanced first aid in the hot zone, emergency medical treatment and casualty decontamination.[2]

Technical Support Group[edit]

The DCBRNC Technical Support Group provides an external training and trials functions. The TSG External Training Team provides all 3 Services with their CBRN defence training, inspecting CBRN defence training at unit level. The External Training Team Mission is to facilitate CBRN Defence competence in units by providing External CBRN Technical Support through all phases of the training cycle. Secondly, the Trials part of TSG helps the development of Joint Service CBRN defence equipment and procedures, supporting the CBRN Delivery Team and DES. Recent trials have seen the team contribute to Light Role Teams, G.S.R. and the ARTS system[2]


  1. ^ "The NARU Education Centre - Welcome to the NARU Education Centre". The NARU Education Centre.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Defence Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Centre - Detailed guidance". GOV.UK. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2013.

External links[edit]