THE SLOVAK Defence Ministry's Institute of Special Healthcare and Training (ÚŠZV) in Lešť is part-way through construction of a specially-built training environment to be known as Jakub Village. It will be one of just a few in Europe, the ministry told the SITA newswire.
The multi-functional training facility, where special units of the Slovak security forces will be put through their paces, resembles a small village, with a stylised bell-tower at its centre. Around it, are small, two-room houses. Their construction allows for firing of live ammunition, as well as the use of live grenades. Personnel will also be able to use smoke bombs, set controlled fires, or use remote-controlled targets.
The building of Jakub village was divided into two phases. The completion of the facility was approved by the Slovak government in the first half of 2007. Last year the first phase, which included facilities for training with live rounds in buildings and a hall which allowed personnel to train in firing weapons from a moving vehicle, was completed.
"In these facilities, it is possible to use live rounds with an impact energy of 1,000 joules. Also shot guns can be used," the head of ÚŠZV Lešť, Brigadier-General Pavol Maslík, explained during a visit to the facility.
During 2008, the second part of the project should be completed, which will include roads, tunnels and railways - complete with a railway station and store buildings. This will be used not only for armed forces training, but also by the police, railway police and the customs administration.
The complex will enable personnel to train for freeing hostages and various rescue activities, as well as mutual co-ordination of various units.
"Once the plan is completed, it will be one of the largest and most diverse complexes of its kind in Europe," Maslík said.
The Jakub village adds to other facilities that have already been installed in Lešť: the so-called Jakub building, which allows shooting in all directions, which was opened in October 2006; and the Jakub climbing wall.