Afghanistan Artillery Fire for Graduation
19 March 2013
Afghanistan gunners are closer to graduating from their artillery course after a live fire exercise held in Kabul in early March.
The Artillery Training and Advisory Team (ATAT) at the Afghan National Army School of Artillery at Camp Alamo mentors the Afghan instructors.
Commanding Officer of the ATAT, Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas Wilson, said training the Afghan Army in gunnery skills was an important part of maintaining security in Afghanistan.
“Organic artillery needs to be established as a capability across Afghanistan,” Lieutenant Colonel Wilson said.
“The Afghan National Army is slowly building the offensive fire support typically delivered by an air force or helicopters, so this is where artillery is needed. For infantry Kandaks conducting ground operations, indirect fire [artillery] is a must to secure their objectives,” he added.
The live fire exercise held at the weekend forms a paramount part to achieve their final transition to achieving Capability Milestone 1-A at the artillery school.
Lieutenant Colonel Wilson said reaching Milestone 1-A is proof of the successes we are having in the transition of security responsibilities to the Afghan National Army.
“The Afghan Army will soon have a totally Afghan trained and administered artillery school,” he said.
“The ATAT staff has been training the gunners and officers in offensive support provision and they [the ANA] have reached the stage where they will run the career courses themselves,” he added.
The ATAT has been Australian-led since its inception in 2010. The ATAT has received notable support from contributing coalition nations; the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Singapore and Mongolia to name a few.
The ANA Command Sergeant Major of the School of Artillery, Warrant Officer Harris, said he is grateful for the coalition support and he is looking forward to taking more control of his country’s security responsibilities.
“They have allowed us to learn and one day soon we will be able to teach ourselves these jobs,” said Warrant Officer Harris.
The Commander of Joint Task Force 633, Major General Michael Crane, attended the exercise while visiting Kabul as part of his official duties and was excited by his observations.
“I am very happy to be on the gun line again and see Australian artillerymen deliver first class training to our Afghan partners,” Major General Crane said.
The gunners will continue training towards their graduation from the Afghan National Army School of Artillery at Camp Alamo in late March.
The ATAT, and its predecessor ATT-K, have enabled the Afghanistan National Army to standardise its field artillery training through the raising of the School of Artillery.
The School provides a nationalised capability for initial, medium and advanced training comprising ten courses for gunners, non-commissioned officers and officers.
The artillery training team has marked-out a firing range at the Kabul Military Training Centre for the School of Artillery which provides a safer training environment with a dedicated impact area.
The ATAT have assisted with the delivery and implementation of Afghan artillery guns, the 122mm Howitzer D-30, and gunnery computers to enable expeditious fire missions.
The ATAT staff will return to Australia after the official handover and graduation ceremony scheduled for early April this year.