Page 102 - Australian Defence Magazine September 2018
P. 102

Soldier combat systems have been rapidly evolving to enhance our ability to close with and engage the enemy. A driving factor in this evolution has been the clear vision of Army’s leader- ship to provide the best possible tools to train our forces. One of these tools is the wide range of modern targetry from Marathon Targets. The utility of these targets are best summarized by their realism, immediate feedback and versatility; and their employment is only limited by the imagination of those designing the training activity.
The targets are used to test both soldiers and commanders in a realis- tic combat environment to simulate a mobile and dynamic enemy. These Ro- botic Moving Targets (RMT) can also simulate fire and movement by tilting the body below the base. With a rug- ged frame, this robotic small arms tar- get can be programmed to undertake tactical tasks in accordance with the proposed enemy scheme of manoeu- vre, radically advancing the level of re- alism achievable on field firing ranges.
The RMT have been used for a vari- ety of roles and training scenarios:
• Live Fire Range and Field Firing
• Reality Based Training
• Threat based opposing force (able
to tactically withdraw and simulate
• Lateral and oblique rail targets
• combat skills practice (threat prioritisa-
tion tactical patience and fire control)
• Support to Combat Shooting Cours-
es and Sniper Courses
• Large scale live fire exercises for up
to platoon sized groups
This article will articulate different experiences that were collected across various training evolutions. Each spe- cific setting will be explained by de- scribing the training objectives; the scenarios, and considerations for em- ployment from a user’s perspective, sharing 3 BDE’s collective experience in the employment of the RMT.
Scenario 1: Sniper team leader training evolution
RMTs were used during the sniper team leader’s course in a full mission profile setting. Teams were tasked with providing over-watch of a Key Lead- ership Engagement (KLE) between
Friendly Force Elements (FFE) and local nationals. A threat force was assessed as likely to disrupt the KLE.
As the FFE arrived, the two village el- ders moved out of the tent and conduct- ed introductions. During this time, from the flank of the target area, snipers were observing the enemy force in single file. Subsequently, it was observed that they had weapons and were advanc- ing towards the KLE. Snipers provided the FFE commander with battlefield commentary/early warning and subse- quently engaged the threat group. The enemy force then broke into extended line and conducted a withdrawal.
The training objectives to be achieved were as follows:
• Assess a sniper team leader in pro-
viding timely and accurate battle-
field commentary
• Positive Identification (PID) of threat • Use of precision fires to destroy the
threat if required
Scenaro 2: Sniper concentration training evolution
Sniper teams were tasked to observe and be prepared to neutralise threat el- ements within a Targetable Area of In- terest (TAI). Due to the terrain, teams were forced to communicate and bat- tle-track the targets through the tree line and identify a point at which they could engage.
The training objectives to be achieved were as follows:
• Sniper team ability to provide timely
and accurate battlefield commentary • PID of threat
• Use of coordinated precision fires to
destroy the threat if required
Target set up. The targets were po- sitioned in a scrape that was obscured in parts by a tree line from the firing point. Targets were dressed differently and carrying weapons in different po- sitions in order to allow the teams to PID the correct target and battle-track individual robots amongst the others.
Scenario 3: Section and platoon live fire training evolutions
An enemy squad position and a wire protective obstacle was observed by a friendly recon patrol and sniper pair that provided overwatch and guides to the Platoon assault force. As the engi- neer element moved from the Form Up
Point (FUP) to the breach site, a RMT reacted from a likely sentry position by withdrawing to the enemy squad posi- tion and ‘alerting’ them of the assault.
The assault force then moved through and cleared the enemy position. As the position was secured, multiple RMTs con- ducted an enemy counter-attack (CATK), ‘fireandmoving’towardtheposition.
The training objectives to be achieved were as follows:
• Integration of ground Intelligence
Surveillance and Reconnaissance (Recon patrol and sniper team) IOT answer intelligence requirements of the relevant commander
• Section live fire assault, withdrawal and ambush by day and night
• Platoon live fire assault, withdrawal and ambush by day and night enabled by a manual engineer obstacle breach Robotic targets were employed in con-
junction with traditional targetry in both section and platoon level live fire activi- ties. A single Marathon target was used as a sentry observing the obstacle. An enemy section position was set up us- ing targets such as Multi Purpose Infan- try Target Systems (MPITS)and alphie dolls with bunkers. Additional Marathon targets were hidden in dead ground and used as a mobile enemy Counter Attack (CATK) force. The speed at which the tar- gets advanced provided a realistic expec- tation of an enemy CATK force. This in- creased the pressure for the commander to ensure the fighting withdrawal was conducted as fast as possible.
The use of robotic targetry for the CATK provided an infinitely more real- istic and readily understandable situa- tion for the commander to react to than use of traditional MPITS targets as it could provide digital feedback on the number of hits and ricochets.
Time to set up targetry. On average the time taken to set up a Section or Platoon range was six hours. This needs to be taken into consideration by the OIC of the range and generally should be conduct- ed 24 hours prior to the execution of the range. Additionally, the Marathon target operators need to be booked and briefed on how the range is to be set up and what the required enemy reactions will be. It should be noted that Marathon Targets re- tain all mapping and programming of the
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