U.S. Field artillery back to learning manual methods after Russian intervention in Ukraine
The U.S. Army Field artillery going back again to manual methods of fire direction and gunnery after lessons of Russian intervention in Ukraine.
The U.S. Army has not had to contend with electronic warfare during the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the conflict in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region showed an increase of electronic attack threat levels.
With the growing threat of cyberattacks, the U.S. Army Field Artillery School has placed a renewed emphasis on learning manual methods.
“Bringing back the charts is a big deal,” said Staff Sgt. Chad Payne, an instructor for the 13J fire control specialist course. “If you don’t understand the chart, you won’t actually understand what the automated system is doing for you.”
About a decade ago, the school began reducing its emphasis on teaching manual methods, said Col. Samuel Saine, assistant commandant. That’s because improvements to the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System enabled AFATADS to be used effectively in all situations, he said, and it dramatically sped up the firing process.
Then electronic warfare in Crimea and Ukraine shut systems down there, and at the same time, cyberattacks began disabling automation systems at civilian firms. These attacks “woke some people up,” Saine said.
Over the past year, the Field Artillery School commandant has made it a priority to reinsert manual or degraded operations back into the program of instruction for all courses, Saine said.
The renewed emphasis is not only in advanced individual training for new Soldiers, he said, but also in all of the officer courses from basic up to the pre-command course for colonels.
Now students begin AIT using maps to plot and they learn the math behind firing solutions.
“They’ll do manual operations until we know they fully understand the basics,” Payne said, explaining only then do students move on to the automated system.
This method provides students with …read more
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