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Archive for the ‘Fieldcraft’ Category

Field Artillery Back to Emphasizing ‘Charts and Darts’

Sunday, July 21st, 2019

FORT SILL, Okla. — With the growing threat of cyberattacks, the U.S. Army Field Artillery School has placed a renewed emphasis on learning manual methods of fire direction and gunnery.

“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.

BASIC TO BRIGADE COMMAND

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 a better appreciation of the concepts, he said, enabling them to “hit the ground running” at their first units.

They are also better prepared when electronic warfare takes the AFATADS system offline, he said, and degraded operations are now part of the scenario during AIT field exercises.

When systems go down, Soldiers are now trained on how to transition between the automated and manual methods, confirmed Pvt. Cynthia Antaya, a 13J student at the school.

EW can affect communications, automated systems and access to GPS. So 13J Soldiers break out their charts, pencils, plotting pins and protractors for degraded operations.

“It’s going to be important to know your charts and darts and how to go manual and still be able to continue on with your job, even when everything’s down,” Antaya said.

CANNON CREWS

It’s essential that artillery sections “never sway from our No. 1 task,” Saine emphasized, “and that No. 1 task is to provide uninterrupted fires to the maneuver elements of our Army — the infantry and armor.”

Manual or degraded operations for firing howitzers are actually a 20-level task for the gunner and primarily only 10-level tasks are taught at AIT, said Staff Sgt. Rodrick Stone, an instructor for the 13B cannon crewmember course.

Some instructors, however, still demonstrate manual sighting for the students, Stone said.

“I believe it’s very important that they learn both ways, because in the event that the digital goes down, you have to have a failsafe — a backup plan,” he said.

The Field Artillery School has helped work degraded operations into the program of instruction for the Advanced Leadership Course, Saine said. Since howitzer gunners are by doctrine sergeants, learning how to manually sight howitzers is emphasized in ALC, he said.

With degraded operations, the gunner switches to a panoramic telescopic sight, Stone said. Aiming poles and firing stakes are used. “We already have an additional primary aiming reference that’s set up; he instantly sights in off of that,” Stone said.

Then the traverse hand wheel is spun manually to raise or lower elevation of the howitzer tube, he explained.

“When I was coming in, degraded operations was the only thing that was going on,” Stone said. “There was no digital systems at the time.”

Now the threat of cyber warfare once again makes degraded operations of paramount importance, he said.

“We have more capacity and capability than they do,” Saine said of the enemy, “so they’re going to try to find creative ways to degrade and deny some of our systems.”

BEYOND THE CLASSROOM

The emphasis on degraded operations is not only happening in the schoolhouse, it’s in the field as well, Saine said. Doctrine has been updated and so have performance standards.

Training Circular 3-09.8 for fire support was recently updated with increased performance standards for manual gunnery and degraded operations.

The chief of field artillery emphasizes degraded operations at fires conferences and at quarterly meetings with division artillery commanders, Saine said.

“It’s not just a Fort Sill thing,” Saine said. “He believes very strongly it needs to be informed by the operational force.”

Preparing for EW is not only practical, he said, but it also creates a more well-rounded force.

“What we found along the way is that we actually were increasing the proficiency of our Soldiers and our leaders,” Saine said, “because it helped them understand to a higher degree how everything worked together.”

By Gary Sheftick, Army News Service

Blade Show 18 – Morakniv Bushcraft Survival Desert

Monday, June 4th, 2018

Morakniv has introduced a Desert Tan version of their Bushcraft Survival Knife. It features a 3.2 mm thick blade in carbon steel with a specially ground spine so that it can be used with the fire starter. Additionally, the sheath that comes outfitted with an integral fire starter and diamond sharpener.

ITS Tactical Presents : Knot Of The Week – World’s Strongest Knot

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

This should have been shared yesterday, but I spent all day behind the wheel. It’s just as good today.

High Angle Solutions – Silva Tactical Compasses

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

Three entrepreneurial brothers. One great invention. In 1933, Björn, Alvar and Arvid Kjellström invented the first ever liquid-filled compass, and the Silva began. Not only was it the first compass of its kind, but is also set the global standard for how navigation works.

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From this beginning, 85 years ago, Silva have grown significantly.  As part of that expansion they have been making compasses for militaries all over the world for a number of decades.  This has predominantly been based on the Expedition 4, which was due an update.  Following development work with the Royal Marines and other elements of the UK military Silva have now launched an updated range of compasses.

The new range includes a more robust base plate and bezel which address the needs of a challenging operational environment.  It also brings in line a number of interesting technologies including prismatic elements for commanders and global needles for expeditionary forces required to deploy anywhere across the globe.  Included in the package are lanyards with distance measuring scales for 1:25000 and 1:50000.  They also allow measurement in both mils and degrees enabling greater accuracy and the passage of accurate information for fires as well as air.

Alongside these must have navigation tools Silva also provide headlamps, binos, mapcases and a huge range of accessories to help you find your way.  If you want any further information please email tribe@brigantes.com.

High Angle Solutions is a weekly series of articles focusing on military mountaineering solutions. It’s brought to you by UK-based , in conjunction with several other brands, both here in the US and abroad.

Do you like to drink beer? Get the Armageddon Gear Tacticooler!

Friday, February 9th, 2018

The Armageddon Gear Tacticooler is the coolest little tactical cooler you’ll find (see what we did there?). Built with the same high-tech reflective insulation we use in our US Army issued P.U.S.S. Pad, It’s a dove stool, a gear bucket, or better yet, a beer bucket. Take it on the golf course to regain some of the man points you lost with those plaid pants and keep your cold ones frosty. It even has an expandable mesh pocket to lovingly cradle your balls. The Tacticooler is perfect for the back of the pickup, the deck of your fishing boat, or on the rack of the four wheeler for a day in the mud bog. Simply add ice and refreshments to the 5-gallon bucket (Included with purchase!) into the Tacticooler and voila, ‘Merica!.

Can be custom embroidered with your business logo, CB handle, Tinder username, favorite sports team, or just about anything else. Contact us for embroidery specifics. Like everything Armageddon Gear makes, the Tacticooler is proudly manufactured right here in the good ol’ USA!

www.armageddongear.com

Sparrows Ranger Set Available in Kryptek RAID Camo

Monday, November 20th, 2017

With two different carry options the Ranger case is a versatile set that can be adapted to your personal carry or operational needs.

The set can be carried by duty belt or mounted with Malice clips to your Molle compatible gear.

The Ranger case has two parts the holster and a removable tool case that is held in place by a large Velcro swatch. The ability to remove the tool case from the holster allows for a larger selection of tools to be carried and the ability to quickly remove and pass the entire tool set to another team member. With its increased capacity the ranger case also incudes a compartment for padlock shims or other small bypass tools.

Ranger Set Contents

6 x Picks with thermal handles
1 x Level 1 Wrenches
1 x Padlock shim set
1 x Wafer keys
1 x SHANK
1 x Mini Jim

Available in Kryptek RAID, Black and Green.

DOES NOT INCLUDE BELT

www.sparrowslockpicks.com/product_p/kranger

Hill People Gear – longhouse: Land Navigation

Monday, August 7th, 2017

I fully admit that I love the company Hill People Gear, their products, and what they do. It’s things like their longhouse series of videos that fuel that admiration. This one is near and dear to my heart. Land navigation is a skill anyone who spends time in the outdoors needs to develop and practice. Electronics are great, but they rely on power. You never know when the batteries may go dead for the day, a week, or God forbid, a lifetime. This video offers an introduction to land navigation including maps, orienting a map, three methods for locating your position on a map, planning a route, and executing a route.

Even though resources like this exist on the web, actually learn how to do things. Don’t think you’re going to rely on a web-based resource to teach you a skill in the back country, when you need it. Chances are good you won’t have a connection.

Learn basic fieldcraft and practice, practice, practice.

Warrior East 2017 – Garmin Foretrex 601/701 with Applied Ballistics LLC Engine 

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

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At the Strohman Enterprise booth we got to check out the new Garmin Foretrex 601 and 701 with Applied Ballistics LLC Engine, wrist mounted navigators. The 701 combines three capabilities in a single device.

-Applied Ballistics
-Garmin GPS Navigator
-Jumpmaster

Additionally, they both use signals from GPS, GLONASS and Galileo satellite systems with simultaneous display of two coordinate systems. They also include a 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis compass and a barometric altimeter. The user can store up to 500 way point, 20 routes and 10,000 track log events.

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With the 701, Applied Ballistics has implemented Sight Scale Factor, and the entire bullet library onboard. Everything can be done directly on the device. This device is also a part of the AB Connect System. So FW updates to this device will always contain the latest bullet library. The software has also demonstrated its accuracy for Extreme Long Range shooting, with solutions past 10,000.

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What’s more, battery life in navigation mode exceeds 48 hours and lasts up to one week in UltraTrac mode and the backlight has an ultra low NVG mode.

The Foretrex 601/702 features a 2 inch display and weighs just 80 grams (2.8 ounces).

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Finally, they’re offering Berry compliant loop bands. Other options include Quick Fit wrist bands.

appliedballisticsllc.com/products/devices/g701