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Army October 29, 2009
Face of Army
The Soldiers' Newspaper
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THE Army is to acquire 35 M777A2
155mm lightweight towed howitzers as
the next generation system for the RAA.
Four batteries of the guns are to be pro-
vided under the first phase of the Land 17
project, the Artillery Replacement Project.
Defence Minister Sen John Faulkner
announced the second-pass approval for the
$493 million project on October 20.
"The lightweight towed howitzer is the
most advanced towed artillery system avail-
able in the world," Senator Faulkner said.
"It is air-portable under CH-47 Chinook
helicopters and can provide a weight of fire
not previously available to rapidly deployed
Senator Faulkner said the second phase
of the artillery enhancement would include
the procurement of a self-propelled artillery
system, which will be capable of providing
fire support to highly mobile mechanised
The British designed artillery system
will be further enhanced through the future
acquisition of a digital terminal control
system for the tactical control of artillery,
naval and close-air support fires by forward
observers and joint terminal attack control-
"This element of the project will be con-
sidered by Government in the second half of
2010," Senator Faulkner said.
He said these were high priority acquisi-
tions which would provide improved protec-
tion and precision firepower to Australian
soldiers, allowing missions to be carried out
more efficiently, safely and effectively.
Boost in firepower
THREE Australian soldiers
received non-life threatening
wounds and one suffered initial
hearing loss in operations in
Afghanistan's Oruzgan prov-
ince in recent weeks.
There were three separate
incidents involving IEDs on
October 19. In the most seri-
ous, one Afghan National Army
(ANA) soldier was killed and one
seriously wounded. They were on
a foot patrol with an Operational
Mentor and Liaison Team
(OMLT) north of Tarin Kowt.
Later in the day a second IED
attack further north targeted a dif-
ferent OMLT also on a dismount-
ed patrol with ANA troops. The
blast affected the hearing of one
member of the OMLT. He was
later placed on restricted duties
until his condition improved.
A third IED uncovered that
same day by an ADF explosive
ordnance disposal team in a sepa-
rate location was later destroyed.
On October 12, two
Australian soldiers received non-
life threatening wounds and an
ANA soldier was badly wounded
when an IED detonated near their
The Afghan soldier was evac-
uated to an ISAF medical facility,
while the two Australians were
taken to the military hospital at
Tarin Kowt for observation.
On October 10, an Australian
soldier received non-life threat-
ening wounds when extrem-
ists engaged a joint Australian-
Afghan patrol. He was evacuated
by helicopter to an ISAF medical
facility at Tarin Kowt.
Meanwhile, on October 17,
an Afghan civilian suffered seri-
ous injuries after being acci-
dentally struck by an MRTF 2
Bushmaster. The civilian received
first aid at the scene from an
Australian military doctor before
being aeromedically evacuated
to the ISAF medical facility in
CDF ACM Angus Houston gave
an update on the state of the ADF
workforce on operations, focus-
ing on Afghanistan and the care of
wounded personnel, in an address
to the Supplementary Budget
Estimates Committee hearing in
Canberra on October 21.
The address came just over a
week after ACM Houston visited
Afghanistan to meet Afghan and
NATO officials, as well as ADF per-
He said he received overwhelm-
ing feedback on the performance on
"how highly regarded our Australian
troops are and how very well our
people understand counterinsurgency
and the requirement to mentor and
train the Afghan National Army".
"Our people are operating
extremely effectively and in accord-
ance with Commander ISAF Gen
McChrystal's strategy to protect the
people of Afghanistan," he said.
ACM Houston said he saw ADF
men and women building a strong
rapport with the Afghan people.
"[They are] working towards
increasing their level of interaction
in accordance with Afghan customs,
culture and religion." he said.
ACM Houston also told the com-
mittee he was "very satisfied that our
[wounded] people are being provided
with excellent medical care".
"Since 2001, of those soldiers
who have been seriously wounded in
the MEAO, 83.6 per cent have been
returned to duty and only 8.7 per cent
have been medically discharged. The
remaining 7.7 per cent are currently
undergoing rehabilitation," he said.
He said the ADF provided physi-
cal, psychological and vocational
rehabilitation, along with support for
personnel administration and transi-
tion services, with the ultimate aim
of returning wounded personnel to
their best level of function.
"On a personal note, I was recent-
ly able to visit some of our most seri-
ously wounded soldiers," he said.
"I have never been so humbled and
impressed than I was by these young
men. I can assure you, just as I prom-
ised them, we are doing everything
we can to ensure they are provided
with the best medical care and the
support they need to achieve their
serious injuries ISAF feedback positive
Afghanistan visit: CDF ACM Angus Houston
briefs ADF personnel during his recent trip to
Photo by Cpl Rachel Ingram
Fire for effect: A British variant of the M777A2 155mm lightweight towed howitzer in action.
Photo courtesy BAE
Driven: Gun tractor driver Pte Chris
Maroschek, 8/12 Mdm Regt, helps
out during Ex Predator's Gallop. See
Photo by Gnr Shannon Joyce
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