Home' Army News : May 26th 2011 Contents WORLD NEWS 15
Army May 26, 2011
ONE of the ADF'S newest
capabilities has been sav-
ing the lives of Australian
and coalition personnel
deployed to Tarin Kot, Afghanistan.
The Counter Rocket Artillery and
Mortar (C-RAM) 1 detachment has
been providing early warning of indi-
rect rockets and mortars fired against
the Multinational Tarin Kot base since
The 30 personnel from 111
Bty, 16 AD Regt, have settled into
their important role working in the
Tactical Operations Centre (TOC) at
Combined Team-Uruzgan (CTU) HQ.
C-RAM 1 2IC Capt Andrew
Bagajluk said the unit's soldiers were
adapting and performing well in their
"On each eight-hour shift we have
four personnel monitoring two differ-
ent sensors; the giraffe radar, which
is one of the best radars in the world
and the lightweight counter mortar
radar," he said.
"In the TOC the information
received from the sensors goes
through essentially a black box,
which gives us a correlated air pic-
"C-RAM personnel working at
four different workstations monitor the
air picture for projectiles or a rocket,
artillery and mortar (RAM) event."
If the sensors detect a RAM event
the system automatically sends out
the warning over the Wireless Audio
Visual Emergency System (WAVES)
or there is a manual override button,
personnel can use to trigger it.
The WAVES works well at grab-
bing the attention of the whole Tarin
Kot base population.
The warning is extremely loud and
suddenly woken sleepers are left in no
doubt what the noise is about. It gives
everyone enough time to lie down
face first on the ground to be as small
a target as possible.
The four C-RAM workstations
consist of an officer watch keeper and
The two primary workstations
consist of a C2 operator -- called the
shift commander -- who watches both
the integrated picture of the light-
weight counter mortar and giraffe
radars, and an operator who runs and
monitors the giraffe radar.
There is one other soldier on shift
to assist with breaks.
Bdr Sean Dodd is a C-RAM shift
"I usually work with a gunner and
we take it in turns working in the C2
role for one hour and then for the rest
of the shift alternate hourly operat-
ing the secret computer system," Bdr
"We can use the system to also
notify the base via secure means
when a RAM event occurs."
He said he had been on shift dur-
ing more than a few RAM events.
"They happen pretty quickly and
we don't have much time to think, but
it's an easy process to alert the base."
When the C-RAM system detects
rocket, artillery or mortar fire, the pro-
jectile is flagged as a pending track.
"From there we can ascertain its
height, speed and if it will be a hos-
tile threat to the Tarin Kot base," Bdr
"If the event is hostile the system
will automatically set off the WAVES.
If it doesn't then we do."
C-RAM giraffe radar operator Bdr
Anthoni Perchard said working in the
new C-RAM role was a career boost.
"This is rewarding compared to my
old job in air defence, as now we are
working here in a force preservation
role," Bdr Perchard said.
"It can be quite challenging being
mentally alert for sometimes up to 12
hours watching two screens."
C-RAM personnel with their equip-
ment are due to push out to patrol
bases within the next month.
"We will be deploying four-man
detachments to provide early warn-
ing for personnel out there," Capt
"They will run 24-hour operations
running 12-hour shifts and I think we
will most likely begin to run 12-hour
shifts here too."
Capt Bagajluk said the C-RAM
system so far had been highly success-
ful. "We have detected every rocket
which was launched at TK since late
December, providing warning for the
occupants of the base during each
event," he said.
"The C-RAM capability has also
done a lot for 16 AD Regt, it's reen-
ergised the unit and now we are an
active part of ADF operations."
C-RAM 1 is due to return to
Australia in June.
C-RAM's perf ct record
Six months since
arriving in Tarin Kot, the
Army's new Counter
Rocket Artillery and
hasn't missed a
round, Sgt Andrew
On lookout: C-RAM's giraffe radar is used by 16 AD Regt gunners to
detect rockets and mortars as well as by Air Force personnel to track
aircraft in the area of operations. Inset, Bdr Sean Dodd briefs Bdr Anthoni
Pertchard at their workstation in Tarin Kot.
Photos by Sgt Andrew Hetherington
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