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Army June 9, 2011
By Capt Lacey Western
THE soldiers of MTF 3 have
come a step closer to their
imminent Afghanistan deploy-
ment, completing a comprehen-
sive mission rehearsal exercise
at High Range Training Area in
The 700-strong 2RAR-based
task force spent 11 days training,
planning and carrying out mis-
sions to prepare for the dangers
and challenges of their deploy-
The CTC-managed exercise
was supported by elements from
across the Army and Air Force,
with Black Hawks, an F/A-18
Hornet and role players adding to
CTC-Live fitted the troops out
with the latest laser simulation
technology, creating a realistic
operating environment where sol-
diers must use cover and com-
manders have to think carefully
about their tactics to avoid casual-
ties.Townsville-based civilian con-
tractors Redsocks and Cubic also
provided logistic and technical
Once deployed, the focus
for MTF 3 will be on develop-
ing the operational viability of
the Afghan National Army's 4th
Working as part of Combined
Team -- Uruzgan will allow MTF
3 to draw on a range of interna-
tional support options, including
close air support, dedicated evacu-
ation helicopters and an expansive
net of linked intelligence assets.
MTF 3 CO Lt-Col Chris Smith
said the realistic and comprehen-
sive training prepared the soldiers
well for the mission ahead.
"I'm happy with the outcome;
the soldiers performed very well,
they started at a very good stand-
ard and finished the exercise at an
excellent standard," he said.
"Morale is very high right
now; the guys are very confident
in their own skills and they are
confident in their equipment.
"They believe strongly in
the mission they are going to
Afghanistan to achieve."
The culmination of the exer-
cise signals the end of MTF 3's
Final preparations are now
under way for the combined
force's mid-year deployment.
CTC-Live has been helping soldiers prepare for
deployment to Afghanistan with state-of-the-art simu-
lation equipment designed to create a realistic battle-
field complete with air and artillery support.
At the core of CTC-Live's simulation capability
is the laser-based equipment of the live simulation,
range instrumentation and information system.
Soldiers wear GPS-equipped harnesses weighing
about 4kg with a laser projector fitted to their per-
The system, which can also be fitted to vehicles,
provides a real-time common operating picture for
exercise planners and records events and actions for
Soldiers can inflict simulated hits and near misses
on opposing forces and vehicles fitted with laser-
detection equipment. The system also includes simu-
lated mines, grenades and anti-armour weapons and
allows for virtual air and artillery support.
CTC-Live CO Lt-Col Scott Tatnell described
simulation as an enhancement to the live training
conducted, which allowed soldiers to train to a level
of realism never before achieved.
"Many systems used in field training can be very
expensive, such as ground attack aircraft, or cannot
apply realistic effects, such as indirect engagement,"
"The inclusion of live simulation in training allows
for soldiers and commanders to train in a cost-effec-
tive yet realistic and high-tempo environment."
For MTF 3's mission rehearsal exercise, Joint and
Combined Training Capability technicians provided a
remotely piloted aircraft for reconnaissance and an
F/A-18 Hornet for air support, without the need to
keep the expensive air assets available throughout
the entire exercise.
Even when the aircraft don't appear overhead in
the real world, pilots are in the simulator as troops
call in air support. Real-world battlefield information
on locations of friendly and enemy forces is fed into
the simulator and the effect of the air strike is relayed
to forces in the field through the simulation system,
which automatically calculates injuries and kills based
on proximity to the point of impact.
"Of course, the use of simulation can never fully
replace the use of real assets," Lt-Col Tatnell said.
"It is, however, more readily available given our
current high operating tempo and not affected by
-- Capt Lacey Western
The whole picture: Brad Walton from Joint and Combined Training Capability watches over the
simulated UAV feeds being transmitted to the MTF 3 commander.
Photo by Cpl Raymond Vance
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