Held from 14 to 30 September, 23 Armoured Infantry (AI) Officer Cadets from the Officer Training Wing (OTW), School of Armour (SOA) participated in Exercise Panzer Strike (XPS) Autumn Frame in Oberlausitz Military Training Area (OMTA), Germany. The exercise involved the AI Officer Cadets executing up to platoon-level Armour Live-Firing System (ALFS) as part of their journey to become Armour Officers.
Each year, up to two cohorts of Armour Officer Cadets participate in XPS, in either the Spring or Autumn exercise frames. The vast training space in OMTA and advanced targetry systems provided by the German Armed Forces facilitated the Armour Officer Cadets in honing their abilities to execute complex live firing manoeuvres in an operational mission context.
Bionx Infantry Fighting Vehicles lined up in formation.
Long-range engagements to destroy enemy armoured forces.
OCT Lee Joon Hei was one of those who relished the opportunity to train in OMTA. He explained, "The training space available here is much larger and allows for more realistic and further long-range engagement scenarios while performing complex manoeuvres, as compared to back at home."
OCT Lee Joon Hei
Apart from differences in terrain, the German climate, environment and processes also tested their resilience and adaptability. As shared by OCT Ang Zong Wei, the experience in XPS emphasised to him the importance of adapting to situations swiftly and decisively as an AI Platoon Commander. "We not only had to operate in the cold weather with strong winds but also had to overcome natural and exercise-injected contingencies such as sudden change in weather conditions and random exposure of targets during the live-firing. Such challenging and varied training developed our ability to exercise swift judgement and decision making."
OCT Ang Zong Wei
ALFS was introduced to Armour units in 2009 to enhance training realism and instil operational mindsets in our soldiers by removing the need for rehearsals with blanks on actual grounds during live firing exercises. Before embarking on live-firing exercises, participants had to complete a comprehensive three-stage qualification process, consisting of the Table Top Exercise (TTX), Platform Rehearsals and Wargaming, to validate his/her proficiency for the live-firing.
Firstly, participants go through a TTX, which ascertains the proficiency and confidence of the trainees in the processes and procedures of the live firing exercises. It facilitates the visualisation and understanding of the overall scheme of manoeuvre, as well as the roles of adjacent elements involved.
Preparing for the exercise through a TTX.
After completing the TTX, participants undergo Platform Rehearsals, which assesses the trainees on their proficiency in operating the specific weapon systems and platforms under the live firing exercise's conditions.
XPS participants practising Platform drills.
Finally, Wargaming is a rehearsal on a simulated ground, where trainees would be evaluated on their understanding of the spatial considerations in the live-firing exercise by physically walking through the scheme of manoeuvre and performing the exact actions as required.
XPS participants engaged in Wargaming.
Reflecting on his experience in the AI Section and Platoon ALFS, OCT Song Boon Kuan, Benny recounted, "Each qualification station served a different purpose to ensure that we would be able to execute the live-firing manoeuvres competently and confidently."
OCT Song Boon Kuan
This year's XPS 18 (Autumn) is the 11th in the series for OTW, SOA since its inauguration in 2013. The strong support from the Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) bears testament to the warm and growing defence ties between Singapore and Germany.
Swift and Decisive!
Contributed By: School of Armour, Armour Training Institute
"Innovation is the only way to stay relevant in this world." This is the mindset that prompted the creation of the SMART In-Camp Training (ICT) app. With a goal of improving and enhancing the NS experience for NSmen and NS Commanders during ICT, a team of individuals from Our Army and engineers from Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) devised The SMART ICT app. Designed to streamline ICT administrative matters, NSmen can now access the application on their personal devices and check ICT-related information conveniently. Recently awarded the Digital Innovation Award on 4 October, we took the opportunity to speak to the minds behind the application.
During the initial stages of the application, the team had one goal in mind: to put previously fragmented ICT-related information and services on a single and portable digital interface, to enhance NSmen and NS Commander's experience as well as improve administrative efficiency before, during and after ICT. Mr Chua Han Tiong, Operations Manager of the team, mentioned "We noticed that NSmen and NS Commanders experience several pain points when it comes to their NS ICT administration. For NSmen, there is often a lack of information on their ICT while for NS Commanders, there is often no access to real-time information and updates. This has prompted a need to improve on the current practices."
As with most new projects, the team faced many obstacles. Mr Chua shared that one hurdle the team faced was ensuring information security within the application. "As the application allows retrieval of information, there was a need to provide a secure way to store and yet still be able to gain access to the data." To ensure information security, classified information will not be shared on the application and information will be shared on a need-to-know basis only.
The team has come a long way since its inception. With the application now in its final stages of production, the team would like to express their heartfelt appreciation towards their partners and supervisors during the making of this application. Speaking on behalf of his team, Mr Chua said "We are extremely grateful to have been able to work with many exceptional people. Specifically, we would like to thank Chief Signal Officer, Commander Signal Institute, and 2nd In-Charge Army Command Systems Group for going out of their way to brief and introduce the application to the trial unit's NSmen." He also thanked members of the trial unit for providing constructive feedback to refine the application.
With the SMART ICT app, the team hopes to enhance the National Service digital experience, delivering services with greater efficiencies.
Written By: PTE Gordon Goh (Army News)
Photography By: REC Nicodemus Kee (Army News)
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