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