Air Defence Soldiers Shot Down 12,000 Aircraft during Training with a New Technology
A total of 11 soldiers have been trained in Sweden in recent weeks for new RBS-70NG Air Defence System sets. The Czech Army accepted the delivery of the first part of them this autumn. At the headquarters of Saab Dynamics AB, which manufactures these weapon systems, six soldiers completed a course for instructors and five of them underwent training for technicians.
The course for instructors was attended by five soldiers from the Air Defence Missile Regiment from Strakonice and one member of the Training Command - Military Academy from Vyškov. During the four-week training, they learned to operate the new system and got acquainted with its capabilities and technical parameters. Attention was also paid to the operation of the simulator, which simulates various shooting tasks for the operators. The soldiers also trained in capturing real targets.
The RBS-70NG system is not unknown to soldiers. For many years, they have been using a similar RBS-70 system, which is only a generation older. “As for the individual parts of the RBS-70NG set, the sight has undergone the biggest improvement. The operator must thus learn to control all its new elements. Another change is the ability of the set to shoot at targets in automatic mode. With RBS-70 sets, the operator guided the missile to the target only manually,” said Sergeant Lukáš Mrocek, mentioning the biggest changes, adding that the soldiers tested the new system during military tests, which took place last autumn.
Everyone shot down two thousand aircraft as part of practice
The soldiers trained properly in destroying air targets. During the course, each of them shot down about two thousand. The total score of six soldiers was thus 12,000 shot down aircraft. “We tried all the scenarios that the simulator offers. We have become convinced that it is within the ability of the operator to complete the required shooting tasks. We will also be able to advise our colleagues when they will be learning to control the new system in Strakonice,” added Sergeant Mrocek.
Discussions with Swedish lecturers were also valuable. Thanks to them, the soldiers learned a lot of new information. The soldiers’ practical experience with the use of RBS-70 sets was a benefit for the Swedes, who will use them for further development and modernization of these weapons.
“The soldiers approached the teaching very professionally, even though the course took place under specific conditions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. They worked hard and actively participated in the lessons. They asked a number of questions that led to interesting discussions. It is always a pleasure for me to work with Czech soldiers because they are well trained and want to keep improving,” said one of the Swedish instructors Emil Holm.
This knowledge will be used in teaching in the Czech Republic
The course for instructors was also completed by First Lieutenant Tomáš Hanáček, who works at the Training Command - Military Academy in Vyškov as a lecturer for teaching very short-range air defence. He will use the knowledge from Sweden in the teaching of future operators.
“We can also use the RBS-70NG simulator outside the classroom – for field training. We can increase the competitiveness between operators thanks to the fact that it is possible to transfer all data between simulators. To a certain extent, it is possible to treat the simulator as a sharp set,” said First Lieutenant Hanáček, explaining how he wants to use the new system to increase the level of soldier training.
The course has taught him something also about the way of teaching. “Transferring knowledge in a reasonable and comprehensible form. Patience. Interest in a person as such and interest in their further development,” said Hanáček, describing the approach of Swedish lecturers, who he also tries to follow during professional courses in Vyškov.
Technicians were also trained
Technicians spent in Sweden one week longer, a total of five weeks. They will be in charge of preventive maintenance of the sets and, if necessary, they will repair mechanical parts and software – both for the launchers and the simulator. In practice, they learned not only to perform maintenance, but also to replace an original part with a spare part.
“A very important part of the course is the use of a maintenance computer. This equipment is not only used to diagnose the sight of launch systems, but is also used for planning regular services, recording their results and monitoring the replacement of spare parts, including their serial numbers,” added First Lieutenant Zdeněk Šišpela.
The biggest difference between the systems is the shift from the analogue RBS-70 to the fully digital RBS-70NG. “In addition to the classic ‘iron’ maintenance, we had to learn how to use service computers. The RBS-70NG sight consists of several computing units, which are responsible for processing the various signals and images needed to launch and guide the missile. We have mastered the way we take care of software and our knowledge has moved closer to the field of IT specialists. As part of the regular service, we will check the software, or update the operating program of the main computer or subsystems,” said First Lieutenant Šišpela about what awaits the Strakonice technicians, and added: “Although the course was challenging, we look forward to using the knowledge in practice.”