Strakonice Soldiers Getting Accustomed to the New Weapon
Last autumn, Strakonice soldiers acquired new weapons – air defence missile systems RBS-70NG. Immediately, six soldiers completed an instructor course at the manufacturer of these systems, the Swedish company Saab Dynamics AB. They are now passing on their experience to other members of the 25th Air Defence Missile Regiment.
During February, the first RBS-70NG course took place in Strakonice. It was divided into three blocks. In the first week, the soldiers completed theoretical education, which was followed by training on simulators in the second week. The third part was focused on combat service, where the soldiers practised in particular the conversion of the system into a combat position and its preparation for combat.
Video: Strakonice soldiers are getting accustomed to the new weapon RBS-70NG. They can get it ready for combat in less than 40 seconds / YouTube
The three-week training aimed to adapt soldiers who can control older RBS-70 systems to the new RBS-70NG systems. “Basically, they have to forget about the older systems and learn to work with the new systems from scratch. It may look the same at first glance, but it contains a number of new elements,” said First Lieutenant Tomáš Hanáček, the head of the course. “Thanks to the experience with the older system, it is of course easier for soldiers to adapt to the new system,” said an instructor from the Training Command – Military Academy in Vyškov.
Almost 1,500 aircraft shot down
Each soldier shot down about 1,500 enemy aircraft while training on the simulators. “A lot depends on the skill of the soldier, as well as how they get used to controlling the system. Some need a thousand targets, others need to capture three or four thousand before getting the hang of it. On average, however, after two thousand targets, most of the soldiers are ready for combat shooting,” said First Lieutenant Hanáček.
Sergeant Filip Šimeček also confirmed how important training is in capturing targets. “It’s necessary to train to get the hang of it,” said the soldier from Strakonice, who took part in the course with seven other colleagues. “The biggest change is the ability of the system to shoot at targets in automatic mode. The operator follows the target in exactly the same way as with the older system. What the soldiers have to learn anew are different habits in capturing the target and guiding the missile,” explained Sergeant Šimeček.
Farewell to S-10M sets
The RBS-70NG air defence sets will replace the outdated Russian S-10M systems in the Czech Army’s arsenal and will also complement the RBS-70 sets used by Strakonice soldiers since 2006. Sergeant Šimeček is one of the soldiers who are retraining from the Russian weapon to the new system. He admits that after twelve years of service he feels a certain nostalgia. “I have grown attached to the S-10M sets, it’s hard for me to leave them behind. We were one of the few in the Czech army who used tracked technology. But we will not stop the progress, we are switching to a new weapon,” added Sergeant Šimeček.
Picture: The RBS-70NG air defence sets will replace the outdated Russian S-10M systems (pictured) in the Czech Army’s arsenal and will also complement the RBS-70 sets used by Strakonice soldiers since 2006. | Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic
The certificate soldiers obtain is not the end of it. Quite the opposite. “During the course, they will get a basic awareness of the system, its capabilities and technical parameters. However, the training must continue in order for the soldiers to improve,” said First Lieutenant Hanáček, explaining that dozens of hours await the soldiers to train capturing targets and train in combat service.
The first RBS-70NG course, which took place in the Strakonice crew, was beneficial also for Vyškov instructors. “We needed to adapt the course content according to what the soldiers needed. And we can’t just figure that out from the office. We found out what can be improved and what we want to adjust. Thanks are due to the Strakonice instructors, who participated to a large extent in the course,” stated First Lieutenant Tomáš Hanáček.