'Daring' do: Coalition partners exercise together
November 10, 2011
FORT SILL, Okla., Nov. 10, 2011 -- The Singapore Armed Forces participated in "Daring Warrior," a combined training exercise, with the Fires Center for Excellence, for the third year in a row. They spent three weeks training on the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, their country purchased from the United States.
"It means a lot to us because this exercise 'Daring Warrior,' provides an excellent opportunity for us to advance our capability and expertise of the HIMARS and conduct air-land integration training," said Brig. Gen. Hock Yu Lim, commander of the Singapore Army's Training and Doctrine Command. "More importantly, the learning goes beyond professional knowledge. Folks learn about the culture aspects and interpersonal relationships of joint training."
"This is our second year that we have been involved in this exercise with the Singapore Army," stated Lt. Col. Robert Picht, 1st Battalion, 14th Field Artillery commander. "It started for us last week. We provided a small mentor team to the Singapore Army when they arrived at Fort Sill. It's culminating here where we're doing joint and combined live fire."
"We're shooting our launchers along with the Singapore launchers," he said. "We also have this year, as we continue to build the training for this, attack aviation, Apaches that Singapore brought, so that's a new addition."
The HIMARS is a light multiple rocket launcher mounted on a truck chassis. It carries six rockets or one Tactical Missile System and can launch the entire M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System family of munitions. The HIMARS carries half of the load of the MLRS, but the biggest difference between the two weapons systems is that the HIMARS runs on wheels as opposed to the tracks of the MLRS. This allows the HIMARS to be air deployed by loading it onto C-130 or C-17 cargo aircraft.
In 2007, the SAF began acquiring 18 HIMARS launchers and associated support equipment. They brought six of their launchers back to Fort Sill for this firing exercise. The Singapore forces come to Fort Sill, because they do not have training areas in their country where they can practice firing rockets.
"Training in the U.S. is an experience. For one, back in Singapore our training grounds are large, green jungles in a tropical climate. It's a bit constraining. But when we come here, it's mountainous terrain and open spaces so we have a lot of room to fire in," Third Sgt. Daniel Tan said.
Tan is a HIMARS launcher commander for B Battery, 23rd Singapore Artillery Battalion.
"This year I was certified on the launcher, so I am very pleased with our training here at Fort Sill," said Tan.
The SAF units worked closely with B Battery, 1-14th FA during their training. The final combined fire exercise with the SAF and Fort Sill units involved firing 14 rockets downrange, with the finale being a simultaneous firing by both forces.
Maj. Gen. David Halverson, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general, joined Lim on the firing range to observe the combined firings.
"The significance of these exercises is that it is a great environment for our Soldiers to operate in a joint training situation. The Singapore forces have brought in their HIMARS fire teams, their Apache helicopter units and their Air Force elements, and they are achieving their training goals, developing proficiencies and confidence in themselves," said Halverson.
"The Singaporeans are great coalition partners as we train together to develop their proficiencies and certifications, we're also working to take the training to the next level. We have a great coalition team with the military forces of Singapore," Halverson said.
The Singaporeans also had an opportunity to train with A Battery, 1-14th FA at Henry Post Army Airfield later in the week. They learned how to load a HIMARS onto a C-17 Globemaster III transport from Altus Air Force Base.
Master Sgt. Matthew Dorman showed the SAF crew how the HIMARS has to be weighed and measured for the loadmaster on the C-17.
"It is critical that we know how much the vehicle weighs and how much weight is on each axle so that the center of gravity can be calculated. The load must be balanced. The overall dimensions are not as critical for the C-17, but it's good training to go through that step, because they may load the HIMARS on a C-130 someday and the fit is much tighter," Dorman said.
The SAF forces got hands-on experience chaining down the HIMARS in the cargo bay of the C-17. Everything must be completely secured. Once the plane lands, the chains can be released as the ramp goes down so the rocket launcher and three-man crew can immediately drive out to their firing point. Dorman has a wealth of experience with the HIMARS because he was involved in the initial development and testing of the launch vehicle more than 10 years ago.
Picht summed up the training experience with the Singapore Army.
"This is exactly what we need to be doing and why we call ourselves the joint fires center. And that's why we're starting the Joint and Combined University so we can develop a lot more capabilities, not only in air defense and field artillery interactions, but other interactions that are especially unique to Fort Sill," he said. "We continue to build on the strategic partnership with the Singapore Army. We don't do things alone."