Afghan troops begin training with Mobile Strike Force Vehicle
May 3, 2012
By Bill Good
KABUL (May 3, 2012) -- The Afghanistan National Army's Mobile Strike Force Vehicle, or MSFV, has cleared one of the final obstacles on its way to the battlefield with the start of its first Operator New Equipment Training, or OPNET class.
Instruction for the first ANA Kandak (battalion-sized element) began in April after an opening ceremony presided over by the commandant of the ANA Armor School, Col. Abdul Qudoos. The first Kandak to participate in the MSFV, OPNET program is one of the oldest and proudest units within the ANA, the 111th Capital Division, which is tasked with the security of the Afghan capital, Kabul.
The six-week ANA OPNET course consists of basic MSFV operational training for the tank commander, driver, and gunner for each MSFV. With 58 vehicles per Kandak and three participants per MSFV, the ANA Armor School expects to train 174 soldiers on OPNET.
The MSFV is an armored vehicle which has all-wheel drive, an automatic transmission, air conditioning and a central tire-inflation system.
The training conducted at ANA Armor School is a group effort provided by personnel from the Product Manager Armored Security Vehicle, the U.S. Army's Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, the contractor AAI, and the French Army.
Although it is still early in the training cycle, the ANA soldiers have displayed a high degree of enthusiasm for their new vehicles, observers said.
"Upon arrival at the first day of class the students were a little apprehensive. After the opening ceremony and introductions, the students warmed up to the environment and the instructors eased into the training," said Michael Franks, deputy program manager (Forward), Armored Security Vehicle.
"Handouts and student guides for the classes were something they are very interested in and took great pride in receiving. The students asked for extra paper and pens so that could take additional notes. They seemed very happy and interested. A few of the students even wanted to take some of the training materials home that night to look over it and study it a little bit more."
Instructors have lauded the zeal the ANA students have for their new vehicles and speak highly of the bond that is growing between the trainers and trainees.
"So far the content of this course is directly applicable to the developmental skills that our unit needs to grow. This has been a very informative class in the last few days and we look forward to learning as much as we can from the American instructors," said an ANA driver student.
After completing OPNET, these ANA soldiers will begin mounted and dismounted tactics training with the French contingent for six to eight weeks. This will be followed by five weeks of validation training.
The MSFV program is managed by the Army's Product Manager Armored Security Vehicle, which falls under the leadership of Project Manager Joint Combat Support Systems within the Program Executive Office for Combat Support & Combat Service Support, or PEO CS&CSS.
(Bill Good is the operations officer for Product Manager Armored Security Vehicle. He holds a master's degree in public relations and organizational communication from Wayne State University.)