Finding Common Ground | Defense News

When the 102nd Battery, 8th/12th Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery received a call for fire on a target of opportunity, it was not just the Australian soldiers who ran to wield the gun.

The Darwin-based artillery unit participates in 1st Brigade’s annual fighter exercise, Predators Run, with embedded gunners from the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) 3rd Division Artillery.

It also continued to provide general support to 1st Brigade Headquarters, which coordinates several Combined Battle Groups, including soldiers from the Philippine Army and United States Marine Corps (Marine Rotational Force – Darwin).

Aside from the obvious differences in language and uniform, Australian and Malaysian gunners operate in the same way.

MAF 3rd Division Artillery Battery Commander Maj. Fahmi A. Razak said his team looked forward to sharing their knowledge for two weeks at the tropical training ground, southeast of Humpty Doo.

“We came here to learn and integrate the Australian artillery,” Major Fahmi said.

“I found working with them is the same – our platforms, movements and combat rhythms are very similar, but there are differences in rank, like in who does what work, and also differences in the processes,” he said.

Australian Army Captain Jose Carino patrols with Philippine Army soldiers during Exercise Predators Run 2022 at the Mount Bundey training area.

While at Mount Bundey fighting a fictional enemy, the Malaysian gunners alternated between various soldier specialties, including gun detachment posts and joint fire operators, and worked with the command post.

Major Fahmi said that both regiments operated the howitzer, but as the 102nd Battery had moved to using digital communications, his regiment had more experience with analog processes.

Australian Army Command Post Officer Lt. Toby Exton said it provided an excellent training opportunity for both forces.

“One of the significant threats to artillery is an attack on our communications network, whether through electronic warfare or failure of network systems,” Lt. Exton said.

“It is therefore good to observe the expertise of Malaysians in the degraded environment, as they are used to operating against these threats and with our transition to digital communications, it is crucial to retain the expertise using these means. “

Before deploying to the field, the Malaysian gunners spent a week at Robertson Barracks, getting to know their Australian counterparts and learning about life on the line of fire in outback Australia.

“We conducted a command post exercise – a dry rehearsal of how it works here at Mount Bundey,” Lt. Exton said.

“The Malaysian gunners stepped in and took on the roles we would normally have for the Australian gunners and then we swapped positions. It was a good opportunity to see the parallels of firearm functions with our partners.

Gunners ended their week in barracks with social activities to break down formal structures and build trust before heading out into the field.

“Having that time to rehearse and get to know each other before going out was a necessary safety step to make sure everyone was on the same page,” Lt. Exton said.

“This is particularly important around heavy weapon systems where safety procedures are crucial.”

The exercise ends with a live fire maneuver on September 5th.

Australian Army Lieutenant Johnathan Doble of the 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment patrols with Philippine Army soldiers.

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