Forty-six tank commanders completed an intensive IDF course in recent days aimed
at turning them into experts on accurate fire power, who will in turn spread
their knowledge among their military companies.
Maj. Barak Ashraf, head
of the Gunnery Section in the army’s Armored Corps, told The Jerusalem Post on
Sunday that the annual two-week “master gunner” course, the third of its kind,
has already resulted in tangible improvements in the field and that the accuracy
of tank fire has risen significantly.
Ashraf said the IDF would fire 70
rounds to strike 30 targets, but “today, we fire 40 rounds to hit 40
targets. The lethality has risen, whether the targets are near or far,
and whatever the targets are,” he continued. “Today, the aim of tanks is to use
a minimum amount of rounds with maximum efficiency. Every round, be it a shell
or a bullet, should hit its target.”
The course is made up of two phases:
One week of simulator training followed by a week of live-fire drills at the
Advanced Armor Training Center at Shizafon, in the South. The drills occur day
and night, and include scenarios in which the tank’s advanced computer systems
break down and an emergency back up system needs to be activated.
they’re all going back to their companies and sectors as master gunners,” Ashraf
The course graduates are at the rank of staff sergeants, and are
expected to serve in the reserves for at least 20 years.
The IDF launched
the course after its delegates returned from the United States with lessons from
the American army’s tank training courses. The course covers all forms of tank fire,
including 120 millimeter cannons, MAG machines guns, .5 inch M2 Browning machine
guns and 60mm. artillery shells.
“The course graduates get the tools to
examine previous tank fire incidents that occurred during ordinary security
missions,” Ashraf said.
“If a tank fired on a terror cell in Gaza, where
did the rounds fall, who fired them, and how effective were they? The computers
document it all, and the tank commanders will investigate the results.”