Tank commanders complete ‘super gunner’ course

IDF focuses on efficient use of tank fire power; senior Armored Corps officer: We expect every round to hit its target.

July 8, 2013 01:26
1 minute read.
Tanks fire rounds as part of an intensive ‘master gunner’ course.

Tanks training 370. (photo credit: IDF Spokesman)


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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.

“Now, they’re all going back to their companies and sectors as master gunners,” Ashraf said.

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.”

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