By Staff Sgt. Lyttleton M. Yates, Joint Multinational Training Command Public Affairs
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany – Today’s ground forces find themselves in many stressful situations and the continuous feedback from Iraq and Afghanistan has changed the way the Army prepares its forces.
The U.S. Army Europe’s first Interim Battle Area Complex (IBAX), a new range at the Joint Multinational Training Command’s Grafenwoehr Training Area has integrated the newest situational awareness technologies, and enhanced after-action review (AAR) capabilities to provide Soldiers and commanders with immediate feedback on their training objectives, while incorporating the sights and sounds of battle.
The 2nd Squadron of the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment (2/2 SCR), from Vilseck, Germany, was the first unit to utilize the new IBAX range. “ It (2/2 SCR) was the first to integrate all the training scenarios the IBAX offers, including the incorporation of a combined arms live-fire,” said Sgt. 1st Class Daniel L. Muren, JMTCs range control operations NCO and IBAX subject matter expert.
According to Muren, “units can employ all organic weapon systems [any and all individual and squad weapons], while going through the IBAX and once through the jager-bahn [the area with the villages and trenches and breaching walls], they can incorporate close air support and additional indirect fire support systems.”
Joint Multinational Training Commands newest training experience – the Interim Battle Area Complex (IBAX) — Photo: Staff Sgt. Lyttleton M. Yates
The jager-bahn, which is interpreted as “hunter’s trail” in the German language, is a fully instrumented dismounted infantry live-fire (LF) course. In 2009 the JMTC up-graded, range 118, one of its multipurpose range complex’s capable of supporting all weapons and weapons platforms, and integrated the jager-bahn facilities. The jager-bahn is capable of supporting, squad, platoon, and company level units, consisting of two LF villages with single and two story shoot house buildings, trench lines, breaching walls, and façades. Both villages offer a 360-degree LF structure, 3-D mannequin type targets, standard human silhouette targets and a speaker system throughout the complex providing realistic sound effects.
“We’ve had at least 50 percent new Soldiers, since our last deployment, and introducing these Soldiers to squad and platoon live-fires is essential to fulfilling pre-deployment requirements. The systems, the equipment and range 118 enhance the training experience for both Soldiers and leaders,” said Capt. Adam Scher, commander of DOG Company, 2/2 SCR. “It allowed the Soldiers and leaders to capture real-time locations of individual Soldiers during maneuver training. This view and perspective helps drive the AAR process, and allows leaders and Soldiers to view themselves in relation not only to terrain but to other friendly forces in their formation.”
“This new tool broadens the scope of teaching and learning by helping observers of training to see the entire battlefield and the location of all friendly forces at all times,” said Scher.
Additional up-grades in 2009 drastically changed range 118s Range Operations Center giving it the ability to facilitate the tracking and recording of a units training by integrating a lightweight GPS tracking system for both Soldiers and vehicles.
“We are able to track who is shooting whom and with what weapon system on 26 day/night thermal cameras located in the buildings, which allows for 360 degree LF with some limitations,” said Maj. Scott Moore, JMTC Range control Officer.
Muren said, Range 118s up-grades are more specific to Stryker’s, but any unit can use it.