Gagetown Gunners Evaluate New Radar Capabilities
By Captain Nicholas Kaempffer
The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery School
Through their inherent nature as the Kings of Battle, Gunners are continually looking to push both technical and tactical boundaries to the limit, to ensure the Canadian Army (CA) is supported with firepower during training and operations. In this regard, The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery School (RCAS) is proud of its mandate to lead the way as a Functional Centre of Excellence in the evaluation of Artillery systems, which will directly support the capabilities of the field force. During the month of July, Gunners from the RCAS, specifically from W Battery’s Surveillance and Target Acquisition (STA) Troop, travelled to Wainwright, Alberta, where they worked with Master Warrant Officer (MWO) Anthony Tullett to provide feedback on the Lightweight Counter-Mortar Radar (LCMR) to the Director Land Requirements (DLR) in Ottawa.
Brought into service by the CA in 2007, the LCMR is a proven system that was heavily utilized in Afghanistan, as it is capable of detecting both the location of impact and origin of hostile enemy artillery fire. Currently in service within all Regular Force and some Primary Reserve Artillery units in Canada, the LCMR has received many life-cycle upgrades that have pushed the capabilities of the system far beyond its original design, to include the tracking of aircraft. On hand to test this newfound functionality was MWO Tullett, the Master Gunner (Mr Gnr) of the RCAS, who worked with STA experts from W Battery, as they tracked numerous aircraft during a live-fire Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) exercise.
A graduate of the demanding Army Technical Warrant Officer Programme, MWO Tullett (Mr Gnr) follows the footsteps of many Gunner “greats,” as one of the key pillars of Artillery is technical excellence, for which The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery (RCA) is renowned. Working on the testing of the LCMR since 2016, MWO Tullett (Mr Gnr) leveraged his subject matter expertise to provide the RCA with vital feedback about the functionality of the system’s aircraft identification and tracking capabilities. There to assist him were several Gunners from W Battery, who were responsible for the deployment of the LCMR, along with the provision and operation of a Raven B Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). The members of the STA Troop present were Warrant Officer (WO) Andrea Alexander, Sergeant (Sgt) Charles Neves, Master Bombardier (MBdr) Troy Colburne, MBdr Corey Bowe, Bombardier (Bdr) Ethan Cere-Burns, and Bdr Jonathon Holowaty, all of whom were an integral component of the LCMR evaluation. Leading the STA Troop was WO Alexander, who stated: “it was an outstanding experience to test the system with so many resources – it really reinforced our confidence with its diverse range of capabilities.” Commanding the operation of a remotely piloted Raven B UAS was Sgt Neves, who was integrated into both the LCMR system evaluation and the JTAC exercise. Operating the Raven B UAS was Bdr Holowaty, who really enjoyed the “system of systems” element of his Wainwright experience, as he was able to locate targets, work with mortars, and receive exposure to JTAC training. Both Sgt Neves and Bdr Holowaty highlighted the challenges of airspace coordination and the capabilities of the Raven B UAS, which provided both an additional layer of complexity to JTAC students, along with an additional sensor asset to enable students to study varying vantages of key terrain.
With the evaluation of new radar capabilities of the LCMR complete, thanks to the hard work of both the Mr Gnr and W Battery, the RCAS, on behalf of the RCA, was able to provide valuable feedback to DLR. This is demonstrative of the technical prowess possessed by RCAS Gunners, who continually leverage their systems and skills to provide on-time, on-target firepower, in support of the CA.
Photo Credit: MWO A. Tullett (Mr Gnr)
Photo Caption 1: The LCMR and a RCAF CH-146 Griffon helicopter
Photo Caption 2: The LCMR and an Alberta Sunrise
Photo Caption 3: The W Battery STA Troop (L-R) MBdr Bowe, Sgt Neves, Bdr Cere-Burns, MBdr Colburne, Bdr Holowaty, and WO Alexander