Evaluating Army capability
The Combat Training Centre (CTC) has trained 180 defence members to be either an umpire or an observer trainer in the lead up to Exercise Hamel.
CTC Commander, Colonel Jake Ellwood, told the trainees to remain an expert in their field and maintain high levels of professionalism and expertise.
“Be the wicket keeper, your attention to one minor detail may save a life,” Colonel Ellwood said.
Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence Lucas, Staff Officer Land Umpires, also stressed the importance of Exercise Hamel to the umpires and observer trainers during their initial briefs. “Exercise Hamel is the Chief of Army’s main effort in training. If you are not aboard Hamel, as a participant or in a support capacity, you are not aboard Army,” he said.
To ensure the umpires and observer trainers had the necessary expertise and skills, they were sourced from the Australian Army’s schools and training establishments. The observer trainers and umpires used for Exercise Hamel range in rank from sergeant to colonel and each is a subject matter expert and experienced in the area they will be overseeing.
To assist in the realism and accuracy of the observations captured, Army will use a contracted virtual training system.
This involves the supply and monitoring of over 1200 harnesses for the soldiers and special modules for armored vehicles. These are activated by a laser that is emitted when weapons ‘shoot’ or ‘explode’.
To fully test the virtual simulation of battle damage and injury offered by virtual training systems, the umpires and observer trainers also have a personnel and equipment collection and holding area. This isolates members and equipment, and casualties prior to their return to the exercise.
The use of the holding area tests the unit’s logistics and personnel management ability, with the requirement to evacuate and then replace the casualty in a realistic timeframe.
The umpires and observer trainers are vital to the exercise. They assist the units to identify areas in their training they need to sustain, improve and fix.