Words & pictures by WO2 (SMI) Peter Russell/County PR Officer
On Sunday 20 March cadets from Normandy Company spent the day in the Dismounted Close Combat Trainer (DCCT) at Waterloo Lines, Land Warfare Centre (LWC) Warminster, using the army’s latest weapon, the L85A3 Rifle 5.56mm, to really get to grips with good shooting practice without the limitations often imposed by poor weather and limited amounts of ammunition.
For those who may not be aware, in simple terms the DCCT offers a ‘virtual’ indoor range using a computer simulated firing range for training in weapon handing without the risk of handling a live weapon. All weapons, from a Glock 17 9mm pistol, through rifles, machine guns, machine grenade launchers up to NLAW and Javelin may be used in this scenario, although Army Cadets are restricted to the L85A3 Rifle which almost exactly the same as the L98A2 Cadet GP Rifle save for the addition of a fully automatic option. The rifles provide physical feedback to cadets when they are fired, with an air canister in the magazines providing recoil when the trigger is squeezed. The advantages of using this system over traditional firing ranges are many; it is weather independent, saves a considerable amount of money on ammunition and above all it is safe. The Range Control Officer (RCO) can measure elements such as breathing and trigger squeeze and even recreate factors like wind speed, temperature, humidity and weapon failures - all of which can make a vital difference to both accuracy and weapon handling skills. Sophisticated computer software allows cadets to review their shooting techniques, so that they can refine their skills rapidly on what is effectively the world’s largest games console, with cadets firing at the targets projected on a screen. A day spent in a DCCT sharpens skills that would take days, perhaps even weeks, to accomplish on a real range with all the vagaries that inclement weather can introduce to put young shooters off.
Maj Stuart Cumine, Capt Eddie McGee and SSI Bernie Townsend used their skills to allow cadets to progress from being average shots to, in some cases, marksmanship level with the opportunity to shoot with the Bn Shooting Team!