Training and Air Mobile Operations

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INTRODUCTION

Airmobile operations involved the use of helicopters to transport troops into battle and to provide fire support at battle sites. Instead of transporting troops into battle while artillery barrages prepared the way, airmobile operations had transport helicopters move troops simultaneously with artillery and gunship fire, keeping the enemy off guard. During the Vietnam War, airmobile operations were used extensively by the United States Army and Marine Corps, but the major airmobile unit was the 101st Airborne Division. Since airmobile operations had not even been tested until the 1950s when reliable helicopters were functioning, Vietnam became the combat breakthrough for airmobile tactics. They proved to be the foremost tactical innovation of the Vietnam War.

"The courage of a soldier, to move forward while his fellowmen fall dying on either-side facing the severe resistance from the enemy is always a miracle. This was the strength, the platform that made us come this far," Major General Kamal Gunaratne, former General Officer Commanding 53 Division said. "To win a war we should be able to place trust on those who would put our orders into action. It comes only if the entire team is well trained and skilful. The Air Mobile Brigade is extensively trained to breach enemy lines when it is tough and unbreakable for the forwarding infantry troops.

In May 16, 1994 on the direction of Ministry of Defense, Sri Lanka Army raised the Air mobile Brigade. At the onset it was under 53 Division with Special Forces Brigade and Commando Brigade. Subsequently Commander Air Mobile commenced initial training with Sri Lanka Air Force with Bell 212s and MI 17S. Later further training commenced at Special Forces Training School at Maduru Oya. They got assistance from Special Forces Training School to train Officers and ORs of Air Mobile Brigade under the supervision of Lieutenant Colonel WLPW Perera then Major. Air mobile operation is the movement of ground based military forces and their equipment by vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft. In addition to regular infantry training, air mobile units usually undergo day and night training in advance infantry, rappelling and air transportation, which help air mobile troops to enhance their operational ability and conduct operations with minimum support from outside. Most importantly air mobile troops are also capable of limited air assault operations as well as independent infantry bias ground operations and the Brigade is also ready to render assistance to civilian authorities during in disaster relief operations. The tasks of this Brigade are unique in the Sri Lanka security forces. Air mobile operations are an integral part of the land battle and dependent on sound and accurate intelligence. Hence, air mobile forces operate in conjunction with other ground forces and intelligence agencies, or independently with own capabilities. Indeed the air mobile force should capable of cause the enemy to dissipate his strength by protecting vital installations and key terrain in rear areas which would otherwise be inaccessible to the attack of friendly ground forces.

Subsequently, the US Marines trained the Air mobile brigade. Today air mobile brigade is capable of training her own troops at Tantirimale. At the inception the researcher was a Major and commenced its initial training at Maduruoya. Therefore the researcher possesses a vast experience about this matter since the long involvement from the beginning to recent past. Every air mobile soldier is designed and trained for air insertion and vertical envelopment to manouvrer in which troops, either air-landed, attack the rear and flanks of a force, in effect cutting off or encircling the force, air resupply, and if necessary air extraction. During Eelam war brigade performed a remarkable role as the advance infantry brigade. Hence Sri Lanka military has recognized and included the name of the air mobile brigade also...
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