On an icy four degree Canungra morning soldiers from the 1st Signal Regiment recently concluded a week of Infantry Minor Tactics (IMT) activities by completing the confidence course; including the dreaded submerged tunnels, the 14 foot wall and a 10 metre tower jump into the murky water below. Exercise MARS HAMMER was the Regiments annual IMT training event.
The 1st Signal Regiment is a high readiness unit. All members require not only excellent trade specific skills but also well practiced basic soldier skills.
The week began with a range shoot, followed by lessons over the following days including section attacks, section harbour considerations and patrolling. Participants were divided into sections, with all members regardless of rank given an opportunity to act as section commanders. This was designed to promote leadership and cohesion throughout the Regiment. The sections also completed specialist lessons in Explosive Hazard Awareness and Protection Training and Prisoner of War handling skills with instructors from the 6th Engineer Support Regiment and 1st Military Police Battalion. After hours, the Defence Force School of Intelligence provided training on conduct after capture.
The exercise culminated with the sections undertaking Canungra's infamous confidence course. Participants were challenged to complete the 27 obstacles, testing their strength, courage and teamwork. Looking back at the week long exercise Signaller Navid Himal stated "I enjoyed the integration with individuals from other elements of the Regiment as it allowed me to get to know people I don't talk or work with ordinarily. The training itself allowed me to grow as a leader, due to the fact that I was forced to step up into the position of Section Commander."
By pushing junior soldiers outside of their comfort zone and by exposing them to command roles, some for the first time, individuals began thinking about leadership and their responsibilities to their team. Rotating the section commanders not only enabled junior soldiers to grow, but encouraged more senior soldiers and NCO's to take on a mentoring role with the Regiment's soldiers.
Upon the conclusion of the exercise the Regimental Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer Class One, Danny Hamilton stated "This activity was an opportunity for the soldiers of the 1st Signal Regiment to conduct basic military skills training in an environment which took them out of their comfort zone. The inclement weather over the week long activity injected an extra layer of adversity that doesn't always bring a smile to the face, but enhanced the experience for both instructors and soldiers. By diversifying the training over the week we encouraged leadership, teamwork and a sense of esprit de corps. It was a great week and I am sure the soldiers and the support elements got a lot out of it".
"EVER WONDERED WHY DLAN HAS SO MANY ISSUES? USUALLY AROUND THE NETWORK LAYER".
As Geeks I think we have all at some point wondered why the DLAN has so many issues, particularly around the networking layer. Questions such as 'Why is it taking 20 minutes to login?' or, 'Did DFSR make a mess of its own bed, again?' often give voice to our frustrations. During the recent lead up to Exercise VITAL PROSPECT 16 (VP 16) we needed to get the Zulu suites prepped down here at 1 Sig Regt, which required every aspect of them to be reviewed. During this review, whilst checking the server switch configurations I noticed something - all of our servers carry Gigabit NIC's, but had auto negotiated to a mere 100MB/sec. A quick statement against their interfaces in the switch
of 'Speed 1000' (Ports 1-2 by default) suddenly revealed something - these builds are being heavily hindered by being bottlenecked to 10% of their available bandwidth. Therefore this should be applied against all DSOE builds at the earliest convenience. This is due to how Cisco itself determines auto negotiation - for Cisco to Cisco devices it will take the highest possible speed, while Cisco to non-Cisco devices will run on the lowest common denominator, meaning we need to specify what it should be.
We tested and proved the concept successfully throughout VP 16 and had no issues concerning the usual suspects. There was no unexplained backlog in DFSR, notes replicated without issue, logon speeds had no unexplained latency, and tape backups were captured on schedule. It was almost as if we had a corporate network at our disposal the only disappointment being that this fix was discovered just as this equipment is about to be superseded. Of note was that even running through all of the 'network overhead' that the Techs bring to our game, our general browsing, and the use of Defence corporate sites, we exceeded what was being experienced by most users of Strategic Desktops. What we learnt here is that there is much to be gained from network optimisation, especially within our DLAN suites, which will allow us to reduce many of the common issues experienced.
"OPERATING IN THE DIGITISED ARMY".
Over the last five years the Australian Army has been steadily upgrading its Combat Net Radio, replacing BCSS with the BMS, Raven radio's with Harris and Raytheon radio's, and CRATT with SWaTS. It is an exciting time to be in RASIGS as we develop SOPs, enhance capability and find new ways to conduct business. However we have had to face some unique issues that have required us to fault find, workshop and work around. At 1 Sig Regt one of our key issues was how to remote our radio systems out of the GWagon Manoeuvre Node Variant. In the legacy days it was as simple as hooking up a CF-300 and a JF-303 and away you go, unfortunately now things aren't as simple.
Throughout May 2016 1 Sig Regt trialled and proved an easy but effective means of remoting BMS from the GWagon Manoeuvre Node Variant which allowed our Higher Command Links (HCL) to effectively provide services into the Command Posts (CP) of their supported units. This simple solution required a "dumb" switch, EPLRS programming cable, CAT 5 terminated with RJ45 and a BMS LANPC configured to mirror the configuration of the detachments vehicle. The process was then relatively simple, disconnect the vehicles BMS data cable from the back of the EPLRS and replace it with the EPLRS programming cable, connecting the RJ45 end into the "dumb" switch, then with your terminated CAT 5 cut to the required length connect your LANPC and log on. This simple solution allows our HCL's to manage the EPLRS network by adding an ENM Laptop to the switch as well as providing an additional five Ethernet sockets on the "dumb" switch, therefore enabling the provision of five BMS LANPC terminals to their supported HQ. This process wasn't with out its teething problems, particularly concerning IP addresses. So to give some tips and tricks for the successful remoting of BMS from a GWagon Manoeuvre Node Variant, let's start there. If you are going to use your detachment as the EPLRS Network Manager, ensure you deconflict your IP's between the ENM and LANPC. We suggest using the fifth available IP address from the EPLRS address range for your ENM. For example if your Network address is 188.8.131.52, your EPLRS radio address
will be 184.108.40.206 and your BMS LANPC will automatically take on 220.127.116.11, so based on our suggestion your ENM IP should be 18.104.22.168.By doing this you'll prevent local IP conflicts. Our next suggestion is to ensure that manual position reporting is enabled on your LANPC. We found that failing to do this led to our remoted BMS terminal falling off the Blue Dot Tracker as there was no GPS data for it to pass. Our last tip for the use of this remoting solution is to note that it is a local solution and is therefore not trialled or proven by Elbit. As a result, there is no FSR support should you come across any issues whilst using this solution. Good Luck and Certa Cito.
"INTRODUCTION OF NEW TECH EQUIPMENT".
Quite a few exciting things are happening in 1 Sig Regt. These include the introduction of the new Satellite dishes (the TLT-L and the TLT-M), the introduction of the new provisional BTN (P-BTN) equipment and being selected as one of the first units to try and engineer Beyond Line of Sight for the Battle Management System.
The new dishes were brought into the unit a few weeks ago and were deployed for the first time on Ex Vital Prospect 2016 (VP 16). There is a vast improvement in capability and capacity, even though they were using the old FDMA modem instead of the new integrated TDMA modems. Once you overcome the obstacle of the dish thinking it is still in the northern hemisphere and the dish's attempts to find the satellite on the ground, it works fantastically.
The integration of the new P-BTN equipment brought with it its own set of challenges. The issuing of the equipment was made difficult due to it not being MILIS tracked appropriately, and then there was the knowledge gap. The first deployment of the equipment would have been far easier, and much quicker had a qualified person been able to teach and guide us on the configuration. However, that said, the overall security and ease of use once established is far superior to the old TRANSEC configurations.
During VP 16 the TSE from HQ 1 Div approached us to engineer a link for the Battle Management System, Beyond Line of Sight over BGAN. This has been attempted before but never fully succeeded, until now. I am proud to say that the members from 1 Sig Regt managed to make it happen. It took the creation of a network diagram, a closed BGAN user group and configuration creation and a phenomenal group effort from CPL McMichael (1 Sig Regt), SIG Duffy (1 Sig Regt) and SIG Robson (145 Sig Sqn) to get it working. Allowing BMS to be transmitted over large distances through routing and satellites giving the commander greater C3 and situational awareness. The next real test of this system will be the increased participants on Ex Hamel, calling for a new network diagram and configurations.