Navy Sailors Get 'Phase 1.5' Training On Digital Laser Range

The trainees are waiting for their next stage of training after having completed their Phase 1 course.

Sailors waiting for the next stage of their Royal Navy training have been given a bonus course, dubbed 'Phase 1.5'.

HMS Excellent and Her Majesty's Naval Base (HMNB) Portsmouth have been hosting groups of sailors waiting to continue their training, while some courses were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After completing the bonus course, trainees will move on to branch-specialised training at Phase 2 training establishments.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Royal Navy has been able to continue carrying out basic training at HMS Raleigh, as well as at Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth for the first time ever.

Having completed Phase 1 at HMS Raleigh, the trainees at Excellent underwent the additional training rather than waiting for their next course to begin.

Lasting two weeks, 'Phase 1.5' consisted of sailors using the Dismounted Close Combat Trainer (DCCT), and also included ceremonial drill and adventure training.

The second week was spent on HMS Prince of Wales.

The DCCT at HMS Excellent acted as a taster of what will be needed to qualify to bear arms on deployment and be effective in a variety of scenarios when they complete the full course later in their training.

Because the DCCT uses laser and digital technology, the team can run through a wide range of scenarios from basic target practise on a simulate range to judgmental assessments.

AB Jack Marshall is training to be a Mine Warfare Specialist, and said: "I really enjoyed the DCCT as it builds on the knowledge we learnt at Raleigh.

"All the drills we completed at Raleigh came back to me while firing on the simulated range here.

"The gas magazine creates a realistic feeling but without the pressure of having live rounds in the rifle."

Phase 1.5 Trainees practice a range of scenarios using the laser and digital technology at the Disomounted Combat trainer range at HMS Excellent (Picture: Royal Navy).

In the judgmental assessments, a video is played to test the knowledge of the student to decide if it is justifiable to fire at a target.

The situations used to test trainees range from defending an airfield to storming a beach.

The rifles provide feedback to students when they are fired.

The air canister in the magazines are charged to 3000psi, which provides recoil when the trigger is squeezed.

By using this system over traditional firing ranges, it is estimated to save a considerable amount of money and be safer.

AB Rebecca Saunders is training to be a Writer Submariner, and said: "I loved going on the simulator, it’s better than the one at Raleigh as it gives you more of an insight to what real world scenarios would look like, and it’s comparable to shooting on a real range as the gun recoils."

Trainees would usually visit a similar facility just prior to going to their first unit for their four-week military rifle competency course, allowing them to carry out duties such as gangway watch or a hostile vessel boarding.

The first fortnight of the four-week course consists of a range-based package to get students confident on the weapons and to a level at which they can legally bear arms.

The second two weeks is the tactical and educational part of the programme, covering topics such as rules of engagement and the application of firepower - how to move around a ship in order to defend it or detect an intruder.

Cover image: Royal Navy.