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The Yorkshire Gunners

On operations, the Theatre STA Battery acts as the eyes of the troops on the ground. We provide three main capabilities: Counter Indirect Fire, Base ISTAR and Surveillance and Target Acquisition Patrols, as in the picture above.

Surveillance & Target Acquisition (STA)

5 Regiment Royal Artillery is the Army's Surveillance and Target Acquisition (STA) regiment, and is a singleton regiment - the only unit which provides the capabilities we have. We have a constant commitment to deploy one sub-unit every six months as the Theatre STA Battery, supporting operations in Afghanistan. On operations, the Theatre STA Battery acts as the eyes of the troops on the ground. We provide three main capabilities: Counter Indirect Fire, Base ISTAR and Surveillance and Target Acquisition Patrols.

Counter Indirect Fire (C-IDF)

This is a process of identifying where a projectile such as an artillery shell, mortar or rocket is fired from. We do this using several weapon locating radar and acoustic systems. This information can then be passed on to other units to observe or strike.

Base ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance)

Surveillance equipment that provides protection to our Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) and Patrol Bases (PBs). This is done with several cameras and sensors that relay information to a command and control centre where information and images are gathered. This information is used to protect troops on the ground, spot insurgent activity, and build up a picture of the local normal activity in Afghanistan and then warn if something unusual occurs or pass the information on to other units who can take the process further either by collecting intelligence or striking the enemy.

Surveillance and Target Acquisition Patrols

4/73 (Sphinx) Special Observation Post Battery Royal Artillery provides the Army’s STA Patrol capability. STA Patrols perform a high risk FIND and FINISH function which complements the activities conducted by other Ground Manned Reconnaissance assets. They work as independent 4-6 man teams and are uniquely trained and configured to operate in isolation, at range and in close proximity to the enemy. They are capable of deploying advanced technical surveillance equipment to develop deep understanding of a target area. STA Patrols are also trained to control the full spectrum of Joint Fires, enabling them to deliver a long range FINISH capability.

MAMBA (Mobile Artillery Monitoring Battlefield Radar)

It can process 100 rockets, mortars or artillery shells and provide the operator with 8 Point Of Origin (POO) grids all within one minute. MAMBA has a detection range of up to 30km. The MAMBA requires a crew of 7, a commander plus two shifts of 3. It is an all weather 24 hour system. MAMBAs are currently deployed in Afghanistan, providing constant 24-hour C-IDF cover.



Detects mortars to a range of 9.3km, this active radar provides 360 degree coverage of the battlefield. It can provide a hostile indirect firing point location accurate to within 50m and give early warning of incoming enemy indirect fire, all whilst the mortar is in the air.

Manned by a crew of 2-3 soldiers, it is usually deployed into remote locations, small and versatile enough to fit into the smaller bases.

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