From: Defence Media Centre
Date: Thu 11/04/2013 12:18 PM

Afghan School of Artillery achieves autonomy

The Australian-led Artillery Training and Advisory Team (ATAT) has successfully completed its mission to establish a fully autonomous Afghan National Army (ANA) School of Artillery.

Minister for Defence Stephen Smith said the ATAT mission officially ended on 11 April following a transition ceremony at Camp Alamo in Kabul earlier this month.

Minister Smith said the transition represents a significant step in the ANA and the Afghan National Security Forces’ move to full responsibility for the security of Afghanistan.

The school underpins the foundation for Afghanistan’s security by ensuring a powerful force projection through growing the artillery capability of the Afghan National Army.

It will provide the full spectrum of artillery courses to the ANA, from recruit training in the disciplines of Guns, Fire Support and Fire Direction, through to advanced career courses.

Australia’s Joint Task Force 633 Commander, Major General Michael Crane, described the Australian Defence Force’s contribution to the Afghan National Army School of Artillery as tremendously significant and one which will leave an enduring legacy.

“Since the School was formed, the Training Advisory Team has been an Australian led multi-national coalition unit…your legacy is a fully functional Afghan National Army School of Artillery which I know has a bright future,” Major General Crane said.

The ANA School of Artillery is now fully enabled to plan and implement a sustainable future as an independent ANA Branch School; and as the centre of professional artillery knowledge and training.

Members of the ATAT will now return to Australia.

ANA School of Artillery at a glance:

• All Afghan National Army instructors are fully certified and functional equipment status is above 90%.
• Since the School of Artillery’s establishment in 2010, more than 2300 trainees have graduated, including 1100 in the 2012 calendar year.
• The ATAT was an Australian-led organisation based at Camp Alamo in Kabul.
• During the team’s mission, support was provided by specialists from the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Singapore and Mongolia.

Australian personnel who deployed with the ATAT were drawn predominately from the Royal Australian Artillery units of the Australian Army including 1st Regiment, 4th Regiment, 8th/12th Regiment and the School of Artillery.

Imagery is available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/12133353

Media contact:
Defence Media Operations: 02 6127 1999