British experts get Afghan Army on the road
Two expert British Army drivers are helping the Afghan National Army to get mobile and stay safe. Royal Logistic Corps Captain Kev Ladner, and Warrant Officer Class 2 Dave Brown of 24 Regiment, RLC, are highly skilled military drivers, who have been sharing their 40 years of combined military driving experience with a selected cadre of 11 newly-trained ‘warriors’, as ANA soldiers are called.
Afghanistan’s Helmand Province has some of the most brutal and punishing driving conditions to be found anywhere in the world – yet mobility is key, as the Afghan security forces play an increasingly important role in defeating insurgent attacks. Moving safely through Helmand’s challenging terrain is tough and dangerous, and the ANA’s agile Ford Ranger patrol vehicles and their crews take a fierce pounding.
As WO2 Dave Brown explains, although most accidents involving ANA vehicles happen at relatively low speeds, they waste valuable time and equipment: “The majority of accidents are minor collisions, usually on patrol, at speeds of less than 25mph. They are still recorded as an accident, and, as such, are subject to an investigation. There are also limited resources to support the repairs needed to get vehicles back in service. The good news is that, after completion this specialist training, the ANA drivers have a much greater understanding of road safety and of how to avoid potential hazards.”
The new specialist driving course aims to build a cadre of qualified drivers, able to operate and maintain their vehicles, reducing accidents, lowering maintenance and repair costs, and ensuring that as many ANA patrol vehicles as possible are always ready for action. The new course features on- and off-road driver training, hazard perception tests, vehicle checks and regular driver assessments. It has already been hailed a resounding success, as all 11 regular serving ANA drivers who took part in the scheme have passed as competent to drive and maintain the ANA’s fleet of combat vehicles – and pass on their skills to future ANA drivers. Planning is now underway for a similar course for the ANA’s new armoured Humvee patrol vehicles.