Airmobile operations involved the use of helicopters to transport troops into battle and to provide fire support at battle sites. Instead of transporting troops into battle while artillery barrages prepared the way, airmobile operations had transport helicopters move troops simultaneously with artillery and gunship fire, keeping the enemy off guard. During the Vietnam War, airmobile operations were used extensively by the United States Army and Marine Corps, but the major airmobile unit was the 101st Airborne Division.
Since airmobile operations had not even been tested until the 1950s when reliable helicopters were functioning, Vietnam became the combat breakthrough for airmobile tactics. They proved to be the foremost tactical innovation of the Vietnam War. “The courage of a soldier, to move forward while his fellowmen fall dying on either-side facing the severe resistance from the enemy is always a miracle. This was the strength, the platform that made us come this far,” Major General Kamal Gunaratne, former General Officer Commanding 53 Division said. “To win a war we should be able to place trust on those who would put our orders into action.
It comes only if the entire team is well trained and skilful. The Air Mobile Brigade is extensively trained to breach enemy lines when it is tough and unbreakable for the forwarding infantry troops. In May 16, 1994 on the direction of Ministry of Defense, Sri Lanka Army raised the Air mobile Brigade. At the onset it was under 53 Division with Special Forces Brigade and Commando Brigade. Subsequently Commander Air Mobile commenced initial training with Sri Lanka Air Force with Bell 212s and MI 17S. Later further training commenced at Special Forces Training School at Maduru Oya.
They got assistance from Special Forces Training School to train Officers and ORs of Air Mobile Brigade under the supervision of Lieutenant Colonel WLPW Perera then Major. Air mobile operation is the movement of ground based military forces and their equipment by vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft. In addition to regular infantry training, air mobile units usually undergo day and night training in advance infantry, rappelling and air transportation, which help air mobile troops to enhance their operational ability and conduct operations with minimum support from outside.
Most importantly air mobile troops are also capable of limited air assault operations as well as independent infantry bias ground operations and the Brigade is also ready to render assistance to civilian authorities during in disaster relief operations. The tasks of this Brigade are unique in the Sri Lanka security forces. Air mobile operations are an integral part of the land battle and dependent on sound and accurate intelligence. Hence, air mobile forces operate in conjunction with other ground forces and intelligence agencies, or independently with own capabilities.
Indeed the air mobile force should capable of cause the enemy to dissipate his strength by protecting vital installations and key terrain in rear areas which would otherwise be inaccessible to the attack of friendly ground forces. Subsequently, the US Marines trained the Air mobile brigade. Today air mobile brigade is capable of training her own troops at Tantirimale. At the inception the researcher was a Major and commenced its initial training at Maduruoya. Therefore the researcher possesses a vast experience about this matter since the long involvement from the beginning to recent past.
Every air mobile soldier is designed and trained for air insertion and vertical envelopment to manouvrer in which troops, either air-landed, attack the rear and flanks of a force, in effect cutting off or encircling the force, air resupply, and if necessary air extraction. During Eelam war brigade performed a remarkable role as the advance infantry brigade. Hence Sri Lanka military has recognized and included the name of the air mobile brigade also as a special brigade. However due to the lack of resources air mobile training has been affected and with the proper training and development air mobile brigade could be used as a force multiplier.
It is true that due to scare city of resources in Sri Lanka there are certain barriers ahead of us. The researcher participated for these operations at the onset. Definition of Air Mobile Operations can be laid down as follows. a. Airmobile operation in which combat forces and their equipment move about the battlefield in aerial vehicles under the control of a ground force commander to engage in ground combat. b. Airmobile Force – A force composed of ground combat elements combined with Army aviation elements to conduct airmobile operations.
Characteristics of Airmobile Operations – Airmobile operations are similar to other ground combat operations thus differ in these aspects: a. Airmobile operations usually are executed in lightly defended areas or after a pre assault nuclear or nonnuclear preparation with the advantage of initial tactical surprise. b. Airmobile forces can land directly on or adjacent to their objectives. c. Airmobile forces are particularly vulnerable during landing and assembly. d. The types and amounts of heavy equipment that can be taken into the objective area are limited. . Airmobile forces have the ability to readily conduct operations in otherwise inaccessible areas. Airmobile forces are particularly vulnerable to enemy armor due to their limited ground mobility and firepower in the objective area. f. Airmobile operations require command of the air in the objective area and suppression of enemy ground fire. g. Adverse weather restricts airmobile operations more than ground mobile operations. CONCEPT OF EMPLOYMENT a. Airmobile forces are employed in furtherance of a ground combat effort.
Their use permits the commander to take advantage of the speed and flexibility of Army aircraft in accomplishing a wide variety of tasks. The capability of conducting airmobile operations enables the commander to. 1) Pose a constant threat which may cause the enemy to divert combat forces to maintain a strong posture in rear areas to protect vital installations and hold critical terrain. 2) Overcome distances and to bypass barriers and enemy defenses. 3) Extend radically the area over which he can exert his influence. 4) Deploy his forces more effectively by holding highly mobile reserves in dispersed areas. . The capability of ground combat units and Army aviation units for conducting airmobile operations must be highly developed through the conduct of frequent airmobile unit training and the development of pertinent unit SOP’s. COMPOSITION, COMMAND, AND RESPONSIBILITIES The composition of an airmobile force is dictated by the specific mission requirements. The force must contain a ground combat element and an aviation element, and it may also contain one or more support elements such as fire support, reconnaissance, engineers, pathfinders, and elements of any of the several technical services.
Because of infantry’s versatility and air transportability, the main element of an airmobile force is normally infantry. Sup porting units may be attached, attached for operational control, or assigned specific support missions. The achievement of a high degree of versatility requires imagination and experimentation in organizing airmobile forces with the correct balance of the necessary elements. Army Aviation:-In most of the countries Army aviation units for support of airmobile operations are assigned to divisions, corps, and field armies.
The aircraft organic to the division are adequate for small-scale airmobile operations. Army aviation units at corps and field army must be used to support operations that are beyond the capability of division aircraft. However in our context Sri Lanka Army utilize transport air crafts belong to Sri Lanka Air Force. ROLE AND TASK OF THE AIR MOBILE BRIGADE a. Role: -The role of the Air mobile Brigade is to harness the full potential of the MI17 and Bell 212 and 412 helicopters and exploit the air dimension to enhance the tactical mobility of the Infantry to out manouvre and destroy the enemy.
This Brigade Group will be available to Formation Commander as a reserve Strike Force in Offensive and defensive Operations. b. Tasks:- The tasks of the air mobile brigade are follows: * Bypassing obstacles and strike objectives, attack enemy positions from any direction. * React rapidly to tactical opportunities and conduct deep operations beyond the Forward Line of Own Troops. * Exploit success to complete the destruction of the enemy. * Rapidly secure and defend key terrain. * Conduct surprise operations at night. * Act as a committed unit to rapidly reinforce when required. The seizure and retention of key terrain including defiles, bridges and crossing sites. * To conduct raids. * Reconnaissance mission. * To block or assist containment of encircled forces. * Reinforcement of encircled forces. * To insert or extract long- range patrols. * Deploy for humanitarian aid missions, evacuation, disaster relief and (combat) search and rescue (CSAR). * Deploy in counter insurgency operations JOB DESCRIPTION OF DIFFERENT APPOINTMENTS Different kind of job descriptions is as follow, * Job Description of the Brigade Commander
The Brigade Commander of Air mobile force exercise overall control of all elements of the air mobile brigade and responsible for planning and executing the training in order to enhance the operational capability of the Brigade. Further Brigade Commander is responsible for planning and executing operation in achieving entrusted tasks by the higher commander while ensuring the unity of command throughout the operation. Further his responsibilities are including: * Preparation of all plans and orders. * Control of both aviation and ground elements. * Tactical decision making which affects the force as a whole during the operation. Establishing of replenishment priorities. * Security for aviation units while on the ground. * Ensuring co-ordination and liaison with air defense, airspace control and tactical air support elements. Brigade Commander is the key person in air mobile brigade. He is the person who handles all operational training and administration matters of the brigade.. He is the person who monitors all aspect in all dimension of the brigade. (Brigade organization has been given as an annex). * Brigade Major (BM) Brigade Major is the person who overlooking operational and training matters n the brigade from direct assistance of Brigade Commander and Brigade Major overlooking duties of Brigade during the absence of Brigade Commander in the brigade. BM always contact with Battalions to under command air mobile brigade and working as a staff officer of the brigade. * * Major AQ He is the person who handling all administration matters from directs assistance given by the brigade commander. He also works as a staff officer of air mobile brigade. He is responsible for transport, account and supply to brigade and under command units. * Battalion Commanders
Three Battalion commanders under command to air mobile brigade and they commanded to own Battalions by assistance from brigade headquarter. They are having more than 500 soldiers to go for succession plan of the brigade. This commanders control four Coy Commanders to accomplish the brigade role in any situation of the country. * Company commanders They are the person who direct contact with all the troops and they can achieve the air mobile task and the mission. They are always engaging with troops they identify capable persons and work with higher commanders. * Other Professional
Brigade also consists of other personnel from various units in the army such as Medical Corps, Corps of Engineers and Signals units. RECRUITMENT Recruitment is the process of determining human resource requirements. Recruitment is the process of searching for prospective employees and stimulating and encouraging them to apply for jobs in an organization. In other words, recruitment implies locating, maintaining and contacting the sources of man power. Recruitment is the process of recruitment proceeds with the process of selection. INTERNAL SOURCES Generally army recruiting procedure is adopted to induct ORs and Officers to the army.
Subsequently, they are inducted to the various regiments of the army and a selected segment is inducted the Air Mobile Brigade. In the Air Mobile Brigade the procedure is either promotions or transfers. However when the battalions are inducted the brigade only senior and experienced battalions get the chances. EXTERNAL SOURCES Following sources are used in the army as external sources. They are * Job advertisements * Professional bodies * Recommendations of existing employees. Researcher has selected following job categories in the organization. They are as follow. Privates- This category is recruited as per Ministry of Defence policies. During the pre war era they were selected from Grade eight and currently post war situation has changed. Presently Privates are selected from G. C. E. O/L. However once they inducted into Air Mobile Brigade they will undergo a special training at Air Mobile Training school. Their service is a short one and not that much experience entity, hence sometimes their turnover absent is high due to domestic issues, and personal problems. * Corporals-They are the section commanders. They also join as recruits and with the fulfillment of qualifications they get their ranks.
This is the time period which they enter the society such as matrimony etc. Some soldiers might absent due to more domestic issues and personnel troubles. * Sergeants -They are the senior non- commissioned officers. They possess a long career in the army and this segment must possess good leadership qualities among Other Ranks. Their turnover is very less and they are capable of tackle their own domestic issues. * Other Rank Commissioned Officers-Some competent ORs were commissioned during war time to overcome officer’s shortfall. They carried it out well at the war.
The crux of the matter here is they had to undergo a very short spell of training and now they also have to mingle with direct enlisted Officers. However it was found that ORs commissioned officers face a bit difficulty for survival which may lead some of them to absent. CONCLUSION Though the country is in a post war scenario, it should not compromise her security at any cost. Any country should function its operation readiness in par with other nations. Hence, Air Mobile Brigade also keeps its momentum and it can play a pivotal role in peace time committing for tasks such as Disaster Management etc.
In the meantime it is paramount important to include some interactions with intellectuals for our troops on aspects such as motivation, character building, positive thinking which can have an impact on retention in the service without getting absent. References Air Mobile Ops. (2000, 11 ). Vietnam operations videos. Retrieved from http://youtube. com. Defenders of the Nations. Retrieved fromhttp. www. army. com. Major Francis J Hubes, 2007. Forces Design the Air Mobile Concept and Operations pdf document. Retrieved from http:www. usaarmy. com. ANNEXex ORGANISATION OF THE BRIGADE
Brigade HQ Command By Brigadier or Colonel Brigade Major Major AQ 5th Battalion The Gemunu Watch Wellawaya Command by Lieutenant Colonel 6th Battalion Gajaba Regiment Colombo Command by Lieutenant Colonel 1st Battalion Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment Puttalam Command by Lieutenant Colonel Air Mobile Training School Thantirimale Commands by a Major Coy Comd Coy Comd Coy Comd Coy Comd Coy Comd Coy Comd Coy Comd Coy Comd Coy Comd Coy Comd Coy Comd Coy Comd Instr Offr Instr Offr Pl Comd Pl Comd Pl Comd Pl Comd Pl Comd Pl Comd Pl Comd Pl Comd Pl Comd Pl Comd Pl Comd Pl Comd