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Training exercise prepares soldiers for combat

FORT SILL, Okla._An explosive scene Thursday night on the firing range.

Local troops teamed up for the first time on a rare night-time joint exercise with a unit from Kentucky, who is about to be deployed. It's called the C-Ram System, which stands for counter-rocket and mortar.

There are two key elements to the system that protects soldiers in the field from incoming rocket or mortar fire. They are able to detect those rounds, and shoot them down in mid-air. They also send the coordinates of the enemy's launch points to the field artillery units, which then fire back at the launch sites to prevent more rockets from coming. Thursday night marked the first time that information was shared digitally between the units.

"We are training to actively engage the enemy. This is the only weapon system that saves lives, so when rockets or mortars are shot at friendly troops stationed while they are sleeping or eating in the day we are able to acquire those targets, worn for those targets and shoot them down,” Battery Commander First Lieutenant Cassandra Steiner said.

About 200 troops were involved in Thursday’s exercise. They've been working together for about a month. Thursday night's training in the field is another element in the learning process for the troops, who've also spent time going through very similar exercises using computer simulation.

"A lot of our training is done by simulation we have very robust simulation capabilities that allows us to constantly do engagements virtually so the crew continue to progress in their proficiency, we are able to replicate many of the same scenarios they will encounter in the real world,” Battalion Commander, 2nd Battalion, 6th ADA Lieutenant Colonel Charles Matallana said.

The battery commanders for the units of the air defense artillery and the field artillery have worked together while deployed, doing this same mission in combat.

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