Preparations of Serbian rocketeers for firings at “Shabla 2017”
On the “Shabla” Bulgarian Army firing range, members of the 250th Air Defence Missile Brigade of AF&AD are undergoing intensive preparations for joint air defence live firings.
The firing range on the Black Sea coast, not far from Varna, is not something unknown to the Serbian rocketeers, because this is the fourth time that they are performing joint firings with their Bulgarian counterparts.
In the past years, big heat was an additional challenge for everyday activities on the firing range, and this year's stay on "Shabla" will be remembered by an irresistible wind that often changed the intensity and direction.
Even by a quick look from the observation post of the command position of the exercise it can be seen that they are all busy at the firing range, so that everything is ready for the day of firings, and the instructions of those who have already had the opportunity to "walk over" the polygon, are valuable help to those who meet with it for the first time.
Colonel Tiosav Janković, Deputy Commander of the 250th Missile Brigade, had opportunity to take part in firings at "Shabla" in the previous three times as well and, as he points out, what is the constant of all these years is that members of our armed forces take that task responsibly so that the trip to Bulgaria is preceded by serious work and preparations.
- The difference is that in 2010 it was the first firing exercise after the war. As early as in 2011, some firing models and algorithms were established and people have gained some experience, so we came to the fact that this year's firings have become a routine task - Colonel Janković emphasizes, adding that any firing, no matter how clear and known it may be, carries with it a dose of contingency and nothing can be completely foreseen, so a quick and thoughtful response is required.
When it comes to the training level of the people, Colonel Janković points out that such firings are invaluable as they are subject to comprehensive theoretical and practical preparations.
- They know how it all looks theoretically and what they need to do, but that feeling when the crew launches a rocket and hears the sound of the starter motor, when they feel the vibration of the ground and see the explosion of the rocket on the screen, and those who watch it from the outside when they see an impressive flight of a rocket - it is a completely different experience and it is the finest finishing layer in their training and knowledge - Colonel Janković emphasizes, adding that it is exactly the reason why rocketeers come to “Shabla” motivated and professionally curious, and that is why the competition is harsh who will be chosen to represent our Armed Forces on "Shabla".
Upon arrival at "Shabla", the busiest were those on the position of the missile-technical battery, and Sergeant Major Bojan Petković, the operator on the "CUBE" missile system, who is at "Shabla" for the third time, is the leader of the team for the preparation of missiles for the live firing.
Speaking about the experience of the previous firings on that firing range, he points out that the Serbian rocketeers set off for Bulgaria with one goal - to perform the task successfully. When it comes to professional terminology, since we serve the same resources and use the same literature, there are no missions, and encounters on "Shabla" are also opportunities for sharing experiences in the domain of the profession.
- As already known, shooting is the crown of training for any rocketeer, and considering that in the previous period, when it comes to our rocketry battery, the composition has been rejuvenated, young colleagues now have the opportunity to practically show in the field what they learned here, Sergeant Major Petković concluded.
This year, two Jelena-named girls are at the "Shabla", and besides the same name, they are also bound by the fact that they are both at the firing range on the shores of the Black Sea for the first time. Speaking about their impressions, they both emphasized above all their gratitude for the trust shown and the opportunity to be among the chosen ones for "Shabla", and they are also united in the assessment that the experience that they will gain there is invaluable for their future work in the unit.
Under the camouflage tent in the rocket-technical battery position, Sergeant Jelena Stojčić, operator at the control-test station, is part of the team in charge of preparing rockets for the upcoming shooting.
"This is an opportunity for me to show what I learned in the home unit, and the cooperation with Bulgarian colleagues is at an exceptional level and we are working on the preparation of rockets so that everything is ready for the shooting that we are expecting", Stojčić says.
At the other end of the firing range, her colleague Sergeant Jelena Stanković, a manual control operator on the NEVA rocket system.
- I have been in this unit for six years, and from a soldier I became a commander by finishing courses I was sent to by my superiors. I learned the theory from textbooks, literature, and from my older colleagues, and I consider this to be a crown of training, because I was not able to participate in such a firing - Stanković points out.