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    An Afghan peasant ploughs near Soviet-made D-30 howitzers just outside the village of Ai-Khanum, Northern Afghanistan, Friday Nov. 9, 2001.

    US Troops Are Training to Operate Soviet D-30 Howitzers

    © AP Photo / Sergei Grits
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    US troops, reportedly tasked to advise and equip armies in smaller developing countries, are learning how to operate an older, Soviet-era artillery piece – D-30 howitzer.

    The Texas-based 3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade is learning to operate the D-30 howitzer, Popular Mechanics reported. The D-30 — a light artillery piece that was widely distributed during the Cold War – has reportedly come under the focus of US troops so they can in turn teach foreign militaries on how to use it.

    The D-30 was first introduced back in 1963. The 122-millimeter howitzer equipped the Soviet Army, the Eastern European armies of the Warsaw Pact, and Soviet client states abroad. It could be hooked up to a truck and driven to firing positions near the battlefield, firing shells up to 9.5 miles away, and firing up to eight rounds a minute in emergencies or four rounds a minute of sustained fire. It can also be used in a direct fire role against enemy tanks.

    The D-30 was produced by the Soviet Union, China, Egypt and Iraq, where it was known as “The Saddam.” Thousands of these guns are still in the inventories of developing countries. They are cheap to produce and store and have a respectable range, making them an attractive choice for countries without large defence budgets.

    The US Army’s new Security Force Assistance Brigades (SFABs), designed to help build up foreign ground forces, are training to operate the D-30 in order to help such forces become professional armies capable of fighting both insurgents and external enemies. The Afghan Army uses D-30 howitzers, and Afghanistan is currently the main destination for SFABs units. SFABs will need to train foreign troops on their own equipment, which means they’ll need to master foreign weapons as well as their own.

    “SFAB training is targeted, so in our case, we're preparing to train on the D-30 for upcoming deployments,” said Lt. Col. Julian Urquidez, Commander of the 4th Battalion Field Artillery, 3rd SFAB.

    READ MORE: Putin REVEALS His Military Rank While Firing Soviet Howitzer (PHOTO)

     “Up to 65 countries, including our partners and allies overseas, use that form of artillery, so what we need to do is become subject matter experts on this howitzer. That doesn't just mean the employment of the howitzer, but the gunnery as well. This is all to fulfil our mission in properly training and advising foreign security forces,” he added.

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    Tags:
    howitzer, Cold War, D-30, US Army, United States
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