OPA question

Discussion in 'Gunners' started by J_A_S, Dec 16, 2006.

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  1. im hopefully getting into AFC Harrogate next september and hope to eventually become an observation post assistant with the RA.

    My question is as an OPA do you spot targets for only your regiments guns or do you have contact with others?

    for example if my regiment had mlrs would I only spot for the mlrs or would you have a 'choice'?

  2. Not sure if this still applies in this modern day but it all depends on the exercise or what theatre your operating in.

    You can have many things available to you, depends who's supporting. Other Regiments/Naval Gunfire are all things I used in the past. If you need to get a mission down and your own unit wasn't available you take whatever your given and use them.
  3. You would be an observer for any and all equipment in range, as well as an integral part of the ISTAR plan. Some of your OP kit is regarded as a Bde asset, thus not really "belonging" to your Bty or Regt.

    Your job would be to help co-ordinate the fire of guns, mortars, CAS/BAI/ Fast Air, Attack Hel, GPMG SF, NGS, other DF weapons in support, EW and anything else you can lay your hands on.

    OPA is the best job in the Army, apart from FOO, which is all the above plus the OPA's boss.

    Best of luck with your future career whatever path it takes.


    edited to add: About the only thing not currently being used in Afghanistan is the NGS, and only because they haven't found a way to get ships there . . . .
  4. Got to echo FluffyBunny, it is the best job in the RA for sure. Small/close team of lads. Tough job but i have great memories from my time on OP's

    If you search this forum there is an OPA thread on here somewhere about how good it is on the OP's.
  5. Don't mean to be pedantic (but I will) but an OPA doesn't control aircraft, a FAC controls aircraft, an OPA can direct an aircraft where to look (if he has UHF) but then the dropping of ordnance is all down the pilot.
  6. right thanks alot. Ive looked in some other threads on the subject and it say that you cant become an OPA as soon as you join the regiment. you have to either be picked or do a course. is this still the way it is? The info i got from the afco after my BARB gave the impression you go straight to it.

    thanks again
  7. JAS under crewman 2000 yu can indeed go staright onto the OP's hoewver in my experience (17 years in the targetting world) you are better off going into the command post and gaining experience before going onto the OP's

    The OP's are an advertisment for your regiment and as such generally dont let new guys on them although like i aid with the crewman 2000 concept this is chnaging but its a massive step from phase 2 traning to working in the teams, plus there is competition from mre experienced soldiers who have served longer

    Sanke at risk of being pedantic an OP ack can and do control aircraft but its theatre specific as to the rules, in afghanistan in 2002 fac training was pushed out to a maximum number o people in the form of Emergency cas drills and certainly 29 cdo regt has been developing the \fire support team concept to the full incorparting all aspects of fire support into one effort
  8. MMan, ECAS is as I said you direct the aircraft he decides drop or no drop, the legal requirement to control UK FA is a qualified CR FAC.

    Edited to add: FST ensures the party has a FAC aswell as FOO/OPA/MFC and I'm not trying to say it doesn't happen just that its not a primary or secondary role.
  9. I am a qualified (though out of date!) FAC and the decision to drop is always down to the pilot not the FAC.
  10. J_A_S

    Picking up from your first post, i would like to point out that if you were in a MLRS regt you wouldn't be an OP as they don't have any (in the regt that is)

    OPA is confined to Gun regt's so if thats the direction you want to take then aim to join one. the Only exception to the rule is 4/73 Bty, but thats a different type of OP and not the same at all.
  11. Obviously as he has to press the button, however if you as the fac are carrying out the control you litterally buy the bomb. So if it all goes Pete Tong you carry the can. ECAS means he carries can.

    That is the legal view to it, but i am enough of a realist to know that squeezing an ego into a cockpit that small makes him feel like god and that he can say no when he wants but them is not the rules.
  12. JAS,

    Much depends on what eqpt your future regt has, I can only comment from an AS90 perspective where your first job on a OP crew would be as a signaller (but I expect this holds true with the light gun equiped regts too).

    I would echo meiktilaman and suggest that you go to the Command Post first, learn the basics from the CP view (ie who your mission would be going to) and then transfer to the OPs. That way your voice procedure should be excellent and you will have an understanding of what goes on at the gun end (or as much as you can gain from a CP - before I get a slagging!). If you do that you will benefit from this "education" by the time you get to the OPs.

    Without a shadow of a doubt being at the sharp end (in an OP crew) is the best job in the Army - although do not expect to spend too much time in base, if not on a gunnery exercise you will be on CAST or your attached BG's exercise!

    Best of luck

  13. Yeah right