4/73 (Sphinx) Special Observation Post Battery RA
What they do - The role
4/73 (Sphinx) Special Observation Post Battery provides Surveillance and Target Acquisition (STA) Patrols to the British Army. This role requires them to operate far in advance of friendly forces in small six-man teams. They get in close to the target and provide 24/7 covert surveillance in order to inform their higher commander of the situation on the ground. If ordered, they can then direct fire from Artillery, Attack Helicopters, Fast Jets or Precision Missiles to destroy the target. They do all this without the enemy ever knowing they were there.
How to join them - Basic Special Observer training
They're looking for robust and intelligent individuals who want a challenging military career. Volunteers can join directly from Basic Training with the Royal Artillery or apply to join from any other part of the Armed Forces. Volunteers must complete the 13-week STA Patrols Course. The course begins with fitness and navigation training in the Northumbrian hills. They then progress through Medical and Communications training, Patrol skills, OP Construction, Live Firing Ranges and a Final Test Exercise. By this point they will have earned the right to wear the coveted LATEO Triangle - the badge of the Special Observers.
Continuation training - Further career development
Special Observers constantly train and develop new skills throughout their careers. Once they have completed the STA Patrols Course they continue with training in Advanced Photography, learn to call in Artillery strikes and complete Survive, Evade, Resist and Extract (SERE) Level C training. They will then join a six-man patrol ready to deploy on operations anywhere in the world.
Information for current members of the Armed Forces wishing to volunteer for 4/73 Battery can be found in 2013DIN07-164. There is one STA Patrols Course each year beginning at the end August. Volunteers wishing to discuss their application should contact the Battery Training Officer - Email: 5RA-473BTY-BTO@mod.uk Mil Tel: 94731 5640 Civ Tel: 01748 875640.