ALBACETE, Spain – Snipers from Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and Spain attend the International Special Training Centre’s Desert Sniper Course 7-21 July, at the Chinchilla Training Area here.
ISTC is a multinational education and training facility for tactical-level, advanced and specialized training of multinational special operations forces (SOF) and similar units. This training center employs the skills of multinational instructors and subject-matter experts.
The Desert Sniper Course is designed to teach experienced sniper teams skills for operating in desert environments.
“The students that come to this course all have prior experience,” said a U.S. Army sniper instructor assigned to ISTC. “We help them build upon what they already know in order to operate in a desert environment. During the course we teach them concealment techniques and stalking in desert terrain. The culminates with students conducting missions where they put their newly learned skills to the test.”
Snipers operating in dry or barren environments must take extra measures to alleviate the effects of heat that can increase the challenges when constructing concealed positions, known as hide sites.
“The biggest challenges snipers will encounter during most desert operations are the unique camouflage requirements, the heat and exposure to the harsh environment, and having to engage targets at extreme distances,” said the U.S. instructor.
The first week of the course gave students the opportunity to acclimate to the environment.
“We ease into operations by conducting ranges where they collect data for their rifles and learn about environmental considerations such as heat mirage and strong winds that affect their ability to make long shots,” said the instructor. “From there they practice building hide sites and stalking to refine the skills they’ll need when conducting missions during week two.”
ISTC’s ability to conduct and train across various countries in Europe provides NATO and partner nation the opportunity to participate in cost effective training close to home.
“Spain is the perfect place to conduct this type of training,” said a Spanish Sniper Instructor. “We have the right kind of climate and terrain to replicate the conditions that a sniper team will encounter when deployed in a desert. We also have the space needed to conduct ranges for long distance shooting, something that is not easy to find in Europe.”
With snipers from multiple countries, the opportunity to share knowledge helped all those who attended.
“One of the greatest benefits is that our courses bring together knowledge and resources from so many places,” said the ISTC Operations and Plans Officer. “By combining efforts and sharing knowledge, the nations that participate in course like Desert Sniper are able to reinforce alliances and strengthen their capability to work together.”