FORT RILEY, Kan. (WIBW) -- Fort Riley soldiers are hitting the range to train on some of the most advanced equipment in the Army's arsenal.
The training marks the first time that Big Red One soldiers are firing the latest version of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.
The armored fighting vehicles are equipped with a 25mm chain gun, 7.62 mm machine gun and a TOW anti-tank missile system.
A fleet of the newest model, the fully digital M2A3's, arrived at Fort Riley in April.
M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles are designed to transport infantry with armor protection while providing covering fire to suppress enemy troops and armored vehicles.
Soldiers from the 2nd "Dagger" Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division conducted a live-fire qualification exercise Wednesday, August 1, 2012 at Fort Riley’s Digital Multi-Purpose Range Complex. Crews made their way through the training field, unleashing the Bradleys on an array of different targets.
Officials say the gunnery is the culmination of a long series of qualifications which all crews in the brigade must complete to standard before they are considered ready to deploy if needed.
The Dagger Brigade possesses two Combined Arms Battalions which use Bradley Fighting Vehicles extensively- 1st “Vanguard” Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment and 1st “Dragon” Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment.
"Fort Riley is the center of the Army’s modernization effort. We are being equipped with the latest and greatest equipment.For my soldiers, what this means is a chance for us to get back to the basics. For the very first time that this battalion has done in over two years, we have an opportunity to train on our armored combat systems that because of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, have not had the full opportunity to train and 1st Infantry Division is giving us that chance right now," explained Lieutenant Colonel Lee Magee, 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment Commander.
"I can monitor every crew’s actions so that we can tell what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong and how we can correct those for future engagements. I have an entire target array out here so that I can train everything that we need to do from a high intensity conflict down to low intensity stuff that you typically would see in Afghanistan or Iraq. This is one of the best training facilities in the Army here at Fort Riley," he added.
The new Bradleys are equipped with improved electronics, fire control for aiming and shooting, target acquisition and navigation capabilities.
"There are special cameras on here that allow me, as the Bradley commander, to be scanning the battlefield. While my gunner is engaging one target, I can be looking for any others and whenever an enemy exposes themselves, all I have to do is press one button and the gun goes exactly on that enemy ready to destroy them," said First Lieutenant Steven White with 1st Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment.
Training will continue over the next several months so that the brigade is ready if they are called back into action.
"I like to think of this as an insurance policy. We don’t want to be called but when we are called, we want to be able to accomplish the nation’s objectives wherever and whenever we’re needed... Bottom line is, we’re going to be at the cutting edge of technology in the Army’s forces across the board. Everything that we have is literally the best, the latest and the current cutting edge of Army technology for ground forces," LTC Magee told WIBW.