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September 29, 2011
By CPL Melanie Schinkel
THE past 18 months has seen the
Combat Survival Training School
(CSTS) implement significant changes
to its suite of ADF aircrew survival
courses to incorporate the latest tech-
niques and procedures.
Based at RAAF Base Townsville,
the CSTS offers four survival cours-
es: Aircrew Environmental Survival,
Aircrew Combat Survival, Cold Weather
Survival and the Unit Combat Survival
The school also supplements unit-
specific force preparation training. All
of these courses are available to ADF
personnel, with two of them mandatory
training for ADF aircrew.
Commanding Officer of the CSTS,
SQNLDR Davin Augustine, said ADF
aircrew usually completed the manda-
tory aircrew environmental and combat
survival courses back-to-back in three
"The environmental survival course
prepares the students to ditch anywhere
in a peacetime environment," SQNLDR
"It teaches them how to survive in
sea, arid and jungle environments both
as part of a team and individually.
"This is a fairly arduous and chal-
lenging course and the students typically
operate outside of their comfort zones.
At the end of it they feel more confident
about surviving in isolated and austere
Once the students complete the two-
week Aircrew Environmental Survival
course they move on to the week-long
Aircrew Combat Survival course, which
requires them to apply their skills in a
simulated non-permissive environment.
"The Aircrew Combat Survival
course introduces an enemy presence
and teaches students how to survive in
a hostile setting," SQNLDR Augustine
said.He said crash site defence training
was a recent addition to the combat sur-
"The CSTS has never offered train-
ing on defending a crash site before;
now it is one of the many training oppor-
tunities in the combat survival course."
Once aircrew students complete
the environmental and combat surviv-
al courses, they are deemed ready to
deploy on operations although they are
encouraged to also complete the Cold
Weather Survival course, held at Mt
Cold Weather Survival instruc-
tor POA Andrew Watson said the cold
weather course taught students how to
move, survive and evade the enemy in a
cold environment -- above and below the
"During the course students learn
cold weather theory as well as practical
skills such as how to build shelter, light
a fire and produce fresh water," he said.
For more information, visit the CSTS site
on the DRN at http://intranet.defence.
TOUGH TEST: A Combat Survival Training School student
starts a fire to attract a rescue team while, inset, students
slog it out during the Aircrew Environmental Survival
course in Townsville.
Photos: POA Andrew Watson
Survival of the fittest at CSTS
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