Ammunition technical officer

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A British Army ammunition technical officer approaches a suspect device in Northern Ireland.

An ammunition technical officer (ATO) is an officer involved in all aspects of the army's use of ammunition. This includes: bomb disposal, clearance of ERW, explosives accident investigation, procurement, in service management, storage, and inspection and repair.

British Army[edit]

ATOs are generally selected as captains, exclusively from within the Royal Logistic Corps; however when an ammunition technician (AT) warrant officer (WO) or senior non-commissioned officer (SNCO) is selected for commission, their AT qualification transfers to that of an ATO. One such example is Major Peter Norton GC.

ATO training takes 17 months and requires attendance at the Royal Military College of Science and the Defence EOD Munitions Search School Kineton, formerly known as the Army School of Ammunition. After conclusion of the training, the new ATO may take command of an EOD troop within the 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment RLC or be employed within an ammunition squadron or ammunition depot.

In the 11 EOD Regiment, the ATO performs, in addition to the troop commander's role, counterterrorism bomb disposal activities and IEDD within the UK, leading an EOD team. WO and SNCO ATs may also lead EOD teams, and when doing so are often referred to as the ATO.

ATs and ATOs can undergo further EOD training at the Felix Centre within the Defence EOD Munitions Search School Kineton. ATOs are the UK's ammunition experts, with many years of experience in Palestine, Aden, Cyprus, Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan, and anywhere where the British Army have forces deployed and require EOD expertise and advice.

Armed forces of other nations also have ATOs, some of which are trained by the British Army. These countries include Canada, New Zealand, and Singapore.

Operational honours[edit]

George Cross

  • Lieutenant WM Eastman GC. Royal Army Ordnance Corps. 24 December 1940.
  • Captain RL Jephson-Jones GC. Royal Army Ordnance Corps. 24 December 1940.
  • Major George Styles GC. Royal Army Ordnance Corps. 11 January 1972.
  • Captain Peter Norton GC. Royal Logistic Corps. 24 July 2005.

George Medal

  • Capt Daniel Marc Shepherd GM Royal Logistic Corps, 19 March 2010. Killed in Afghanistan whilst clearing Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Military Cross

  • Captain SD Bratcher MC Royal Logistic Corps, 24 March 2006.
  • Major ID Scattergood MBE MC Royal Logistic Corps, 25 July 2008.

Queen's Gallantry Medal

  • Captain Vincent Michael Strafford QGM, Royal Logistic Corps. 19 July 2007
  • Captain Wayne Edward James Owers QGM, Royal Logistic Corps, 19 March 2010

Queen's Gallantry Medal with Bar

  • Captain Eamon Conrad Heakin QGM*, Royal Logistic Corps. 7 March 2008
  • Captain Vincent Michael Strafford QGM*, Royal Logistic Corps. 7 March 2008

Australian Army[edit]

The Australian Army also employs ATOs, who are members of the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps (RAAOC). RAAOC ATOs are trained in Australia, and this training has also been made available to members of other regional (Asia/South Pacific) Defence Forces.

Pakistan Army[edit]

The Pakistan Army has ATOs who are trained at the Pakistan Army Ordnance College. They are selected from the officers of the Pakistan Army Ordnance Corps in almost the same manner as that of the British Army ATOs. They are specialists in the ammunition field, and have many years of experience within Pakistan and other countries, such as Liberia, Congo, Ivory Coast, Sudan, Congo, CAR and else where the Pakistan Army is deployed as part of the UN. Pakistan ATOs have the unique honour of handling / clearing IEDs and completing EOD Operations during War On Terror in Swat, North and South Waziristan Agencies and even in the settled areas of the countries. Most of the ATOs have specialized from CIED and EOD Trg programmes covered by British and US EOD institutes to assist the Engineers Corps as a technical expert to handle all IEDs and supervise their EOD activities and clearance of ERW. The major part of ATOs was in recent Operation Zarb-e-Azab. It is imperative to note and mention here, that, every field formation of Pakistan Army has a specified ATO appointment amongst its Staff Appointments to work as Advisor on Ammunition Matters to the Formation Commander directly. In UN, ATOs of the Battalions and Sector HQ work hand in glove with UNMAS for all EOD operations and clearance of ERW.

South African Army[edit]

The role and function of the South African Ammunition Corps is to ensure that only safe and effective ammunition is supplied to the Department of Defence and other users. Their functions includes participation in research and development, quality assurance, unit inspection, maintenance and disposal of ammunition. Candidates must have a sound psychological profile exhibiting a high degree of intelligence, steadiness and an aptitude or innovative technical thinking. Learners must be in possession of a National Senior Certificate (Grade 12) or Level 4 (N3) certificate and must have passed Mathematics and Physical Science.[1]

Bangladesh Army[edit]


See also[edit]