Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Army on artillery recruiting drive

Army on artillery recruiting drive

A 130-millimetre artillery gun is fired in Kampong Speu during a 2013 military exercise.
A 130-millimetre artillery gun is fired in Kampong Speu during a 2013 military exercise. Sreng Meng Srun

Army on artillery recruiting drive

At least 700 applicants have signed up to join the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), with the successful recruits to be trained to operate new Chinese-built artillery, a senior military source said yesterday.

News of the recruitment drive, revealed in a document circulated in local media yesterday, came as US and Cambodian soldiers began the second day of the annual Angkor Sentinel joint military excises in Kampong Speu province.

According to the document, signed in January, 500 recruits, between 18 and 25 years old and holding at least a high school diploma, were to be trained at the National Defence University and the Army’s artillery headquarters in Kampong Speu’s Samrong Tong district.

Defence Ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat said the induction was the first specifically for artillery soldiers. “This requires long-term training . . . When they finish . . . they will be shared to units and regions,” he said yesterday.

Speaking anonymously, a senior RCAF officer yesterday said 700 people had already signed up despite a recruitment deadline not until April 30.

“Our artillery expert solders are not yet strong enough with the new weapons technology, so the training for the young generation is important,” he said.

“The types of artillery we are using now are mainly 100mm, 130mm, BM-21 [a truck-mounted rocket launcher system] and other smaller mortars. Previously, our soldiers used Soviet-made weapons, but they are old now. The new weapons we have are made in China.”

Between 2005 and 2015, using estimated figures, $114 million of Cambodia’s $252 million in conventional weapons acquisitions came from China, according to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

China has sent at least four gunboats, 50 portable surface-to-air missile launchers, two transport planes and 12 helicopters, financed by a loan, SIPRI data show.

Jon Grevatt, Asia-Pacific industry reporter for defence analyst IHS Jane’s, said China’s support was “vital” as the West wouldn’t arm Cambodia given its “political situation”.

The US does not provide lethal aid to Cambodia but runs joint trainings. The annual two-week Angkor Sentinel exercises, which started on Monday, focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and improving military-to-military cooperation, according to the US Army’s website.

MOST VIEWED

  • Twenty years after Pol Pot died a broken man, his memory looms large

    Two decades have passed, but Mea Chron still stands by Pol Pot. Most days he also stands by the mass murderer’s cremation site, keeping guard in the Khmer Rouge’s last stronghold of Anlong Veng. Pol Pot, the widely reviled despot who spearheaded the

  • Reuters: US Embassy fired 32 staff members for sharing pornography

    The United States Embassy in Phnom Penh has fired 32 non-diplomatic staff members who were allegedly caught exchanging pornographic images and video, including of minors, according to the news agency Reuters. Four sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the content was shared in

  • ‘Trouble’ foreseen in Khmer New Year almanac

    At 9:12am on Saturday, Cambodia’s devout can expect the arrival of Moha Thorathevey, an angel on a peacock holding a trident in one hand and an auspicious serrated wheel in the other. The angel, who has a liking for water hyacinths, will usher in

  • Our 2018 guide to spending Khmer New Year in Phnom Penh

    Khmer New Year festivities are upon us. For the next few days, travellers will be making their way to their home provinces to eat, celebrate, play traditional games and visit a pagoda with offerings. If you will be staying put in Phnom Penh for the