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This lesson does not specifically relate to any enlisted or officer tasks, but provides general information on the basic principles of employment prioritization and control of AD assets.


Use only this lesson material to complete the examination.


You must attain a grade of 70 percent or more on the examination to receive credit for this subcourse.


The following references are sources for additional information.  You do not need them to complete this lesson.

FM 44-1
FM 44-2
FM 44-3
FM 44-15
FM 44-15-1
FM 44-90
FM 44-90-1


Learning Event 1:

Air superiority in the AirLand battle is projected to be limited, applying to specific areas for short periods of time.  The impact of this to the ground commander is substantial.  In many cases, operations will be conducted without the benefit of a secure air cover.  Providing effective ADA protection to our forces is more critical now to force survivability than ever before.  The keys to effective AD are economical ADA force allocation, sound defense planning, and proper employment of ADA resources on the AirLand battlefield.

Planning both SHORAD and HIMAD operations relies on fundamental military problem-solving techniques.  Forces must be allocated to defend selected, prioritized assets; defenses must be planned; and as the tactical situation changes, modifications must be made to those defenses.  To plan and conduct ADA operations on the AirLand battlefield, commanders should follow an orderly process that considers the following steps in some form:

  • Recognizing and defining the problem.

  • Gathering information.

  • Developing alternative solutions.

  • Evaluating alternatives.

  • Selecting the best solution to the problem.

To resolve each problem related to ADA support of AirLand battle operations, every step of the problem-solving process should be considered.  In some cases, these steps will be completed informally and decisions made in a matter of minutes.  However, when the tactical situation permits, the process should be carefully and thoroughly completed to ensure maximum effectiveness of the support provided.


Learning Event 2:

Specific responsibilities and relationships between supported units and supporting ADA units are defined in the assignments of tactical missions.  The assignment of a specific mission is inherent to command, and follows the command chain except in those situations where an ADA unit is placed in attachment or in an OPCON status.  In that special situation, the commander exercising OPCON assigns the ADA unit its mission.

It is important to note that there is no "normal" tactical mission for any ADA unit.  Any tactical mission is possible and may be assigned for any ADA unit based upon the situation and the evaluation by the ADA commander.

ADA Standard Tactical Missions

Standard tactical missions apply to all types of ADA units, assign mutual responsibilities, and define specific relationships between supported and supporting units.  The "standard" in standard tactical missions does not imply these missions will always be assigned, but rather that they are applicable to any type ADA unit.  The use of standard tactical missions provides consistency in the rules and relationships between the ADA unit and the supported unit.  However, assignment of one of these tactical missions does not negate ADA unit responsibility for its own administrative and logistical support.  In some cases, certain logistical support may be provided by the supported unit to assist the ADA unit in accomplishing the mission.  Such support depends upon the tactical situation and must be prearranged between the staffs of both units.

The four ADA standard tactical missions are: GS, GS-R, R, and DS.

GS.  An ADA unit with a GS mission provides support for the force as a whole.  It is not committed to any specific element of the supported force.

GS-R.  An ADA unit with a GS-R mission provides coverage for the force as a whole and augments the coverage of another ADA unit.  GS-R units are not committed to any specific element of the force.

R.  An ADA unit with an R mission augments the coverage of another ADA unit.

DS.  An ADA unit with a DS mission provides dedicated AD for a specific element of the force that does not have dedicated ADA.  The DS unit is committed to that specific element of the force.

The specific relationships and responsibilities formed by, and inherent to, the ADA standard tactical missions are shown in Figure 39.




Learning Event 3:

Classes of AD

Active AD.  Active AD is direct action taken to destroy or reduce the effectiveness of enemy air operations.  It includes the use of aircraft, surface-to-air weapon systems, ECM, and weapons other than ADA used in an AD role.

Passive AD.  Passive AD is defined as all measures other than active AD taken to minimize the effects of hostile air action.  These include, but are not restricted to, the use of cover, concealment, camouflage, dispersion, and protective construction.

Types of AD

ADA systems may be allocated to provide two types of AD: area defense and point defense.

Area Defense.  Area defense is a posture designed for the defense of a broad area.  Airborne AD resources have primary responsibility for providing area ADs because of their flexibility, range, mobility, and reusability.  In an area defense, no particular asset(s) receives priority of defense.

A belt defense is a specialized application of area AD found in NATO where ADA resources are deployed in a linear configuration to provide early attrition of the enemy as he attempts penetration to rear areas.  This type of defense may be necessary to provide the best coverage of the ground commander's priorities.  No particular asset(s) receives priority of defense in a belt defense.  However, fire units are normally positioned within a belt to provide the best possible coverage of the ground commander's priorities while maintaining the belt defense.  Belt defenses inherently detract from the ability of participating ADA forces to explicitly support the primary Army function of conducting prompt and sustained AirLand battle operations.  With limited ADA resources, spreading fire units in a thin line inhibits the ability to mass ADA fires.  Belt defenses are vulnerable at the flanks to fly-around tactics.

Point Defense.  The point AD, also known as critical asset defense, is a defense concentrated on a limited area normally in the defense of the vital elements of a force and or the vital installations of the rear area.  A point defense is characterized by priority of defense being given to specific assets.  These assets can either be mobile or static, and they can be either organizations or installations.  Even though the ADA weapons involved in a point defense may provide AD coverage over a wide geographical area, the term "area defense" does not apply because specific assets are to be defended in priority.  The type of AD selected by the ADA commander to protect the supported commander's priorities is based on providing the greatest degree of protection to those assets under the constraints of available forces and the relative priority of each asset.


Learning Event 4:

An additional consideration for the proper use of ADA forces is the type of ADA system that is to be employed in the defense.  SHORAD systems are usually allocated to provide point defense to maneuver elements and other high-value assets in both forward and rear areas.  SHORAD systems include SHORAD gun and missile systems, to include MANPAD systems.  SHORAD units may be assigned or attached to corps and ADA brigades.  In addition, each division has an organic SHORAD battalion and each armored cavalry regiment has an organic SHORAD battery.  HIMAD systems are deployed throughout the area of operations.  Their employment is based on the needs of the force commander to which they are assigned or attached.  This may result in HIMAD employment in both area and point defenses.  For point defenses, priorities may include both specified organizations and critical facilities.  HIMAD also complements SHORAD protection and vice versa.

Offensive Operations

To provide sound AD guidance, the ADA commander must understand the fundamentals of offensive, defensive, and retrograde operations.  Regardless of the type of operation, ADA assets are never held in reserve.  While ADA will normally defend a variety of assets in any offensive operation, the top priority for AD will most frequently be given to the attacking maneuver elements designated as the main effort.  When a maneuver brigade is designated as an AD priority by the division commander, it should be supported by at least a battery-size ADA element.  As a general rule, a composite task force of ADA gun and missile systems is required for effective protection.  Offensive operations on the modern battlefield will be extremely fluid and characterized by frequent, rapid change.  ADA elements can expect to support operations characterized by rapid transition from defense, to the offense, to exploitation.  Additionally, simultaneous, deep-strike operations and rear area battles will be conducted.  Frequent, rapid changes in direction and location of the main effort and night combat must be anticipated.  Each situation must be considered from the outset of the operation in determining the composition and employment of the supporting ADA force.

Defensive Operations

The immediate purpose of any defense is to cause an enemy attack to fail; however, an underlying purpose of all defensive operations is to create the opportunity to initiate offensive operations.  All activities of the defense, to include AD, must contribute to that end.  Corps, divisions, and sister services will organize and fight a synchronized defensive battle within a framework that consists of five elements:

  • A deep battle operation in the area of influence to create windows of opportunity for decisive action against leading enemy echelons.

  • A covering force operation to support the main effort by providing forward security.

  • A main effort in the MBA where forces are positioned to conduct the decisive defensive battle.

  • Rear area combat operations to defend vital rear area assets such as lines of communications, support areas, command and control, and long-range fire support.

  • Reserve operations in the MBA or in the covering force area to support the main effort.

There is no single technique for defense prescribed by Army doctrine; therefore, ADA forces must be allocated to support any of several combinations of static and dynamic defenses.  In its static forms, the defense is oriented on the retention of terrain through the use of firepower from fixed positions.  For the defense to succeed, these fixed positions require protection from air attack.

The dynamic forms of the defense focus primarily on the enemy and depend upon maneuver and fire to destroy the enemy force.  In this technique, the maneuver units are usually established as priority assets for AD.  Corps, divisions, brigades, and battalions will normally combine static and dynamic forms in developing and executing defensive operations.  Supporting ADA commanders must then allocate ADA resources to maneuver elements, fixed firepower positions, reserve forces, command and control facilities, and logistical elements in priority as determined by the supported commander.

Retrograde Operations

A retrograde operation is an organized movement to the rear or away from the enemy.  FM 100-5 discusses the three types of retrograde operations: the delay, the withdrawal, and the retirement.  Each type of retrograde operation is characterized by difficulty of execution and risk.

Delay.  A delay operation is conducted when there are insufficient forces to attack or defend, or when the defensive plan requires drawing the attacker into a vulnerable position.  Delay operations are conducted by withdrawing to successive battle positions each time the enemy deploys for attack, thereby gaining time for reestablishment of the defense.  In a delay, ADA resources are frequently allocated to protect elements of the reserve, CPs, FARPs, and maneuver choke points, such as bridges and defiles.  These assets are listed as AD priorities in the supported force OPORD as determined by the commander.

Withdrawal.  In the withdrawal, friendly forces voluntarily disengage from the enemy so that all or part of their force is repositioned by the commander.  ADA forces are usually allocated to protect the same type assets as in the delay with special priority given to command and control facilities and reserves, assets which are vital to the execution of a successful withdrawal.

Retirement.  A retirement is an administrative movement to the rear by a force that is not in contact with the enemy.  The allocation of AD forces in a retirement depends upon the specific tactical situation dictating the operation.  Before any ADA is used on the battlefield, AD priorities are established.  To assist commanders in this task, a step-by-step, decision-making process was developed.  The product of the decision-making process is a prioritized list of selected force assets to be defended by the supporting ADA commander.  Development of these ADA priorities is the basis for planning effective AD to meet the needs of the supported commander within the constraints presented by the limited number of available ADA resources.


Learning Event 5:

The Decision-Making Process

Before any ADA is used on the battlefield, AD priorities are established.  To assist commanders in this task, a step-by-step, decision-making process was developed.  When this process is followed by the supported commander in close coordinating with the ADA commander, the degree of support afforded by ADA resources is optimized.  The product of the decision-making process is a prioritized list of selected force assets to be defended by the supporting ADA commander.  Development of these ADA priorities is the basis for planning effective AD to meet the needs of the supported commander within the constraints presented by the limited number of available ADA resources.

Development of AD Priorities

The first step of the decision-making process is conducted by the supported commander during his estimate of the situation.  As he generates courses of action and evaluates his assets, he determines which of these assets require ADA protection.  This determination is made by evaluating each asset for criticality, vulnerability, recuperability, and threat.

Criticality.  Criticality is the degree to which the asset is essential to mission accomplishment.  Assets are categorized in priority as those which, if damaged--

  • Are capable of preventing the execution of the plan of action.

  • Will cause immediate and serious interference with the execution of the plan of action.

  • Can ultimately cause serious interference with the execution of the plan of action.

  • Might cause limited interference with the execution of the plan of action.

Vulnerability.  Vulnerability is the degree to which the asset can survive on the battlefield.  Consideration is given to the asset's hardness, its specific mission in the overall operation, the degree to which the asset can disperse or displace to another position, the degree to which it can provide its own AD, and the amount of protection afforded by passive AD measures.

Recuperability.  Recuperability is the degree to which the asset can recover from inflicted damage in terms of time, equipment, and available manpower to again perform its mission.

Threat.  The probability of an asset being targeted for attack by enemy air must be assessed if economical allocation of ADA resources is to be achieved.  Targeting information provided by intelligence estimates, past enemy attack methods, and enemy doctrine are all useful in determining which assets require active AD protection.

Impact of the AirLand Battle on AD Priorities

The nature of combat in the AirLand battle requires commanders to expand the scope of consideration in determining the need for providing AD protection to any asset.  Formerly, combat efforts focused on winning the fight only in the MBA.  The extension of the battlefield in depth, time, and resources to include a deep battle, close-in battle, and rear area protection forces commanders to redefine priorities for AD to include all three battles.  Assets that were formerly seen as most vital to main battle operations may not be so vital to the deep battle or to the rear area battle.  Conversely, commanders must now consider certain type assets that were formerly not so vital to main battle operations as being high-priority assets for the deep attack and for the rear area battle.

In determining the need for providing active AD protection to any asset, commanders should consider certain characteristics which make that asset a lucrative threat target.  Since both sides recognize the relationship of winning the deep attack to the outcome of the conflict, targeting strategies emphasize the early destruction of these assets which contribute the most to deep attack.  Some characteristics of deep attack assets which provide the means for the commander to measure the need for AD protection include--

  • Contribution the asset makes to the execution and cohesion of the defense or to the momentum of attacking units in the offense.

  • Location on the battlefield where the asset makes its greatest contribution to the integrity of the second echelon forces as they prepare to join the battle.

  • Effect at the FLOT, resulting from destruction of the asset at its present location.

  • Threat which the asset poses to enemy air operations which are vital to their deep attack capability.

  • Probability that the asset has been targeted by threat aircraft.

Based on these considerations, there are times when close-combat elements will use self and passive AD measures while assets such as corps artillery units, Army aviation FARPs, DIVARTY, and critical nuclear delivery units are given priority for active AD protection.  Intelligence acquisition assets, command and control facilities, and specific weapon systems which are vital to deep attack must be given careful consideration by the commander establishing AD priorities.  Failure to do so may result in the degradation of our force's ability to conduct the deep attack.  In the projected scenario of the AirLand battle, this could lead to defeat.


Learning Event 6:

One of the major challenges faced by commanders is the proper use of the limited number of AD resources for the defense of critical forces and assets in the AirLand battle.  AD of the AirLand battlefield must be properly planned so as to achieve a balance between defense effectiveness and economy of force.  Two factors which impact directly on this problem are the inability of existing ADA resources to provide adequate AD protection to all the vital assets and the lack of adequate defense planning frequently provided to those defenses.  Proper defense planning is a command responsibility which begins with the establishment of AD priorities and follows a sequential process of the following phases:

  • Analysis.

  • Defense design.

  • Evaluation of alternatives.

  • Implementation.

It is important to note that defense design, which considers employment guidelines and principles, is only one phase of the defense planning process and must be preceded by a formal or informal analysis.  It is not the role of doctrine to dictate specific defenses for specific type assets.  These will vary with the changing factors of each tactical situation.  The following information provides the commander with the basic framework from which to conduct effective defense planning in any tactical situation.

Analysis Phase

Following the establishment of AD priorities, the ADA commander begins the sequential process of planning the ADs to protect those assets.  Each AD must be planned to fit the present and projected tactical situation.  Prior to initiating any operation on the battlefield, the ADA commander must conduct an estimate of the situation in which each of the factors of METT-T are considered.  The product of this analysis phase is a recommended initial allocation of ADA assets to defend the prioritized assets of the supported force commander.  This initial allocation is refined throughout the other phases of defense planning.

Mission.  Analysis of the mission must consider the intent of the supported operation, essential specified and implied tasks to be performed, the degree of risk acceptable to the ADA unit, constraints or limitations imposed on ADA fires, probable follow-on operations, and the number and type of assets prioritized by the supported force commander.  The ADA commander analyzes the mission to determine the most effective allocation of ADA resources to support the overall operation.

Enemy.  An analysis of the enemy forces likely to be encountered is also critical to planning an effective AD.  Because of the wide variety of options normally available to threat forces for the air attack of a friendly asset as compared to the ADA forces available to defend it, AD planners must plan the defense of a prioritized asset to counter the most likely threat against that target.  Factors that must be considered are the type aircraft most likely to be used against the asset, most probable avenue of approach, threat attack tactics, probable ordnance, and likely ordnance release points.  The availability of such intelligence information permits the planning of a specific AD for each defended asset, designed to counter the most likely air threat.  Such threat analysis is critical to the proper and economical allocation of ADA resources.

Terrain.  An analysis of terrain is also critical in this initial defense planning phase.  All aspects of the geography of the battlefield must be considered: trafficability, relief, vegetation, and obstacles.  Key terrain, terrain which is mission dependent and which would give either combatant an advantage if seized or held, must be identified.  Dominant terrain surrounding the assets to be defended, which provides identification points for the enemy to fix the target, is considered key terrain.  It is particularly critical for ADA commanders in the divisions to analyze terrain and identify low-altitude avenues of approach into the divisional rear areas.  In situations where specific low-altitude avenues of approach are identified, the ADA commander may choose to allocate SHORAD weapons at selected points along these air corridors for the purpose of denying their use to threat aircraft.  Such employment of SHORAD weapons reduces the number of ADA weapons that are allocated to point defenses of critical assets.

As such, this type of allocation should be limited to those specific operations over relatively limited periods of time where the benefits of such employment to the overall force operation exceed the risk to undefended critical assets.  Additionally, terrain must be analyzed to identify both friendly and enemy observations and fields of fire.  For example, high ground that affords protection as well as line-of-sight observation is critical to the positioning of ADA radar and OPs.  Further consideration must be given to cover and concealment provided by terrain, the impact of weather on terrain, the impact of terrain on communications, and the degree of visibility afforded by terrain.  Assets capable of dispersing and blending into the terrain to take advantage of natural concealment may require less active AD protection, permitting a greater allocation of ADA resources to assets without effective passive AD means.

Troops.  The final consideration of this initial phase of defense planning is an evaluation of troops available.  For the ADA commander, this is a total assessment of his combat power; it involves consideration of such diverse factors as personnel strength, disposition of equipment, state of training, maintenance and supply readiness, adequacy of combat support and combat service support, troop morale, and the quality of his subordinate leaders.

Time.  The final consideration in this phase of defense planning is an evaluation of time available for planning and executing the defense.

The commander considers the factors of METT-T, weighs them against the list of AD priorities, and develops an initial allocation of ADA resources to defend those priorities.  Beginning with the highest priority asset, he decides how many of each type ADA resource to allocate to the AD of each asset.  The force commander may approve these recommendations, reduce the list to increase the AD to selected assets, or expand the list to increase the number of assets afforded ADA coverage.  Expansion will reduce the effectiveness of the overall defense.  It is in this phase of the process that the ADA commander plays a critical role.  As the AD staff officer, he must provide the supported commander with the advice which can make the difference between adequate and inadequate AD protection.  Finally, those assets approved for active AD coverage by the supported force commander are listed in the ADA portion of the OPORD as AD priorities.

Defense Design Phase

After the decision concerning the number and type of ADA resources to be allocated to each priority is made, the ADA commander begins the second phase of the defense planning process, defense design.  Defense design is the process of considering ADA employment principles, ADA employment guidelines, and ADA defense design requirements in conjunction with the weapon system capabilities to determine the location of specific ADA weapons in the defense of each AD priority.  ADA commanders at all levels must design defenses to accomplish the AD mission for the specific tactical situation.  Principles, guidelines, and requirements are provided to ADA commanders to assist them in increasing the effectiveness of ADs and enhancing ADA survivability.  However, defenses are not designed simply to meet principles, guidelines, or requirements.  Providing mass, mix, mobility, and integration in an AD is pointless if threat aircraft are permitted to release ordnance and destroy the defended asset prior to their own destruction.  The focus for any defense must be the protection of the defended asset.  Principles, guidelines, and requirements are applied to defense design with this in mind.

ADA Employment Principles

Four basic employment principles (Figure 40) provide the doctrinal basis for ADA defense design and underline the effective employment of AD weapons on the battlefield.  The balanced application of these principles to fit the needs of the tactical situation can enhance the effectiveness of the AD and increase the survivability of ADA.  These principles are discussed below.



Mass.  Mass is the concentration of ADA combat power achieved by allocating sufficient fire units to successfully defend the asset against attack.  For SHORAD systems, mass is normally not achieved with units smaller than platoon size.  However, in many instances, only a platoon of SHORAD weapons may be allocated to defend battalion-size maneuver unit and associated static assets.  A unit smaller than a platoon should not normally be assigned an AD mission with the exception of MANPAD sections.  In the case of HIMAD weapons, a battalion-size element is the smallest unit capable of achieving mass.  Only in rare circumstances would an asset be defended with a HIMAD element smaller than a battalion (Figure 41).



Mix.  Mix is a balance between AD aircraft and ADA systems, or between specific types of ADA systems, that offsets the limitations of one with the capabilities of the other.  Mix forces the enemy to defend his air forces against an array of systems rather than against a single system.  Defeating such an array of AD weapons, each with different characteristics and capabilities, is extremely difficult and greatly complicates threat strategy (Figure 42).



Mobility.  Mobility is the capability of AD forces which permits them to move from place to place while retaining the ability to fulfill their primary mission.  ADA units tasked with providing AD to maneuver units should possess mobility equal to that of the supported element.  ADA units defending static assets must be capable of rapid displacement to alternate and secondary positions as well.  ADA units operating in a high-intensity environment must rely heavily upon mobility for survival as well as upon their AD capability (Figure 43).



Integration.  Integration is the close coordination of effort and unity of action that maximizes individual AD system operational effectiveness while minimizing mutual interference among operating forces.  Integration is vital to all operations on the AirLand battlefield.  ADA weapons must be fully integrated into the force commander's scheme of maneuver and into the battle for air superiority as well.  Massed, mixed, and mobile ADA weapons are integral parts of both the supported force commander's operation and the higher echelon ADA operation and must be responsive to both.  Integration necessitates effective command and control links capable of sustained operations in a high-intensity NBC and EW environment (Figure 44).



ADA Employment Guidelines

In conjunction with the ADA employment principles, the six employment guidelines in Figure 45 are the desirable characteristics of an "ideal" AD.  They are provided as aids to ADA commanders for positioning individual fire units when tailoring an AD for a specific asset.  In actual situations, the commander incorporates a mix of these employment guidelines in his defense according to the availability of assets and the tactical situation.  Following all the guidelines, in actual tactical situations is seldom possible.  The size and shape of the asset, the number of fire units available, the adequacy of terrain for coverage and emplacement, and numerous other tactical considerations limit the commander's ability to satisfy all requirements equally.  Unfortunately, defenses have often been designed which focus more upon meeting guidelines than upon providing adequate AD coverage.  Such is the case when a SHORAD defense of a critical asset is designed to optimize balance and mutual support.  The net result is that fire units are emplaced too close to the asset to provide protection from realistic ordnance delivery methods.



In the fluid, dynamic, high-intensity operations expected in future battles, rigidity, lack of originality, and lack of initiative can contribute to defeat.  There is no substitute for the exercise of common sense, flexibility, and initiative to ensure that ADA units successfully accomplish their mission to support the ground operation.  The six employment guidelines are discussed below.

Balanced Fires.  This employment guideline is achieved by positioning ADA weapons to deliver approximately equal defensive fires in all directions (Figure 46).

Weighted Coverage.  Weighted coverage is achieved by concentrating ADA weapon fires toward known enemy locations, unprotected unit boundaries, or enemy attack corridors or routes (Figure 47).



Mutual Support.  Mutual support is achieved by positioning individual fire units so that effective fires can be delivered into the dead zone surrounding an adjacent fire unit resulting from weapon system characteristics (exact separation distances are determined by consulting weapon system characteristics in (S)FM 44-1A(U)) (Figure 48).



Overlapping Fires.  Overlapping fires are achieved by positioning ADA weapons so that engagement envelopes overlap.  As the range of ADA weapons increases, terrain becomes a significant factor in determining specific overlapping fire distances (Figure 48).

Defense in Depth.  This is achieved by positioning ADA weapons so that threat aircraft encounter an ever-increasing volume of fire as they approach a specific defended asset.

Early Engagement.  Early engagement is achieved by positioning ADA weapons so that hostile aircraft are engaged prior to expected ordnance release (Figure 49).  This guideline is effective against aircraft carrying conventional munitions only.  Long-range standoff weapons such as ASMs or TBMs may be launched from anywhere on the battlefield.



Evaluation of Alternatives Phase

Regardless of the tactical situation or the type of ADA weapon system involved in the defense, the commander who conducts the analysis and defense design phases will always have more than one alternative for providing ADA support.  It is his responsibility to evaluate the alternatives to select the plan that provides the most effective, flexible AD possible to the supported commander.  This does not imply that any single plan will provide the degree of support desired by the force commander, or that it can adequately protect each of the designated AD priorities.  Each alternative plan, however, must be evaluated against the criteria of the AD mission--the degree with which a defense reduces or nullifies the effectiveness of attack or surveillance by hostile aircraft or missiles after they are airborne--and the best plan selected.

The evaluation of alternatives must consider the degree of AD provided by each defense against the expected threat.  This is best accomplished by preparing a detailed firepower analysis for each alternative defense design based on the capabilities of each weapon system and comparing these design characteristics against the projected threat ordnance release line.

When the detailed defense design evaluation is not feasible due to time limitations or tactical constraints, the judgment and expertise of the commander and his staff are relied upon as the final determinants.

Implementation Phase

Following the evaluation of alternatives, the commander decides on the specific defense to provide for the AD priority or priorities.  The ADA commander, regardless of level, is responsible for briefing the supported commander on the capabilities and limitations of the selected defense.  If additional resources are required, the need is identified and appropriate requests forwarded to the next higher commander.

Following this coordination, the ADA commander prepares essential OPLANs and annexes to plans and disseminates this information to his subordinates.  Each subordinate in turn follows the eight troop-leading steps to respond to the requirements of the commander issuing the OPORD.  These steps (modified as necessary to fit the level of command and the tactical situation) are--

  • Receive the mission.

  • Issue the warning order.

  • Make a tentative plan to accomplish the mission.

  • Initiate the necessary movement sequence.

  • Reconnoiter.

  • Complete the plan.

  • Issue orders.

  • Supervise and refine.

This process is simply a more detailed and specific application of the procedure which resulted in the establishment of ADA priorities and established the initial allocation of ADA resources in their defense.


Learning Event 7:

Fundamentals of SHORAD Defense Design

Each type of ADA system is designed to be most effective in defense of a particular volume of airspace over the battlefield.  Therefore, an effective AD requires complementing the coverage and capabilities of more than one system to enhance the probability of destroying enemy aircraft.  This forces the enemy to encounter an ever-increasing volume of fire from ever-increasing numbers of different ADA weapons, which complicates his ability to accomplish his mission.

Enemy defeat is best accomplished when each ADA weapon is employed so that its capabilities are maximized.  The following text presents some basic characteristics for effective employment of each SHORAD weapon system.

Chaparral Employment

Chaparral is a self-propelled, short-range ADA guided missile system used to counter low-altitude threat.  It is effective against high-performance aircraft, slower moving fixed-wing aircraft, and helicopters at ranges out to about 5 kilometers.  Engagement ranges and effective ranges are dependent on such factors as the speed, size, aspect, visibility, and altitude of the target as well as weather and terrain.

While the employment of a single type of ADA weapon system in defense of an asset does not adhere to basic ADA employment principles, the scarcity of ADA resources may dictate such employment.  Since Vulcan weapons are often committed to the support of maneuver units, a mission for which Chaparral is not well suited because of its inability to shoot on the move, pure Chaparral defenses of stationary assets are common.

For point defenses, Chaparrals should be located--

  • In firing positions which afford the greatest AD protection possible with available assets.

  • Out from the asset to provide early engagement.

  • Within mutual support distance or to provide overlapping coverage.

Reducing the number of Chaparral weapon systems employed in the defense of a particular asset necessarily reduces the number of, and extent to which, employment principles and guidelines are followed.

The Redeye and Stinger missiles assigned to Chaparral units are used to replace a Chaparral weapon that is temporarily out of action and or to supplement the defense to enhance mutual support and cover gaps that might otherwise exist in the defense.

Chaparral units are often required to provide AD for units while they are moving in convoy or march column along roads behind the line of contact.  Since Chaparral cannot be fired while the carrier is moving, it is best employed by repositioning at critical points along march routes where convoys may be forced to halt or bottleneck.  Key intersections, bridges, and other such points along heavily traveled routes in divisions, corps, and theater rear areas may be preplanned as targets by enemy air.  When establishing a defense of a critical point along a march route, the design is accomplished as previously explained for stationary assets.

Vulcan Employment

The Vulcan is an ADA gun system used to counter the low-altitude air threat.  Both the SP and towed versions are effective against high-performance aircraft, slower fixed-wing aircraft, and helicopters at ranges out to 1,200 meters.  Specific weapon characteristics are available in (S)FM 44-1A(U).  Although Vulcan is normally employed in an AD role, it is capable of providing ground fires against thin-skinned vehicles, personnel, and weapons to a range of about 2,200 (direct) and 4,500 meters (indirect).  In its SP configuration, Vulcan is capable of firing while on the move, but fire delivered when the weapon is emplaced in a fixed firing position is more accurate.  Mutual support and overlapping fire distances of Vulcan guns are 1,000 meters and 2,000 meters, respectively.

Static Critical Asset Defense.  Towed Vulcans are normally employed in the defense of static critical assets.  The Vulcan weapon is most effective when engaging targets in the head-on aspect (directly incoming).  By positioning Vulcan weapons close to the defended asset, aircraft attacking the asset will appear as incoming rather than crossing, thus presenting a much better target for the Vulcan gunner.  This, however, must be weighted against the need to position Vulcans far enough out from the defended asset to ensure engagement prior to ordnance release.  Although it is not desirable to defend any asset with only one type of AD system, pure Vulcan defenses may be a tactical necessity.  Employing Redeye or Stinger missile systems with Vulcan in a composite defense adds mix to the defense design and enhances the degree of SHORAD protection.  Early engagement capability is increased and depth is added to the defense.  In this type of mix, the Vulcan systems are deployed to balance the need to provide mass, mutual support, or overlapping coverage.  Redeye and Stinger are deployed farther out from the asset to enhance early engagement capability while attaining overlapping fire coverage of adjacent fire units.

Mobile Critical Asset Defense.  Maneuver units in the forward area can expect attacks by both high-performance aircraft and helicopters.  Although attacks from any direction are possible, attacks from the general direction of the enemy ground forces are most likely.  Maneuvering units are more likely to be attacked as targets of opportunity than as preplanned targets.  Therefore, jet aircraft attack techniques may be similar to those expected for the attack of march columns wherein the aircraft pilot first finds and fixes his targets, then attacks.

When AD priority is accorded to maneuver elements, in many cases only Vulcans and MANPAD systems are used to support them.  Vulcan's mobility, ability to fire on the move, minimum preparation time, and head-on capability give it some capability to protect a moving, exposed maneuver force.  Towed Vulcan is not well suited for defense of moving maneuver forces because of its lack of armor protection and inability to shoot on the move.

When a significant air threat exists, an SP Vulcan platoon normally supports a battalion-size task force.  Because there are not enough Vulcans available to cover the entire force, priority for Vulcan support is typically to the maneuver units that are critical to the success of the operation (for example, the units spearheading the attack).  As with all ADA weapons, however, Vulcan is allocated to the defense of the supported commander's priorities.

Employment of Vulcan in platoon strength increases massed fires, facilitates positive command and control, and minimizes logistical problems.  If employed in less than platoon strength, at least two fire units should be employed together.  These should be placed under the direct control of the platoon leader or platoon sergeant, not the supported unit.

Vulcans supporting the maneuver force move with the company teams.  They are normally positioned so that two-thirds of the Vulcan's effective AD range extends forward of the defended force and or they are positioned within the maneuver formations to defend against air attack along the axis of the formation.

When the supported force is moving by bounds, Vulcan normally remains with the overwatching element.  Characteristics of overwatch positions selected for maneuver elements generally coincide with the position requirements for Vulcan including--

  • Good observation and fields of fire.

  • Protection afforded by covered and concealed positions.

  • Immediate and controlled reaction to any air threat (Vulcan in position and ready to fire from a stationary platform).

  • Relative high terrain, enhancing line-of-sight communications.

However, Vulcan may move with the bounding element if a high probability of air attack against the bounding element exists or if the bounding element cannot be adequately covered throughout the bounding because of Vulcan's range limitations (that is, the distance between overwatch positions is greater than 1,000 meters).

When positioning Vulcan with the overwatch or bounding element, the commander should consider the vulnerability of the SP Vulcan vehicle in relation to the tank vehicle.  Nevertheless, the mission will be the overriding determinant.

When Vulcan units are supporting maneuver battalions and companies, the Vulcan unit commander will adopt the movement and cover tactics of the supported force.  The supported commander's maneuver decisions are followed even if they conflict with Vulcan occupation of good AD firing positions.

When a Vulcan platoon or section is supporting a company which is also supported by one or more Redeye or Stinger teams, the Vulcan platoon or section leader should have the authority and responsibility for controlling and positioning the Redeye and Stinger teams.

Although AD is its primary mission, Vulcan is also used in a ground support role and has an excellent capability to suppress enemy antitank and other crew-served weapons.  The decision to employ Vulcan in the ground role must consider the greater immediate threat to the maneuver force and the availability of ammunition.

Vulcan is more effective in convoy defense when integrated into the march column.  The number of Vulcans required to adequately protect a convoy is dependent upon the length of the convoy.  Integration into the convoy is accomplished by placing a Vulcan among the first four or five vehicles (500 meters) both at the front and rear of the convoy, filling in the remaining Vulcans at 1,000-meter intervals working toward the convoy center from each end.  This employment weights the defense toward the ends of the convoy and provides mutual support between weapons.  Vulcan is deployed in not less than platoon strength in convoy defenses.  Additional Vulcans are added in sections of two.

C/V Composite Employment

C/V batteries are normally employed to defend prioritized assets of the division or corps commander.  Although divisional C/V battalions are organized with pure Chaparral and Vulcan batteries, platoons are usually cross-attached to form composite batteries to support tactical operations.  Composite batteries provide a mix of weapons including organic Stinger.  When organized as a composite battery--

  • Position Vulcans far enough from the defended asset to permit engagement of threat aircraft prior to ordnance release.  Positioning Vulcan systems directly on the defended asset might permit asset destruction prior to target engagement by the Vulcan fire unit.

  • Position Chaparral fire units farther from the defended asset (4 to 6 kilometers) within mutual support distance of one another when possible.  This employment permits early engagement beyond the threat ordnance release point.  The head-on engagement capability of the improved Chaparral missile increases the capability of the system to destroy the threat prior to ordnance release.  If a likely avenue of enemy approach is known, then position some of the fire units so that the likely approach receives weighted coverage.  If not, position fire units to provide a balanced defense.  All around coverage is a desirable defense characteristic, but is not always feasible because of weapons allocation and positioning constraints.

  • Position Chaparral fire units and Vulcan gun systems optimally to obtain mutual support.  Specific mutual support distances are determined by consulting engagement envelopes in (S)FM 44-1A(U).  These distances are generally not allowable because of the limited ADA resources.  Fire units provide overlapping coverage if the tactical situation prevents mutual support.

  • Use organic Stinger and Redeye to compensate for gaps and to augment the coverage provided by Chaparral and Vulcan systems.

M42 Duster Employment

Many of the Vulcan employment techniques are applicable to M42 Duster units.  Dusters are best employed in battery strength, but are also employed in platoon strength.  In certain instances, four squads are used for point defense.  Factors which affect the Duster's tactical positioning are generally the same as for Vulcan to include mutual support distances.  In a ground role, Duster has indirect fire capabilities.  More information on Duster is available in FM 44-2.

Redeye Employment

Redeye is a heat-seeking weapon with an effective range in excess of 3,000 meters.  This system is usually employed to support tactical operations and to provide point AD for critical assets or other ADA systems.  In all operations, Redeye is positioned to provide early engagement of low-altitude, hostile aircraft and, if possible, overlapping Redeye fires.  Because of their limited head-on capability, Redeye fire units are positioned well forward of the defended asset, consistent with security requirements.

The supporting Redeye section leader frequently serves as the AD officer for a supported unit.  As such, he is responsible for advising the commander on all AD matters to include the employment of small arms in the AD role.  In all defenses, the Redeye section leader commands his fire unit, positions his teams, and supervises the distribution of his assets.  Additionally, he provides command and time-sensitive AD warning information from the C/V battalion CP and the FAAR to his teams.  The actual minute-to-minute control of engagement is directed by the Redeye team chief in accordance with applicable ADA rules of engagement.

The employment of Redeye teams is determined by ADA employment guidelines, principles, system requirements, and the specific tactical situation.  Positioning of teams by the section leader should optimize the AD protection afforded by the available fire units.  Allocation of Redeye assets is determined by the AD priorities established in the OPORD.  Redeye protection is integrated into the overall SHORAD defense and augments the protection of the other ADA weapons in both offensive and defensive operations.

Stinger Employment

Stinger is a man-portable, shoulder-fired, IR homing guided missile system.  It requires no control from the gunner after firing and has an IFF capability.  Stinger's primary role is to provide AD for forward combat elements against low-altitude hostile aircraft.  It also defends other high-priority maneuver units and assets such as command and control facilities, ASPs, and POL points when designated as priorities by the supported commander.  Stinger gives the ADA commander an extremely important capability to provide a missile mix to ADA gun defenses.

Stinger assets of a division are consolidated at, and organic to, the SHORAD battalion.  Additionally, Stinger assets are organic to corps artillery; armored cavalry regiments; separated armored, infantry, mechanized infantry, and air cavalry brigades; and HIMAD units for close-in protection.

Because of its flexibility, extended range, and mobility, Stinger is frequently the best weapon for defending exposed, moving maneuver forces.  However, both Stinger and Redeye are limited by organic transportation in cross-country movement.  The only viable type of AD for Stinger employment is the point defense (to include static point and mobile point defenses).  When tactically possible, a mix of ADA gun systems is provided for Stinger defenses to enhance the degree of protection afforded the asset.

Stinger in Static Critical Asset Defense.  Stinger's ability to engage approaching aircraft makes it valuable for stationary point defenses.  Its effectiveness is significantly enhanced when ADA gun systems are allocated to the same defense.  The first step in planning a stationary point defense is defining the borders of the defended asset and establishing realistic ordnance release lines for the expected threat.  Vital points within the defended area are identified, and probable or forced routes of approach into the defended area are considered.  Teams are normally positioned so that the engagement capability of one team overlaps that of an adjacent team.  By following this guideline, the section chief can guard against the possibility that threat aircraft will slip through the defense without being engaged by at least one Stinger team.  Positioning teams between 2 and 3 kilometers apart will normally provide this capability.  In cases where more than one weapon system is employed in the same defense, overlapping fires are achieved between weapon systems.  When permitted by the tactical situation, teams are positioned far enough out from the defended asset to permit threat aircraft engagement prior to ordnance release.

Selected firing positions should offer cover and concealment for team protection from enemy observation and fire.  Because the dust and smoke signature produced by a missile firing can expose the firing position to identification and attack by enemy aircraft, the team immediately takes cover after firing.  Relocation takes place only if the team feels the position is actually pinpointed for pending attack.  The technical characteristics of the Stinger system require the establishment of a safety zone free of personnel to a distance of 50 meters behind the weapon and equipment within 5 meters of the weapon.

Stinger in Mobile Critical Asset Defense.  Stinger provides the ADA commander with an excellent capability to protect mobile point defenses to include maneuver units on the move.  In protecting a maneuver force, the proximity of the Stingers to the FEBA increases the importance of physical security, mobility, and position requirements.  To perform their mission effectively, Stinger teams must be secure from ground attack.  In most cases, this substantially reduces the capability to provide early engagement by the Stinger teams.  Additionally, Stinger teams allocated to such defenses must keep up with the supporting units to prevent separation from the force and exposure to enemy attack.

Because of the reduced capability to provide early engagement, the Stinger teams defending moving forces must select positions as close behind the force as is tactically feasible.  Selected positions should provide all-around observation and line of sight with a FAAR when tactically possible.  This typically dictates the selection of positions on high terrain.  When such positioning is not possible, the teams should position themselves to observe the most probable avenue of approach as a minimum.

Adequate Stinger AD protection during actual maneuver phases is contingent upon the careful defense planning of the Stinger section leader and team chiefs.  Enemy air attack characteristics against such maneuver units are very similar to the attack of march columns.  High-performance aircraft pilots will typically attack these elements as targets of opportunity requiring pilots to first find, then fix and attack the force.  Taking such factors into consideration when planning Stinger defense of maneuver units is essential to increasing its effectiveness.

Stinger in Defense of Convoys.  Stinger teams often provide AD for units moving in convoy or march column along roads behind the line of contact.  Such convoys are typically attacked as targets of opportunity forcing enemy pilots to find, fix, then attack the convoy.  Stinger defense of such convoys is conducted by either pre-positioning teams along the route of march or integrating teams into the march column.  The type of defense selected by the ADA commander is contingent upon the available ADA resources, the factors of METT-T, the number and location of critical points along the route, the length of the convoy route, and the availability of other ADA resources.

Pre-positioning Stinger teams at critical points along the route of march is used only if the route is relatively secure from ground attack and time permits the teams to occupy positions ahead of the column.  Pre-positioning is considered if these requirements are met and if specific critical points such as bridges, road junctions, or refueling points are identified as likely points for attack.  Should this method be selected for convoy defense, careful planning is essential from these critical points, and some procedure must be established for reintegration of the Stinger teams into the supported force.  Employing Stinger teams in leapfrog style to defend a series of points along the route of march is attempted only if there is an additional secure route along the main convoy route to permit rapid sequential employment without interfering with the convoy.

If Stinger teams are integrated into the march column to provide AD (Figure 50), the specific positioning is contingent upon the length of the convoy and the number of available Stinger teams.  It is extremely important to position teams near the front and rear of the convoy and distribute additional teams equidistant throughout the rest of the column.  When tactically feasible, these teams are located less then 3,000 meters apart to provide overlapping fires.  This reduces the chance of an attacking aircraft completing the mission without entering the engagement envelope of a Stinger team.




Lesson Event 8:

Hawk Employment Guidelines

Hawk commanders consider standard ADA employment guidelines when positioning fire units to provide defenses within the corps and rear area.  However, as with other ADA systems, strict adherence to employment guidelines is impossible in most situations.  Practical considerations, such as the size and shape of the defended asset or area and the number of weapons available, limit a commander's ability to meet the guidelines.  Therefore, the employment guidelines are listed in a descending order of priority.  The commander is the final authority on deciding which guidelines can be achieved.  In most cases, the result is a compromise.  It is essential to integrate HIMAD and SHORAD coverage to the greatest extent possible.

Area Defense

Weighted Coverage.  Hawk coverage is weighted toward the FEBA and any exposed (having little or no AD coverage from an adjacent AD unit) unit boundaries.

Early Engagement.  Hawk positioning should ensure coverage of low-altitude routes of approach to permit engagement of aircraft as far forward of the defended area as possible.  Although it is desirable to cover all low-altitude approaches, in many instances there may not be enough weapons available to accomplish this.  Therefore, certain routes (for example, valleys, rivers) that allow aircraft low-level approaches to defended assets should receive weighted coverage.

Defense in Depth.  Defense in depth subjects an air threat to an ever-increasing volume of fire from the moment it is detected and identified as hostile until it is destroyed or has broken off the attack.  Since the Hawk commander will usually employ his weapons throughout the defended organization's area of operation, both laterally and in depth, he will achieve some degree of defense in depth.  Total defense in depth is achieved through the integration and coordination of all ADA weapons used in defense of an organization.

Mutual Support and Overlapping Fires.  When defending an organization, Hawk positioning should provide for mutual support whenever possible.  If weapon resources, size of the organization, or density of the defended critical assets prevent mutual support, then, as a minimum, weapon positioning should provide for overlapping fires to prevent gaps in the defenses.

Mutual support is obtained by placing adjacent Hawk firing platoons no farther apart than 20 kilometers.  Overlapping fire is achieved by placing Hawk firing platoons no farther apart than 40 kilometers.

Point Defense

Hawk is usually employed in point defenses to defend critical assets within the corps rear area (COSCOM, corps, reserve) and the rear area (logistic complexes, port facilities).  The employment guidelines in these instances are somewhat different than when Hawk is employed in an area defense.

Balanced Fires.  Position firing elements to deliver balanced fires in all directions.

Early Engagement.  Position weapons to provide for early engagement of threat aircraft before their ordnance release, particularly along low-altitude avenues of approach.

Mutual Support and Overlapping Fires.  Same as for area defense.

Support for a Division

If assigned an R or GS-R mission of a divisional ADA battalion, Hawk will augment the coverage of the divisional battalion by providing low- to medium-altitude defense to forward maneuver elements or other unprotected prioritized battlefield assets.

Hawk provides the division with capabilities not achievable by the organic division SHORAD battalion.  Hawk further complements the defense by increasing the weapon mix and compounding the enemy's countermeasure problem.  The extended altitude capability of Hawk may force the attacker low, thereby increasing the effectiveness of divisional systems.

The Hawk commander receives his priorities for AD from the supported commander through the reinforced ADA commander.  Through coordination with the division G3, battery positions are selected that best support the division's scheme of maneuver or defensive plan.  The Hawk commander positions his firing elements as far forward within the division area as is feasible, considering the effects of enemy mortar and field artillery fires, to provide AD coverage as far forward of the maneuver elements as possible.  As a general rule, Hawk firing elements are not positioned within range of the enemy's medium field artillery (for example, 122-millimeter gun/howitzer).  If the mission dictates, the Hawk battalion may have to accept the risk and move selected units forward to provide AD support to the maneuver force.

Hawk battery or platoon displacement distances and the selection of successive firing positions are influenced by the division's scheme of maneuver and progress of the AirLand battle.  As the division maneuvers, the Hawk commander moves his units by echelon to provide continuous coverage for the lead maneuver elements as they advance.

The reinforcing Hawk battalion is integrated into the division's ADA plan through Hawk and SHORAD commander-to-commander coordination.  The Hawk commander's mission does not change the role or responsibilities of the SHORAD battalion commander.  The SHORAD commander is the division ADA officer and principal advisor to the division commander on AD matters.  The SHORAD battalion's TOC is the divisional AD TOC when a Hawk battalion is supporting the division.  The difference in Hawk and SHORAD weapons range and altitude capabilities, mobility, method of employment, and the need to complement each system's capabilities, allow the two commanders to provide the best possible AD protection for the ground commander.  The SHORAD commander is knowledgeable of Hawk capabilities.  Frequently, he is requested to advise the division commander concerning use of Hawk to best support the division's scheme of maneuver.

The reinforcing mission requires a Hawk battalion to have liaison and communications with the supported unit.  This is effected by sending an AD coordination team from the supported SHORAD battalion to the Hawk battalion fire distribution center.  This coordination team uses the Hawk TOC communications tie-in with Air Force command and control facilities to receive time-sensitive AD and early warning information.  This information, in turn, is sent to the SHORAD battalion TOC and the DAME.  The Hawk battalion also sends a liaison officer to the SHORAD TOC.

Patriot--New Approach to Defense Design

The Patriot missile system provides very low- to very high-altitude AD of ground combat forces and critical assets.  Patriot battalions are typically assigned to ADA brigades to provide defense of critical theater assets.

The unique characteristics of the Patriot system demand new approaches when designing defenses.  Normally, the Patriot battalion is employed in one of two types of defense.  These types are the point defense of critical assets such as air bases, logistical complexes, ports, etceteras, and the area defense in support of deployed forces or critical assets, to reduce the enemy air threat.

Deployment Considerations.  Patriot is normally employed in battalion-size units consisting of six batteries (six fire units) and a battalion ICC.  The minimum deployable unit is dictated by the following factors:

  • Overlapping fires of at least one other fire unit are required.

  • Sector coverage of a Patriot defense consisting of fewer than three fire units may place severe coverage constraints on the defense.

  • The battalion ICC is necessary to ensure effective fire distribution and defense integrity.

Siting Considerations.  The Patriot battalion is employed as an integral unit and sites are selected accordingly.  Several key planning considerations which govern Patriot site selection are as follows:

  • Selected sites must contribute to an effective battalion defense.  Proposed sites which may be ideal for fire unit operations, but provide little contribution to the overall defense, are not effective site locations.

  • Sites must provide mutual support or overlapping fire between units.  If possible, each fire unit's position is covered by at least one other unit.  As a minimum, fire unit positioning should prevent gaps in the defense and facilitate triangulation within the battalion.

  • Sites are selected so that degradation of the defense through attrition of individual fire units is minimized by retraining adjacent fire unit coverage sectors to fill gaps.

  • Sites should afford natural cover and concealment for support elements.

  • Sites must meet the requirements for placement of system equipment (slope, cable length, etceteras).

  • Accessibility of proposed sites to Patriot equipment is one of the most basic considerations.  Physical characteristics of the equipment will necessitate selection of fire unit locations which are readily accessible from improved road networks.  Additionally, survey and leveling requirements may preclude Patriot use of available terrain.

  • Battalion communications relay sets are sited to support optimal defense design.  Their siting requirements are considered early with proposed battalion sites.

Launcher Deployment Considerations.  Launchers are deployed to provide maximum firepower forward while still retaining the capability to engage in secondary sectors of fire.

Launchers are oriented to reduce system dead zone.  The launchers to be fired from first are sited to facilitate reloading.

Area Defense

Patriot battalions in area defense are deployed to cover a broad area with no particular asset within the area given priority of coverage.  Patriot units can provide area coverage against a low- to high-altitude threat.  The AD commander assigning the area defense specifies the area to be defended.  Patriot may also be deployed in a belt type area defense.

Point Defense

Patriot units also provide defense for critical assets such as major air bases and logistic complexes.  The proper deployment of a Patriot battalion for the effective defense of a given asset is dependent on--

  • Terrain.

  • Size of the asset.

  • Location of the asset.

  • Nature of the asset.

  • Air threat.

  • Vulnerability of the asset.

In a balanced defense--

  • All-around defense is provided.

  • Target lines are selected so that the defended assets lie within the radar surveillance fan of each of the defending fire units.

  • Opposite fire units are located within optimal engagement range of each other.

  • Because of terrain limitations and other constraints, all employment considerations are seldom met.

A critical asset weighted defense--

  • Provides weighted coverage along the primary avenue of approach.

  • Provides coverage against the 360o threat.

  • Provides mutual support.

Alternate and Secondary Positions

Alternate positions are selected for fire units for occupation and continuance of the mission when primary positions are threatened by AD suppression.  Alternate positions need not, and should not, be far from primary positions--a distance of several kilometers is normally sufficient to negate suppression attempts.  With alternate positions close by, system downtime due to movement is minimized and defense integrity is maintained when these positions are occupied.  So that the overall defense is not prejudiced by their use, alternate positions should meet the same requirements as the primary positions.  Secondary positions are selected to accommodate changes in the tactical situation to include leapfrogging the defenses to follow major redispositions of ground forces.  Positions are selected and successively occupied to ensure the continuance of integrity of the defense.  Defenses are continually planned, analyzed, and adjusted using basically the same considerations as used in designing the initial defense.


Learning Event 9:

The ability of ADA units to function effectively on the battlefield depends on effective command and control.  As with every component of combat power, AD fires are directed and controlled to contribute to the overall objective of the force.  This portion of the lesson provides commanders and their staffs with information to integrate AD fires into both the force commander's scheme of maneuver and the battle for air superiority.


Command and control is the process of directing the activities of military forces to obtain an objective.  This process involves two basic concepts.  First, command is the authority and responsibility to use available resources to accomplish missions in accordance with established procedures.  Second, control is the authority, which may be less than full command, exercised by a commander over part of the activities of subordinate or other organizations.

Command and control functions are performed through the integration of personnel, communications, facilities, equipment, and procedures which allow the commander to plan, direct, and coordinate his forces in the accomplishment of the mission.

Operations on the battlefield of the future will place extreme stress on command and control links at all levels.  The tactical situation will probably be obscured; time available for making decisions will be compressed; massive personnel and materiel losses will result in psychological stress; and conventional operations will integrate with nonconventional operations.  Each of these factors must serve as design considerations for establishing effective command and control facilities and procedures.

The heart of command and control is the cycle of acquiring information, evaluating its content, making appropriate decisions, issuing instructions, and monitoring subordinates for compliance.  The element which underlines all these tasks is time.  The command and control cycle must be well organized and efficient so that it is completed more quickly than the enemy command and control cycle.  Speed is vital to effectiveness, and effectiveness in command and control is a prerequisite to successful AD.


Three fundamental tasks form the basis for AD command and control.  These cornerstones relate the management of AD systems to the conduct of the overall air battle.  They are--

  • Centralized management with maximum decentralized authority to engage.

  • Air battle management.

  • Management by exception.

Centralized Management With Maximum Decentralized Authority to Engage

Organizations established for AD operations are an integral part of the overall force structure.  Of necessity, AD organizations comprise different command levels and areas of responsibility.  Centralized management must therefore be exercised to ensure the coordination, integration, and maximum operational effectiveness and economy of the entire AD organization.  However, the basically reactive nature of AD prevents a single commander from directing the myriad actions required in defending a large number of assets.  To ensure rapid and flexible response to the threat, decentralized execution of AD tasks is essential.  This is accomplished by delegating authority for mission execution.

Air Battle Management

Air battle management encompasses the principles for the control and coordination of both tactical air and ground-based AD resources.  This includes airspace management as well as AD command and control.  Close coordination among the diverse elements of an AD is important because of the short reaction times required to engage threat aircraft, and the need to integrate AD operations with all other air and ground operations.  This coordination becomes even more critical in the integration of AD operations with the offensive air operations.  Exacting centralized coordination must be effected to prevent mutual interference between ADA weapons and offensive air forces.  There are two basic established methods for exercising air battle management: positive management and procedural management.

Positive Management.  Positive management relies upon real-time data from radar, IFF, computer, digital data link, and communications equipment to provide AD command and control and airspace management.  Positive management facilities are vulnerable to attack, sabotage, and electronic interference.  Line-of-sight requirements and limited communications can also restrict the data from these facilities.

Procedural Management.  Procedural management relies upon the use of techniques such as segmenting airspace by volume and time and the use of WCSs to manage the air battle.  Procedural management techniques are usually more restrictive than positive management, but are less vulnerable to degradation from electronic or physical attack.  They significantly enhance the continuity of operations under the adverse conditions expected on the modern battlefield.  When positive management is employed in the air battle, procedural management must be available to provide an immediate backup system should degradation occur.  Additionally, procedural management provides a permanent management means for AD systems that do not have real-time data transmission capability.

In most cases, a combination of positive and procedural management will be used to manage the air battle.  The specific mix is determined by considering--

  • The nature and magnitude of the enemy operations and threat.

  • The availability, capability, reliability, and vulnerability of the air battle management facilities.  This includes consideration of airborne and surface AD facilities as well as peacetime air traffic control and terminal control facilities.

  • The number, deployment, and characteristics of friendly airborne weapon systems.

  • The type of terrain and weather conditions (current and projected) in a combat area.

  • The capability of identifying aircraft by electronic means.  The methods used for managing the air battle will probably differ for each of the two sectors of the combat area--the rear area and the MBA.  The division of these areas is based upon the general patterns of air traffic flow and the types of combat activities which take place in each.  Normally, the boundary between the MBA and the rear area will be the brigade rear boundary.

In the rear area, air traffic will usually travel along an axis perpendicular to the FEBA between forward and rear areas.  Movement in this area is more definitive; therefore, it is better suited for electronic control.  As such, aircraft are controlled by radar to the maximum extent possible, and ADA units within the area manage primarily through positive management means.  As stated previously, procedural techniques will provide backup management capability.

In the MBA, air traffic will generally travel on routes perpendicular and parallel to the FEBA.  Aircraft in this area will provide rapid, flexible response to the requirements of both the air and ground commanders.  This mandates freedom of movement for friendly aircraft operating throughout the area which makes individual control of air traffic extremely difficult.  ADA units operating in the MBA will, therefore, be primarily managed through procedural management techniques.

Management by Exception

This cornerstone of AD command and control reinforces the theme that no single commander can direct the overall air battle on a real-time basis.  The AADC and or RADC must supplement positive management with procedural techniques to ensure coordination and provide unified direction to the battle when positive management capability is degraded.  However, due to the unpredictable nature of combat, tactical situations may arise which were not addressed in procedural or positive rules and directives.  In such instances, positive management exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis to countermand or modify previous guidance (either positive or procedural).  Strict procedural management is used only when a mix of positive and procedural techniques is not achievable (for example, during a communications outage, or for units without real-time data transmission capability).

Command and Control Structures

ADA is unique in that it relies upon separate chains for command functions and control functions.

The Command Chain

The command chain (Figure 51) links the theater commander, the Army component commander, the Army AD command commander, the ADA brigade commander, the ADA battalion commander, the ADA battery commander, and the ADA platoon leader in a successive chain.



Special command statuses are formed by attacking or placing the ADA unit under tactical control, attachment (US, NATO), operational command and operational control (US), operational command (NATO), or operational control (NATO) of another unit.  These statuses create special operational, training, administrative, and logistical relationships among the ADA unit, its parent organization, and the receiving unit.

Tactical Control.  Tactical control (NATO) is the detailed and usually local direction and control of movements and maneuvers necessary for mission accomplishment.  For ADA, tactical control is best defined as fire control.  The parent ADA unit commander retains training, administrative, and logistical responsibilities.

Attachment.  Attachment (US, NATO) is the temporary placement of a unit within another organization.  Subject to the limitations imposed by the attachment order and by the rules and procedures established by the AADC, the commander of the organization receiving an attached ADA element will exercise the same degree of command and control over attached units as he does to units organic to his command.  This includes administrative and logistical support.  The parent ADA unit commander retains the responsibility for the transfer and promotion of personnel.

Operational Command and Operational Control (US).  Operational command and operational control (US) are synonymous terms in a pure US environment.  In this special command status, the commander receiving the ADA unit is responsible for--

  • Composing subordinate forces.

  • Assigning tasks.

  • Designating objectives.

The parent ADA unit commander is responsible for--

  • Administration.

  • Discipline.

  • Internal Organization.

  • Logistics.

  • Training.

Operational Command.  Operational command (NATO) is a special command status in which the receiving commander is responsible for--

  • Assigning missions or tasks.

  • Deploying units.

  • Reassigning forces.

  • Retaining and delegating tactical control.

The parent ADA unit commander retains responsibility for administration and logistics.

Operational Control.  Operational control (NATO) gives the receiving commander responsibility for directing forces for specific missions or tasks usually limited by function, time, or location and for deploying units concerned.  (Note that the receiving commander is not responsible for assigning separate employment.)

The parent ADA unit commander retains responsibility for administration and logistics.

The Control Chain

The control chain (Figure 52) is a more complex structure.  In a US environment, the theater commander assigns responsibility for overall AD and airspace control to a single commander.  This is normally the Air Force component commander who is both the AADC and the area airspace control authority.  The AADC manages by coordinating and integrating the entire AD effort within the command.  He may create AD regions and appoint a commander for each.  The RADC is selected from any service component.  He is fully responsible for and has full authority for the AD of his region.  The RADC is normally located at the next subordinate command and control facility below the TACC which is a subordinate CRC and MPC.  The CRC supervises the surveillance and control activities of subordinate radar elements, provides means for air traffic identification, and directs region AD.



In the Army chain, the CRC and MPC control subordinate ADA FDCs from brigade, to battalion, to battery, or individual ADA fire unit.

In certain theaters, an SOC is interposed between the RADC and the CRC and MPC.  The sector commander then exercises tactical control over all subordinate elements and ADA brigades.  In these theaters, the ADA brigade liaison team provided for the corps is termed the ADOLT.  The team acts as a point of coordination between the integrated AD system and the corps conducting operations in the corps area.

When Army AD means are assigned, attached, or organic to Army maneuver elements, they remain subject to area and or region rules of engagement to ensure a coordinated and integrated AD effort.  The RADC will normally delegate operational command, less the fire control previously described, of these assigned, attached, or organic Army AD means to the respective maneuver commander.  Priorities for these AD resources are developed by the maneuver commander.

ADA headquarters and headquarters elements were formerly known as AADCP, GOCs, and BOCs.  These nonstandard terms for Army AD command and control facilities were eliminated.  The standard terms for these facilities are--

  • CP.

  • TOC.

  • FDC.


A CP is a unit or subunit headquarters where the commander and staff perform their activities.  In combat, the headquarters is often subdivided.  The element in which the commander is located or operates is called a CP.  It is his principal facility for commanding and controlling combat operations.  The term CP replaces the term AADCP.  Unlike an AADCP, any ADA echelon from AADCOM to platoon can have a CP.


A TOC is a subelement of a CP for a headquarters with staff elements (AADCOM, brigade, or battalion).  It consists of a physical grouping of the staff elements concerned with current tactical operations and tactical support.


An FDC is that subelement of brigade and battalion TOCs and battery and platoon CPs where the commander exercises fire direction, fire distribution, and or fire control.  The FDC receives target intelligence and fire control orders and translates them into appropriate fire directions and fire distribution.  AADCOMs do not have FDCs except when augmented with fire control equipment.  Two different fire distribution systems are used at HIMAD FDCs: AN/TSQ-73 and AN/MRC-136.

AN/TSQ-73.  The command and control system AN/TSQ-73 (Missile Minder) performs fire distribution functions for Hawk units.

AN/MRC-136.  The ICC AN/MRC-136 performs these functions at Patriot units.

The AN/TSQ-73 system is an automated electronic AD command and control system which is capable of operating at battalion and brigade levels.  It furnishes information for the command and control of individual fire units (to include control of emissions), coordinates the actions of subordinate command and control systems, and provides an interface with other services.  The AN/TSQ-73 contains situation display consoles, radar interface equipment, ADP equipment, and communications equipment.  It is capable of providing automatically processed digital information and advanced voice communications.

The battalion level AN/TSQ-73 provides the control and coordination of individual HIMAD fire units.  The brigade level AN/TSQ-73 acts as overall activity director, coordinating the actions of subordinate battalion systems and providing command and control interface with other services.  Battalion-level AN/TSQ-73s can coordinate the fires of 24 fire units while the brigade-level system can coordinate up to 48 individual fire units.  In the absence of a brigade-level system, a battalion AN/TSQ-73 is capable of assuming the brigade-level command and control functions.

Command and control of Patriot fire units is accomplished by the ICC located at the FDC.  The ICC is the nerve center of the Patriot battalion's AD operations.  The ICC controls the firing batteries and coordinates their activities with those of adjacent battalions and higher headquarters.  The ICC is capable of controlling up to six firing batteries and interfacing with the brigade-level AN/TSQ-73 or the Air Force AN/TSQ-91.  Figure 53 illustrates Army ADA command organizations.



Organization for Airspace Management

Authority for establishing and coordinating the system for airspace management is also normally vested in the Air Force component commander who is the airspace control authority as well as the AADC.  His authority for central airspace management is exercised through the ACC located in the TACC.  The ACA subdivides his area into airspace management regions and appoints a region airspace manager who normally exercises his authority through an AMC located within a CRC.  Each AMC includes Air Force personnel and an AMLS with ADA and Army aviation personnel.  Figure 54 illustrates airspace management linkage and communications.



The forward deployed maneuver brigades maintain an airspace management capability which allows receipt of ADA warning information used by the brigade commander.  This capability also includes the means to coordinate the activities of all users of brigade airspace.  The area of concern is below the coordinating altitude and deals primarily with the requirements of ADA, aviation, and fire support assets that operate within the brigade airspace.

The corps and division commanders establish an AME under the staff supervision of the G3.  The G3 Air supervises the actual operations of the AME.  Staffing of the AME will include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • ADA officer.

  • Aviation officer.

  • Air Force liaison officer.

  • Fire support coordinator.

  • ATC liaison officer.

  • Intelligence officer.

At brigade and battalion level, no special staff element exists to perform AME functions.  Consequently, such functions are performed by existing staff personnel, supporting liaison and fire support representatives, and subordinate unit commanders on a by-exception basis.  Airspace management functions are supervised by the S3 Air.  Staffing at this level should conform to division staffing where possible.

The AME is a planning and management element with limited information handling capabilities.  The AME determines how the commander's airspace requirements can best be met.  User activities and requirements differ between the division and corps rear area and, in this respect, the functions of the AME will differ accordingly.

The AME identifies and resolves potential conflicts concerning the use of airspace through the correlation of airspace.  The AME--

  • Develops and maintains the airspace utilization map.

  • Develops, maintains, and disseminates recommended LLTRs.

  • Maintains and disseminates the information on all ROAS, standard-use Army air routes, weapons free zones, preplanned field artillery fires, airmobile operations, major aviation operations, and FARP locations.

  • Relays information concerning AD warnings and rules of engagement (WCSs, hostile criteria).

  • Monitors the status of AD and aviation assets and advises the commander.

  • Maintains and disseminates the status and location of NAVAIDs and landing sites.

  • Coordinates and disseminates information concerning the establishment of coordinating altitudes and changes thereto.

  • Disseminates information concerning enemy AD activity.

  • Coordinates requirements for airfield terminal control zones.

  • Provides airspace management information relevant to development of air movement plans, and ensures that airlift requirements are included in airspace utilization annexes.

  • Coordinates and disseminates to the ATC and ADA procedures used by aviation units for across FLOT operations to include return procedures.

  • Coordinates SIF and IFF procedures for Army aircraft to include the location of the SIF and IFF line.

  • Disseminates to FOCs, FCCs, and aviation units any grid matrix systems used to facilitate early warning and SHORAD control.

  • Provides information to the FOC and FCC concerning LLTRs; standard-use Army air routes; requirements for NAVAIDs and terminal facilities; restricted areas; weapons free zones; AD WCS; rules of engagement; coordinating altitude; field artillery and ADA fire unit locations; aviation annex to OPLANs and OPORDs; IFF and SIF codes; and instructions to broadcast air warning for friendly nuclear strikes, CAS strikes, or artillery concentrations.

Further information on airspace management is available in FM 1-103.

The AADC manages the integrated AD through the use of the command and control structures and procedures.  The three categories of command and control procedures are--

  • Warning procedures and alert statuses.

  • ROE.

  • Supplemental fire control measures.

Warning Procedures and Alert Statuses

Warning procedures and alert statuses are measures taken to alert, prepare, or increase unit readiness for combat.

DEFCONs.  DEFCONs describe progressive alert postures primarily for use between the JCS and the commanders of unified and special commands.  DEFCONS are graduated to match situations of varying military severity, and are numbered 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 as appropriate.  In NATO, a similar system of SOAs is used in place of DEFCON.

WADs.  WADs describe a progressive system of alert postures based on the DEFCON.  They are used by the AADC and or RADC to specify minimum percentages of ADA fire units within parent organizations which are required to be at given SORs.  In NATO where DEFCONs are known as SOAs, WADs are termed DEFREPs.

SORs.  SORs describe the degree of readiness of ADA fire units expressed in minutes from time of alert notification to time of weapon firing.  SORs are based on the WAD and, for HIMAD units, are normally designated by ADA battalion commanders for their subordinate fire units.  For SHORAD units, SORs are declared down to battery or combat teams.  Additionally, SORs are used to specify personnel manning requirements.

ADWs.  ADWs represent the commander's evaluation of the probability of air attack within his area of operations.  ADWs are routinely issued by RADCs.  They are also issued by any commander for his command.  In no case, however, can the local ADW be lower than the overall ADW issued by the RADC.  The issuance of an ADW is not tied to any other warning procedure or alert status.  Therefore, a commander may issue an ADW for his command irrespectively of DEFCON or WAD.  Similarly, ADW is used by a commander to dictate the readiness posture of the ADA units under his command.  As an example, a situation might occur where an air attack was not expected for a unit (low DEFCON, WAD, and ADW) but where a forward element of that unit was subjected to air attack.  The division commander could declare ADW RED, forcing the ADA units in his command to assume the highest readiness posture regardless of the declared DEFCON.

ADWs replace the obsolete term "ARW." The three ADWs as defined in JCS Pub 1 are--

  • ADW RED--Attack by hostile aircraft or missiles is imminent or in progress.  This means that hostile aircraft or missiles are within a respective area of operations or are in the immediate vicinity of a respective area of operations with high probability of entry thereto.

  • ADW YELLOW--Attack by hostile aircraft or missiles is probable.  This means that hostile aircraft or missiles are en route toward a respective area of operations, or unknown aircraft or missiles suspected to be hostile are en route towards, or are within, a respective area of operations.

  • ADW WHITE--Attack by hostile aircraft or missiles is improbable.  ADW WHITE is declared either before or after ADW YELLOW or ADW RED.  The initial declaration of ADE automatically establishes an ADW other than WHITE to enable secure control of air traffic.

ADE.  ADE is an emergency condition (declared by either the Commander in Chief, NORAD, or Commander in Chief, ADC) which exists when attack upon CONUS, Canada, or US installations in Greenland by hostile aircraft or missiles is considered probable, is imminent, or is taking place.


ROE are the positive and procedural management directives issued by competent military authority which specify the circumstances and limitations under which forces will initiate or continue combat engagement with other encountered forces (JCS Pub 1).  The AADC establishes ROE to enable him to delegate the authority to engage aircraft and also permit him to retain control of the air battle by prescribing the exact conditions under which engagements are conducted.  The seven common components of ROE are as follows:

Right of Self-Defense.  The right of self-defense is the responsibility of commanders at all echelons to take whatever action is required to protect their forces and equipment against air attack.  Normally, such action is governed by rules and procedures established by the AD commander.  Emergency action deemed necessary, if contrary to the established rules, is carefully weighed for its effect on the operations and safety of other friendly forces and, if taken, reported to the appropriate commander at the earliest practicable time.

Hostile Criteria.  Hostile criteria are basic rules issued by the commanders of unified or specified commands, and by other appropriate commanders when so authorized, which are used by echelons having identification authority to determine the friendly or hostile character of unknown detected aircraft.  Identification authority is normally retained at the AD sector (CRC) level.  Upon target detection, fire units having real-time data transmission capability perform target correlation (the determination that an aircraft appearing on a radar scope, on a plotting board, or visually detected is the same vehicle as that on which information is being received from another source), make initial target identification, and report target characteristics to the AD sector commander.  The AD sector commander then makes final target identification and delegates engagement authority.  Identification authority is also delegated to lower echelons (as is normally the case with fire units having no real-time data transmission capability).  Examples of this can include speed, altitude, heading, or other requirements within specified volumes of airspace (see supplemental fire control procedures below), or visual recognition of specific enemy characteristics or hostile acts.  In such cases, individual fire units have both identification and engagement authority.

Level of Control.  Level of control describes the AD echelon at which positive management of the air battle is conducted.  This can be a TACC, ADOC (NATO only), SOC (NATO only), CRC and CRP, ADA brigade or battalion FDC, or the individual fire unit.

Modes of Control.  The two modes of control are centralized control and decentralized control.

Centralized control is the control mode whereby a higher echelon authorizes target engagements to fire units.  Permission to engage each track must be requested by the fire unit from that higher AD echelon.  Centralized control is used to minimize the likelihood of engaging friendly aircraft while permitting engagements of hostile aircraft only when specific orders are issued to initiate the engagement.

Decentralized control is the normal wartime mode of control for AD whereby a higher echelon monitors unit actions, making direct target assignments to units only when necessary to ensure proper fire distribution, to prevent engagement of friendly aircraft, and to prevent simultaneous engagements of hostile aircraft.  Decentralized control is used to increase the likelihood that a hostile aircraft will be engaged in a high-density environment.  The lack of positive controls associated with decentralized control is not acceptable during peacetime.

The processes of raising and lowering the echelon at which the air battle is managed are termed "centralizing control" and "decentralizing control," respectively.  Air battle management is centralized when it is conducted at battalion level or higher, as long as that echelon has the capability of making direct target assignments to fire units, and higher echelons have the capability of monitoring fire unit actions.  For instance, in a situation where air battle management is decentralized to the ADA brigade FDC, the ADA brigade commander exercises centralized control of his subordinate fire units.  At the same time, however, higher control echelons are continuously monitoring the actions of the brigade's fire units.  These higher echelons are exercising decentralized control while the brigade commander exercises centralized control.  Thus, centralized control and decentralized control are conducted simultaneously, although at different levels.

Autonomous Operations.  Autonomous control is the mode of operation assumed by a unit after it has lost all communications with higher echelons.  The unit commander assumes full responsibility for control of weapons and engagement of hostile targets.

WCSs.  WCSs describe the relative degree with which the fires of AD systems are managed.  They are applied to weapon systems, volumes of airspace, or types of aircraft.  This degree or extent of control will vary depending on the relative priorities of two needs: the need to provide for the protection of friendly aircraft, and the need to maintain a high level of AD for a specific tactical situation.  The WCSs are imposed by the AADC or RADC.  However, other maneuver commanders (that is, corps, division, brigade, or battalion) have the authority to impose a more restrictive WCS within their areas of operation for assigned, attached, or organic ADA weapons if the local situation so demands.  Similarly, these commanders can request the AADC or RADC to impose a less restrictive WCS within their respective areas.  The three WCSs are weapons free, weapons tight, and weapons hold.

  • Weapons Free.  Fire at any aircraft not positively identified as friendly.  This is the least restrictive WCS.

  • Weapons Tight.  Fire only at aircraft positively identified as hostile according to the prevailing hostile criteria.  Positive identification is effected by a number of means to include visual identification (aided or unaided) and meeting other designated hostile criteria supported by track correlation.

  • Weapons Hold.  Do not fire except in self-defense or in response to a formal order.  This is the most restrictive WCS.

Fire Control Orders.  Fire control orders are commands which are used to control AD engagements on a case-by-case basis, regardless of the prevailing WCS.  These commands are most often used by higher control echelons when monitoring the decentralized operations of subordinate units.  Fire control orders are transmitted electronically or verbally; however, not all of the fire control orders shown below and in Figure 55 can or will be used by every type of ADA weapon system.

  • Engage.  This command is used to order a fire unit to engage (fire on) a specific target.  This order cancels any previous fire control order which was given on that track.

  • Cease Engagement.  This command is used to stop tactical action against a specified target and is always followed by an engage command.  This order is used to change an ongoing engagement of one target to another of higher priority.  Missiles in flight are allowed to continue to intercept.  In NATO, this order is used to preclude simultaneous engagement of a target by more than one weapon system.  (Does not apply to nonautomated ADA systems or Patriot.) (See Cease Fire.)

  • Hold Fire.  This is an emergency fire control order used to stop firing and all tactical action to include the destruction of any missiles in flight.  It is used to protect friendly aircraft.

  • Cease Fire*.  This is a command given to ADA units to refrain from firing on, but to continue to track, an airborne object.  Missiles in flight are allowed to continue to intercept.  It is used to prevent simultaneous target engagement by manned fighters and ADA units.  (Does not apply to nonautomated ADA systems.)

  • Cover*.  This command is used to order a fire unit to assume a posture that will allow engagement of a target if directed.  For radar-directed systems, this means achieving a radar lock on a specified target.  It is used for targets that are presently engaged by another fire unit or for targets that are not yet a significant threat.  Units that receive this command report tracking, lock on, and ready to fire to higher echelons as these statuses are achieved.  (Does not apply to nonautomated ADA systems or Patriot.)

  • Engage Hold (Patriot only)*.  This command is used to temporarily restrain a fire unit from automatically engaging a target.  If the fire unit has not fired, target tracking continues.  Missiles in flight are allowed to continue to intercept.  This command cannot be automatically transmitted from a brigade level AN/TSQ-73 to a Patriot unit at this time.

  • Stop Fire*.  This is an emergency fire control order to temporarily halt the engagement sequence due to internally unsafe fire unit conditions.  It is seldom transmitted outside the fire unit.  This command is given by anyone in the fire unit who detects an unsafe condition.  The engagement continues after the unsafe condition is corrected.

Note: The commands marked with an asterisk are not currently recognized as fire control orders in some theaters.



Supplemental Fire Control Measures

Supplemental fire control measures are procedural management measures issued by competent military authority which delineate or modify hostile criteria, delegate identification authority, or which serve strictly as aids in fire distribution or airspace control.  The supplemental fire control measures are as follows:

ADOA.  ADOA is an area and the airspace above it within which procedures are established to minimize mutual interference between AD and other operations.  It can include designations of one or more of the following:

  • AD Action Area.  This describes an area and the airspace above it within which friendly aircraft or ADA weapons are normally given precedence in operations except under specified conditions.  This type of ADOA is primarily used to minimize mutual interference between friendly aircraft and ADA weapon systems.  ADOAs are prioritized for ADA weapons are similar to restricted operations areas for aircraft (see below), except that ADOAs are normally in effect for longer periods of time.

  • AD Area.  This is specifically defined airspace for which AD is planned and provided.  This type of ADOA is primarily used for airspace control, but is also used to define many area within which ADA units are operating.

  • ADIZ.  This is the airspace of defined dimensions within which the ready identification, location, and control of airborne vehicles are required.  This type of area is normally used only for airspace control.  Areas within an ADIZ will normally be characterized by extremely stringent hostile criteria and WCSs.

WEZ.  WEZ identifies a volume of defined airspace within which a specific type of AD weapon is preferred for use in an engagement.  Use of WEZ does not preclude engagement of high-priority targets by more than one type of weapon system if centralized control of each weapon system involved is available.  The activation of WEZ is used to delegate identification authority.  Commonly used WEZs include--

  • FEZ.  FEZ is established in an area where no effective surface-to-air capability is deployed.

  • HIMEZ.  This is normally applied to long-range SAMs.  A HIMEZ limits the volume of airspace within which these weapons can conduct engagements without specific direction from the authority establishing the WEZ.

  • LOMEZ.  LOMEZ is a volume of airspace which establishes control over engagements by low- to medium-altitude SAMs.  The same considerations pertinent to the HIMEZ and FEZ apply.  Subject to weapon systems capabilities, the LOMEZ normally will extend beyond the FEBA.

  • SHORADEZ.  This is an area of SHORAD deployment that may fall within a HIMEZ or LOMEZ.  It is also possible that some areas are solely defended by SHORAD assets.  A SHORADEZ is established to define the airspace within which these assets will operate.  Because centralized control over SHORAD weapons may not be possible, these areas are clearly defined and disseminated so that friendly aircraft can avoid them.

ADA engagements within an activated WEZ are conducted by the echelon controlling engagements without further permission or direction from the establishing authority of the WEZ if the targets meet specified hostile criteria in effect outside the activated WEZ.  Thus, an activated WEZ supplements ADA hostile criteria and is used by battalion FDCs and fire units to make target assignments and engagement decisions.

HIDACZ.  HIDACZ is airspace of defined dimensions in which there is a concentrated employment of numerous and varied airspace users.  These can include aircraft; artillery, mortar and naval gunfire; local AD weapons; and surface-to-surface missiles.  The HIDACZ is established by the AADC in his capacity as the airspace control authority upon request of ground commanders.  A HIDACZ is established when the level and intensity of airspace operations dictate the need for special airspace control measures.  The number of such zones will vary depending on the combat situation and the complexities of airspace control in conjunction with fire support coordination.  The establishment of a HIDACZ normally will increase temporary airspace restrictions (see below) within the volume of defined airspace.  Additionally, establishment of a HIDACZ within a maneuver area will normally give that maneuver unit commander complete WCS authority within the activated HIDACZ.

Temporary Airspace Restrictions.  Temporary airspace restrictions are imposed on segments of airspace of defined dimensions in response to specific situations and requirements.  These can include CAP operations, air refueling areas, and those areas declared ADA WEAPONS FREE.  The issuance of such restrictions will include--

  • Identification of the airspace user being restricted.

  • Period, area, altitude, and height of restriction.

  • Procedures for cancellation or modification of the restriction in event of communications loss.

Three common temporary airspace restrictions are ROAs, MRRs and LLTRs, and standard-use Army aircraft routes.

ROA.  This identifies airspace of defined dimensions within which the operation of one or more airspace users is restricted, generally for a short time.  These areas are established by the ACA in response to the requests of ground force commanders.  Consequently, the maneuver unit commander will normally have complete WCS authority within an activated restricted operations area.

ROAs for aircraft are established to maximize ADA effectiveness.  In such cases, the normal ADA WCS is WEAPONS FREE.

ROAs for ADA are established to maximize aircraft effectiveness.  In such cases, the normal ADA WCS is WEAPONS HOLD.

MRR and LLTR.  This is a temporary corridor of defined dimensions-passing in either direction through ADA defense, a HIDACZ, or an ROA.  It is designated to reduce risk to high-speed aircraft transiting the tactical operations area at low altitudes.  The WCS for MRR and LLTR is normally maintained at WEAPONS TIGHT.  Such circumstances will exist where there is an inadequate timely control capability to permit a more flexible method of AD.  However, CAS aircraft transiting the tactical operations area are not required to use an active MRR and or LLTR.  This decision is made by the individual pilot in consideration of flight plan information, MRR and LLTR suitability to mission requirements, degree of acceptable risk necessary for mission success, and CRC recommendations.  In such cases where aircraft do not use MRR and or LLTR or where aircraft having nonoperational IFF and SIF transponders do not use MRR and or LLTR, it is recognized that established AD procedures will apply.

The WCS for ADA fire units whose engagement ranges intercept an activated MRR and or LLTR remains at WEAPONS TIGHT for that part of the route.  Should it become necessary to change to WEAPONS FREE, the commander who established that particular route will close it.

Standard-use Army aircraft flight routes.  These are temporary corridors of defined dimensions passing in either direction through the ROA to designated points in the tactical operations area.  These routes will terminate in relatively secure areas.  Two points are important for ADA in connection with standard-use routes: (1) Since high-speed aircraft should avoid standard-use routes, ADA hostile criteria may include provisions that high-speed aircraft within these routes are declared hostile.  (2) The WCS for ADA units whose engagement ranges intercept an activated standard-use route remains at WEAPONS TIGHT for that part of the route.  Should it become necessary to change to WEAPONS FREE, the commander who established that particular route will close it.

Sectors of fire and PTLs are established to assist in the distribution of ADA fires.  Sectors of fire are normally designated at battalion after review of fire unit radar coverage diagrams.  (In some theaters, sectors of fire are also referred to as battery attack areas or primary target sectors.) Sectors of fire or PTLs for SHORAD are normally designated by the battery commander or platoon leader.  These limits are clearly defined by right and left azimuths.  Those ADA units with automated tactical data systems must know whether they are to assign and engage air targets within or beyond the stated sector boundaries.

Practice Exercise

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Page last modified: 27-04-2005 07:23:08 Zulu