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CHAPTER 3

ARMY AIR TRAFFIC SERVICES WARFIGHTING OPERATIONS

This chapter describes the critical roles of air traffic service units during warfighting operations. These units are capable of conducting force projection operations from CONUS and OCONUS locations.

3-1. EMPLOYMENT ROLES

Air traffic service units promote safe, flexible, and efficient use of airspace. ATC units also enhance air operations for ground force initiatives. In addition, they serve as a combat multiplier for the maneuver commander by--

  • Providing ATS support forward of the division rear area to coordinate A2C2.

  • Providing A2C2, airspace information, terminal, navigational, and forward-area support services.

  • Interfacing with theater, joint and combined, or host-nation ATS assets during Army and joint/combined operations.

  • Providing input to A2C2 efforts with emphasis on air operations and collecting, processing, displaying, and issuing airspace user information.

  • Supporting US government agencies (interagency operations), as necessary, in the interest of national security during peacetime and contingency operations.

3-2. TERMINAL AND AIRSPACE INFORMATION FOR DEEP, CLOSE, AND REAR OPERATIONS

a. Terminal Operations. ATS terminal operations include a full range of services to support the regulation of landings and takeoffs within concentrated areas of aircraft activity during deep, close, and rear operations.

    (1) Deep operations. Tactical aviation control teams will conduct ATS terminal operations in the deep operations area. Using lightweight man-portable equipment, these teams can deploy with airborne, SOF, and LRS units to provide navigational assistance to aircraft during deep operations. In the deep battle area, ATS terminal operations include--

  • Providing weather and A2C2 information.

  • Conducting visual surveillance of austere DZs, LZs, PZs, and airheads.

  • Providing procedural control rather than positive control, as required.

  • Providing situational updates about friendly, unknown, and hostile aircraft.

  • Providing austere DZs, LZs, PZ, and airheads with on-call nonprecision approach NAVAIDs.

    (2) Close operations. During close operations, ATS terminal operations will be limited. As required by the tactical situation, these operations will be set up in areas designated for priority logistics and medical evacuation. They also will be set up in FARPs and maneuver force assembly areas. During close operations, ATS terminal operations include--

  • Providing A2C2 situational update information.

  • Providing visual surveillance of landing areas.

  • Providing separation and sequencing of arriving and departing aircraft.

  • Providing the capability for conducting nonprecision approaches for IMC recovery.

  • Providing short-notice backup support if the battle tempo or the requirements to aid in resupply and reconstitution change.

  • Providing positive or procedural control measures as required by environmental factors, the density and complexity of air traffic, and the airspace situation.

  • Coordinating the movement of air traffic with other ATS facilities, A2C2 elements, and joint/combined service elements to effect an unimpeded flow of aircraft into and out of the close-battle area.

    (3) Rear operations. ATS terminal operations in the rear will be more extensive than in the forward areas. They provide main operating bases and satellite airfields and landing areas in the theater, corps, and division areas with all-weather capabilities. Terminal operations include--

  • Providing enhanced movement of aircraft.

  • Providing visual and electronic surveillance.

  • Providing traffic pattern separation and sequencing.

  • Providing precision or nonprecision approach NAVAIDs.

  • Designing terminal area precision and nonprecision approaches.

b. Airspace Information Operations. The ATS unit provides continuity for the preplanned en route system in the COMMZ down to whatever echelon the commander desires. The ATS unit can also move rapidly to meet unforeseen contingencies during deep, close, and rear operations.

    (1) Deep operations. In the deep battle area, low altitudes, radio discipline, and threat EW capabilities may limit airspace information services. Terminal elements that have a communications capability with the en route system will provide on-call navigational assistance and airspace information about the en route system. Technical evaluation and planning of en route segments will be available to aircraft with self-contained navigation equipment.

    (2) Close operations. ATS elements will provide some en route navigational assistance and airspace and flight information. These elements can help deconflict planned and immediate flight routes for use by aircraft with self-contained navigation equipment.

    (3) Rear operations. Rear operations and operations conducted in the COMMZ will be characterized by both fixed- and rotary-wing operations. These operations will include aircraft that transition through the coordinating altitude as they fly forward and return. Aircraft performing maneuver, C2, CS, and CSS missions will operate day and night. They will perform these missions in adverse weather and at altitudes that vary from low level to NOE depending on their location and the enemy situation. Aircraft operations may include joint/combined, interagency, or host-nation flights. ATS airspace information centers supporting rear operations will provide--

  • On-call or demand-activated en route NAVAIDs.

  • Dissemination of weather and critical flight data.

  • En route aircraft separation and deconfliction on designated flight routes.

  • Interface with the other joint/combined, interagency, and host-nation airspace management systems.

  • A transition to the comprehensive en route airway structure used to support air traffic to and from the rear operations area.

3-3. DEPLOYMENT CONSIDERATIONS

a. Commanders must consider specific ATS deployment capabilities when conducting deep, close, and rear operations. They must plan for--

  • Support during all-weather and natural light conditions.

  • The number of sorties and airspace users in all missions.

  • Aircraft survivability and aviation support for mission accomplishment.

  • Mobile and fixed-base facilities that require secure and ECCM-capable communications.

  • Secure data and voice communications capabilities that are compatible with joint and combined service elements.

  • Lightweight, air-ground mobile, rapidly deployable equipment that allows deployment based on the battlefield threat level.

b. The ATS commander must address specific considerations when conducting deep, close, and rear operations. He must--

  • Be sure that lower echelons understand his intent.

  • Establish guidelines for reacting to contingencies that may develop.

  • Always be aware of the mission and appreciate the objectives of the higher echelon.

3-4. COMPANY AND TEAM DEPLOYMENT

The deployment of ATS units in a theater of operations depends on the extent to which Army forces, particularly Army Aviation forces, are committed. ATS units and their organic teams are task-organized to provide direct support to aviation combat forces of various sizes when they are in the theater of operations or deploy as a separate task force.

a. Communications Zone Support Company.

    (1) The COMMZ support company can provide teams to support terminal area operations at up to four designated airfield locations or austere landing sites in the theater. These locations are expected to be used for sustainment operations where joint and combined forces aircraft conduct landings and takeoffs.

    (2) The COMMZ support company headquarters provides A2C2 liaison personnel to the CRC and normally is located with or near the supported aviation unit CP. The COMMZ support company must provide AIC services in the COMMZ. The AIC normally will accept handoffs of aircraft at designated air control points from adjacent terminal teams employed in the theater.

    (3) The COMMZ support company can move rapidly using its internal TACTs in a terminal configuration.

b. Corps Support Company.

    (1) The corps support company provides a terminal team to support terminal area operations at each designated airfield or austere landing site. It also provides airspace information services in the corps area of operations. The company headquarters will normally be located with or near the supported aviation unit CP.

    (2) The corps airspace information center is organic to the ATS corps support company and is collocated with the corps A2C2 element.

    (3) The corps support company can move rapidly using its internal TACTs in a terminal configuration.

c. Air Traffic Services Division/Assault Division Support Company.

    (1) The division support company headquarters normally is located with or near the supported aviation unit CP. The division support company provides--

  • Two tactical aviation control teams.

  • Airspace information services in the division area of operations.

  • The division maneuver brigade's A2C2 elements with A2C2 liaison personnel.

  • Terminal area services at each designated airfield location or austere landing site.

  • The division airspace information center, which is organic to the ATS division support company and collocated with the division A2C2 element.

    (2) The assault division support company is the same as the division support company except for the number of TACTs. Like the division support company, the assault division support company headquarters normally is located with or near the supported aviation unit CP. The assault division support company provides--

  • Six tactical aviation control teams.

  • Airspace information services in the division area of operations.

  • The assault division maneuver brigade's A2C2 elements with A2C2 liaison personnel.

  • Terminal area services at each designated airfield location or austere landing site.

  • The division airspace information center, which is organic to the assault division support company and collocated with the division A2C2 element.

d. Air Traffic Services Airspace Information Team.

    (1) Corps airspace information center.

    (a) The CAIC is the primary ATS facility that provides A2C2 services, airspace information services, and coordination of Army, joint, and combined air traffic operating in the rear operations areas. It also is the primary interface with the joint and combined airspace management system concerning the coordination of flights conducted below the coordinating altitude. The CAIC normally is employed in the corps area of operations. It is collocated with the corps TOC and the CRC. Based on the USAF air combat command communications plan, when the CAIC is physically separated from the CRC, the CRC has identified circuits and is responsible for communications connectivity for the two facilities.

    (b) The CAIC provides a coordination link between the theater air control system's CRC/ASOC and the ATS A2C2 liaison team at the corps CTOC, the corps ADA brigade CP, adjacent AICs, and ATS terminal control facilities operating at designated COMMZ airfields. The CAIC can provide real-time air picture situational updates as required. These updates include--

  • Hostile aircraft intrusion warnings.

  • On-call or demand-activated NAVAIDs.

  • Dissemination of terminal airfield status.

  • Flight following and navigational assistance.

  • Aircraft sequencing on designated flight routes.

  • Assistance in defensive and offensive operations.

  • Dissemination of current and forecasted aviation weather information.

  • Search and rescue assistance to aircraft performing combat SAR operations.

  • The collection, processing, displaying, and dissemination of critical air information (A2C2 data).

    (2) Division airspace information center.

    (a) The DAIC provides A2C2 and airspace information services and is employed in the division area of operations. It serves as a communications extension for the CAIC and another DAIC. The DAIC supports the CAIC with its coordination activities. The DAIC also can provide real-time air picture situational updates as required. Each DAIC accepts en route air traffic from or passes traffic to the CAIC or adjacent DAICs. The DAIC also relays current and forecasted weather information and is the primary coordination link between the brigade A2C2 and division A2C2 elements. Although located at different echelons, all AICs perform essentially the same function and have the same tactical equipment. This is true whether the AIC operates in the corps or division area of operations.

    (b) The AICs operating in the division area of operations provide a coordination link between the CAIC, TACS (FACP/TACPs), ATS liaison element at the DTOC, ADA battalion CP, adjacent AICs, ATS terminal control facilities, and TACTs. When the CAIC is inoperative or moving, the ATS commander will designate another AIC to serve as the main AIC. The redesignated AIC operates and employs the same as the original CAIC. This link ensures continuity in the flow of information required for air defense and air traffic management operations.

    (3) Tactical aviation control teams.

    (a) TACTs normally are employed at auxiliary areas and remote locations. They can be organized in several configurations using a manpack secure data/voice communications package. TACTs are task-organized to support specific missions in the forward areas. Cross-FLOT operations require the teams to use all concealment measures available including radio silence. If radio silence is used, TACTs must communicate using data bursts.

    (b) TACTs extend the communications capability of the AICs. TACT operations will provide portable, lightweight NAVAIDs for passage points and landing site designation and integration. Multispectral lighting capabilities are desired.

e. Terminal Teams. Certain factors should be considered when selecting a suitable location for ATS terminal teams. These factors are--

  • The threat.

  • Traffic patterns.

  • Terrain, weather, and prevailing winds.

  • Applicable governing regulations and SOPs.

  • Siting limitations of the tower and GCA systems.

  • Obstructions in the terminal area of operations.

  • Primary instrument runway and landing area coverage.

    (1) Tower team.

    (a) The tower team normally is employed at main operating bases where high density air traffic exists. Based on ACA guidance, this team provides tower services similar to those that are conducted in a fixed-base environment. Tower teams control air traffic that is transitioning, landing, or departing main operating bases or tactical landing sites.

    (b) The tower team is the primary ATS unit for regulating and integrating ATS terminal services at the main operating base. It also establishes the nonprecision approach capability for the terminal area of operations. All aircraft movements at the airfield or tactical landing site that the aviation operations section or appropriate A2C2 element initiates should be coordinated with the tower team. This procedure provides effective control of traffic in the terminal area.

    (2) Ground-controlled approach team. The GCA team normally employs with the tower team at main operating bases. This team provides a near all-weather, passive, precision, and nonprecision approach and recovery capability. It also provides simultaneous surveillance vectoring and precision/nonprecision approach guidance to arriving and departing aircraft operating in the terminal area.

f. Army Airspace Command and Control Liaison Teams. Airspace management doctrine requires that A2C2 elements be assigned at all echelons from brigade to EAC. The A2C2 liaison team furnishes the personnel for the A2C2 elements at each echelon. It provides A2C2, airspace information, and air traffic services. The A2C2 liaison teams are the primary players in helping A2C2 elements provide synchronization, regulation, identification, and deconfliction of all airspace users. These teams must be robust enough to afford 24-hour services yet mobile enough to move rapidly as combat operations develop. The A2C2 liaison teams are located as shown below.

    (1) EAC. The ATS group furnishes an A2C2 liaison team to the G3/J3 of the field army or LCC. It also furnishes a liaison team to the BCE. The COMMZ support company furnishes an A2C2 liaison team to the CRC.

    (2) Corps. The ATS battalion furnishes an A2C2 liaison team to the corps A2C2 element.

    (3) Division. The ATS division support company furnishes an A2C2 liaison team to the division A2C2 element. An A2C2 liaison team also is assigned to each maneuver brigade to perform airspace management planning and execution.

3-5. NAVIGATIONAL AID DEPLOYMENT

a. Procedures contained in TM 95-226 shall be used to construct a precision or nonprecision approach to serve the terminal area. The en route criteria shall be as established by the ACA. Critical information about tactical approach procedures at instrumented heliports and airfields must be issued to aviation units via the terminal approach procedures system form.

b. In a combat or contingency zone, the ATS unit normally provides limited flight inspection of deployed air navigational facilities using organic expertise and aviation assets. The ATS commander will be responsible for advising the supported aviation units of the risks involved in using these air navigational facilities when a certified flight inspection has not been performed. This is especially true when IMC conditions may or will exist.

    (1) TM 95-225 prescribes procedures and techniques for performing flight inspections on air navigational facilities. This manual is based on joint FAA/DOD standards (FAA Order 8240.46A) and criteria. The Army is responsible for 100 percent of its own tactical flight inspections, operational evaluations, and precommissioning work. Paragraph 7b of FAA Order 8240.46A, reads: "The DOD is delegated the responsibility to conduct flight inspections of DOD VFR-only training facilities and all DOD mobile navigational aids deployed in support military exercises, contingency operations, or interim mission support on a worldwide basis. The DOD flight inspection support will continue, provided the ownership of mobile navigational aids is retained by the deploying military unit. Where FAA resources are available and their use can result in savings of time and resources, the DOD may coordinate exceptions with FAA."

    (2) The potentially catastrophic results of a major natural disaster or the need to respond quickly to a military emergency demands that operational requirements be planned and defined in advance. The ability to provide sustained flight inspection support for the many different requirements that may exist is founded on the use of abbreviated flight inspection procedures.

3-6. NIGHT OPERATIONS

Night operations require a greater degree of caution because of reduced visibility. More often, aviators are using night vision devices while they train at night to perform their missions. ATS personnel, especially tower teams and TACTs, must be trained in the use of NVDs to perform their functions. The use of NVDs increases the ATS unit's capability to conduct ATS operations in support of friendly air operations. It also allows the ATS unit to detect, through electronic surveillance, threat air and ground forces during offensive or defensive operations. TACTs and tower teams that provide terminal services also must be able to provide multispectral lighting control measures.



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