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Appendix I

Field Artillery Command, Control, and Communications Structure

The purpose of this appendix is to provide an overview of how the FA fits into the Army's communications architecture. Section I describes major systems and components used by artillerymen on a daily basis to communicate with higher, lower, and adjacent organizations and highlights associated capabilities and limitations. Sections II through IV discuss corps arty, div arty, and FA brigade communications structures.


I-1. The Army battle command system (ABCS) links strategic, operational, and tactical headquarters. It is the umbrella system encompassing the existing Army tactical command and control system (ATCCS), global command and control system-Army (GCCS-A), and the emerging FBCB2 system.

I-2. To meet tactical communications requirements from brigade to corps, the Army has fielded the ATCCS. It provides a standard communications architecture consisting of five computerized and automated battlefield functional area control systems (BFACS). These include the AFATDS; MCS; CSS communications system (CSSCS); all-source analysis system (ASAS); and forward area air defense command, control, communications and intelligence system (FAADC3I). Figure I-1 shows the interrelationship among the communications systems and BFACs. Common application software specifies common protocols, system languages, report formats, and necessary interfaces to ensure an overall cohesive and compatible force C2 system.

Figure I-1. Battlefield Functional Area Control System Interconnectivity

Figure I-1. Battlefield Functional Area Control System Interconnectivity

I-3. The ATCCS relies on four mutually compatible communications subsystems to link the BFACS. They are the CNR system, ACUS, ADDS, and the broadcast communication system.



I-4. The CNR system includes the FM very high frequency (VHF) SINCGARS, high frequency (HF) AM radios, and TACSAT radio systems.


I-5. SINCGARS is the FA's most widespread communications system. It is found in significant numbers in most FA units. These radios are portable, mobile, and can be used on the move more easily than other CNR systems. Although limited in range, their reach can be significantly extended with directional antennas, retransmission stations, or relays.

I-6. SINCGARS transmits both voice and limited data traffic and resists jamming and other electronic attack techniques by frequency hopping. Imbedded communications security (COMSEC) further contributes to survivability.


I-7. HF AM radios extend ranges beyond that possible with VHF radios such as Sincgars. They are reliable with good frequency management and antenna selection and can be used in a retransmission mode to extend the ranges of VHF nets. Current versions available for FA use are the vehicular-mounted, short-range AN/GRC-213 and the long-range AN/GRC-193 HF radios. Both supports secure voice and data transmission.

I-8. HF radios are a scarce FA resource. Div artys are authorized one AN/GRC-193, normally located in the FA TOC, and FA brigades one for each of two liaison teams. Corps artys have as many as 17, but only 2 are in the FA TOC. The remainder are in liaison and FS sections and not available to extend the range of FA internal nets. In addition, MLRS battalions have one AN/GRC-193 radio in the TOC and one in each battery operations center, increasing the ability of div artys and FA brigades to talk on internal nets to MLRS batteries.


I-9. Single-channel TACSAT radios carry both voice and data traffic globally, virtually eliminating distance constraints inherent in other CNR systems. Besides range, the main advantages of TACSAT radios are increased security and relative EW immunity. L-series TOEs do not authorize TACSAT radios in FA units. However, they may be available under MTOE authorizations. For contingency operations, corps artys and div artys need to include TACSATs in their C2 architecture planning.

I-10. Corps commanders may also direct that single-channel Earth stations be provided to subordinate brigade-sized elements, particularly if distances or terrain over which units operate exceed other CNR system capabilities.



I-11. The second ATCCS communication subsystem is ACUS, a digital battlefield telecommunications system composed of switching, transmission, network control, tri-services tactical (TRITAC), and MSE. Although ACUS was designed to handle primarily voice traffic, text and graphics can also be transmitted in hard copy via facsimile (fax). ACUS reduces significantly the need for FA CP-internal wire communications and also provides for a CNR interface and secure data transmission. During movement, continuous communication is possible by using mobile telephones available on the vehicles of FA commanders and key FA staff officers.

I-12. Because of the limited number of available MSE circuits, ACUS cannot provide the number of dedicated, sole-user circuits to meet FA data exchange requirements. For example, corps arty requires dedicated lines to each subordinate div arty, FA brigade, cannon or MLRS battalion, FSE, and liaison section. Even if all MSE circuits were made available for FA use, the MSE network could not support FA data transmission requirements.


I-13. MSE eliminates the requirement for radio teletypewriter (RATT) capabilities previously provided by signal units and RATT teams organic to FA units. FA units use the following four key pieces of equipment to operate within the MSE network:

Voice Telephone

I-14. The digital nonsecure voice telephone is the conventional MSE telephone found in TOCs, ALOCs, FSEs, and subordinate units down to battery level.

Mobile Subscriber Radiotelephone

I-15. The AN/VRC-97 mobile subscriber radiotelephone (MSRT) is the cellular telephone of the MSE system. Corps arty, div arty, and FA brigade commanders and key staff officers have MSRTs mounted on their vehicles. The MSRTs can also be remoted into CPs.

Lightweight Digital Facsimile

I-16. When connected to the MSE network through a digital telephone, the AN/UXC-7 lightweight digital facsimile (LDF) sends and receives text and graphics in hard copy.

Communications Terminal

I-17. The communications terminal is a message terminal designed to replace message centers in certain applications. The terminal is a device using standardized joint and allied formats.


I-18. When the EPLRS is not available, most digital traffic among artillery units will be by CNR primarily using FM (SINCGARS) radios. When distances or other considerations make this impractical, HF or TACSAT CNR systems or MSE can serve as alternatives. Although MSE has the advantage of relative signal clarity and area coverage over CNRs, it is limited in meeting FA digital network requirements.


I-19. ADDS is the third ATCCS communications subsystem. In contrast to ACUS and CNRs, it is optimized to carry data traffic, providing medium and high-volume, real-time data communications. It consists of EPLRS, the near-term digital radio, and the joint tactical information distribution system (JTIDS). EPLRS is currently being fielded to early deploying units. It is a robust, reliable, jam-resistant data-only system that passes targeting data, combat orders, situation reports, intelligence data, and other message traffic among friendly tactical units.


I-20. Broadcast communication systems use technology similar to commercial television and radio stations, where transmit-only stations send information to many receive-only stations over HF, satellite, or other means. Examples of current and planned broadcast communication systems include JSTARS, tactical information broadcast service (TIBS), tactical receive equipment and related application (TRAP), and the tactical data information exchange system (TADIXS).


I-21. GPS is a satellite-based, global, all-weather radio navigation system for an unlimited number of users. Army GPS equipment consists of passive receivers that provide accurate navigation information for maneuver and support forces, precise positioning for FA firing platforms and target location for precision munitions in support of deep fires by FA indirect fire systems, and precise timing for C2 systems.



I-22. AFATDS is composed of a common suite of hardware and software in varying configurations at different operational facilities (OPFACs) interconnected by tactical communications. Major components are transportable computer unit (TCU), medium/large screen display (MSD/LSD) units, and the fire support terminal (FST). The TCU consists of a hard drive, archival device, communications modem, uninterruptible power supply, and printer. When two or more computers work as a single OPFAC, one TCU acts as the system controller. The FST consists of the same components as the TCU except for the modem and printer. The TCU will be replaced by the lightweight computer unit (LCU), a laptop unit for ease of use by commanders, FSOs, and LNOs. The MSD/LSD is used at battalion and higher HQ. The hardware is mounted in the M1068 CP carrier and the 5-ton expandable van in heavy units and the rigid wall shelter in light units.

I-23. First issued in 1995, AFATDS is the FA's integrated battery-to-corps battlefield management and decision support system. As the fire support node of the ATCCS BFACS (paragraph I-2 above), it interfaces across the battlespace with all existing and future FS systems; other ATCCS functional area systems; other services; allied forces (German Adler & United Kingdom Bates); and joint command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) systems. AFATDS enhances the responsiveness, survivability, and continuity of FS operations via dispersed processing centers, intelligent remote terminals, and distributed database management.

I-24. AFATDS is capable of interfacing with the other four ATCCS components in message or hard-copy format. In case of MCS, this equates to the transmission of friendly SITREPs, battlefield geometry, and free text messages. The interface with ASAS is more extensive and includes the following: mission fired report, commander's targeting criteria, intelligence summary, artillery intelligence criteria, target coordination request, free text, and target intelligence data report.

I-25. AFATDS automates screening and filtering of potential targets and mission requests to include target clearance and coordination in accordance with the commander's targeting guidance and attack criteria. Decision aids permit fully automated fire mission processing. For example, in contrast to the tactical fire direction system (TACFIRE), AFATDS prioritizes fire missions based on target value analysis and ensures that fire missions comply with FS coordination measures and unit zones of responsibility. It is also capable of deciding which FS asset should engage a particular target (e.g., FA, mortars, attack helicopters, naval gunfire, or air) and recommending the best attack method for a given system (e.g., two battalion volleys, DPICM, from 1-3 FA). Although commanders can specify which missions to stop for review/coordination and can resort to voice execution similar to TACFIRE, human intervention is not recommended as a normal routine. AFATDS was designed to plan and execute digitally for optimum efficiency.


I-26. The IFSAS was designed to provide limited automation of FS C2 at battalion level and above. It replaces the TACFIRE system in corps, divisions, and brigades in active Army, Army National Guard, and USMC FA units until they receive AFATDS. It uses the ATCCS LCU with TACFIRE Version 10 in a single or dual configuration (FSE or FDC).


I-27. The forward entry device (FED) is a small, four-channel tactical processor and communications terminal with the ability to communicate while on the move. It has an interactive display and the capability to rapidly process and display formatted free text and graphics. The FED has an internal modem for transmitting and receiving messages from an AFATDS fire support hand-held terminal unit (FSHTU), another FED, and standard military radios.


I-28. The commander's tactical terminal-hybrid (CTT-H) is a tactical transceiver capable of receiving data from the tactical reconnaissance information exchange, TIBS, and related intelligence networks over three channels. Information is used for situation developing and targeting applications. It provides the artillery near-real-time access to time-sensitive, secure targeting information for the timely engagement of priority targets. CTT-Hs are being embedded in systems such as AFATDS, CGS, and ASAS and are found in corps and divisions FSEs (main and tactical CP) at corps arty and in selected FA brigades. FA brigades not receiving JSTARS GSMs and MLRS battalions are issued a stand-alone CTT-H, which requires a host processor in the form of either a separate terminal or a software package for an existing AFATDS.

I-29. The following table provides terms and symbols used in Sections II through IV below:

Table I-1. Communications Terms and Symbols
A as-required subscriber N net control station
admin/log administration/logistics (radio net) O&I operations and intelligence
arty artillery ops/F operations/fire (radio net)
cdr commander ops/intel operations/intelligence (radio net)
CF command/fire direction (radio net) regt regiment
cmd command (radio net) RSO reconnaissance survey officer
cmd/ops command/operations (radio net) sec section
D digital spt support
dep deputy tac tactical
F fire or fire direction (radio net) V voice
FAIO field artillery intelligence officer W wire connection
M MSE network X subscriber
mvr maneuver    



I-30. To perform their mission, corps artys employ six internal and three external communications nets using CNRs, internal wire systems, ACUS, ADDS, messengers, and liaison officers. In relatively static situations, most or all of the functions described below may be accomplished with ACUS assets. When the tactical situation prevents the use of MSE, CNRs provide the necessary flexibility to continue the mission. Table I-2 shows corps arty internal and external networks and subscribers.

Table I-2. Corps Arty Communications Network Matrix

Table I-2. Corps Arty Communications Network Matrix


I-31. Corps artys perform senior-to-subordinate responsibilities on five internal CNR nets and one internal MSE network as described below:

  • Corps Arty Cmd (VHF-FM) (V) Net. The corps arty command (VHF-FM) (Voice) net is used for C2, tactical operations, intelligence, and voice FS coordination matters with all corps arty elements and units (organic, attached, and R). The corps arty operations element is NCS.

  • Corps Arty Ops/Fire (VHF-FM) (D) Net. Corps arty operations/fire direction nets 1, 2, and 3 (VHF-FM) (Digital) nets are identical. Individual net assignments are made to subelements on the basis of METT-TC and technical requirements. They are used for FS coordination, TA, met data, and tactical fire direction. The corps arty FCE is net control station (NCS).

  • Corps Arty Cmd/Ops (improved high frequency radio (IHFR)-AM) (V) Net. The corps arty command/operations (IHFR-AM) (Voice) net is the corps arty commander's long-range C2 control link to subordinate FA units in the corps area. It allows the commander to perform both command and fire control functions for units beyond FM radio range. The corps arty O&I cell is NCS.

  • Corps Arty Survey (VHF-FM) (V) Net. The corps arty survey (VHF-FM) (Voice) net is used for survey data processing by all survey elements within corps arty and subordinate artillery elements. The corps arty SPCE is NCS.

  • Corps Arty Admin/Log (VHF-FM) (V) Net. The corps arty administration/logistic (VHF-FM) (Voice) net is used for coordination of administrative and logistic matters when MSE is not available or otherwise desirable. The corps arty ALOC is NCS.

  • Corps Arty CF (MSE) (V-FAX) Network. The corps arty command/fire (MSE) (Voice-FAX) network is a multipurpose area network used for both C2 and fire direction coordination with units at greater than VHF range from corps arty TOCs. It also is used for hard copy message traffic.


I-32. Corps arty performs its supporting-to-supported responsibilities primarily over ACUS/MSE. All hard-copy communications use MSE fax capabilities. Secondary means of communications are three external CNR nets.


I-33. The corps signal brigade establishes ACUS access points interconnected by automatic switching equipment. As noted in Chapter 2, dedicated, sole-user circuits are the exception rather than the rule. The corps arty signal staff officer must closely coordinate with the corps signal brigade to ensure adequate common-user assets are provided. Specific requirements depend on the location of corps arty CPs:

  • When collocated with the corps main CP, the corps arty CP has access to the MSE large extension node (LEN) that habitually supports the corps main CP.

  • If located at distances greater than 3 km from the corps main CP, corps arty requires a dedicated extension node to connect to ACUS.


I-34. As secondary means of external communications, the corps arty CP employs the following three CNR nets:

  • Corps Cmd/Ops (VHF-FM) (V) Net. Corps use the command/operations (VHF-FM) (Voice) net to control elements of the corps HQ and supporting HQ company assets. It also is used to communicate with subordinate units when located within FM radio range.

  • Corps FS (IHFR-AM) (Voice) Net. The corps fire support (IHFR-AM) (V) net is used by FSEs, LNOs, and CPs for coordination and the clearance of fires. The corps main FSE is NCS.

  • Corps Admin/Log (VHF-FM) (V) Net. The COSCOM CP establishes and monitors the corps administration and logistic (VHF-FM) (Voice) net. However, at corps level, virtually all logistic traffic is carried on ACUS.


I-35. When the corps uses single-channel TACSAT CNRs to operate the corps command (Warfighter) net and/or corps ops/intel nets, corps arty will be provided the necessary TACSAT terminal through the corps signal brigade.


I-36. Wire is used for internal CP circuits and to interface with ACUS for long-line MSE communications with subordinate units.


I-37. To integrate divisional FA assets, div artys must communicate with organic and reinforcing firing units, supported units, and senior artillery HQ (usually corps arty). The communications matrix in Table I-3 shows a div arty with a DS standard tactical mission. Subordinate battalions and batteries may be assigned any of the four standard tactical missions. Occasionally, div artys may be responsible for one of the other three standard tactical missions, be given a nonstandard tactical mission, or receive a special tasking (for example, supporting a corps preparation). In these situations, the div arty communications network architecture is similar to that of an FA brigade with the same commitment. Table I-3 also assumes that the div arty has either AFATDS or IFSAS automated fire control equipment. In non-automated units, networks indicated as digital will be voice until the required digital equipment is received.

Table I-3. Div Arty Communications Networks

Table I-3. Div Arty Communications Networks


I-38. Div artys perform their responsibilities on 6 internal and as many as 11 external functional networks as indicated in Table I-3.


I-39. Div artys perform senior-to-subordinate responsibilities on the following six internal CNR nets:

  • Div Arty Cmd (VHF-FM) (V) Net. The div arty command (VHF-FM) (Voice) net is used for C2, tactical operations, and dissemination of intelligence information with all subordinate FA units. The div arty TOC operations section is NCS.

  • Div Arty Ops/F 1, 2, and 3 (VHF-FM) (D) Net. The div arty operations/fire 1, 2, and 3 (VHF-FM) (Digital) nets are used for tactical fire direction orders, fire support coordination, and meteorological data. DS battalions, other artillery units (including reinforcing FA brigades), and FSEs at division tactical and main CPs (if not collocated) normally will be in one of the ops/F nets. The div arty FCE is NCS.

  • Div Arty TA/Intel(VHF-FM) (D) Net. The div arty target acquisition/intelligence (VHF-FM) (Digital) net is used to process digital information from aerial observers and AN/TPQ-37 radars (when a TAB or CTAD is attached). AN/TPQ-36 radars under div arty control are also net subscribers. The NCS is the div arty targeting element.

  • Div Arty CF (MSE) (V-FAX) Network. The div arty command fire (MSE) (Voice-FAX) network is a multipurpose area network. It is used for C2 and fire direction coordination with units at greater-than-VHF ranges from the div arty TOC and in situations when hard copy message traffic is needed.

  • Div Arty Survey (VHF-FM) (V) Net. The div arty survey (VHF-FM) (Voice) net is used for data processing by all survey elements within div arty and subordinate battalions. The div arty SPCE is NCS.

  • Div Arty Admin/Log(VHF-FM) (V) Net. The div arty admin/log (VHF-FM) (Voice) net is used to coordinate div arty administration and logistic matters when use of ACUS is not possible. The div arty ALOC is NCS.


I-40. Div artys with a DS mission may be required to operate a standard external communications architecture with up to 11 functional networks. The architecture may have to be modified by commanders and staff signal officers to meet specific communications requirements in response to special missions.

  • Division Cmd/Ops (VHF-FM) (V) Net. The division command/operations (VHF-FM) (Voice) net is a maneuver C2 and tactical operations net for coordination and reporting of tactical information. The division operations cell is NCS.

  • Division Intel (VHF-FM) (V) Net. The division intelligence (VHF-FM) (Voice) net is a maneuver intelligence net for real-time intelligence information and spot reports. In most situations, the bulk of intelligence traffic is carried on ACUS. The division intelligence cell is NCS.

  • Division FS (VHF-FM) (V) Net. The division fire support (VHF-FM) (Voice) net is used for FS coordination and as the alternate for fire direction throughout the division to include coordination of CAS with the combat aviation brigade or battalion as well as sister services. The FSE at division TOC (main) is NCS.

  • Division Admin/Log (VHF-FM) (V) Net. The division administration/logistic (VHF-FM) (Voice) net is used to coordinate logistic requirements with the division CSS staff when it is not possible to use MSE. The division CSS cell is NCS.

  • Corps Arty Cmd (VHF-FM) (V) Net. See Section II.

  • Corps Arty Cmd/Ops (IHFR-AM) (V) Net. See Section II.

  • Corps Arty Ops/F 1, 2, or 3 (VHF-FM) (D) Nets. See Section II.

  • Corps Arty CF (MSE) (V-FAX) Network. See Section II.

  • Corps Arty Survey (VHF-FM) (V) Net. See Section II.

  • Corps Arty Admin/Log (VHF-FM) (V) Net. See Section II.

  • Corps FS (IHFR-AM) (V) Net. See Section II.


I-41. If the division operates single-channel TACSAT on the division command (Warfighter) net and/or ops/intel nets, then div arty will operate on these nets with assets provided through the corps signal brigade.


I-42. The HHB communications section uses available wire assets to establish external circuits to subordinate elements and local CP wire networks and to provide access to ACUS. These circuits normally reflect higher-to-lower relationships, such as div arty establishing a voice or digital link with subordinate battalions.


I-43. Division signal battalions or corps signal brigades provide ACUS access points. Div arty CPs are normally assigned a SEN, unless the CP is habitually collocated with another HQ, such as the division main CP. If located at distances greater than 3 km from the large extension node at the division main CP, the div arty CP requires a dedicated extension node to connect into the common user system. Positioning and moving the SEN is the joint responsibility of the div arty signal staff officer and HHB commander. When packet switching becomes universally available, ACUS will be able to support digital traffic with minimal disruption to its primary function as a carrier of voice traffic. Until that time, the div arty signal staff officer must closely coordinate with the division signal battalion to ensure availability of adequate common user assets.


I-44. FA brigades must be highly flexible in designing and modifying their communications network architecture. When in DS of a committed maneuver brigade or ACR, FA brigades will process most calls for fire and coordinate fire support in brigade and battalion fire support CNR nets. Later, if the same brigade is in GS of corps, it communicates only with corps arty over ACUS/MSE. As missions change, commanders and signal officers must allocate available assets to establish communications based on responsibilities inherent in the assigned FA tactical missions. FA brigades perform senior-to-subordinate and supporting-to-supported responsibilities on five internal and a number of external networks. The brigade's tactical mission and special tactical requirements determine the exact number and type of external networks. The following three matrices in Tables I-4 through I-6 show FA brigade communications architectures when assigned one of the four standard tactical missions.

Table I-4. FA Brigade Communications Network Matrix (GS Tactical Mission)

Table I-4. FA Brigade Communications Network Matrix (GS Tactical Mission)


Table I-5. Communications Network Matrix (R and/or GSR Tactical Mission)

Table I-5. Communications Network Matrix (R and/or GSR Tactical Mission)


Table I-6. FA Brigade Communications Network Matrix (DS Tactical Mission)

Table I-6. FA Brigade Communications Network Matrix (DS Tactical Mission)


I-45. The five internal FA brigade nets are:

  • FA Brigade Cmd (VHF-FM) (V) Net. The FA brigade command (VHF-FM) (Voice) net is used for C2, tactical operations, and intelligence operations by all FA brigade elements. The FA brigade operations section in the FA brigade TOC is NCS.

  • FA Brigade Ops/F 1, 2, and 3 (VHF-FM) (D) Net. FA brigade operations/fire 1, 2, and 3 (VHF-FM) (Digital) nets are used for tactical fire direction orders, FS coordination, and met data. Depending on the mission, other artillery units will be assigned to one of these nets. The FA brigade FCE is NCS.

  • FA Brigade CF (MSE) (V-FAX) Network. The FA brigade command fire (MSE) (Voice-FAX) network is a multipurpose area network. It is used for both C2 and fire direction coordination with units at a greater-than-VHF range from the FA brigade and for situations in which hard copy of message traffic is needed.

  • FA Brigade Survey (VHF-FM) (V) Net. The FA brigade survey (VHF-FM) (Voice) net is used for survey data processing by all survey elements within FA brigades and subordinate battalions. FA brigade SPCEs in FA brigade TOCs are NCS.

  • FA Brigade Admin/Log (VHF-FM) (V) Net. The FA brigade administration and logistic (VHF-FM) (Voice) net is used for coordination of all administrative and logistic matters within the brigade when ACUS is unavailable. The ALOC is NCS.


I-46. As a corps asset, FA brigades must maintain constant communications with corps arty. When attached to a division, maneuver brigade, or ACR, the brigade's external communications network should support the mission assigned by the maneuver commander. Communications with corps arty should also be maintained, although there is no absolute requirement to do so. The example network architectures shown in Tables I-4 to I-6 assume that the brigade is in GS to the corps, R or GSR to a div arty, or DS to a divisional maneuver brigade, respectively.


I-47. Available wire assets are used primarily to provide ACUS access and to establish local CP wire networks and external circuits with subordinate elements. These circuits normally reflect higher-to-lower relationships, such as brigades establishing voice or digital links with subordinate battalions. The brigade's communications section is responsible for establishing external wire circuits and for system troubleshooting. Individual users are responsible for connecting MSE terminals to signal battalion extension nodes.


I-48. Division signal battalions or corps signal brigades provide ACUS access points. The FA brigade CP is normally supported with a SEN unless the CP is habitually collocated with some other HQ. Positioning and moving the SEN is the joint responsibility of the brigade signal staff officer and the HHB commander.

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