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Appendix A

Degraded Operations

This appendix presents guidelines and actions to ensure Paladin firing capability should the LCU at the POC fail to function or communicate, or should various elements of the Paladin system fail during combat operations.



A-1. The POC is the "brain" of the Paladin platoon. If the LCU becomes inoperative, that POC can no longer control the fires of the platoon. If the digital communications system fails, the AFCS cannot receive and compute fire missions, and firing data must be externally supplied. Table A-1 outlines procedures to be followed if POC operations become degraded.

Table A-1. Degraded POC Operations

A-2. Consideration must be given to FPFs and Copperhead. Only one FPF and one Copperhead, or two Copperhead targets may be stored in a LCU. Missions with the highest priority should be stored on the Paladins. All other missions should be recorded and deleted.


A-3. The AFCS can only receive fire missions digitally. The COS can only input fire commands manually at the AFCS. When digital communications with the Paladin are lost for any reason, collocate degraded howitzer within 30-50 meters of an operational howitzer and use the data computed by the operational howitzer. The COS of the degraded howitzer manually inputs the data into the AFCS and allows the system to operate normally.


A-4. The primary backup technical fire direction capability for the Paladin platoon is the LCU from the second POC in the battery. Should both battery LCUs become inoperative, the BC may direct several options:

  • Option 1. Platoons may be attached to other batteries of the battalion.
  • Option 2. The POCs manually compute firing data. (The POCs retain the plotting board, plotting set, and fire direction set necessary for manual operations.) However, the Paladins must set up as a platoon.


A-5. If the AFCS or navigation system of a Paladin howitzer becomes non-operational, the easiest way to maintain fire capability is to reciprocally lay using an operational Paladin. If both systems are down, the non-operational howitzer will co-locate and use the firing data from an operational howitzer which is located 30-50 meters from the degraded howitzer. The POC may also compute firing data.


A-6. The Paladin is a "system of systems," all of which must be working for the M109A6 to achieve its full combat potential. Loss of one or several subsystems does not completely negate the overall capability of the Paladin. Most subsystem failures can be overcome by working around the faulty subsystem with alternate procedures.

Table A-2. Degraded Subsystem Operations

Table A-2. Degraded Subsystem Operations (continued)


A-7. The procedures for reciprocal laying are somewhat different than those for reciprocal laying of previous M109 series howitzers. The turret configuration of the M109A6 requires the howitzer being laid to be positioned to the left front of the operational howitzer. Also, location can be transferred in addition to direction. The procedures are as follows:

A-8. The driver positions the degraded howitzer as required and emplaces using spades. The M2 compass is used to approximate the azimuth of fire. The selected position must allow a second howitzer to pull up along the left (driver) side of the howitzer.

A-9. The driver pulls the operational howitzer alongside the degraded howitzer hub to hub, with the left front sprockets parallel and not more than 1 meter apart as shown in Figure A-1.

Figure A-1. Hub to Hub Positioning for Location

A-10. The COS on the operational howitzer reads its location from the AFCS and reports that location to the COS on the degraded howitzer. The COS of the degraded Paladin records the location and reports it to the POC as his location.

A-11. Note: Another possibility is to use two PLGRs to determine howitzer location. The degraded howitzer has a PLGR on board, so only one additional PLGR would be needed. This allows the operational howitzer to obtain firing capability before reciprocally laying the degraded howitzer.

A-12. The driver then moves the operational howitzer to its firing point. This point must be clearly visible, to the left of and within a 45-degree cone forward of the degraded howitzer as shown in Figure A-2. This limitation is due to the limited traverse of the pantel ballistic shield of the Paladin.

Figure A-2. Positioning the Operational Howitzer

A-13. Once the operational howitzer is in position and laid on the desired azimuth of fire, the gunners on both howitzers check the boresight of their pantel with the M140 boresighting device or standard angle method.

A-14. Using the AFCS, the COS traverses the turret 3200 mils, placing the operational howitzer on the back azimuth of fire. This gives the two gunner's sights clear fields of view off the left sides of the respective howitzers (Figure A-3).

Figure A-3. Laying the Degraded Howitzer

A-15. The gunner of the operational howitzer sights on the pantel of the degraded howitzer. Reading the upper scale, he reports NUMBER (so-and-so), DEFLECTION (so much). The COS reports the referred deflection to the degraded howitzer by radio (using the battery/platoon command voice net) or by voice relay.

A-16. Note: The operational howitzer is already on the back azimuth of lay. The gunner is not required to add or subtract 3200 mils from the referred deflection as in conventional reciprocal lay procedures.

A-17. The gunner of the degraded howitzer sets the reported deflection on the upper scale of the pantel, traverses the tube until he sights the pantel of the operational howitzer, and reports READY FOR RECHECK.

A-18. The gunner of the operational howitzer again sights on the pantel of the degraded howitzer and reports the referred deflection. The procedure is repeated until the degraded howitzer reports ZERO MILS. The azimuth of fire for the degraded howitzer is then reported to the POC.

A-19. Then, as with any howitzer laid by conventional means, aiming points for the degraded howitzer are established and recorded IAW FM 6-50.

A-20. If the degraded howitzer uses the operational howitzers firing data, the operational howitzer must remain within 30-50 meters.

A-21. Independent verification of reciprocal lay must be conducted.


A-22. An alternative method to establishing direction is to lay the degraded howitzer using conventional methods IAW FM 6-50.

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