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The commander of a TF uses combat support elements as combat multipliers to enhance the combat power of his maneuver company teams. The addition of enablers to command, control, communications, and computer (C4) systems enhances the commander's ability to integrate these assets into the TF's scheme of maneuver. CS elements use enhanced information systems that provide increased situational understanding to stay abreast of the tactical situation and assist the commander in applying superior combat power at the decisive point on the battlefield.

This chapter describes the capabilities and limitations of digitized CS elements that support the digitized TF. The TF commander is responsible for the integration and synchronization of all available CS with available combat assets to accomplish his assigned mission. Digitization of maneuver and CS units affects the way in which the commander decides to employ his CS assets. These considerations ultimately dictate the relationships and responsibilities of attached CS assets.


Fire support is the collective and coordinated use of indirect fire weapons, armed aircraft, and other lethal and nonlethal means in support of the commander's scheme of maneuver. In the past, the commander employed these means to suppress, neutralize, or destroy enemy targets or assets. In the more modern concept of shaping with fires, the focus is on the accomplishment of essential fire support tasks. In other words, where are the critical places on the battlefield that the commander wants to influence the battle with focused fires? Each essential fire support task is directly related to maneuver purpose and has a specific purpose and an end state that relates in time and space to an enemy formation or function. Digital systems have the potential to enhance greatly the TF's ability to focus fires, but they do not increase the lethality of munitions or the amount of munitions available to the commander. They do, however, provide the commander with improved situational understanding that enhances his ability to exploit his battl space rapidly with both lethal and nonlethal fires.

9-1.     FIRES

Fires refer to the application of collective firepower, coordinated and delivered by ground, sea, and aerial platforms in an integrated and synchronized manner. The term includes all line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight systems delivering lethal or nonlethal fires and applies to the full spectrum of military operations.

    a.     The Army must be dominant across the whole spectrum of conflict. It must always be prepared to fight at the high end of that spectrum but is equally likely to conduct operations in mid- to low-intensity conflicts. Thus, forces that provide fires must be able to operate and coordinate throughout the full spectrum of domains (space, information, air, sea, and land). Fires must focus on the concentration of effects and not on the concentration of forces.

    b.     Fires tasks have not changed. Their first priority is to support forces in contact. Fire support organizations and units must still help shape the battlespace, provide force protection, and set conditions for the ground maneuver forces they support. Artillery units must also be prepared to provide fires in close support of a maneuver unit as it closes with and completes the destruction or defeat of an enemy force. Modern weaponry, space exploitation, real-time knowledge, speed, and munitions now allow for widely dispersed and noncontiguous forces conducting simultaneous decisive operations throughout the entire maneuver unit's area of operations.


The fire support organizations found in TFs and company teams are shown in Tables 9-1 and 9-2. Every maneuver task force has a fire support element that is attached to the task force during combat operations. The FSE consists of field artillerymen who are specialists in working with all of the components of the FS system. These artillerymen also coordinate and integrate the functioning of the command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) system; target acquisition (TA) systems; and FS means as they relate to the FA system.

    a.     The task force FSO supervises FS activities. These include planning, coordinating, and integrating FS operations, to include air, naval, and IO support. FSEs are organized to facilitate the coordination and execution of the FS system.

    b.     The FSE is designed to help the task force commander and staff integrate FS into all plans. The major functions of the FSE are to—

    • Plan, control, and synchronize all lethal and nonlethal FS.
    • Establish priorities and allocate available FS resources to support the TF.
    • Participate in and supervise the routine activity and coordination of the targeting process within the task force main CP.
    • Coordinate with the A2C2 element regarding artillery firing unit locations, changes to FSCMs, and airspace coordination measures (ACMs).
    • Coordinate air support through the TACP.
    • Coordinate suppression of enemy air defense (SEAD) or joint SEAD (J-SEAD) operations (or both).
    • Coordinate combat aviation employment with FS operations.





Fire Support Officer



Fire Support Officer (Plans)



Fire Support Sergeant



Fire Support Sergeant



Fire Support Sergeant



Fire Support Specialist



Table 9-1. Task force fire support element.






Fire Support Officer



Fire Support Sergeant



Fire Support Specialist



Fire Support Specialist



Table 9-2. Company team fire support team.


Fire support planning and coordination ensure that all available fire support is synchronized in accordance with the commander's concept of operations. The key to effective integration of fire support is the thorough inclusion of fire support in the planning process and a vigorous execution of the plan supported by an aggressive coordination effort.

    a.     Fire Support Planning. Chapter 3 contains a detailed discussion of the planning and military decision-making process as it applies to the task force as a whole. In this section, the primary focus is a detailed discussion of the fire support planning process. Fire support planning is the process of analyzing, allocating, and scheduling FS. The goal of FS planning is to integrate FS effectively into the fight to optimize combat power. It is performed concurrently with the MDMP. Effective FS planning places the right elements of the FS system in the right place at the right time in accordance with the commander's intent.

    (1)     The following basic principles of FS planning apply:

    • Plan early and continuously.
    • Follow the commander's targeting guidance.
    • Exploit all available targeting assets.
    • Consider the use of all available fire support means, both lethal and nonlethal.
    • Use the lowest echelon capable of furnishing effective support.
    • Use the most effective FS means.
    • Furnish the type of FS requested.
    • Avoid unnecessary duplication.
    • Consider airspace coordination.
    • Provide adequate fire support.
    • Provide rapid and effective coordination.
    • Remain flexible.
    • Provide for the safeguarding and survivability of friendly forces and installations.

    (2)     The effectiveness of FS planning and the FS system depends on the successful performance of the four basic tasks: support forces in contact, support the concept of operations, synchronize FS, and sustain FS.

    (a)     Support Forces in Contact. Supporting forces in contact includes the allocation of weapons systems and sorties to subordinate elements that actually engage the enemy. Supporting forces in contact usually means providing responsive FS that protects and ensures freedom of maneuver to forces in contact with the enemy.

    (b)     Support the Concept of Operations. Supporting the concept of operations means providing FS for contingencies that relate to the commander's concept of the operation. FS assets must be identified and marshaled for execution at the right time and place. The brigade commander must allocate enough firepower to the task force commander so that he can influence the battle as necessary.

    (c)     Synchronize Fire Support. FS is synchronized through FS coordination, beginning with the brigade commander's estimate and concept of the operation. The task force FSO assists the task force commander in integrating all FS with the appropriate battlefield systems. These systems include intelligence, maneuver, FS, mobility and survivability, air defense, combat service support, and battle command (an expansion of command and control made possible by changes in the scope, intensity, and tempo of current and future operations).

    (d)     Sustain Fire Support. Combat sustainment includes all the CSS activities necessary to support battles, engagements, and related actions. A task force can realize the full combat potential of its forces and achieve synchronization in its operations only when combat sustainment is planned, coordinated, and executed efficiently. Planners must formulate tactical plans to reflect logistics limitations and exploit logistics capabilities.

    b.     Force Responsibilities. The brigade plays a vital role in task force fire support planning and execution. The brigade is the "provider" of indirect fires and through EFST ensures the nesting of fires.

    (1)     Brigade. The brigade develops a synchronized brigade scheme of maneuver and brigade concept of fires and translates that concept into a scheme of fires by assigning fire support tasks and allocating assets and effects to subordinates. As part of the concept of fires, it is the brigade's responsibility to set conditions for and provide indirect fires to the task force for the close or direct firefight. Fires in support of the task force close fight are provided for a specific period of time or a specific purpose. The brigade must clearly specify priority of fires and through ESFT will provide optional fires for the TF. Refinements to the brigade scheme of fires from subordinate units will be integrated via ESFT. Finally, the brigade integrates the movement of artillery units with the scheme of maneuver. (See FM 3-90.3, Chapter 9, for a detailed discussion of fire support planning at the brigade level).The brigade's role in fire support planning includes the following tasks:

    • Synchronize the brigade concept of fires with brigade maneuver.
    • Set conditions for the task force close fight.
    • Provide force protection to the task force through both a proactive and reactive counterfire fight.
    • Develop a brigade scheme of fires and assign tasks to subordinates.
    • Provide fires for the task force close fight.
    • Integrate refinements from subordinates.
    • Integrate and synchronize the movement of artillery units with the scheme of maneuver.

    (2)     Task Force. The brigade allocates fire support to TFs IAW the plan. Therefore, the task force must clearly understand both the brigade concept of fires (and how it is synchronized to support the brigade scheme of maneuver) and the task force's role in the execution of its portion of the brigade scheme of fires. Understanding these things, the task force must develop its own concept of fires. This concept normally involves assigned tasks from the brigade scheme of fires and targets to support the task force close fight. This may require only the refinement of a brigade target or may require the task force to submit new targets to support the task force commander's scheme of maneuver. Additionally, the task force must plan the synchronization of mortar fires with the scheme of maneuver, integrate the mortars into the scheme of fires, and synchronize their movement with the scheme of maneuver. The task force develops a scheme of fires to support both those tasks assigned by brigade and those targets developed by the task force. It then issues the fire support plan to its subordinates and incorporates bottom-up refinement to support the company team commanders' schemes of maneuver. Finally, the task force forwards its concept of fires and target refinements to brigade and ensures the plan is clearly understood through rehearsals. The task force's role in fire support planning includes the following:

    • Understand the integration of the brigade scheme of fires and maneuver.
    • Understand the task force's role in the brigade scheme of fires and maneuver.
    • Execute the TF's portion of the brigade scheme of fires.
    • Develop a task force concept and scheme of fires.
    • Integrate and refine brigade targets for the close fight.
    • Plan for the synchronization of the task force mortars with the scheme of fires and their movement with the scheme of maneuver.
    • Incorporate bottom-up refinement from the company teams.
    • Forward the task force concept of fires and target refinements to brigade.
    • Conduct rehearsals.

    (3)     Task Force Commander. The key role of the task force commander in indirect fire planning is the synchronization of fires with maneuver. Fires and maneuver must be thought of together. Commanders must first decide precisely what they want their fires to accomplish. If the commander thinks maneuver first and then tries to add fires later, he will have difficulty. Once he has decided what he wants fires to accomplish, the commander must take an active role in the development of the task force concept of fire support. He must clearly articulate to the staff, not just the fire support officer, the sequenced essential fire support tasks in terms of desired effects for each target, the purpose of each target as it relates to the scheme of maneuver, the method he would like to use to achieve the desired effects, and the end state he wants for each target. The task force commander must also ensure that mortar fires are clearly synchronized with the scheme of maneuver and that the concept of fires and their movement is synchronized with maneuver. Once the task force scheme of fires is finalized, it is essential that the task force commander clearly articulate to the brigade commander and brigade staff the importance of those fires to the task force scheme of maneuver and the impact on mission success if those fires are not received. In most cases, if a task force essential fire support task is not also included as a brigade essential fire support task, the likelihood of getting the target fired by artillery or CAS is greatly diminished.

    (4)     Imperatives. The FS planning process has four imperatives.

    (a)     FS planning must be a part of the MDMP and mirror the steps of the existing planning process.

    (b)     FS planning must truly integrate the targeting process and its functions of decide, detect, deliver, and assess.

    (c)     FS planning must support and be integrated with the R&S plan. The ISR plan is a key link between the MDMP, FS planning, and targeting. The ISR plan links acquisition assets to finding specific enemy formations or required information to answer the CCIR.

    (d)     The result of the FS planning process is an effective, integrated, and executable plan:

    • An effective plan clearly defines and focuses on achieving the effects required against the identified HPTs.
    • An integrated plan provides the focus and timing for acquisition and attack systems to achieve a unified effect on HPTs.
    • An executable plan ties detect and deliver assets to the HPTs and includes assessment of effects achieved.


A commander may assign fire tasks to subordinate units, request they be performed by higher and adjacent units or other combined or joint forces, or plan for his own command group to execute them. Fires can accomplish essential fire support tasks during any phase of the operation. An essential fire support task can, but does not necessarily, equate to a target, group, or series. For example, an essential fire support task may be the activation of a critical friendly zone for a weapons-locating radar. The establishment of essential fire support tasks does not equate to developing a task or target for each phase of the operation. To develop essential fire support tasks that mass effects at the decisive point(s), the commander and FSO must first visualize the fight. The commander and FSO can then state what the clearly defined, decisive, and obtainable objective is for fires. This objective should center on the desired effects upon an enemy formation or function (for example, destroy a company-size element at the obstacle). These objectives drive not only the delivery of fires, but also all the other aspects of fighting with fires to include the positioning of sensors and delivery assets. These objectives become the essential fire support tasks for the operation.

    a.     Definition of Essential Fire Support Tasks. An essential fire support task is a task FS must accomplish to support a combined arms operation. Failure to achieve an EFST may require the commander to alter his tactical or operational plan. A fully developed EFST has a task, purpose, method, and effects (Table 9-3). The task describes what targeting effect fires must achieve on an enemy formation's function or capability. The purpose describes how the task contributes to maneuver. The method describes how the task will be accomplished by assigning responsibility to sensors or units and delivery assets and providing amplifying information or restrictions. Effects quantify successful accomplishment of the task. Essential fire support tasks can be placed into one of five categories:

    (1)     Close Support Fires. These lethal or non-lethal fires support the maneuver of and protect ground forces in contact from attack by mounted and dismounted platforms. Close support fires are grouped into three types: obstacle breach, obstacle protection, and force protection.

    (2)     Suppression of Enemy Air Defense. These lethal or nonlethal fires support the maneuver of and protect aerial forces in contact from attack by mounted or dismounted platforms.

    (3)     Fires to Support Information Operation. These lethal or nonlethal fires attack the enemy's ability to make decisions and enhance the friendly commander's ability to gain information. Fires to support the information operation are grouped into two types: reconnaissance and counterreconnaissance.

    (4)     Counterfire. These lethal or nonlethal fires attack the enemy's capability to conduct non-line-of-sight fires.

    (5)     Strike. These lethal fires attack an enemy force's ability to maneuver, protect and sustain, or deliver fires by the physical destruction of air, mounted, and dismounted systems. Strike fires attack a specific enemy force or function and restrict the enemy commander's ability to bring it into the fight. These fires are grouped into three types: fixed, stationary, or moving targets.

    b.     Effects. Inherent to the purpose of an essential fire support task is the final effects of that task on the enemy. The effects statement is the most important aspect of the essential fire support task because the commander's guidance and the planning process revolve around the desired effect upon the enemy—not friendly actions. Targeting objectives provide a method for describing, in a measurable and relevant standard, the successful accomplishment of an essential fire support task. The objectives of targeting are to disrupt, divert, delay, limit, defeat, or destroy those enemy capabilities that could interfere with the achievement of friendly objectives. These should not be confused with attack criteria (harass, suppress, neutralize, or destroy) that are attack criteria used to determine the degree or duration of effects on a target. Targeting objectives refer to the commander's attack guidance and the desired effects of target attack on the enemy.

    (1)     When developing attack guidance and preparing to build an AFATDS database and the supporting targeting objectives, commanders must specify the end state or effects required in terms of time and space. For example, when the commander wants a force delayed, he must specify what force the fires will delay, where, and for how long. Commanders determine what effects they require to support the purpose of the essential fire support task. For example, if close support fires on a friendly obstacle will delay the enemy and allow a reserve to reposition, the commander must determine how long fires must delay the enemy at the obstacle. The attack guidance must be clearly defined. Neutralize and suppress are attack criteria and may also be considered when setting attack criteria in AFATDS.

    (2)     The following are specific definitions for each of the targeting objectives:

    (a)     Disrupt. The objective of "disrupt" is to break apart, disturb, or interrupt an enemy function. For example, the commander may want to disrupt the enemy's ability to counterattack. The attack guidance matrix (AGM) may direct the suppression, neutralization, or destruction of specific targets essential to the enemy's counterattack capability.

    (b)     Divert. The objective here is to force an enemy to alter a particular course of action once he is already in his execution phase.

    (c)     Delay. Delay slows the arrival of a unit on the battlefield.

    (d)     Limit. This objective restricts the enemy's capability to pursue a particular course of action.

    (e)     Defeat. This objective prevents the enemy from accomplishing a course of action or function.

    (f)     Destroy. This objective prevents the enemy from accomplishing any course of action or function. This term has a variety of joint definitions that are service-particular. Ultimately, the force commander must be fully aware of the variety of service and battlefield functional area definitions (for example, artillery destruction is 30 percent while Army aviation destruction is 70 percent).

    (3)     Development of essential fire support tasks are the key to helping the commander maintain a focus of fires expressed in clear, measurable terms.


Describes the objectives that fires must achieve against a specific enemy formation or capability (objective, formation, and function). Objective: Disrupt, delay, limit, or destroy. Formation: A specific element or subelement of the enemy. Can be a specific vehicle type or target type. Function: A capability of the formation that is needed for it to achieve its primary task and purpose.


Describes the maneuver or operational purpose for the task. This should identify as specifically as possible the maneuver formation that will leverage the targeting effect and describe in space and time what the effect will accomplish.


Describes how the task and purpose will be achieved. It ties the detect function with the deliver function in time and space and describes how to achieve the task (priority, allocation, and restrictions). Priority: Details the HOW of the EFST. It can assign a priority of fires, observers, or other acquisition means. Allocation: Describes the allocation of FS assets to accomplish the mission. Restrictions: Outlines any limitations or restrictions that may affect the accomplishment of the mission.


Attempts to quantify the successful accomplishment of the task. Provides the basis for the assess function and the decision to reattack or not.

Table 9-3. Essential fire support tasks.


The scheme of fires is a supporting element of the concept of operations and articulates the focus of fires. The scheme of fires must describe what fires must do (EFSTs) in order to achieve the commander's intent. In other words, the scheme of fires describes, in sequential order and detail, where the commander intends to influence or win the battle with fires. It is the concept of fires and explains what essential support tasks must be accomplished to support the scheme of maneuver.

    a.     The scheme of fires must include the purpose as well as the who, what, when, and where for each task. The FSO develops the "how" during the tactical planning process and details it in the remainder of the plan. The scheme of fires must also identify all essential fire support tasks. They provide the purpose, method, and end state that each fires task must accomplish.

    b.     Essential fire support tasks become the focal point of fires. The scheme of fires further refines the focus of top-down fire planning by concentrating on the essential tasks that fires must perform. It provides the purpose, objective, method, and effects for those tasks in clear, measurable, and understandable terms.


The purpose of quick fire planning is to prepare and execute FS quickly in anticipation of an impending operation. The task force FSO must ensure that the DS battalion S3, FDC, mortar platoon, task force staff, and company team commanders and FISTs understand the quick fire plan and how it is used.

    a.     Quick Fire Planning Techniques. Quick fire planning techniques constitute an informal fire plan. Quick fire planning differs from deliberate fire planning in that a bottom-up process is used rather than a top-down process. In the quick fire plan, the FSO is responsible for—

    • Identifying targets in the target list to be engaged.
    • Allocating all FS assets available to engage the targets in the plan.
    • Preparing the schedule of fires.
    • Disseminating the schedule to all appropriate FS agencies for execution.

    b.     Quick Fire Planning Sequence. There are six steps in the quick fire planning sequence.

    (1)     Operation Order. In receiving the OPORD, the FSO obtains the following decisions from the commander:

    • Targets to be engaged.
    • Desired effects on targets.
    • Order and timing of target engagement.
    • Duration of fires.
    • H-hour.
    • Priority of fires.
    • Priority for targeting.
    • Priority for execution.
    • Time check.
    • Estimated rate of movement.
    • Need for target adjustment.
    • Concept of the operation, to include objective and defensive positions, maneuver control measures, and obstacles.

    (2)     Assets. Find out what assets are available for the operation. Concurrently, send a WARNO to all attack agencies. These include the FA battalion S3, mortar platoon leader, ALO, and brigade aviation LNO (if any are applicable). Obtain the following information:

    • From the FA DS battalion: the firing units that will be designated to fire in the quick fire plan schedule.
    • From the maneuver commander: the availability of the mortar platoon (company team FSO to TF FSO for the mortars if a company team operation) for inclusion as a firing unit into the schedule of fires.
    • From the FSE: CAS mission information. Coordinate CAS requirements with the ALO (for example, aircraft type, ordnance, time on station, laser codes, and control procedures).

    (3)     Targets. Plan targets IAW the scheme of maneuver, commander's guidance, and allocated assets. Include—

    • Asset to be used.
    • Munitions mix.
    • Shell-fuze combinations.
    • Duration of fire for each target.
    • Time to fire.

    (4)     Dissemination. After receiving the commander's approval, disseminate the fire plan to attack systems, higher headquarters FSEs, and those who will implement the plan (FOs, company team commanders, FIST, scouts, and so on). Whenever possible, send the quick fire plan digitally or use DA Form 5368-R (Quick Fire Plan), to the FA battalion CP and the mortar platoon leader.

    (5)     Subordinates. Ensure that the subordinate FSOs and FISTs understand the fire plan. As a minimum, cover—

    • Positions or locations of FSOs and observers during the conduct of the operation.
    • Who is to initiate the fire plan or initiate the fire request on specific on-call targets within the fire plan. Include the agency to be contacted, when the target is to be initiated, and the communications net to be used.
    • Which unit has priority of fires or priority targets, if applicable.
    • The use of methods of control in modifying the plan should it become necessary during execution.
    • The agencies available when additional targets of opportunity arise during the execution of the plan.

If time allows, conduct a rehearsal to ensure comprehension of the plan. Inform the commander when the FS plan is ready. Review the FS plan and modify it as necessary.

    (6)     Triggers. Triggers are a physical point on the ground or an action or event. During offensive operations, a trigger is often a maneuver action or event. In the defense, a trigger is more often a physical spot on the ground. The following is the sequence for trigger development.

    (a)     Determine the position on the ground where you want fires to impact on the enemy or to silhouette the enemy.

    (b)     Determine the enemy rate of movement. This may be done by estimation, on the basis of past experience, from doctrinal literature, or from scout reports of enemy speed.

    (c)     Determine the time of flight of the rounds from the weapon system firing the mission.

    (d)     Determine the processing time. Processing time is the time required from the call for fire to rounds being fired from the weapon system.

    (e)     Determine the total mission time. The total mission time is time of flight plus processing time.

    (f)     Place the trigger point the required distance from a planned target location based on the following: total mission time x speed of enemy = distance.


The observation plan, as an integral portion of the FS plan, should provide the task and purpose for each phase of the operation. The observation plan should be synchronized with the scheme of maneuver during the MDMP. The observation plan is developed in concert with the S2 and S3, using TerraBase computer programs to assist with position selection. The FSO should plan to have observers in position to support the maneuver commander's intent and each EFST. The observation plan should address where the observer needs to be, security, communications, how the observer gets into position, what the observer is to accomplish, and disengagement criteria if necessary.

    a.     The following steps are followed in observation planning.

    (1)     Identify the Requirements for an OP. The requirement for an OP is identified during the war game. The OP may be required to execute the R&S plan, trigger artillery, or call for CAS.

    (2)     Conduct Terrain Analysis. Run the TerraBase shot from where the observer needs to see (NAI, TAI, or artillery target) to determine the possible OP locations that have line of sight to the area that needs to be observed.

    (3)     Allocate the Asset. The asset should be chosen based on the mission of the OP. If laser designation is required, then the following are required: an observer equipped with ground/vehicle laser locator designator (G/VLLD), a FIST for execution of artillery targets, an enlisted tactical air controller (ETAC) for CAS, and a scout for observation.

    (4)     Select the OP. The OP should be selected from the possible OPs developed during terrain analysis. The mission and capabilities of the asset on the OP should be considered (for example, angle-T, limited visibility, range of thermals, communications requirements). The enemy situation is also considered.

    (5)     Plan for Insertion and Occupation of the OP. First, determine the method of insertion (for example, air, mounted, or dismounted). Next, plan routes, check points, PZs, LZs, and so on.

    (6)     Make Necessary Coordination. If required, coordinate the passage of the OP through friendly forces. Deconflict the terrain for the OP.

    (7)     Support the Insertion and Occupation Plan. Plan indirect fires, electronic warfare support, medical support, extraction, security, and resupply. Supervise and execute the plan.

    b.     An observation planning issue that must be addressed at task force level is who owns and positions the FISTs: the task force commander or company team commander. The company team commander needs the FISTs to assist in his fire support planning and to trigger targets assigned to the company team for execution in accordance with the task force scheme of fires. The task force commander or FSO may feel the need to dictate FIST positioning to ensure they are in the proper position at the right time to execute TF—directed targets.

    (1)     In most cases, how the FISTs are employed and who they work for depends on the amount of certainty of the task force mission.

    (a)     In a movement to contact, the task force should leave control of the FIST with the company team because the situation is unclear.

    (b)     In the defense, where targets are fully synchronized with the task force scheme of maneuver, the best course of action may be to put all of the FISTs under centralized control with the task force dictating where they will be positioned.

    (c)     In a deliberate attack, the task force should consider task-organizing the FISTs to meet specific mission requirements. This may mean either FIST teams working in pairs and moving by bounding overwatch to maintain constant observation or providing the support by fire (SBF) or breach force with a second FIST team to provide redundancy at the point of penetration.

    (d)     Given the expanded battlespace that the task force will be operating over, it may also be impractical to separate the FIST from its company teams to execute task force missions.

    (2)     Regardless of how the task force commander chooses to employ his FIST, the task force staff must, at a minimum, provide the FIST with a tentative OP and movement plan. The task force staff, using its TerraBase products, should provide the company team FIST with proposed OP locations (with routes to and from these locations) from which the FIST can best execute its assigned task force mission or support its company team's scheme of maneuver.


To enhance the focus of fires, formal fire planning is conducted through a deliberate top-down process with bottom-up refinement. This process occurs primarily during the "decide" phase of the "decide, detect, deliver, assess" (D3A) methodology. The primary advantage of top-down fire planning is that the commander develops the fire support plan early, allowing the artillery staff to plan concurrently. This process also allows for quick development of a workable plan that focuses the fires effort exactly where the commander wants it on the battlefield (essential fire support tasks). The dissemination of the plan down and the refinement of that plan up does not stop until the established cutoff time.

    a.     Digitized systems facilitate the dissemination of plans, provide the commander with near-real-time information on the status of fire support, and allow him to modify and shift the focus of fires as the situation develops. The TF commander can quickly assess where the focus of fires needs to be.

    b.     Top-down fire planning is based on the concept that the plan originates at higher levels and is refined at lower levels. At the TF level, the commander receives the top-down fire plan from brigade. This plan focuses the fire support effort exactly where the brigade commander wants it on the battlefield (essential fire support tasks). It provides detailed execution guidance, develops essential fire support tasks, allocates resources, assigns target execution responsibility, and fully supports the combined-arms commander's scheme of maneuver. The TF FSO, after receiving this plan, can begin working early to refine targeting information based on how the TF commander intends to integrate his plan into the brigade plan.

    c.     Top-down fire planning is a continuous process of analyzing, allocating, and scheduling fire support. It determines—

    • How fire support will be used and what the essential fire support tasks are.
    • What types of targets will be attacked—resulting in the high-payoff target list (decide).
    • What type of targets will not be attacked.
    • What collection assets are available to acquire and track the targets (detect/track).
    • What assets will be used to attack different targets; what munitions, what effects, and when they will be engaged (deliver).
    • System preferences for various targets.
    • What assets are available to verify (assess) effects on the target.

NOTE: When planning fires, it is essential to address the following aspects of each essential fire support task and target: purpose, location, trigger, shooter and backup shooter, communications structure, rehearsal, and delivery assets. If each of these is not identified, planned, resourced, and rehearsed, the successful accomplishment of that essential fire support task is at risk.

    d.     Planning must be flexible to accommodate unexpected and rapid changes. The brigade plan contains only those essential fire support tasks necessary to support the commander's guidance for fire support. Remaining assets are allocated to the subordinate TF commanders according to the priorities for fire support. In turn, each TF commander develops a fire support plan to support the assigned essential fire support tasks and his scheme of maneuver. He may allocate any assets not planned for down to the company teams for their planning and execution.

    e.     The allocation of resources in top-down fire planning should be more than the mere "blind" allocation of a number of targets for planning without regard for the purpose and achievable effects during that part of the operation. Allocations at each level should emphasize the purpose, planning, and execution of fire tasks. For example, allocating three targets to a company team commander for planning does not give him the possible purposes of those targets. However, allocating a subordinate a fire task in the form of a TAI for the destruction of a platoon during a certain portion of the operation better accounts for the relationship of fires in time and space. The brigade assigns execution responsibility down to the TF. The TF commander must then assign responsibility within his command. Primary and backup observers must be established.

    f.     Bottom-up refinement is a key element of top-down fire planning. During the decision-making process, targets and any decentralized digital links are planned on the basis of map reconnaissance and situational templates. Targets must be refined on the basis of the reconnaissance effort, actual occupation of the terrain, and updated intelligence. Digital systems and focusing fires through essential fire support tasks enhance the refinement effort. With the establishment of essential fire support tasks early in the planning process, company team FISTs can be proactive in their refinement and planning. Targets that facilitate the accomplishment of essential fire support tasks can be nominated during the bottom-up refinement early in the planning process.

    g.     In most cases, if fire support targets need refinement, it is better to delete the obsolete target and plan a new target with a new target number. This prevents confusion by observers and firing units who may receive two grid locations for the same target number. A technique used by many units is to use every fifth target number initially in planning. For example, the initial targets for a plan may be AB 5000 and AB 5005. Then, as those targets are refined, the next higher target number is available for use. For example, if the targets above were refined once they would be changed to AB 5001 and AB 5006. This allows for the tracking of a target as it is refined to help eliminate any confusion as to the original purpose of that target.


Battle damage assessment (called target damage assessment [TDA] in AFATDS) is the timely and accurate estimate of damage resulting from the application of military force, either lethal or nonlethal, against a target. BDA is primarily an intelligence responsibility but requires coordination with operational elements to be effective. Commanders use BDA to get a series of timely and accurate snapshots of their effects on the enemy. This helps determine when or if the targeting objectives are being met. BDA also helps determine if restrike is necessary. The targeting team must keep the following BDA principles in mind:

    • BDA must measure things that are important to the commander, not make things important that are easily measurable.
    • BDA must be objective.
    • The degree of reliability and credibility of the assessment relies largely upon collection resources and their quality as well as quantity.


FS coordination is the continuous process of implementing FS plans and managing all available FS assets. Coordination involves operational, tactical, and technical considerations and the exercise of FS C3. It provides a way to deconflict attacks, reduce duplication of effort, facilitate shaping of the battlefield, and avoid fratricide. Coordination procedures must be flexible and responsive to change, with simplified arrangements for approval or concurrence. FS personnel must clearly understand the commander's intent. The task force commander, through his staff, liaison, and coordination elements, ensures synchronization of available FS assets to place the right attack means on the correct target at the precise time. To achieve synchronization and effects coordination, particularly in joint operations, the task force commander and the staff must have a thorough knowledge of all components' basic doctrine, major systems, capabilities and limitations, and often the component's tactics, techniques, and procedures. The following are some general guidelines for FS coordination during offensive or defensive operations.

    a.     Position fire delivery units effectively.

    b.     Coordinate use of CAS to support commander's intent.

    c.     Ensure FSOs and observers know the exact locations of maneuver boundaries and other FSCMs.

    d.     Position observers in redundancy where they can see their assigned targets and trigger points, communicate with FS assets, and respond to the maneuver commander.

    e.     Establish FA final protective fires or priority targets.

    f.     Plan FA illumination to facilitate direct fire during limited visibility.

    g.     Provide common survey data to mortars.

    h.     Provide meteorological (MET) data to mortars.

    i.     Use a fire support execution matrix (FSEM) to execute FS. Remain flexible to branches or sequels to the current plan. Fight the enemy, not the plan.

    j.     Develop and disseminate FA-delivered FASCAM safety boxes in coordination with the engineer and S3.

    k.     Coordinate with the FA battalion TOC to develop the attack guidance matrix using munitions effects. Compute ammunition requirements to suppress, neutralize, or destroy expected enemy target categories. Provide these results to the commander so that he can formulate his commander's attack guidance.

    l.     Disseminate target priorities to the lowest levels of the maneuver force, FS staff, and mortars.

    m.     State the commander's attack guidance by defining how, when, with what restrictions, and in what priority the commander wants to attack different targets.

    n.     Limit the number of targets to 10 to 15 per maneuver TF, with no more than 45 to 60 for the entire brigade.

    o.     Require subordinates to finish refinement by cutoff time.

    p.     Determine the risk the commander is willing to accept concerning indirect fires on close contact.

    q.     Verify or correct target locations and trigger points during refinement.

    r.     Use FSEM to brief the fires portion of the OPORD during a combined arms rehearsal.

    s.     Ensure FSEs and maneuver commanders clearly understand methods to be used for battle tracking and clearance of indirect fires.

    t.     Verify range of Q-36, FA, and mortar coverage based on shell or fuze and charge.

    u.     Explain FS combat power in terms the maneuver commander understands, to include the following:

    • The number and types of missions.
    • Battery, battalion, and mortar volleys by type of ammunition and effects expected.
    • Minutes of smoke and allocation.
    • Minutes of illumination and allocation.
    • Number of available FASCAM minefields by size, type, density, and safety zone.

9-11.     REHEARSALS

Rehearsals are an integral part of the planning process. The FSO should participate in the maneuver commander's rehearsal. Rehearsals improve total comprehension of the plan. Participants who are unclear on specific portions of the plan find answers through the repetitiveness afforded by rehearsing the operation. Combat rehearsals are conducted to help a unit gain agility, to ensure synchronization, to increase initiative, and to improve depth of knowledge through practice. Both FS and maneuver actions should be rehearsed to reinforce the scheme of maneuver and fire plan. Rehearsals should both practice and test the plan. Rehearsal procedures should be established as part of unit SOPs. As a minimum, SOPs should identify—

    • Who will participate in the rehearsal?
    • What should be rehearsed?
    • What is the sequence of the rehearsal?
    • What is the priority of methods for rehearsals (suitable or actual terrain; model, map, sand table, wire, or radio)?

    a.     Combined-Arms Rehearsals. Key players include all fire support personnel, the maneuver staff, mortar platoon leader, chemical officer, signal officer, ALO, aviation LNO, MI platoon leader, scout platoon leader, and engineer officer.

    (1)     Normally, the unit S3 drives the rehearsal using a synchronization matrix, execution checklist, or both; the FSO uses his FSEM. Thus, the rehearsal normally includes recitation or performance of the following:

    • Actions to occur.
    • Possible friendly initiatives.
    • Possible reactions to enemy initiatives.
    • Control measures.
    • Significant events that are to occur in relation to time or phases of the operation.

    (2)     For each phase or time period of the operation the FSO should, as a minimum—

    • Verify grid locations for all critical targets.
    • Verify trigger points for each target.
    • Verify engagement criteria.
    • Confirm primary and backup observers for each target.
    • Verify primary and backup communications links for each observer.
    • Verify that each target has a task and purpose (what effects are to be achieved).
    • Verify the method of engagement (at my command, time on target, or when ready).
    • Verify that attack guidance, such as shell-fuze combination, number of volleys, and units(s) to fire, is specified for each target.
    • Verify the movement plan, specifying when and where units and observers will move.

    b.     FSO Fire Support Rehearsals. Even when units conduct combined maneuver and FS rehearsals, all members involved in providing FS cannot be present, and units do not rehearse refinements or changes made to the plan. Therefore, combined rehearsals are normally followed by fire-support-only rehearsals that include all FS executers from the observer to the delivery asset, when possible. These serve to refine the FS plan, ensure understanding by all FS personnel, and prove the feasibility of executing the current plan. The brigade FSO or FSCOORD normally runs these FS rehearsals if they include the DS artillery firing batteries. The TF FSO and FIST should, if at all possible, participate in the brigade fire support rehearsal. However, it may be necessary for the TF FSO to conduct his own internal TF FS rehearsal either before or after the brigade FS rehearsal.

    (1)     FS rehearsals are executed using the FSEM as a script for executing fires to support the scheme of maneuver. The FA battalion uses and verifies the FA support plan.

    (2)     The FSO establishes the time for all key participants to conduct the rehearsal. The FSO begins the rehearsal by announcing key times or phases of the operation. Each participant then executes the actions he will take, normally just short of actually delivering fires on the appropriate target.

    (a)     Fire Support Officers. FSOs (to include the FSO conducting the rehearsal) verify they can observe their assigned targets and trigger points, fire their assigned targets, place FSCM into effect, and make reports on which the system depends for its combat information.

    (b)     Forward Observers. FOs do the same as FSOs, while ensuring high priority missions (such as FPFs or priority targets) are loaded in the buffers of their digital message devices and ensuring that signals for lifting and shifting fires are understood.

    (c)     Air Liaison Officer. The ALO monitors airspace coordination, clears aircraft to depart the initial point, calls for target marking and marking of friendly locations, and requests initiation of SEAD.

    (d)     Direct Support Task Force or Mortar Platoon/Section Leader. Firing unit leaders monitor and ensure that—

    • Units are displaced to support the plan.
    • The FDC issues fire orders and passes messages to observers.
    • Radars are cued on assigned azimuths.
    • Firing unit FDCs compute firing data and issue fire commands, acknowledge FSCM changes, and ensure they can fire their assigned targets.
    • Howitzer and mortar section leaders determine whether ammunition is on-hand and whether missions are within traverse and transfer limits.

    (3)     If a combined maneuver and fire support rehearsal has not been conducted, the FSO should also cover the information listed in paragraph 9-11a. FS personnel may also rehearse alternative friendly courses of action (branches and sequels to the plan) if time permits.

    (4)     Rehearsals can conclude with a summary of each unit's status (to include firing unit ammunition status) and location. This facilitates planning for future operations.


The execution of the scheme of fires must provide for the clearance of fires. Clearance of fires ensures that fires attack enemy capabilities at the time and place and with the effects the commander desires, without resulting in casualties to friendly forces or noncombatants. Clearance of fires may be accomplished through a staff process, through control measures, embedded in automated battle command systems, or through active or passive recognition systems. During planning and execution, the commander can use all of these means in various combinations to set the conditions for clearance of fires. Even with automated systems, clearance of fires remains a command responsibility at every level, and each commander must assess the risk and decide to what extent he will rely on automated systems to assist in the clearance of fires. The task force commander is responsible for the clearance of fires within the task force area of operations. He normally delegates coordination responsibility to the task force FSO, who establishes the mechanism the task force will use to clear fires.

    a.     Maneuver Control Measures. The first step in clearance of fires is the use of maneuver control measures. Boundaries serve as both permissive and restrictive measures. If no boundaries are established, then the next higher headquarters must clear all fires short of the FS coordination line (FSCL) or coordinated fire line (CFL). Thus, boundaries should be used whenever possible because they allow the unit that "owns the ground" to engage targets quickly, requiring coordination and clearance only within that organization. Boundaries divide up battlespace and define responsibility for clearance of fires.

    b.     Fire Support Coordinating Measures. The next step in effective clearance of fires is the proper use of FSCMs. Permissive FSCMs (FSCLs and CFLs) should be established far enough out to protect ground forces. Forces beyond either of those FSCMs should be protected with a restrictive measure, such as a no-fire area.

NOTE: A CFL only applies to surface-to-surface fires; therefore, all CAS missions must be cleared.

    c.     Preclearance. The third step is to make a determination as to which fires can be precleared. In the following very specific instances, fires can be cleared during the planning phase:

    • Fires into a planned call for fire zone (CFFZ) resulting from a radar acquisition from that planned CFFZ.
    • Fires on a preplanned target, with a definable trigger, against a specific enemy, and according to the concept of fires.

    d.     Clearance of Fires Drill. Clearance of fires should be a drill in all command posts and operation centers. The best method is a redundant drill where a call for clearance is transmitted over two nets: the FS net and a maneuver net.

    e.     Targets of Opportunity. Positive clearance of fires is normally facilitated through prior planning, rehearsals, and careful placement of FSCMs. However, the clearance of targets of opportunity often presents challenges. Fires on targets of opportunity must be delivered on short notice without undue delay and without jeopardizing friendly force security. For positive clearance of fires, the following should be obtained:

    • The best available method of target location.
    • Positive identification of targets as enemy.
    • Eyes on target, if at all possible.
    • Clearances from appropriate external elements if target is outside unit boundaries.


All fires need to be cleared. Units can use a combination of digital and analog methods to clear fires. Even with the enhanced information offered by digital systems, there will be instances where fires require voice coordination before clearance.

    a.     Coordination. Coordination is required when the effects area around the target violates one or more FSCMs or zones of responsibility (ZORs). When coordination is required before firing a mission, the unit establishing the FSCM or the unit responsible for the ZOR must approve a coordination request.

    b.     Target Processing Guidance Effecting Coordination. The minimum safe distance is used to determine which targets require coordination due to their proximity to friendly units. The system looks at FSCMs in the database and adds the buffer distance to the aim point of a mission to determine if a violation has occurred. This guidance should be a matter of SOP.

    c.     Preclearance. During the planning process, commanders should consider the FS tasks that can be precleared. Precleared fires are specified FS tasks. During the planning process, the commander can leverage the capabilities of digital systems to set the conditions required for the execution of that task without clearance confirmation at the time of execution. Examples of conditions that a commander can set include the following:

    • The fires do not violate any established maneuver control measure or FSCM.
    • The observer executing the fires has positive identification of the target and it meets the established engagement criteria.
    • The observer executing the target meets established position location parameters that ensure accurate target location.
    • The execution of and the digital links established for the mission have been planned and rehearsed prior to the operation.


FBCB2 in and of itself does not prevent fratricide. It does, however, provide a powerful tool to reduce the risk of fratricide. Being able to see where other friendly vehicles are positioned on the battlefield facilitates recognition of friend from foe. However, every friendly vehicle on the battlefield may not appear on FBCB2 screens. There will be friendly vehicles that are not equipped with FBCB2, dismounted troops, and vehicles whose systems are down or, based on the network, do not appear on other units' FBCB2s. Although FBCB2 can help with reducing incidents of fratricide, it does not replace the need to train crews to recognize enemy vehicles and use common sense before engaging.

    a.     FBCB2 can be used to facilitate the clearance of indirect fires, but it should not be used as the sole means for clearing fires. Every friendly vehicle operating within the area of operations will not appear on FBCB2 screens. This is especially true of dismounted scouts, brigade reconnaissance troop sections, and dismounted infantry. Once separated from their vehicles, these elements no longer generate an icon on FBCB2 unless they are equipped with a dismounted FBCB2 (which will probably not be fielded until 2005 or later).

    b.     Friendly filter settings also affect the accuracy of the FBCB2 picture of where friendly units and vehicles are located. For example, a vehicle that has its update filter setting set to one hour or 1,000 meters can move up to 1,000 meters from its last updated position without FBCB2 reporting that it has moved. This could easily place the vehicle within the impact area of an indirect fire mission. The echelon and unit type filter settings on FBCB2 can also cause a friendly unit icon not to appear on an FBCB2 screen.

    c.     All of these limitations of FBCB2 must be considered in establishing the unit SOP on how to use the system to facilitate the clearance of indirect fires. Fire support coordination measures and positive control of fires are still necessary. Plan no-fire areas over dismounted positions, especially those forward of the line of departure or battle positions. If the fire mission plots on top of a friendly icon, then it should not be shot without coordination. If there is no icon on or near the target grid and the unit calling for fires has eyes on the enemy, then it is probably safe to shoot unless there are friendly dismounted soldiers operating in the area. If the unit calling for fires does not have eyes on the target, then use FBCB2 to locate the closest friendly unit to the target grid to see if they can get eyes on the target or if the fire mission will affect any of their elements.

    d.     FBCB2 cannot be used as the sole means for clearing fires, but it can be used to deny fires. It does not replace the need for positive clearance of fires, use of fire support coordinating measures (CFZs and censor zones [CZs]), or eyes on the target.

9-15.     RADAR ZONES

At the task force level, two types of zones are most important: critical friendly zones and censor zones. It is the TF FSO's and or the FS NCO's responsibility to ensure CFZs are planned at places critical to the maneuver commander's force protection plan, refined during the rehearsal process, and adjusted during the fight to ensure they're emplaced where the critical friendly elements are located. If no radar zones are established, firefinder radars will still acquire targets (if they are cueing) and will pass the intelligence to the artillery TOC (they can be converted to a call for fire and fired at that time). All the establishment of CFZs and call for fire zones (CFFZs) does is change the format of the firefinder report to a call for fire and place a higher priority on it. This method allows the initial fire support automation system (IFSAS) and AFATDS to handle the CFF as soon as it is received. Still, the proper establishment of radar zones can expedite the reactive counterfire process.

    a.     Critical Friendly Zone. The CFZ designates the highest priority friendly locations of the maneuver commander and provides the most responsive priority of fires from the counterfire radars (Q-37/Q-36). Cued radars detecting incoming rounds into the zones immediately generate a priority request for fire. The TF FSO should recommend to the task force commander positioning of allocated CFZs and their size for best responsiveness. The task force should plan and request CFZs to protect assembly areas, TOCs, SBF positions, breach sites, passages through choke points, refuel and rearm sites, and other troop concentrations.

    (1)     During offensive operations, the TF should consider breach sites and attack by fire/support by fire locations

    (2)     During defensive operations, the TF should consider battle positions and key observer positions.

    b.     Censor Zone (CZ). A CZ is used to designate an area from which the commander does not want to attack targets. At task force level, this zone is used to help protect the task force mortar section. On a fluid and nonlinear battlefield, the task force mortars can occupy positions or execute fire missions that a friendly firefinder radar could misidentify as hostile. In these situations, a CZ covering the mortars coupled with the establishment of a no-fire area around the mortar position dramatically reduces the risk of fratricide.

    c.     Radar Zones. Radar zones should meet the following guidelines:

    (1)     Does it meet the commander's guidance for force protection?

    (2)     Do I have a good trigger to turn it on?

    (3)     Does it fit the scheme of maneuver?

    (4)     Is there a firing unit in range with the correct ammunition?

    (5)     Does it meet the following guidelines:

    • Zones cannot intersect or touch another zone.
    • Must have minimum of three points and a maximum of six points.
    • Grid coordinates must be listed in sequence (clockwise or counterclockwise).
    • Grid coordinates cannot be outside the search sector (except CFZs).

    d.     Management. The task force FSO and FSE are responsible for managing radar zones allocated to the task force and requesting zones if the task force commander does not feel he has been allocated sufficient coverage to protect his force. During the planning process, the commander should provide guidance on the use of radar zones, and the FSO and staff should plan the location of the zones and when they need to be active. During execution, the FSO and FSE must track the battle to activate and deactivate zones and adjust zone location as necessary to meet the commander's intent. For example, the task force is allocated two CFZs to protect its support by fire position and breaching forces during a deliberate attack. These CFZs should not be activated until the forces they are designed to protect actually occupy the SBF position and establish the breach site. The task force FSE then must confirm the planned zones cover where the friendly forces actually are on the battlefield. This can be done either by the COP provided by FBCB2 or through voice reports. If the planned zones do not protect the designated force, the FSE must contact the DS battalion S2 or supporting radar to move the zones. The FSE is also responsible for deactivating the zones when the unit moves and they are no longer required or they have accomplished their task and purpose.


Field artillery is the maneuver commander's principal means for providing indirect fire support to his maneuver forces. Field artillery can neutralize, suppress, or destroy enemy direct fire forces; attack enemy artillery and mortars; and deliver scatterable mines to isolate and interdict enemy forces or protect friendly operations. Field artillery elements within maneuver organizations serve as the integrating center for all elements of fire support. Field artillery delivery systems include cannons, rockets, and missiles. These systems can provide fires under all conditions of weather and in all types of terrain. They can shift and mass fires rapidly without having to displace. Field artillery units are usually as mobile as the units they support. They are organized for combat to provide responsive and effective FA fires and to coordinate all fire support. The four tactical missions and seven inherent responsibilities of the field artillery are shown in Table 9-4.

An FA Unit with the Mission of:

Direct Support


General Support Reinforcing

General Support

Answers calls for fire in priority from:

1. Supported unit

2. Own observers1

3. Force FA HQ.

1. Reinforced FA

2. Own observers1

3. Force FA HQ.

1. Force FA HQ.

2. Reinforced unit1

3. Own observers1

1. Force FA HQ

2. Own observers1

Has as its zone of fire:

Zone of action of supported unit

Zone of fire of reinforced unit

Zone of action of supported unit to include zone of fire of reinforced unit

Zone of action of supported unit

Furnishes Fire Support Personnel to2:

Provides temporary replacements for casualty losses as required

No requirement

No requirement

No requirement

Furnishes Liaison to:

No requirement

Reinforced FA unit HQ

Reinforced FA unit HQ

No requirement

Establishes Communications with:

Company team FSOs and supported maneuver unit HQ

Reinforced FA unit HQ

Reinforced FA unit HQ

No requirement

Is positioned by:

DS FA unit commander or as ordered by force FA HQ

Reinforced FA unit or as ordered by force FA HQ

Force FA HQ or reinforced FA unit if approved by force FA HQ

Force FA HQ

Has its fires planned by:

Develops own fire plan

Reinforced FA unit HQ

Force FA HQ

Force FA HQ

1. Includes all target acquisition means not deployed with supported unit (radar, aerial observers, survey parties, and so on).

2. The FA unit trains and deploys one FSE for each TF and one FIST for each company team. After deployment, FISTs and FSEs remain with the supported maneuver unit throughout the conflict.

Table 9-4. Seven inherent responsibilities of field artillery.

    a.     Cannon. FA has various cannon systems designed for supporting specific types of maneuver operations. These systems are complemented by a wide variety of munitions to attack the multitude of target types.

    (1)     Paladin, M109A6. The M109A6 Paladin howitzer is an armored, full tracked howitzer carrying 37 complete conventional rounds and two copperhead projectiles. The Paladin uses an automatic fire control system (AFCS) that provides position location and directional reference, a ballistic computer for onboard technical fire control, and gun-drive servos, which automatically lay the gun for deflection and elevation. A remotely operated travel lock allows the crew to emplace and displace without dismounting from the vehicle. The Paladin has a maximum rate of fire of three rounds per minute for the first three minutes followed by a one-round-per-minute sustained rate of fire. The M109A6 fires the full complement of 155-mm ammunition with a maximum range of 22 kilometers for unassisted projectiles, 30 kilometers for the rocket-assisted projectile (RAP) and 27 kilometers for the base-burn dual purpose improved conventional munitions (BBDPICM).

    (2)     Cannon Munitions. These include the XM982 extended range dual purpose improved munition (ER-DPICM) and sense and destroy armor (SADARM).

    (a)     XM982 Extended Range Dual Purpose Improved Munition. The XM982 projectile carries DPICM, sense and destroy armor (SADARM), or a unitary warhead (Penetrator) payload. The warhead is composed of 65 XM85 DPICM bomblets with self-destruct mechanisms, two product improvement (PI) SADARM submunitions, or one unitary projectile bunker-penetrating HE warhead. The maximum associated ranges are 37 to 40 kilometers with the M109A6 and M198.

    (b)     Sense and Destroy Armor. The sense and destroy armor projectile is a 155-mm, fire-and-forget, top attack, counterfire munition. The system utilizes millimeter wave radar and infrared sensors to locate targets and provide countermeasure resistance. The warhead is an explosively formed penetrator designed for top attack penetration of self-propelled howitzers and lightly armored combat vehicles. The maximum associated range is 22.5 kilometers with the M109A6 and M198.

    b.     Multiple-Launched Rocket System (MLRS). The following types of MLRSs are available for FS:

    (1)     M270/M270A1 MLRS Self-Propelled Loader-Launcher (SPLL). The M270 MLRS is a mobile, self-propelled, self-loading, multiple launch rocket system. It provides mobile long-range artillery rocket and missile support for ground forces. The M270A1 is capable of firing the entire MLRS family of munitions to include all Army tactical missiles. The M270A1 is capable of holding either two launch pod containers of six rockets per container or two guided missile launch assemblies containing one missile each. With the M26A1 extended range rocket, the MLRS SPLL can fire 12 rockets in 60 seconds at multiple aimpoints out to a range of 50 kilometers. It also has the capability of firing two missiles aimed at one or two separate aimpoints in 20 seconds.

    (2)     High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS). HIMARS is a highly mobile, quickly deployed, rapid-fire, surface-to-surface rocket and guided missile system. It complements cannon artillery and MLRS fires to attack the enemy deep and to strike at counterfire, air defense, and HPTs. The HIMARS battalion can be attached to an FA brigade or to division(s) within the corps. HIMARS batteries and platoons may be attached to other artillery units (such as cannon battalions) to form a fire support task force. The HIMARS is a wheeled version (5-ton family of medicum tactical vehicles [FMTV]) of the MLRS designed to meet the increased mobility and transportability requirements for global contingencies. The HIMARS also provides inter- and intra-theater deployability by C-130 or larger aircraft. The C-130 has a short takeoff and landing capability on airfields unsuited for other airlift resources and permits rapid insertion of HIMARS into a contingency area and redeployability of HIMARS to critical areas within the theater of operations. The HIMARS can fire all the current and near-term MLRS family of munitions. The HIMARS launcher uses onboard tactical fire control and position-locating systems that are comparable to the M270 improved position determining system launcher. Unlike the M270, however, the HIMARS launcher loader module holds only one rocket or missile pod.

    (3)     M26 Tactical Rocket. The MLRS M26 is a free flight unguided tactical rocket that provides an all-weather, indirect fire capability designed to complement cannon fires. The M26's range is approximately 32 kilometers.

    (4)     Extended-Range Rocket (ER-MLRS). The ER-MLRS rocket consists of a materiel change to the M26 rocket. The extended range is 45 km, and the dud rate is less than one percent. The warhead is composed of 518 XM85 submunitions.

    (5)     Guided MLRS Rocket (GMLRS). The GMLRS represents an improvement in accuracy to reduce rocket expenditure to one sixth the current quantity at maximum ranges. With the addition of low-cost jam-proof guidance and control, a two to three mil delivery accuracy is achieved. The maximum range is 60 km. The improved accuracy of the rocket reduces a unit's logistics burden, increases crew survivability, and reduces collateral damage by increasing the capability to engage point targets.

    (6)     MLRS Smart Tactical Rocket (MSTAR). The MSTAR is a guided MLRS rocket carrying smart submunitions out to a range of approximately 60 kilometers. These submunitions use onboard sensors to detect, classify, and engage stationary or moving targets.

    c.     Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMSs). The following types of ATACMSs are available for FS:

    (1)     ATACMS Block I. ATACMS Block I is designed to engage "soft" stationary targets to a range of 165 km. The target set includes air defense units, C3, surface-to-surface missile units, logistical sites, and helicopter forward operating bases. ATACMS Block I is a highly responsive, semi-ballistic, all-weather missile. The missile carries approximately 950 antipersonnel, antimateriel M74 bomblets. It has three programmable dispense patterns and has off-axis launch capability. One M270 launcher load is equal to two missiles. The missiles can be shot within 20 seconds of one another and at different targets.

    (2)     ATACMS Block IA. ATACMS Block IA complements Block I and is designed to engage "soft" targets to a 300-kilometer range. The target set includes air defense units, C3, surface-to-surface missile units, logistical sites, and helicopter forward operating bases. ATACMS Block IA is a highly responsive, semi-ballistic, all-weather missile. The missile carries approximately 310 antipersonnel, antimateriel M74 bomblets. The missile maintains its effectiveness over the greater range due to its embedded global positioning system (GPS) for guidance. The ATACMS Block IA is fired from M270 launchers that are modified with the improved position determining system, a GPS antenna, various interface cables, and new armored doors at the back of the launcher-loader module. It has three programmable dispense patterns and has off-axis launch capability. One M270A1 launcher load is equal to two missiles. The missiles can be shot within 20 seconds of one another and at different targets.

    (3)     ATACMS Block II. ATACMS Block II is a semi-ballistic, surface-to-surface guided missile that carries 13 brilliant antitank technology (BAT) submunitions or BAT P3I submunitions to ranges of 140 km. The ATACMS Block II missile is an adaptation of the ATACMS Block I missile fielded with modifications to accommodate the BAT submunition. The primary target set for the missile is large battalion-size concentrations of moving armor. Once dispensed, the BAT submunition is capable of autonomously seeking and destroying moving armored targets through use of acoustic and infrared sensors. The BAT preplanned product improvement (P3I) submunitions expand the target set to include hot or cold, stationary or moving, and hard or soft targets, including surface-to-surface missile transporter-erector launchers.

    (4)     ATACMS Block IIA. ATACMS Block IIA is a semi-ballistic, surface-to-surface guided missile that carries six BAT P3I submunitions to ranges from 100 to 300 kilometers. Once dispensed, the BAT P3I submunition is capable of autonomously seeking and destroying moving or stationary targets through use of acoustic, millimeter wave, and infrared sensors. The BAT P3I submunitions target set includes hot or cold, stationary or moving, and hard or soft targets, including surface-to-surface missile transporter-erector launchers. The submunition has increased performance over the basic BAT submunition in adverse weather and countermeasure environments.

9-17.     MORTARS

The mission of mortars is to provide immediate and close supporting fires to the maneuver forces in contact. Maneuver unit mortars provide close, immediately responsive fire support for committed TFs, company teams, and troops. These fires harass, suppress, neutralize, and destroy enemy attack formations and defenses; obscure the enemy's vision; and otherwise inhibit his ability to acquire friendly targets. Mortars can also be used for final protective fires, smoke, and illumination.

    a.     Mortars are organic to all maneuver TFs and to the company teams of light infantry units. The maneuver commander decides how and when mortars, as a key fire support asset, will be integrated into his battle plan. However, since they are fire support assets, the FSO should give advice and make recommendations to the commander. The amount of control the FSO has over the employment of available mortars is a matter for the supported unit commander to decide. The commander may specify mortar support for subordinate units by changing the command relationship, assigning priority of fires, or assigning priority targets.

    b.     Mortars are high-angle, relatively short-range, high-rate-of-fire, area-fire weapons. Their mobility makes them well-suited for close support of maneuver. They are ideal weapons for attacking targets on reverse slopes, in narrow gullies, in ditches, in UO, and in other areas that are difficult to reach with low-angle fire. However, their ammunition-carrying capacity limits mortar periods of firing (Table 9-5).

    c.     The TF mortar platoon consists of four mortar squads, each with one 120-mm M120 mortar, a single FDC, and a headquarters consisting of a platoon leader, platoon sergeant, and two enlisted drivers/radiotelephone operators (RATELOs) (Figure 9-1). The M120 mortar is capable of firing fifteen rounds per minute for the first minute with a sustained rate of fire of four rounds per minute after the first minute. It is capable of firing high explosives, illumination, and white phosphorus rounds to a maximum range of 7,200 meters. The M120 mortar with base plate weighs 320 pounds and is transported in the M1064 mortar carrier. The mortar platoon is organic to the TF headquarters and headquarters company.

Figure 9-1. Task force mortar platoon

Figure 9-1. Task force mortar platoon.

    (1)     This mortar platoon organization is a reduction in size from the Army of Excellence's division organization, which contained six mortar squads and two fire direction centers. This reduction in combat power and command and control structure has a significant impact on the platoon's employment flexibility and the support provided to the task force. The platoon can still be deployed in sections but with significant limitations. Fires from a single section are limited, and without the second FDC, one section has to compute its own technical firing data. The lack of a second FDC affects the section's battle tracking, responsiveness, ability to accept and apply meteorological messages from the direct support artillery battalion, and accuracy. The reduction of the platoon's combat power by one third also reduces its ability to provide fires in support of the scheme of maneuver. The platoon can deliver thirty fewer rounds per minute at its maximum rate of fire and eight fewer rounds per minute at its sustained rate of fire. Mortar FPFs and smoke screens are also one third smaller. A range and lateral spread illumination mission requires all four squads to shoot illumination and could affect the platoon's ability to execute an HE or WP mission in conjunction with the illumination.

    (2)     These limitations, however, are not insurmountable. They can be overcome with detailed planning and coordination. The mortar platoon must be given specific tasks that are within its capabilities to accomplish. Synchronization of the mortar fire plan and scheme of maneuver with the task force fire plan and scheme of maneuver are critical to realizing the full potential that the mortar platoon brings to the battlefield. The mortar platoon leader must participate in the task force planning process and rehearsals; this is the only way the task force can ensure the mortar platoon can accomplish its essential fire support tasks and provide immediately responsive fires to the task force.



Fast response rate

Short range

High rate of fire

Limited ammo carrying capacity

Fire from deep defilade

Ammo resupply

Fire without FDC

Less accurate in high winds

High-angle fire

Detected by radar

Attack targets on reverse slopes

Ineffective against point targets


Lack of organic survey and MET

Table 9-5. Advantages and disadvantages of mortars.

    d.     The task force mortar platoon provides the commander with the following:

    • An organic indirect fire capability that is always present and always responsive to the maneuver commander regardless of the changing demands placed on any supporting field artillery.
    • Supporting fire that is immediately at hand and close to the company team and TF fight. The mortar section or platoon is aware of the local situation and ready to respond quickly without lengthy coordination.
    • Unique plunging fires that complement, but do not replace, the heavier fires of supporting field artillery, close air support, and naval gunfire.
    • Weapons whose high rate of fire and lethality fill the gap between the field artillery fires' shift to deeper targets and the assault elements' closing onto the objective.
    • A solid base of fire upon which to anchor his maneuver against the critical point of enemy weakness.

    e.     Mortars allow the maneuver commander to place killing indirect fires on the enemy quickly, independent of whether the commander has been allocated supporting artillery. Heavy forces use carrier-mounted mortars to allow the mortar platoon to move cross-country at speeds compatible with the battalion task force. All mortar sections and platoons exist to provide immediate, organizationally responsive fires that can be used to meet the rapid changes in the tactical situation on the battlefield.

    f.     There are three primary types of mortar fires.

    (1)     High Explosive. High-explosive rounds are used to suppress or kill enemy dismounted infantry, mortars, and other supporting weapons and to interdict the movement of men, vehicles, and supplies in the enemy's forward area. Bursting WP rounds are often mixed with high-explosive rounds to enhance their suppressive and destructive effects.

    (2)     Obscuration. Obscuration rounds are used to conceal friendly forces as forces maneuver or assault and to blind enemy supporting weapons. Obscuration can be used to isolate a portion of the enemy force while it is destroyed piecemeal. Some mortar rounds use bursting WP to achieve this obscuration; others employ more efficient technology. Bursting WP is also used to mark targets for engagement by other weapons, usually aircraft, and for signaling.

    (3)     Illumination. Illumination rounds are used to reveal the location of enemy forces hidden by darkness. They allow the commander to confirm or deny the presence of the enemy without revealing the location of friendly direct fire weapons. Illumination fires are often coordinated with HE fires both to expose the enemy and to kill or suppress him.


Suppressing the enemy inhibits his fire and movement while allowing friendly forces to gain a tactical mobility advantage. In the company- and battalion-level battle, mortar fire acts both as a killer of enemy forces and as an enhancer of friendly mobility.

    a.     Mortars provide the commander with immediately responsive fires to support the task force scouts' infiltration and exfiltration and the counterreconnaissance force during security operations.

    b.     Field artillery assets at all levels are limited. For brigade and division commanders to concentrate offensive combat power at the critical point, they must decentralize elsewhere. Some maneuver units will always have less artillery support than others. Mortars compensate for this and reduce the degree of combat risk.

    c.     TF mortars allow brigade commanders to divert field artillery fire support for limited periods to win the critical fight elsewhere.

    d.     Mortars contribute to the task force's direct firefight by forcing the enemy to button up, obscuring his ability to employ supporting fires and separating his dismounted infantry from their armored personnel carriers (APCs) and accompanying tanks. The task force's direct fires become more effective when used against buttoned-up enemy armor.

    e.     Heavy mortars can penetrate buildings and destroy enemy field fortifications, preparing the way for the dismounted assault force.

    f.     Mortars guarantee the task force and company team commanders the ability to cover friendly obstacles with indirect fire, regardless of the increasing calls for artillery fire against deep targets or elsewhere on the battlefield.

    g.     Mortar fire combines with the FPF of a company team's machine guns to repulse the enemy's dismounted assault. This frees artillery to attack and destroy follow-on echelons, which are forced to slow down and deploy as the ground assault is committed. Mortars can use the protection of deep defilade to continue indirect fire support even when subjected to intense counterfire.

    h.     Mortars can provide obscuration and suppression to protect the task force during the attack or to support it when breaking contact with the enemy in the defense or movement to contact.

    i.     Mortars can fire directly overhead of friendly troops from close behind the forward elements. This allows combat power to be concentrated and synchronized on close terrain.

    j.     Whenever possible, commanders should use their mortars first because in most situations, the fires can be cleared and fired faster than other fire support assets. When deploying, commanders should consider the following:

    • Register as soon as possible and, if possible, in every position.
    • Anticipate ammunition requirements. Local unit ammunition caches may have to be established to aid in distribution.
    • Echelon mortars with other fire support assets in the attack.
    • Make sure the mortar platoon understands the scheme of fires. Include the mortar platoon in the planning process, backbriefs, rehearsals, and communication exercises. Put them into and provide them with a fire support execution matrix.
    • Coordinate for survey and MET support from the direct support field artillery battalion (at a minimum, plan for a declination station).


Air Force, Navy, Marine, or allied aircraft may provide close air support missions. Most modern aircraft have an inherent flexibility that allows them to be used in different roles as the situation dictates. This means that an aircraft can perform missions other than the mission for which it was specifically designed. To obtain the most use from the air assets available, the JFC apportions air assets against various missions. The types of aircraft used for combat air operations vary widely; however, they can be categorized in broad terms as fighter, bomber, attack, or reconnaissance. See Section II for a discussion of close air support.


Army aviation (rotary-wing) units perform the full spectrum of combat, CS, and CSS missions. Aviation units destroy enemy forces by fire and maneuver, perform target acquisition and reconnaissance, enhance C2, and move personnel, supplies, and equipment in compliance with the overall scheme of maneuver. In support of the fire support mission, aviation functions in the following roles:

    • Aerial observation and calls for fire.
    • Insertion of combat observation lazing teams (COLTs) and Strikers.
    • Air movement of weapons systems and ammunition.
    • Air reconnaissance.
    • Intelligence EW.
    • Attack helicopter operations.
    • Aerial mine delivery.
    • Medical evacuation.
    • Search and rescue.
    • C2 for joint air attack team (JAAT) operations.

Aviation has the capability to reach quickly and move throughout the depth and breadth of the battlefield. This mobility and flexibility aid the combined-arms commander in seizing or retaining the initiative (see Appendix B).


Through synchronization of intelligence and fire support, tailored fire mission processing links can be established to expedite the engagement of selected high-payoff targets. Digitization gives the commander the ability to tailor fire mission threads better to meet a variety of needs. FBCB2 provides a basic call for fire (CFF) capability but does not currently link an FBCB2-equipped observer digitally to a fire support command and control node with AFATDS until the FBCB2 call for fire reaches the FBCB2-to-AFATDS jump point in the TF FSE. An observer can send an FBCB2 CFF directly to the TF FSE at the TOC, where it will automatically enter the AFATDS system. However, this method can bypass both the commander or unit that the fires are intended to support and the fire support element designated to manage fires for the supported maneuver commander. It should be used only as a backup to the primary method discussed below.

    a.     Primary CFF Procedure for the TF and Its Company Teams. The norm for fire missions should be that they enter the AFATDS system at the lowest level possible so that the AFATDS system can apply the commander's guidance to the request for fire and the fire support elements at each level can manage the mission for the commander. Therefore, a CFF that originates at the platoon level should be sent to the company team FIST via FM voice. The FIST can quickly enter the fire mission into the AFATDS lightweight computer unit (AFATDS-LCU). The forward observer system (FOS) software enables an efficient entry into the AFATDS system so that FSOs in the fire support chain can manage the fires and apply the commander's guidance before the request is sent to the next echelon.

    b.     Execution of Indirect Fires. A well-developed scheme of fires establishes the specific task, purpose, method, and desired effects for all planned indirect fire missions, with the task, purpose, and effects tied to the scheme of maneuver. To be most effective, fire missions should be initiated based on specific enemy or friendly events. For example, obscuration and suppressive fires on a defending enemy should begin before the friendly unit comes within the direct fire range of the enemy to allow enough time for fires to become effective or adjusted before direct fire contact is made. The trigger to initiate these fires is based on the movement and positioning of some element of the task force. In this example, the indirect fires on the enemy position are initiated when the lead company team of the task force crosses a phase line, grid line, or some other designated point on the battlefield.

    c.     Event-Driven Triggers and FBCB2. Using event-driven triggers coupled with the friendly common operational picture allows the execution of the indirect fires to be tied to the scheme of maneuver effectively. Being able to watch the progress of the battle on the FBCB2 screen allows the indirect fire delivery unit to prepare to execute the mission and be ready to shoot as soon as the event trigger is reached. The executing unit should still make a final decision to execute the mission (has the situation changed so that the fires are no longer required or are they required somewhere else?) and transmit a call for fire.

    d.     Event Triggers at End of Mission. Event triggers can also be used to end a fire mission. For example, an obscuration mission is planned to screen the movement of a company team over an exposed piece of ground. Tracking the progress of the unit using FBCB2 not only tells the commander when to initiate the mission but also tells him when the unit has completed the movement or maneuver and possibly if the purpose of the mission has been accomplished.

    e.     Asset Positioning and CFZs. The common operational picture provided by FBCB2 can also be a valuable tool in managing both asset positioning and critical friendly zones. The FSE can track the location of the mortar platoon, supporting artillery assets, and observers as they maneuver across the battlefield. This information helps commanders and leaders make decisions on adjusting positioning and movement plans during execution. Being able to see (in near real time) where units are in relationship to the enemy, friendly maneuver units, and where they need to be to execute their assigned mission allows commanders to make timely decisions and fight the enemy and not the plan. This visualization of the battlefield can also facilitate the execution of the counterfire battle through the management of CFZs. If entered in FBCB2 as an overlay, the planned CFZs can be displayed and compared to where the unit(s) they are designed to support are actually located. If the CFZ is not positioned correctly or the unit has moved, the task force FSE can quickly adjust the CFZ to the correct location.

    f.     FBCB2 and FS Planning. FBCB2 enables the FSE to disseminate critical information from the fire support plan rapidly down to each platform on the battlefield during top-down planning. A limitation, however, is that as targets and the plan are refined in AFATDS, they are not automatically updated in FBCB2. The FSO must closely control input into the FBCB2 fire support and airspace overlay to ensure they stay updated with all refinements. A technique is to use the FBCB2 overlays to disseminate information down and pass all the bottom-up refinements through AFATDS. Once the refinements are reviewed, approved, and entered into AFATDS, the FSO can create an updated overlay to disseminate back down. Keeping each system up-to-date affects the refinement cutoff time for bottom-up refinement. The FSE needs time to update both systems.


CAS is defined as air strikes on hostile surface forces that are in close proximity to friendly forces. CAS can be employed to blunt an enemy attack; to support the momentum of the ground attack; to help set conditions for task force and brigade operations as part of the brigade's overall counterfire fight; to disrupt, delay and destroy enemy second echelon forces and reserves; and to provide cover for friendly movements. CAS sorties are generally allocated to brigades only. For best results while avoiding mutual interference or fratricide, aircraft are kept under "detailed integration" (part of the Air Force's combat air system). The effectiveness of CAS is directly related to the degree of local air superiority attained. Until air superiority is achieved, competing demands between CAS and counterair operations may limit sorties apportioned for the CAS role. CAS is the primary support given to committed brigades and TFs by Air Force, Navy, and Marine aircraft. Brigades can request air reconnaissance and battlefield air interdiction missions through the division, but these missions are normally planned and executed at division level with the results provided to the brigade commander and his staff.

9-22.     MISSIONS

CAS is most often planned and controlled at the brigade level. However, this does not preclude the task force from requesting CAS, receiving immediate CAS during an operation, or being assigned execution responsibility for a brigade-planned CAS mission. CAS is another means of indirect fire support available to the brigade and task force. In planning CAS missions, the commander must understand the capabilities and limitations of close air support and synchronize CAS missions with both the task force fire plan and scheme of maneuver. CAS capabilities and limitations (windows for use, targets, observers, airspace coordination, and so on) present some unique challenges, but the commander and staff must plan CAS with maneuver the same way they do other indirect fires. Depending on the situation and availability of CAS assets, the task force may be allocated CAS missions or be assigned execution responsibility for a brigade CAS mission. More likely, however, CAS can be handed off to the task force when the brigade has no viable target, or in response to the task force's request for immediate air support. If this happens, the task force must have a plan that synchronizes CAS with maneuver and the scheme of fires. The task force must also consider having the ETAC operate as an FAC in the observation plan.

    a.     Preplanned Close Air Support. Task force planners must forward CAS requests as soon as they can be forecast. These requests for CAS normally do not include detailed timing information because of the lead-time involved. Preplanned CAS requests involve any information about planned schemes of maneuver, even general information, that can be used in the apportionment, allocation, and distribution cycle. Estimates of weapons effects needed by percentage (for example, 60 percent antiarmor and 40 percent antipersonnel), sortie time flows, peak need times, and anticipated distribution patterns are vital to preparing the air tasking order. ALOs and S3s at all planning echelons must ensure that this information is forwarded through higher echelons in accordance with the air tasking order (ATO) cycle.

    (1)     Categories. Preplanned CAS may be categorized as follows:

    (a)     Scheduled Mission. This mission calls for aCAS strike on a planned target at a planned time.

    (b)     Alert Mission. This mission calls for a CAS strike on a planned target or target area to be executed when requested by the supported unit. This mission usually is launched from a ground alert (scramble), but it may be flown from an airborne alert status. Alert (on-call) CAS allows the ground commander to designate a general target area within which targets may need to be attacked. The ground commander designates a conditional period within which he later determines specific times for attacking the targets.

    (2)     Request Channels. There are specific request channels for preplanned CAS. Requests for preplanned tactical air support missions are submitted to the FSE. The commander, ALO, and S3 at each echelon evaluate the request; coordinate requirements such as airspace, fires, and intelligence; consolidate; and, if approved, assign a priority or precedence to the request. The S3 air then forwards approved requests to the next higher echelon. To plan CAS, the S3 air must work closely with the S3, FSO, and ALO.

    (3)     Engagement Alternatives. The CAS aircraft assigned to attack preplanned targets may be diverted to higher priority targets. For this reason, the FSO should plan options for the engagement of CAS targets by other FS assets.

    b.     Immediate Close Air Support. Immediate requests are used for air support mission requirements identified too late to be included in the current air tasking order.

    (1)     Those requests initiated below battalion level are forwarded to the battalion task force command post by the most rapid means available. At battalion level, the commander, FSO, ALO, and S3 consider each request. Approved requests are transmitted by the TACP over the Air Force air request net (Figure 9-2) directly to the air support operations center (ASOC) collocated with the corps or separate division TOC. The TACP at each intermediate headquarters monitors and acknowledges receipt of the request. Silence by an intermediate TACP indicates approval by the associated headquarters unless disapproval is transmitted. The ASOC coordinates with the corps G3 air for all air support requests initiated by the corps. Meanwhile, intermediate TACPs pass the request to the associated headquarters G3 or S3 for action and coordination. All echelons coordinate simultaneously.

    (2)     If any Army echelon above the initiating level disapproves a request or substitutes another support means (for example, Army aviation or field artillery), the TACP at that headquarters notifies the ASOC at corps and the originating TACP, which notifies the requester. When the corps commander or his representative approves the request, the ASOC initiates the necessary action to satisfy the request. If all distributed sorties are committed, the corps commander can request additional sorties from the next higher echelon, when appropriate. If the ASOC has no CAS missions available, it can, with Army concurrence, divert sorties from lower priority targets or request support from lateral or higher commands.

Figure 9-2. Immediate close air request channels

Figure 9-2. Immediate close air request channels.


CAS mission success directly relates to thorough mission planning based on the following factors and considerations. The S3 air is responsible for working with the task force ALO prior to and during TACAIR operations. Since there are no digital links with the TACP or supporting aircraft, he must consistently keep the ALO apprised of the ground tactical situation through digital and conventional means.

    a.     When operating in the task force's AO, CAS aircraft are under the positive control of one of the task force's TACP FACs. FACs monitor the ground tactical situation, review digital system information, and monitor conventional voice radio nets of the supported ground or maneuver commander to prevent fratricidal air-to-ground or ground-to-air engagements.

    b.     Other planning factors include time available for planning, C2 procedures, communications, and terrain.


Air Force units are attached to the TF to plan, control, and direct close air support. The ALO and the TACP are the typical air force assets attached to the TF.

    a.     Air Liaison Officer. ALOs are provided to Army maneuver units from corps to task force. The ALO is responsible for supervising the tactical air control party and coordinating close air support with the FSE and S3 air. The ALO is the senior USAF representative for the TACP supporting the task force. The ALO is normally located with the command group during tactical operations.

    b.     Tactical Air Control Party. TACPs are provided to Army maneuver unit headquarters at corps through battalion task force. TACPs provide direct interaction with the supported maneuver units and should be highly visible to Army commanders and readily available to assist in the integration and synchronization of air power with land-force fire and maneuver.

    (1)     The supported unit's ALO is the commander of the TACP. TACPs at corps through brigade function primarily in an advisory role. These sections provide Air Force operational expertise for the support of conventional Army planning and operations. They are the point of contact to coordinate local air defense and airspace management activities. Their function is specifically to assist Army planners in the preparation of the Army's plan to integrate CAS into the overall scheme of fires and maneuver. They coordinate preplanned and immediate air requests and assist in coordinating air support missions with appropriate Army airspace command and control elements. TF TACPs have the added responsibility of terminal attack control.

    (2)     TACPs coordinate activities through an Air Force air request net and the advanced airlift notification net. The TACP performs the following functions:

    • Serves as the Air Force commander's representative, providing advice to the task force commander and staff on the capabilities, limitations, and employment of air support, airlift, and reconnaissance.
    • Provides a coordination interface with respective FSE and A2C2 cells; assists in the synchronization of air and surface fires and preparation of the air support plan; and provides direct liaison for local air defense and airspace management activities.
    • Integrates into the staff for air support planning for future operations and advises on the development and evaluation of CAS, interdiction, reconnaissance, and J-SEAD programs.
    • Provides appropriate final attack control for CAS and operates the Air Force air request net.

    (3)     TACPs are manned at the following levels:

    • Corps: One ALO, four fighter liaison officers (FLOs), two theater airlift liaison officers (TALOs), and six tactical air command and control specialists (TACCSs).
    • Division: One ALO, three FLOs, three TALOs, and six TACCSs.
    • Brigade: One ALO, one FLO, and four TACCSs.
    • Battalion Task Force: One ALO and two TACCSs.


The ALO and members of the task force TACP provide the necessary expertise for the control and application of tactical air power. The ALO serves as the primary tactical air power advisor for the task force while TACP FACs provide final control for CAS missions executed in the task force's area of operations. Their collaborative working relationship established with the brigades and maneuver TFs provides a working knowledge of ground operations and enhances their ability to integrate TACAIR operations with ground schemes of maneuver effectively.

    a.     Forward Air Controller. The primary responsibility of TACP FACs includes the positive control of CAS aircraft flying missions in support of brigade operations. Using their knowledge of ground operations, they are also better able to provide the troop safety necessary to avoid fratricidal engagements. The following paragraphs discuss FAC procedures and responsibilities.

    (1)     Troop Safety. The safety of ground forces is a major concern during day and night CAS operations. Fratricidal engagements are normally caused by the incorrect identification of friendly troops operating in an AO, or a failure to mark the boundaries of the friendly unit adequately. The use of proper authentication and ground marking procedures assures that a safe separation exists between the friendly forces and the impact area of aerial delivered munitions. Proper radio procedures and markings assist the FACs and the strike aircraft in the positive identification of ground forces and their operational boundaries.

    (2)     Identification of Friendly Forces. FBCB2 and the data it provides related to the disposition and location of friendly units enhances safety margins and reduces the potential of fratricidal engagements during joint air attack team or TACAIR operations. Friendly unit locations and boundaries can be marked using flash mirrors, marker panels, and direction and distance from prominent land features or target marks. Strobe lights are very good markers at night and in overcast conditions. They can be used with blue or infrared filters and can be made directional using any opaque tube. Any light that can be filtered or covered and uncovered can be used for signaling aircraft or marking friendly locations.

    (3)     Target Acquisition. Targets that are well camouflaged, small and stationary, or masked by hills or other natural terrain are difficult for fast-moving aircraft to detect. Marking rounds (rockets) fired from aerial platforms or artillery can enhance target acquisition and help ensure first-pass success.

    (4)     Target Identification. Strike aircraft must have a precise description of the target and know the location of friendly forces in relation to terrain features that are easily visible from the air. Airborne FACs are generally assigned an AO and become intimately familiar with its geographical features as well as the unit operating within the AO.

    (5)     Final Attack Heading. Choice of the final attack heading depends upon considerations of troop safety, aircraft survivability, enemy air defense locations, and optimum weapons effects. Missiles or bombs are effective from any angle. Cannons, however, are more effective against the sides and rears of armored vehicles.

    b.     S3 Air. The S3 air plans for and requests the use of CAS and attack helicopters to support the commander's concept of the operation.

    c.     S2. The S2 provides information on the avenues of approach, target array, terrain, and weather as it applies to the time and location of the JAAT operation. He also plans and coordinates the use of nonlethal attack assets to complement the JAAT.

    d.     Attack Helicopter Liaison Officer. The attack helicopter liaison officer performs the following tasks:

    • Provides status of Army aviation assets available.
    • Begins planning the air corridors and air battle positions to support the operation.
    • Coordinates with the FSO and the ADO to deconflict air corridors.
    • Coordinates for the planned airspace coordination areas (ACAs).

    e.     Fire Support Officer. The FSO performs the following tasks:

    • Determines the need, availability, and positioning of artillery, commensurate with the enemy update, to support the JAAT.
    • Coordinates with the aviation representative to provide call signs and frequencies to the supporting FDC.
    • Helps the TACP deconflict the initial points from artillery positions and develop ACAs to support the mission.
    • Determines the need for SEAD.
    • Determines when and how priorities of fires shift.
    • Recommends FSCMs to enhance the success of the mission.
    • Establishes a quick fire channel if necessary.

    f.     Air Defense Officer. The ADO performs the following duties:

    • Coordinates to ensure that the ADA assets know the location of air corridors, battle positions, initial points, and ACAs.
    • Ensures these assets are informed of friendly air operations and their integration into the battle.
    • Advises the task force when to employ combined arms for air defense (CAFAD).
    • Passes directed early warning to task force.
    • Tracks the air battle.
    • Advise the task force on the use of passive and active ADA.
    • Establishes and maintains communications (operations and early warning) between the ADA battalion and task force.
    • Plans and coordinates use of airspace with the aviation officer.

    g.     Tactical Air Control Party. The TACP performs the following duties:

    • Develops contact points, initial points, and ACAs in coordination with the FSO and the ADO.
    • Disseminates contact points, initial points, and ACAs to the ASOC for dissemination to the ground liaison officer and wing operations center for preflight briefing.
    • Helps coordinate aircraft forward to the appropriate contact point or initial point and then hands them off to the aviation commander conducting the JAAT operation.


SEAD operations target all known or suspected enemy ADA sites that cannot be avoided and that are capable of engaging friendly air assets and systems, including suppressive fires. The FSE integrates SEAD fires into an overall fire plan that focuses fires according to the commander's guidance. Synchronization of SEAD fires with the maneuver plan is accomplished using procedural control (an H-hour sequence), positive control (initiating fires on each target as the lead aerial platforms pass a predetermined reference point or trigger), or a combination of the two. Regardless of the technique, the FSO planning the SEAD must conduct detailed planning and close coordination with the ALO, Army aviation LNO, S3 air, S2, ADO, FA battalion S3/fire direction officer (FDO), and FSE. Plans for SEAD operations are coordinated and synchronized over the tactical Internet (TI) using the AFATDS, ASAS-RWS, FBCB2, MCS, and aviation mission planning system (AMPS).

9-27.     WEATHER

Weather is one of the most important considerations when visually employing aerial-delivered weapons. Weather can hinder target acquisition and identification, degrade weapon accuracy and effectiveness, or negate employment of specific aerial munition types. The S3 air can request IMETS data from the division G2 to gain highly predictive and descriptive weather information for specific time periods and locations within the task force's AO. This data improves his ability to determine when close air support can be used. IMETS provides weather data based on inputs from the air weather services and meteorological sensors. This system is currently located at the division, but it interfaces with the ABCS systems and disseminates weather information down to maneuver TFs via the warfighter associate. It predicts weather effects on a specific mission, desired AO, or particular system. IMETS also provides weather hazards for different elevations, surface temperatures in a specific AO, and wind conditions. Meteorological satellite (METSAT) data may also be obtained to show regional cloud cover with high and low pressure systems annotated.


Engineers perform essential engineer tasks to support task forces in executing mobility, countermobility, and survivability tasks. The task force uses engineers to shape the area of operations by providing freedom of maneuver for friendly forces, denying movement to the enemy, and protecting friendly forces from the effects of enemy weapon systems. Combat engineers must be fully integrated as part of the task force. Habitually, one engineer battalion supports an armor or infantry brigade combat team. Depending upon the mission, engineers will be further task-organized to the maneuver battalion task force as appropiate. When engineers are task-organized to the battalion, the senior engineer will act as the battalion staff engineer and assist the staff in planning and integrating engineers. Maneuver battalions not task-organized with engineers must still integrate the mobility, countermobility, and survivability BOS in their planning. For more specific information on engineer integration refer to FM 5-71-2.


The battalion staff plans, integrates, and synchronizes mobility, countermobility, and survivability operations throughout the battalion's battlespace. In addition, the staff must coordinate all military and civilian engineer efforts within the battalion's area of operation. Details on staff engineer responsibilities can be found in FM 5-71-2.

    a.     Mobility/Countermobility/Survivability Synchronization. The battalion staff is responsible for ensuring that the BOS are integrated and synchronized within the battalion's plan. The staff synchronizes the plan and assists the commander in managing its execution. The staff promotes synchronization by maintaining a common operational picture of all friendly and enemy engineer efforts in the area of operations. For specifics on combat engineer functions refer to FM 5-100.

    (1)     Mobility operations preserve friendly force freedom of maneuver. Mobility missions include breaching and clearing obstacles, maintaining battlefield circulation, providing assault or dry gap crossing, and identifying routes around contaminated areas.

    (2)     Countermobility denies mobility to enemy forces. It limits the maneuver of enemy forces and enhances the effectiveness of fires. Countermobility missions include obstacle building and smoke generation.

    (3)     Survivability operations protect friendly forces from the effects of enemy weapons systems and from natural occurrences. Hardening of facilities and fortification of battle positions are active survivability measures. Military deception, OPSEC, and dispersion can also increase survivability.

    b.     Essential Mobility/Survivability Tasks. An essential mobility/survivability task (EMST) is a specified or implied BOS-specific task that is critical to mission success. Ultimately, it allows the battalion task force's main effort to achieve its task and purpose. It may be accomplished directly in support of the main effort or one of its supporting efforts. Identification of the essential tasks helps to focus the development of plans, staff coordination, and allocation of resources. The staff, typically the maneuver support elements (engineer, chemical and military police staff officers) identify the essential mobility/survivability tasks. Failure to achieve an EMST may require the commander to alter his tactical or operational plan.

    (1)     A fully developed EMST has a task, purpose, method, and effects. The task describes what objective (breach, reduce, block, turn, fix, disrupt, clear, obscure) must be achieved to support friendly formations or what it will do to an enemy formation's function or capability. The purpose describes why the task contributes to maneuver and is nested with the maneuver task and purposes. The method describes how the task will be accomplished by assigning responsibility to maneuver units, supporting units, or delivery assets and by providing amplifying information or restrictions. The effect is the general narrative of what the commander wants to happen.

    (2)     The approved EMSTs are described in the concept of operations paragraph within the base order. The concept of operations includes the logical sequence of EMSTs that, when integrated with the scheme of maneuver, will accomplish the mission and achieve the commander's intent. The scheme of engineer operations describes the detailed, logical sequence of all mobility, countermobility, survivability operations; general engineer tasks; decontamination, smoke, and geospatial engineering tasks; and their impact on friendly and enemy units. It details how the engineers expect to execute the BOS plan to accomplish the commander's EMSTs.

    c.     Task Organization of Engineers. Engineer units serve two roles in the battalion task force. The first and most important role is as a force enabler. In this role, the engineer unit resources maneuver units with engineer assets to enable them to accomplish their assigned tasks. The second role is that of a force provider. In this role the engineer unit executes assigned tasks within the framework of the scheme of operations. Clearly identifying the EMSTs across the width and depth of the battlefield will drive the logical task organization of mobility/survivability assets. Engineers execute essential unit tasks to support the accomplishment of essential mobility/countermobility/survivability tasks. Engineer elements should be task-organized because an EMST dictates an essential unit task. If a maneuver unit does not have a specified EMST that requires engineer support, then the engineer element should be under the control of its higher headquarters or massed to accomplish EMSTs elsewhere in the brigade's AO.

9-29.     MOBILITY

At the tactical level, superior mobility is critical to the success of the force. Mobility facilitates the momentum and freedom of movement and maneuver of forces by reducing or negating the effects of existing or reinforcing obstacles. Within this context, the emphasis of engineer integration is on mobility operations. Due to the full-spectrum capability of a battalion task force and the nonlinear, asymmetric nature of the threat, the potential exists for the force to encounter a wide variety of existing and reinforcing obstacles. To counter this potential, the commander, staff, and task-organized engineers plan, organize, and prepare to perform mobility tasks using the full range of organic and augmentation mobility assets. These mobility tasks include combined arms route clearance, combined arms breaching, and maintaining area mobility.

    a.     Route Clearance. Route clearance is a combined arms operation typically executed by a maneuver company or battalion. Engineers reduce or clear obstacles as part of a route clearance mission. Units must clear lines of communication of obstacles and enemy activity that disrupt battlespace circulation. Units must conduct route clearance to ensure that LOCs enable safe passage of combat, combat-support, and CSS organizations. Clearance operations are normally conducted in a low threat environment. The significant difference between breaching and clearing operations is that breaching usually occurs during an attack (while under enemy fire) to project combat power to the far side of an obstacle. Route clearance focuses on opening LOCs to ensure the safe passage of combat and support organizations within an AO. Details on route clearance are covered in FM 3-34.2.

    b.     Combined Arms Breaching. Engineers reduce lanes in obstacles as part of a combined arms breaching operation. Because of the potentially asymmetrical, nonlinear nature of operations, engineers must be prepared to perform mounted and dismounted reduction tasks using manual, mechanical, and explosive reduction means. Through reverse breach planning, the staff identifies critical mobility tasks, allocates reduction assets, and determines the breach organization (support, assault, and breach force). Keys to allocating reduction assets include identifying all reduction tasks within the AO, matching specific reduction assets to each task, and planning 50-percent redundancy in reduction assets for each task. For more specific information on combined arms breaching, refer to FM 3-34.2.

    c.     Area Mobility. Generating and sustaining combat power requires the battalion to maintain area mobility. Area mobility operations include clearing unexploded ordinance, clearing residual minefields, tracking dirty battlefield effects, and MSR repair and maintenance. Limited organic assets necessitate augmentation to preserve area mobility. The battalion staff identifies shortfalls in capability and coordinates with the brigade to request additional assets.


Countermobility is the augmentation of natural or manmade terrain (urban) with obstacle systems and integrated with direct and or indirect fire systems to disrupt, fix, turn, or block the enemy while the maneuver commander destroys their combat capabilities with increased time for target acquisition. The commander and staff integrate obstacles within the maneuver plan, enforcing adherence to obstacle emplacement authority and obstacle control measures. Task-organized engineers construct conventional minefields, ground emplaced scatterable minefields, special munitions, and explosive and non-explosive obstacles in support of the scheme of maneuver. (FM 5-102 is the primary reference for countermobility planning.)


Survivability encompasses the development and construction of protective positions such as earth berms, dug-in positions, and overhead protection as a means to mitigate the effectiveness of enemy weapon systems. Significant survivability efforts will require engineer augmentation. The staff must plan and prioritize survivability efforts. The plan should specify the level of survivability for each battle position and the sequence in which it receives support (if available). Additional considerations for survivability planning include command and control of digging assets, site security (including air defense coverage), CSS (fuel, maintenance, and Class I), and movement times between BPs. (FM 3-34.112 is the primary reference for survivability planning.)


General engineering encompasses those tasks that establish and maintain infrastructure that is required for conducting and sustaining military operations. Such tasks include construction and repair of lines of communication, main supply routes, airfields, utilities, and logistical facilities. Due to the organization of the engineer company, general engineering tasks will require augmentation from outside the brigade. (FM 5-104 is the primary reference for general engineering planning.)


Geospatial engineering is the collection, development, dissemination, and analysis of positionally accurate terrain information that is tied to some earth reference to provide mission tailored data, tactical decision aids, and visualization products that define the character of the AO for the maneuver commander. The staff should identify required tactical decision aids and coordinate with brigade for the necessary products. Products commonly provided include common map backgrounds, line of sight analysis, cross-country mobility overlays, artillery slope overlays, and specialized imagery products. (FM 3-34.230 is the primary reference for geospatial engineering planning.)


The engineer battalion consists of three line combat engineer companies and a headquarters and headquarters company. The engineer battalion can provide support simultaneously to three maneuver task forces; it is not structured to provide continuous, dedicated support to other units. The engineer battalion can receive additional engineers from echelons above division for increased obstacle reduction and creation capability, deliberate defensive operations, operations in restricted terrain, LOC construction, and maintenance and repair of bridges. This level of support may be increased based on METT-TC and the battalion's priority within the brigade scheme of maneuver. Corps-level support may consist of a company from a corps combat battalion (mechanized or wheeled), a platoon from a combat support engineer (CSE) company, or a horizontal construction platoon from a combat-heavy company provided in DS for specified times or tasks.


Maneuver task forces typically receive a mechanized engineer company in either an attached, OPCON, or direct support relationship during both offensive and defensive operations. Based on the task force's mission and the overall brigade plan, the task force may receive a variation of the engineer company with either increased or reduced assets. The engineer company is the lowest engineer echelon that can plan and execute continuous 24-hour operations in support of the maneuver force. The engineer company is ideally suited for integration into task force operations. It is an agile organization that enables freedom of maneuver on the battlefield within the combined arms team framework. Its structure and operational characteristics enhance force momentum and lethality and increase the synchronization of engineer actions within the task force's battlespace.

    a.     Mission. The mechanized engineer company conducts engineer battlefield functions for the task force, focusing on mobility, countermobility, and survivability tasks. As a combat multiplier, the engineer concentrates his efforts on maintaining the task force's freedom of maneuver and lessening the enemy's ability to mass and maneuver on the battlefield. Combat engineers shape terrain and create obstacles to enhance the battle effectiveness of fire and maneuver. Their efforts are designed to support forward fights.

    b.     Organization. The division engineer company consists of a company headquarters, two combat engineer platoons, and an assault and obstacle (A&O) platoon (Figure 9-3). The company can be organized to operate as an engineer-pure element, or it can receive a cross-attached tank or infantry platoon. The company headquarters includes the commander, the operations officer or XO, the first sergeant, an operations NCO, a supply sergeant, an NBC sergeant, and a communications specialist or NCO. The company headquarters commands and controls the unit's tactical employment and administrative operations. The engineer company CP can be integrated as an element of the task force main CP. The engineer company XO and operations NCO provide continuous integration and synchronization of engineers to the battle staff while the company commander advises the task force commander.

Figure 9-3. Combat engineer company

Figure 9-3. Combat engineer company.


The combat engineer platoon is normally the lowest level engineer unit that can effectively accomplish independent missions and tasks. It is a basic unit capable of maneuvering during combat operations, and it can fight as part of the engineer company or as part of a maneuver company team. The combat engineer platoon consists of a platoon headquarters section and three engineer squads (Figure 9-3). On the battlefield, the combat engineer platoon can expect rapid and frequent movement. It prepares to fight both mounted and dismounted during various situations. The combat engineer platoon frequently receives augmentation in the form of special equipment from the A&O platoon. Engineer squads can be task-organized for special missions of limited duration such as engineer reconnaissance missions. Task-organizing below platoon level degrades the engineer platoon leader's ability to mass critical engineer assets during operations. Each sapper platoon is allocated two MICLIC trailers which may be pulled by squad vehicles based upon engineer company SOPs.


The A&O platoon is a unique element that contains specialized engineer heavy equipment to support mobility, countermobility, and survivability tasks in support of the maneuver task force. The platoon consists of a platoon headquarters section, two assault sections, and an obstacle section (Figure 9-3). The A&O platoon is not organized to operate independently like the combat engineer platoons. It provides the task force commander with specialized equipment to conduct both offensive and defensive operations based upon METT-TC. Normally, the A&O platoon is responsible for survivability position construction, specialized equipment control, and flank obstacles using the ground Volcano systems. The platoon normally operates in one of the following roles:

    • Supported by a combat engineer platoon.
    • In task-organized sections in support of the engineer platoon or company.
    • Task-organized to a maneuver company team within the task force.

    a.     Assault Sections. The assault sections are structured for mobility missions focusing on reducing enemy complex obstacles and fortifications that inhibit friendly maneuver. Each assault section contains two armored vehicle-launched bridges (AVLBs) or Wolverines, two armored combat earthmovers (ACEs), and two mine clearing line charges. Each is capable of reducing a variety of natural and manmade obstacles such as minefields, gaps, and berms. A section sergeant provides C2 for these sections and maintains communications with both the section's individual vehicles and the support maneuver unit.

    b.     Obstacle Section. The obstacle section is structured to focus on reinforcing terrain with obstacles to attack the enemy's ability to maneuver. The section consists of two M548s (which carry the Volcano mine-laying system) and two heavy expanded mobility tactical trucks (HEMTTs). A section sergeant is responsible for C2 of the obstacle sections and provides liaison with the supported maneuver unit.


The engineer assets that may be available for supporting the TF include organic engineer equipment, Volcano, modular pack mine systems (MOPMS), family of scatterable mines, and the hand emplaced Raptor. These asets are discussed below.

    a.     Organic Combat Engineer Company Equipment. The engineer company supporting the task force normally has the following organic equipment.

    (1)     Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge. The AVLB is an M60-series or M48-series tank chassis modified to transport, launch, and retrieve an 18-meter (60-foot) bridge. The span is capable of carrying military load classification (MLC) 60 track loads across a 17-meter gap and MLC 70 loads across a 15-meter gap. The Wolverine heavy assault bridge will eventually replace the AVLB. The Wolverine is capable of spanning a 24-meter gap carrying an MLC of 70.

    (2)     Mine-Clearing Line Charge. The MICLIC is a rocket-propelled explosive line charge. When fired into a minefield, it can create a lane that is 100 meters long and 14 meters wide. The MICLIC is either trailer-mounted or carried on the AVLM. The trailer can be towed behind an M113 APC, M-2 Bradley, or M9 ACE. The MICLIC is most effective against surface-laid AT and antipersonnel (AP) mines. It has limited effect against buried mines. A mechanical or dismounted proof of the reduction lane is required due to the skip zone.

    (3)     Armored Vehicle-Launched MICLIC (AVLM). This vehicle serves as a launch platform for two MICLICs. The AVLM is a modified AVLB chassis with the bridge downloaded and two MICLIC launchers mounted on a modified frame secured to the rear deck. The AVLM provides better mobility, crew protection, and responsiveness than the trailer-mounted MICLIC. The AVLM can breach two lanes in a minefield under 100 meters deep and one lane in a minefield 187 meters deep or less.

    (4)     Armored Combat Earthmover. The M9 ACE, with its front-end blade and rear-end winch, can travel at 30 mph and is primarily designed to provide responsive earthmoving capability during mobility operations. It is capable of filling crater and antitank ditches, removing rubble and debris from roads and trails, and reducing (skimming) surface-laid minefields during offensive operations (however it it slower and substantially less survivable than a tank plow or roller). In the defense, its primary purpose is to construct hasty vehicle fighting positions. It can also assist attached dozers in constructing antitank ditches and hull- or turret-depth vehicle fighting positions.

    (5)     Small Emplacement Excavator. The small emplacement excavator (SEE) is an all-purpose wheeled engineer vehicle that can be configured with a variety of interchangeable tools like a backhoe and a front-end loader. The SEE provides forward combat troops with the capability to support units by digging individual fighting positions, bunkers, command posts, and other positions for combat equipment.

    b.     Scatterable Mines. Scatterable mines are remotely delivered or dispensed by aircraft, artillery, missile, or ground dispensers and laid without pattern. All US SCATMINEs have a limited active life and self-destruct (SD) after that life has expired. The duration of the active life varies with the type of delivery system and mine.

    (1)     SCATMINEs, with their flexibility and rapid emplacement capabilities, provide the commander with a means to respond to a changing enemy situation. They enable the commander to emplace minefields rapidly in enemy-held territories, contaminated territories, and other areas where it is impossible for engineers to emplace conventional minefields. Some systems allow for rapid emplacement of minefields in friendly areas.

    (2)     During the war gaming process, the engineer—in conjunction with S3, S2, and FSO—identifies the requirement to respond to an enemy action with SCATMINEs. He then determines the minefield location, size, density, emplacement and SD times, delivery method, and the trigger (decision point) for execution.


SCATMINEs can be emplaced more rapidly than conventional mines, so they provide a commander with greater flexibility and more time to react to changes in situations. The commander can use SCATMINEs to maintain or regain the initiative by acting faster than the enemy. Using SCATMINEs also helps preserve countermobility resources that can be used to conduct other operations on the battlefield. With the reduction in the size of divisional engineer units, SCATMINEs are increasingly important.

    a.     Remote Placement. All SCATMINEs are rapidly emplaced. This enhances battlefield agility and allows the maneuver commander to emplace mines to best exploit enemy weaknesses. SCATMINEs can be used as tactical or protective obstacles. When used tactically they attack enemy formations directly through disrupt, fix, turn, and block obstacles. As tactical obstacles they can be either directed or situational. Modern fusing, sensing, and antihandling devices (AHDs) improve the ability of SCATMINEs to defeat enemy attempts to reduce the minefield.

    b.     Increased Tactical Flexibility. Upon expiration of the SD time, the minefield is cleared by self-detonation and the commander can move through an area that was previously denied to enemy or friendly forces. In many cases, the SD period may be set at only a few hours. This feature allows for effective counterattacks to the enemy's flank and rear areas. Table 9-6 defines when certain mines begin self-destruction and when destruction is complete.

SD Time

SD Window Begins

4 hours

3 hours 12 minutes

48 hours

38 hours 24 minutes

5 days

4 days

15 days

12 days

Table 9-6. Self-destruct windows.

    c.     Efficiency. SCATMINEs can be emplaced by a variety of delivery methods. Fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, artillery, manpack, or ground vehicles can deploy them. They satisfy the high mobility requirements of modern warfare and reduce manpower, equipment, and tonnage requirements with their emplacement.

    d.     Increased Lethality. SCATMINEs use an explosive technique that produces a full-width kill. The effect produces a mobility kill against a vehicle's engine, track, or drive-train, or it produces a catastrophic kill by setting off the onboard ammunition, killing or incapacitating the crew, or destroying the vehicle's weapons systems. SCATMINEs are designed to destroy any tank currently available.


The following are limitations of SCATMINEs:

    a.     Extensive Coordination. Because SCATMINEs are a very dynamic weapon system, proper coordination with higher, adjacent, and subordinate units is extremely important. To prevent friendly casualties, all affected units must be notified of the location and the duration of scatterable minefields.

    b.     Proliferation of Targets. SCATMINEs are regarded by some commanders as easy solutions to tactical problems. Target requests must be carefully evaluated, and a priority system must be established because indiscriminate use of weapons systems results in rapid depletion of a unit's basic load. Controlled supply rates (CSRs) are likely to be a constraint in all theaters.

    c.     Visibility. SCATMINEs are highly effective, especially when fires and obscurants strain the enemy's C2. SCATMINEs lay on the surface of the ground, but they are relatively small and have natural coloring.

    d.     Accuracy. SCATMINEs cannot be laid with the same accuracy as conventionally emplaced mines. Remotely delivered SCATMINE systems are as accurate as conventional artillery-delivered or tactical aircraft-delivered munitions.

    e.     Orientation. Between 5 and 15 percent of SCATMINEs come to rest on their edges. Mines with spring fingers are in the lower percentile, and mines landing in mud or snow more than 10 centimeters deep are in the higher percentile. When employing ADAMs or RAAMs in more than 10 centimeters of snow or mud, use high-angle fire and increase the number of mines. Snow melt may also cause the mines to change positions and activate AHDs.

    f.     Lethality and Density. Scatterable minefields are employed to reduce the enemy's ability to maneuver, mass, and reinforce against friendly forces. They increase the enemy's vulnerability to fires by producing specific obstacle effects (disrupt, fix, turn, or block) on the enemy's maneuver (Table 9-7). To achieve this effect, individual minefields must be emplaced with varying degrees of lethality. Changing the minefield density is a primary way to vary lethality and the effect. If the obstacle is not resourced or insufficient density is achieved, the planned lethality will not be achieved. There is a direct correlation between the obstacle effect and the minefield density. In order to achieve the tactical-obstacle effect, use the guidance in Table 9-7 when selecting minefield density.

Table 9-7. Lethality and density

Table 9-7. Lethality and density.


Due to the delivery means, C2 of SCATMINEs is more complex than with conventional mines. SCATMINEs are very dynamic weapons systems because they can be rapidly emplaced and then cleared by way of their SD capability. In addition, the physical boundary of a scatterable minefield is not clearly defined. These characteristics require impeccable communications and coordination to ensure that all friendly units know where mines are located, when they will be effective, and when they will self-destruct.

    a.     Emplacement Authority. The corps commander has emplacement authority for all scatterable minefields within the corps AO. He may delegate this authority to lower echelons according to the guidelines in Table 9-8. Based on how the commander wants to shape the battlefield, he must specifically delegate or withhold the authority to employ SCATMINE systems. The commander's guidance concerning SCATMINEs is found in the unit's OPORD or OPLAN. Additional information is included in engineer and fire-support annexes, if used.

Table 9-8. Emplacement authority

Table 9-8. Emplacement authority.

    b.     Coordination. The fire support officer is involved in planning artillery-delivered (ADAM and RAAM) SCATMINEs, and the air liaison officer is involved in planning air-delivered (Gator) SCATMINEs. The engineer has primary responsibility for planning and employing SCATMINE systems. It is vital that coordination be conducted with all units and subunits that will be affected by the employment of SCATMINEs. A scatterable minefield warning (SCATMINWARN) is sent to all affected units before the emplacement of the minefield.


Early engagement of enemy aircraft is one of the most important short-range air defense (SHORAD) employment guidelines. Air attack information is received and processed by the forward located Sentinel elements and air battle management operations center (ABMOC). External and internal air track information is correlated by the Sentinel and forward area air defense command, control, comuters, and intelligence (FAADC3I) and subsequently transmitted to the handheld terminal unit (HTU) of the firing units (FUs) and the brigade's FAADC3I managed SHORAD. The FAADC3I manages engagement operations, which involves taking sensing data from organic, Patriot, and joint sensors and passing this information to the SHORAD weapons for engagement. The air and missile defense workstation (AMDWS) manages force operations, which involves managing SHORAD assets by knowing the status, location, and posture of all assets in relation to the brigade maneuver plan. This ensures that they can be properly supported and sustained and can provide the best coverage for the supported brigade. This information is subsequently transmitted to subordinate units via FBCB2, if equipped; otherwise, the units use enhanced position location reporting system (EPLRS) and frequency modulated (FM) systems (Figure 9-4).

Figure 9-4. Air defense artillery architecture.

9-42.     MISSION

Air defense artillery cruise missiles protect the force and selected assets from aerial attack and surveillance. The primary aerial threats that must be countered by SHORAD systems are UAVs, rotary-wing aircraft, and fixed-wing aircraft.


The brigade is typically supported by an ADA battery (Figure 9-5). A task force is typically supported by a Linebacker platoon, consisting of four firing units and a C2 vehicle. The platoon is organized into a headquarters section and two maneuver sections. Air defense commanders may modify platoon organizations to fit specific mission requirements. The platoon may operate in a role DS to the task force but is more commonly in a GS role under control of the ADA battery commander.


Figure 9-5. Air defense artillery battery.


The task force commander and his ADO integrate the firepower of all available fire systems to defeat the enemy air threat.

    a.     ADA employment guidelines are used as aids for positioning individual ADA firing units. There are six ADA employment guidelines.

    (1)     Early Engagement. Firing units must be positioned where they can engage enemy air platforms before the enemy can release his ordnance on or gain intelligence about friendly forces. With the mobility provided by the Linebacker, firing units should be located well forward and integrated into the supported task force's scheme of maneuver. In less likely missions of defending a static asset, firing units should be positioned forward of the supported force along likely enemy air avenues of approach.

    (2)     Weighted Coverage. Once the supported force commander designates his main effort, Linebacker firing units should be positioned along the most likely air avenues of approach to support the commander's main effort. This massing of firepower increases the Linebacker platoon's probability of killing enemy air targets. It is extremely important that detailed, in-depth air IPB is developed prior to deciding where to weight coverage of air defense assets. Air defense focuses its efforts on the most likely avenues of approach along the supported force commander's designated main effort.

    (3)     Depth. Depth is achieved by positioning firing units so enemy air platforms encounter a continuous volume of fire as they approach the protected force or asset. The Linebacker platoon leader achieves depth by positioning his assets so that they can provide continuous fires along enemy air avenues, destroying the enemy as it advances toward the protected force or asset. Depth is maximized through the integration of all air defense weapons. Additional air defense assets on the battlefield (such as Stinger teams, Avenger firing units, high- to medium-altitude air defense (HIMAD) assets, and combined arms air defense efforts from ground forces) contribute to the creation of depth on the battlefield.

    (4)     Balanced Fires. Positioning air defense weapons to distribute fire equally in all directions creates balanced fires. Except for the mission of defense of a static asset where no clear avenues of approach are identified, this guidance is seldom employed. As an example, on a flat, open battlefield characteristic of some desert environments, no specific air corridor exists. In this situation, planning for balanced fires may be viable.

    (5)     Mutual Support. Mutual support is achieved by positioning weapons to complement fires from adjacent firing units, thus preventing the enemy from attacking one position without being subjected to fire from one or more adjacent positions. Mutual support enhances volume of fire and covers the dead space of adjacent units. The planning range for mutual support for Stinger systems is approximately 2,000 meters.

    (6)     Overlapping Fires. Because of the task force's extended battlespace and a scarcity of available Stinger systems, the air defense planner should attempt to enhance air defense protection by positioning firing units so that engagement envelopes overlap. The planning range for overlapping fires for Stinger systems is approximately 4,000 meters.

    b.     The FAADC3I system greatly enhances the ADO's ability to use these guidelines. The greatest impact is on early engagement. Air defense firing units must be positioned so that they are capable of engaging enemy aircraft prior to the ordnance release line (ORL). The determination of enemy air avenues of approach and ordnance loads comes from the air IPB. The HTU enhances early warning and engagement and is issued to all ADA firing units including the ADA platoon leaders. It enables the firing units to receive early warning (40 kilometers out) air tracks (data) from the sensor, which in turn receives external air tracks (data) from the ABMOC. The sensor correlates external (ABMOC) track data with its own local data and broadcasts that data to its air defense battery, platoons, sections, firing units, and brigade air defense LNOs. The TF and direct support air defense firing units still broadcast flash precedence "FM voice" early warning to maneuver elements.

    c.     The additional feature of early warning distance (from enemy aircraft to the air defense firing unit) is enhanced by the fact that the HTU enables the air defense firing unit to see 360 degrees out under ideal situations (20 kilometers light and special divisions interim sensor [LSDIS] and 40 kilometers ground-based sensor [GBS]). ADA must still be attentive and suspect those areas where a pop-up or masked area (blind spot between the HTU at the firing unit or platoon CP and the sensor) might exist and allow the enemy to reach those locations undetected.

    d.     Linebackers normally accompany the main body or the task force reserve. Ultimately, Linebacker positioning is determined by the factors of METT-TC, the IPB, and the task force commander's priorities. The Linebacker platoon may be task-organized to provide direct support to the task force or task-organized into sections to support individual company teams. In either case, the task force ADO must retain the flexibility to mass ADA assets at the critical time and place them on the battlefield to defeat the air threat. FAADC3I allows the ADO to push assets out to a broader area of coverage to provide more firepower forward, facilitate earlier engagement, and cover the flanks.


The task force ADO has dual responsibility as the ADO and ADA platoon leader. The ADO must participate in the MDMP as an integral member of the task force staff. The ADO should work closely with the S2 during the IPB process and is best suited to prepare and brief the air IPB. Airspace or the aerial dimension of the battlefield is the most dynamic and fast-paced of the three dimensions. The most significant threats that must be evaluated at the task force level for aerial IPB are UAVs, fixed-wing aircraft, and rotary-wing aircraft.

    a.     The ADO's mission analysis should cover the following areas:

    • Air threat overview: air avenues of approach, type of air threat, probable threat objective, and potential to support the maneuver forces.
    • Specified, implied, and essential tasks: from the air defense perspective (for example, early warning).
    • Constraints and restrictions: initial air defense warning status, weapons control status, and systems limitations.
    • Forces available: SHORAD, HIMAD, and sensor coverage.
    • Platoon status: personnel, maintenance posture, weapons status, and missile supply.
    • Issues: coordination with brigade (for example, missile supply).

    b.     The ADO also performs the following duties:

    (1)     Assists the S3 in planning and executing the air defense portion of the operation.

    (2)     Advises the commander and S3 on the employment of air defense assets.

    (3)     Coordinates with the S3 air, FSO, and FAC for the appropriate air defense posture and A2C2.

    (4)     Controls integration of air defense elements and early warning systems.

    (5)     Recommends priorities to the commander:

    (a)     Threat: Reverse target value analysis.

    (b)     Criticality: Force or asset that is essential to mission accomplishment.

    (c)     Vulnerability: Susceptibility to surveillance and attack.

    (d)     Recouperability: In terms of time and equipment.

    c.     The ADO is also responsible for the execution of the air defense plan. He must monitor the positioning and coverage provided by his platoon and other ADA assets, recommending changes to the plan based on the enemy threat and changes in the scheme of maneuver. FBCB2 allows the ADO to track his platoon assets visually to ensure proper position and coverage for the protected force. In most situations, the information provided by FBCB2 allows the supporting ADA platoon to perform a general support mission to the task force rather than task-organizing the platoon to the maneuver company teams. This allows the ADO to command and control the supporting ADA assets and frees subordinate company team commanders of this requirement.


In offensive operations, air defense units move so they are best positioned to protect the supported force. Consider weighting the main effort. The air defense plan must support the supported commander's scheme of maneuver. Air defense priorities are established to ensure effective and continuous support for the offensive operation. BSFVs or Linebackers normally accompany the main body or task force reserve but ultimately BSFV or Linebacker positioning is determined by the factors of METT-TC. The BSFV or Linebacker platoon normally provides direct support coverage to the task force. Priorities for protection may include maneuver elements, fire support, engineer elements, command and control nodes, and logistics assets. Unit SOP and mission-specific IPB developed during the planning process determine priorities for air defense for each mission.


The air defense plan must address air defense coverage during all phases of the defense. The number one challenge to the Linebacker platoon is to deny the enemy's use of reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA) air assets. SHORAD assets focus on the main air avenues of approach. Lateral coordination with adjacent units is required to preclude gaps in the defense. The 25-mm automatic gun and 7.62-mm coaxial machine gun should be used against ground targets for self-defense. Normally in a counterattack, Linebackers travel with the counterattack force or operate from overwatch positions to protect the counterattack force from enemy aerial platforms.


The TF adopts its air defense posture based on the type of supporting ADA assets it has attached. The TF always uses a combination of active and passive measures to protect itself against air attack.

    a.     Active Air Defense. Active air defense is direct action taken by all weapons platforms to destroy enemy aircraft or reduce their effectiveness in the delivery of aerial munitions or forces. For example, a large volume of fire from small arms (M16, M249, and caliber .50) can destroy attacking aircraft or disrupt their attack. Tank main guns and Bradley 25-mm guns can also engage attacking aircraft effectively. Specifically, the proximity fuze in the M830A1 multi-purpose AT round can sense an air target and cause detonation as the round nears the aircraft. (See general rules for engaging aircraft in FM 44-8.)

    b.     Passive Air Defense. There are two types of passive air defense measures: cover and concealment and damage limiting. Cover and concealment is used to avoid being detected by the enemy. Damage-limiting measures are those taken to avoid damage from air attack, such as vehicle dispersion, camouflage, and dug-in fighting positions with overhead protection.


TF leaders should ensure their subordinates understand the air threat and air threat warning conditions.

    a.     Air defense conditions are stated in the OPORD:

    • Red indicates the attack is imminent by hostile aircraft or missiles.
    • Yellow indicates that an attack is probable by hostile aircraft or missiles.
    • White indicates that an attack is not likely by hostile aircraft or missiles.

    b.     A local air defense warning (LADW) describes the air threat in the immediate area (Figure 9-6). LADWs are designed to alert a particular unit, several units, or an area of the battlefield of an impending air attack. ADA units use LADWs to alert Army units about the state of the air threat in terms of "right here and right now." They can be used in conjunction with air defense warnings (ADWs). The following are examples of LADWs:

    • Dynamite indicates an attack is in progress.
    • Look-out indicates an attack is possible.
    • Snowman indicates an attack is not likely.

Figure 9-6. Air defense early warning.

    c.     Weapons control status determines the conditions for using weapons against enemy aircraft:

    • Weapons Free: Soldiers may fire at any target not positively recognized as friendly.
    • Weapons Tight: Soldiers may fire only at targets recognized as hostile.
    • Weapons Hold: Soldiers do not fire except in self-defense or in response to a formal order.


The following ADA assets support the TF as part of the attached ADA platoon.

    a.     Bradley Stinger Fighting Vehicle. The BSFV provides the air defender with armor protection and gives him the ability to maneuver with the supported force and position the Stinger system forward on the battlefield. The Stinger team must dismount to fire its missiles. The BSFV carries a basic load of six Stinger missiles as its primary air defense weapon. The BSFV's 25-mm chain gun can be used to augment the Stinger and cover dead space to a range of 2,000 meters. The vehicle also carries five TOW missiles.

    b.     Bradley Linebacker. The Bradley Linebacker replaces the BSFV's TOW system with four ready-to-fire Stinger missiles housed in the standard vehicle-mounted launcher (SVML). The Bradley Linebacker, with its ability to shoot on the move, eliminates the need for the Stinger team to dismount from the vehicle, providing a significantly increased capability over the BSFV.

    c.     Avenger. The Avenger weapon system is a lightweight, day or night, limited adverse weather firing unit employed to counter low-altitude aerial threats. The FU consists of two turret-mounted SVMLs, a .50 caliber machine gun (M3P), a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sight, a laser range finder (LRF), and an identification, friend or foe (IFF). The gyro-stabilized turret is mounted on the HMMWV. The FU can launch a missile or fire the machine gun on the move or from a stationary position with the gunner in the turret. It can also be remotely operated from a location up to 50 meters away. Onboard communications equipment provides for radio and intercom operations. The system is capable of climbing a 31-degree slope at 4 mph and traversing a 22-degree side slope from either side of the vehicle.

    d.     Stinger Missile. The Stinger missile is the task force's primary air defense weapon system. The Stinger is a short-range, heat-seeking guided missile that can be either shoulder-fired or fired from the SVML on the Bradley Linebacker. It is designed to counter the threat of advance helicopters, UAVs, remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs), high-speed maneuvering aircraft, and cruise missiles. The Stinger has a range in excess of 4 kilometers.

    e.     Man-Portable System. The Stinger can be employed as a man-portable air defense system (MANPADS). The two-man Stinger team, consisting of a gunner and a team chief, is transported in a HMMWV or BSFV.


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