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Manpad Team Operations

The MANPAD team, because of the rapid pace of mobile warfare, must spend considerable time moving, communicating, positioning, and repositioning. These, as well as other tasks, must be performed under tactical conditions. Guidelines are provided in this chapter on these operations and activities which will assist the MANPAD team in performing successful missions under combat conditions. (Crew drills are at appendix D.)


For the MANPAD team to function under combat conditions, it is necessary to make certain preparations. Detailed preparation will vary IAW the mission/situation. However, the team chief must get answers to the following questions:

  • Who does the team support?

  • To whom does the team report?

  • What are the unit's call sign and frequency?

  • Where is the FAAR located and what is its radio frequency and address code?

  • What is the communications schedule?

  • What are the security arrangements for the team?

  • What is the threat (air and ground)?

  • What is the WCS and state of alert?

  • Where does the team mess/refuel?

  • What are the sign and countersign?

  • What are the special instructions, if any?

  • How will expended missiles be replaced?

  • When and where will the IFF interrogators be reprogrammed?

  • Will the team have to be split? If so, what about the following:

    • Where will the team members be located?

    • How will the weapons be transported?

    • If the vehicle isn't used, how will it and any other equipment be secured?

    • What will each man take with him?


    Team Preparation

    Position Occupation


    Radio Communications

    Team Wire Communications

    Team Visual Signals

    Alert Warnings

    Relations with Supported Unit

    How to Operate as a Split Team

    Protecting a Convoy or Maneuver Unit with MANPAD Weapons

    Night Operations and Security

    The MANPAD team must have answers to questions about the operation if they are to be successful in battle. Whenever possible, the team chief should make out a checklist and attempt to find the answers to these and other questions. The questions listed above are not rigid but must be applied so as to fit the mission/situation. The team chief may receive the mission either orally or in writing. Close attention must be paid to the details which directly affect the team's mission. Making notes to yourself can be helpful. If some important information affecting the mission is vague, ask questions about the matter.

    The team chief should make a tentative plan for the operation of the team. Normally, he is given specific instructions by the section chief, such as, "Join company team A (indicated by map or by pointing) as soon as possible. Occupy a position near coordinates 86350115. Your team will be close to the third platoon on this knoll. The WCS is WEAPONS FREE. Check the position on the ground for good primary and alternate positions. Be prepared for air attack at any time as you move up with the troops."

    Equipment must be checked for completeness and proper functioning. If changes are required, such as radio frequency change, make sure they are done at the proper time. Sufficient rations and water must be acquired, etcetera.

    The team chief should check his map frequently to make sure he knows where he is going to be positioned and how he is to get there. After receiving the oral or written order from the section chief, he briefs the gunner on the new operation. The team chief makes sure that the gunner receives all necessary information to accomplish the mission. All soldiers do a better job if they know the situation and are kept informed.

    When ordered to move out, the team goes to their designated locations and effect liaison with the commander of the supported or nearest unit. The team chief explains the team mission and touches base on communications, ammunition resupply, refueling, and rations. He should coordinate for positioning (day and night) and security.

    Upon arrival of the team at the designated location, the team chief selects the best firing position within the area selected by the section chief. This site becomes the team's primary position. Terrain evaluation precedes the selecting of a position and is a continuous process. Mission accomplishment is the prime consideration in site selection. Cover, concealment, and camouflage should also be considered when a choice of sites is available. When selecting positions, give particular attention to unobstructed fields of fire, masking clearance, and backblast area. Terrain features which present a masking problem for employment of Stinger are evaluated for height, distance, and direction from the firing positions. The team chief attempts to select a position which lessens the effect of terrain masking.

    The selection of an alternate position is a very important consideration. The smoke signature of the Stinger missile and backblast can be expected to reveal the team's position during an engagement. After an engagement in a forward area, the team must quickly move to an alternate position. In rear areas, where the threat of ground/artillery fire is remote, the need to move quickly to another position is not as great. Alternate positions need not and should not be far from the primary position. An alternate position should be at least 200-300 meters from the primary position and should cover the same sector of fire as the primary position.

    Time permitting, routes into and out of these positions must be reconnoitered and selected. The routes should afford cover between positions. In choosing between available positions, usually advantages and disadvantages must be weighed one against another. When compromises are necessary, how well the team can do its mission at the position is the determining factor. Use the following position selection checklist when picking MANPAD positions:

  • Good observation and fields of fire. Positions should ideally have at least 5 kilometers of observation and all-around fields of fire. At least, the gunner must have good fields of fire along the most probable avenues of approach of hostile aircraft.

  • Accessibility for team vehicles. The position should be easy for the team vehicles to move into. Concealed routes are necessary to the rear and flanks for rapid shifting of position.

  • Security from ground attack. Team positions must have protection against ground attack. Two main factors to think about when changing a position are to position within or near friendly units for security and protection from enemy ground fires. Masking between the position and the enemy hides the position from enemy ground observation.

  • Communications. The positions selected must allow the team to communicate effectively. Wherever possible, direct line of sight for team communications must be obtained. If you can't communicate from your position, the position is unsatisfactory.

  • FAAR. MANPAD team positions should be located to receive manual SHORAD control system (MSCS) information on the FAAR early warning net. The TADDS is emplaced with as near a line of sight as possible to the FAAR.

  • Safety from backblast. The gunner must stand in the open to fire. Thus, the selected firing position should be clear of dry brush and other materials which may ignite when the weapon is fired. The gunner needs a firing position clear to fire in any direction. If both team members must fire, the team chief and gunner must each insure that neither one is in the backblast of the other's weapon.


    The primary task after selecting the best firing position within the area assigned by the section chief is to become operational as quickly as possible. The first priority in occupying a position is preparing weapons for action. The team must occupy its position as fast as possible. Next, the physical security of the position must be improved as required. The extent to which the team prepares and improves a position will vary according to the mission, the length of stay, and the danger from enemy fire. Use the following position occupation checklist when occupying a position:

  • Prepare weapons for firing.

  • Check local security.

  • Establish communications with section headquarters/the supported unit.

  • Establish FAAR netting (line of sight).

  • Prepare additional weapons as required.

  • Prepare field fortifications (prone/foxhole positions) and camouflage for team members.

  • Work on alternate positions as time allows.

    The exact position occupation sequence of actions may vary between teams and team members, depending on the tactical situation. However, these guidelines should be used for a position.


    Because MANPAD teams are widely dispersed and subject to frequent and rapid moves, radio is the primary means of communications during employment. Radio nets are supplemented and paralleled by wire nets when time, the tactical situation, and security permit their use.

    The MANPAD team operates in the section command net when not assigned a direct support role. This is a two-way net linking the section headquarters and its assigned teams. Information received over the command net includes the following:

  • Air defense warning and orders.

  • Movement orders.

  • Command and control information.

  • Any other information essential for section operations.

    MANPAD teams may be assigned to support armored, infantry, mechanized (AIM) divisions, separate brigades, armored cavalry regiments, and corps/theater artillery/ADA battalions. These teams are equipped to operate in one net and monitor another. Monitoring the section/FAAR net alerts the team to early warning information. To do all this, the team is authorized an AN/VRC-47 radio.

    Teams may also be assigned to support airborne and air-assault units. MANPAD teams with an airborne division are equipped with one AN/GRC-160 radio set. Teams operate in the section command net and the supported unit command net when autonomous. Teams with an air-assault division are equipped with two AN/PRC-77 for use in both the MANPAD command net and the supported unit command net.

    When a Vulcan/SGT York Gun platoon is in direct support of a company team which is also supported by MANPAD, the Vulcan/SGT York Gun platoon leader, Vulcan/SGT York Gun squads, and MANPAD team(s) operate in the Vulcan/SGT York Gun platoon net. By joining the Vulcan/SGT York Gun platoon command net, the team will receive all early warning information, changes in WCS, air defense warning, alert status, and other information given to the Vulcan/SGT York Gun platoon. This method insures coordination of the air defense effort. If the MANPAD section chief needs to get information to his team, he can contact the Vulcan/SGT York Gun platoon leader who can pass on the information.


    The AN/VRC-47 combines the RT-524/VRC with one additional receiver, the R-442/VRC. This radio set monitors one net while operating in another.


    The RT-524 can be remoted, using the AN/GRA-39 radio set control group. This battery-operated remote control system consists of a local control unit and a remote control unit. When connected to the radio with field wire, the AN/GRA-39 (remote set) can operate the radio from a distance of up to 3.2 kilometers (2 miles). By using this remote control unit, MANPAD personnel can communicate while away from their vehicles.


    This radio set is a short-range, lightweight, fully transistorized radio set that can be either vehicle-mounted or man-carried.


    The AN/GRC-160 incorporates the components and operational characteristics of the portable FM radio set AN/PRC-77 and the vehicular radio set AN/VRC-64.


    All the above radio equipment can be operated with speech security equipment.


    The team radio operator must be able to effectively communicate in a radio net. To do this, he must use correct radiotelephone procedures. Radiotelephone procedures must be used properly to prevent targeting the radio and giving the enemy useful information. Radiotelephone procedures are based on the Allied Communication Publication (ACP) series of publications.


    Each radio is controlled by a net control station (NCS) which maintains circuit discipline within the net. The following are fundamentals that must be used when operating in a radiotelephone net:

  • First, write down your message.

  • Listen before transmitting to avoid interfering with other transmissions.

  • Start speaking as soon as you key the mike. (Do not wait for the sound of the blower motor to peak out.)

  • Speak in natural phrases, not word by word.

  • Speak slowly and distinctly at normal voice level directly into the microphone, just as you would into a conventional telephone.

  • Do not key the mike for longer than 15 seconds. Use "breaks" for long transmissions.


    The type of net is determined by the NCS according to operating conditions. The types of nets are free and directed.

    In a free net, traffic is exchanged without prior permission from the NCS. A net is deemed to be a free net unless otherwise ordered by the NCS.

    In a directed net, stations must obtain permission from the NCS prior to conducting communications with other stations.


    A call sign is a letter-number-letter combination assigned to a unit. Every unit in an organization has a different call sign. The complete call sign is used under the following conditions:

  • When opening and closing a net.

  • When entering a net in which you do not normally operate.

  • When responding to a net call.

  • When requested by the NCS or any other station.

  • When radio reception is poor.


    Call sign suffixes are two-numbered groups assigned to positions or activities within a unit. The call sign and suffix together identify the sender and receiver of a radio message.


    Each radio net is assigned a frequency. These frequencies are established by the communications-electronics operation instructions (CEOI). Radio operators should be adept at changing radio frequencies. Refer to the radio's technical manual for instruction on how to do this.


    Certain commonly used prowords have distinct meanings and are used to shorten the amount of time in voice communications and to avoid confusion. These prowords should be used when talking on the radio or the telephone.


    Authentication is required when--

  • Opening and closing a net.

  • Entering a new net.

  • Coordinates of a position are requested.

  • Directions are given to move or which otherwise affect the tactical situation.

  • Any degradation of ADW or WCS.


    Team positions may be interconnected by wire for local communications in static situations or during listening or radio silence. When the support unit establishes its wire system, the team can communicate with its section headquarters by wire. Information on how to connect a field telephone and use of field wire is found in FM 24-20.

    Members of split teams also use wire to communicate. Because only one radio and one TADDS are within the team, the team chief stays with the radio and TADDS. The gunner lays wire to the second position, attaches the field telephone, and establishes communications with the team chief. A second reel of wire is required to accomplish this.


    Each Stinger team is issued two TA-1/PT telephone sets. The TA-1 is a sound-powered telephone that provides facilities for talking and signaling without batteries. It weighs only 3.5 pounds and has a range, with field wire, of approximately 10-15 kilometers. This telephone set can be used to advantage in forward areas, employed in switched wire networks (during periods when radio nets are closed), or as point-to-point circuits.


    Each team is issued one RL-39 reeling machine with a DR-8 reel containing 0.4 kilometer ( mile) of field wire. A second reel can be obtained from the parent unit. This combination can be used to lay short local circuits between field telephones and between the RT-524/VRC radio location and the AN/GRA-39 remote control unit. Field wire is recoverable and is reusable; it should always be taken up before moving out of a position, if the situation permits.


    Arm and hand signals may be used by team members to communicate among themselves and with supported unit personnel. Arm and hand signals are useful when radio or wire is not available and battlefield noise does not permit use of voice commands. Arm and hand signals should be used only when absolutely necessary. Standard and special hand-and-arm signals to control small unit actions, recovery operations, and vehicle movements for the tank and mechanized infantry company team are covered in FM 71-1. When MANPAD teams are supporting a maneuver unit, they they should be familiar with the visual signals used by leaders of the unit. FM 21-60, Visual Signals, contains a complete list of each type of visual signal. Six examples of arm and hand signals for the communications of MANPAD fire commands are shown in the illustration below.


    An alert warning is an early warning, or indication of air attack.


    A MANPAD team may be warned of an approaching aircraft or it may visually detect the target without prior warning. Warning of the approach of an aircraft increases the chances of successfully engaging it. An alert warning will usually give general location and heading of the aircraft and a tentative identification (see appendix A). The FAAR, together with the TADDS, furnishes early warning to the team. The team may also receive early warning/alert information from the section headquarters. This data is received at the section headquarters from the early warning broadcast net (EWBN), the air defense control net (ADCN), or the FAAR. In turn, section headquarters sends this information to the MANPAD teams over the section command net.


    The FAAR/TADDS system is the primary means of providing MSCS alerting information to the MANPAD team. This information is transmitted by radio to the TADDS receiver located with the team.


    The FAAR system is a self-contained, pulse-doppler search radar system. Its mission is to provide early warning in the form of general target location and tentative identification. This early warning is provided to TADDS receivers located at divisional SHORAD fire units and headquarters up to platoon level. The range of the FAAR is 20 kilometers. The FAAR transmits information to the TADDS using an AN/VRC-46 FM radio. Since the AN/VRC-46 is an FM radio, line of sight is necessary between the FAAR and the TADDS.

    Several FAARs will normally be operating in a divisional area. Each has a different address code. Also, each is assigned a different frequency in the CEOI. The MANPAD section chief usually obtains the location of the nearest operating FAAR from the platoon headquarters. If a team cannot achieve line of sight with a FAAR, another position may have to be chosen. FAAR positions may change during a battle. Therefore, the section chief must know where the FAAR positions are located at all times.


    The TADDS is a lightweight receiver which can receive alert information sent from a FAAR. The TADDS has the capability of receiving voice transmission over its FM radio receiver. This is is now the primary means for passing alert information.

    Site Selection

    For the best reception, a site for the TADDS is selected which allows as close to a clear line of sight to the FAAR as possible (see illustration). The keyed characteristic of the signal, when heard from the speaker, indicates that data link signals, not interference, are being received. Emplacement of the TADDS is quickly accomplished by one man. The operator performs the operational checks listed in TM 9-1430-589-12 to insure proper operation.

    Using The TADDS

    The team chief tunes the TADDS receiver to the frequency and address code of the nearest FAAR. If no signal is received, he then consults the CEOI for the frequency and code of other FAARs. If he receives a signal, he informs his section chief and requests the coordinates of that FAAR.

    Long-range early warning information from the SHORAD TOC and locally generated FAAR early warning are received over the TADDS FM receiver from the nearest FAAR section. The MANPAD team must monitor the team's respective platoon or section command net, and either the supported unit command net or the EWBN. The teams monitor the FAAR on the TADDS FM receiver. It must be emphasized that the TADDS is used exclusively as an FM receiver to receive early warning information from the FAAR.


    The team chief must coordinate with the supported unit commander or his representative as soon as he can after being given his mission. Good relations between the team and the supported unit are a must. The team chief should be prepared to offer advice on air defense matters and keep the supported unit commander informed of ongoing air activity as he receives it through his ADA channels. It is the team chiefs responsibility to warn the supported unit regarding safety hazards (backblast and noise.). It then becomes the unit's responsibility to take the proper protective measures (for example, wearing ear plugs and moving away from the backblast area). If such items as team messing, resupply, refueling, need to be taken care of, the team chief will have to coordinate this with the supported unit. The following are some do's and don'ts to keep in mind to promote a good relationship and good coordination on a local level:

  • Advise the supported commander on air defense matters.

  • Don't do anything that might compromise the security of the supported unit.

  • Follow the movement plan carefully.

  • When directed to occupy a specific position, do so as quickly as possible.

  • When attached, coordinate on-site selection with the unit commander.

  • Be courteous and tactful in all dealings with the supported personnel and, in particular, with the supported commander. You are there to complement his defense measures by your air defense contribution.


    Under certain conditions and/or situations a team may have to be split. Splitting the team degrades command and control and the ability to detect, positively identify, and engage aircraft. If a team has to operate in a split manner, the following points should be given serious consideration:

  • Split the basic load; two complete weapons and one missile-round per team member.

  • The team chief should have access to the radio.

  • The team chief should relay command and control information to the gunner over the team wire net.

  • Each team member keeps the other informed of any activity, such as when an aircraft is detected.

  • When separated from the team chief, the gunner is fully responsible for correct identification of any aircraft which he engages (see chapter 4 for proper identification procedures).

    When operating as a split team the land line (field telephones) are the only means of communications between the teams. The maximum distance for splitting the team should be mile. When hand signals are the only means of communications between the split team, if feasible, the split team should be positioned so that each team has a line of sight to each position.


    When protecting a convoy, MANPAD personnel normally engage aircraft only if the column is about to come under attack. If early warning information is received via the section command net or TADDS FM receiver, the Stinger team chief relays the information to the convoy commander. After sighting or being alerted to enemy aircraft, the convoy commander should alert his vehicle commanders to the possible air attack. The convoy is then prepared to engage the aircraft with all available small arms and machine guns. The convoy commander may take one of the following three options with his vehicles:

  • Continue the march at increased speed.

  • Stop and move to the shoulders of the road.

  • Disperse and seek cover and concealment.

    Regardless of the option chosen by the convoy commander, the MANPAD team reacts the same. When air attack is imminent, the team moves its vehicles off the road, dismounts, and takes up the best available firing position. (See the crew drills at appendix D.) This position should have good visibility and be located where Stinger can be safely fired.


    Once the team is positioned, the team chief bases his engagement decision on the WCS in effect and by applying hostile criteria (see chapter 5). The right to fire in self-defense is never denied. The gunner engages the aircraft upon receiving the team chiefs engagement order. Ideally, the aircraft will be engaged on its first pass; before the attack run is made on the convoy. If the column is attacked, the combined fires of all available small arms, machine guns, MANPAD, and other ADA weapons are directed on the aircraft. If not destroyed, the aircraft will at least have his ordnance delivery impaired.

    When the immediate threat of air attack has subsided, the team notifies its section headquarters of the attack, missile expenditure, and any other information required by the local TSOP. The team must prepare a new ready rack (see crew drills) and then rejoin the convoy, passing other vehicles, as necessary, to resume its assigned position.

    MANPAD teams may be prepositioned at critical points along the convoy's route. This method of employment is used when a slowdown, halt, or congestion of the convoy is likely at a critical point. These critical points, such as road junctions, bridges, and refueling points, provide prime targets for threat air strikes. Prepositioning is used when the distance to be traveled is short (5 kilometers) or when circumstances permit the teams to blend into the column after it passes the critical point. The team chief selects a suitable team position that affords an early engagement capability. This means that the position should be at least 1-2 kilometers away from the critical point, in the expected direction of air attack. If several teams are available to defend the critical point, they will be approximately 2-3 kilometers away from each other to insure overlapping fires. Other requirements described earlier in this chapter should be considered in selecting a firing position.


    When a MANPAD team is in support of a maneuver unit, positioning of the team is very important. Two methods can be used--deploy the team behind the maneuver unit or deploy the team with the formation. Maintaining all-around observation and fields of fire, as well as maintaining communications, will be difficult. Communications should be maintained with the supported unit and the section frequency should be monitored. The team should be able to receive early warning information at anytime. When positioning --

  • Select positions on high ground, but do not silhouette on the skyline.

  • Use cover and concealment to reduce the effects of enemy ground fire.

  • Remember backblast safety requirements.

  • Move to an alternate position immediately after firing, if the tactical situation permits.

  • Watch constantly for aircraft, especially ATGM-armed helicopters.

  • Move when the supported unit/element moves, unless directed otherwise.


    When deployed with a battalion task force, the team follows the unit by successive bounds. Teams should remain approximately 500 meters behind the lead element. The section chief has positioning authority of teams with this mission. He selects team positions and gives special instructions for engagement and sectors of fire. The team may be allowed to select the fastest and easiest route between positions rather than moving with the supported unit. The team chief must coordinate closely with the supported unit in this type of maneuver. Without this coordination, the maneuver unit may outrun its supporting air defense protection.

    At each successive position, the team chief selects the best position on the ground to accomplish the mission. The team chief should be alert to displace at the same time as the maneuver unit. When in position, the team should place the vehicle under cover and conceal it as much as possible. The team should look for a good firing position not far from the vehicle. By connecting field wire between the vehicle radio and the remote set, the team chief can maintain communications while away from his vehicle. He should also emplace the TADDS immediately so that the team can receive any alert warning. Another consideration is safety. Be sure that no other troops or equipment are within the backblast danger area of the firing position.

    The team chief will have to use his best judgment on how many weapons will have to be off-loaded.

    The team should be always ready to defend the supported unit. However, there are times when the unit is more vulnerable to air attack than at others. This could be while the supported unit is in an assembly area. At times such as this, the Stinger team should be prepared for a surprise air attack.

    Communications should be maintained with the section headquarters. In addition, the team should be able to receive FAAR early warning information.


    When the team is in support of a maneuver unit, usually a company team, it moves with the unit. The company team commander has positioning authority of the team in direct support of his unit and gives special instructions for firing. Usually, a team in direct support of a maneuver unit remains with the overwatch element. The team occupies the best position available.

    The team may have its own transportation or be mounted on a tracked vehicle on a share-a-ride basis. If the team is mounted and traveling when warning of an air attack is received, the team dismounts from the vehicle as quickly as possible. The team immediately takes the best firing position available. If the team is mounted on a shared tracked vehicle, reaction time (warning received until prepared to engage) will be increased. To communicate with section headquarters, a team mounted on a tracked vehicle will have to use the vehicle's radio and may have to use the supported unit to relay messages.

    Communications shall be maintained with the supported unit and the section frequency should be monitored. The team should be able to receive early warning information at any time.


    Reduced visibility during the hours of darkness may limit the intensity and effectiveness of enemy air attack. However, the air threat will increase as new night vision and target acquisition devices are developed. If an attacking aircraft is seen, it can be engaged. The difficulty encountered in visually detecting and identifying aircraft during periods of darkness and inclement weather handicaps, but does not eliminate, the use of Stinger for air defense. Therefore, MANPAD teams, armed with Stinger, generally should not attempt to engage hostile aircraft if those aircraft are not attacking the asset they are defending. Visual detection, visual identification, and determining range are difficult, if not impossible. Stinger can be used at night in a self-defense role when the supported unit or asset is under attack or if a WEAPONS FREE status is in effect.

    Aircraft detection at night may be aided by early alerts, engine sounds, reflected light, moonlight, flares, and engine exhaust flames. Targets detected by sound may be located with an activated weapon by using the figure eight method. This method is described in chapter 3. Once IR lock has been achieved, proceed with the engagement as in the daytime (approximating superelevation and lead because the reticles will be hard to see).

    The missile signature is easily detectable at night. Enemy forces may well be able to determine your position. Although teams normally move to alternate positions after each engagment, enemy suppressive fire may force the supported unit to move. For this reason, teams normally respond only to direct attack on the asset they are defending at night.


    MANPAD teams supporting a unit which is moving during the night or during times of reduced visibility, normally move with the unit, remaining within the unit's formation for security. Teams supporting a unit in position at nightfall should move to positions within the perimeter of the supported unit for better security against ground attack. The section chief will tell the teams when and where to displace at night. However, the team chiefs should closely coordinate with the supported unit commander on the exact location of their positions. The selected positions should not compromise the commander's plan for defense of his unit.

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