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Manpad In Defense of ADA Units

MANPAD systems are allocated to some ADA units to provide self-defense. This need has developed because of the improved capability of threat forces to destroy our ADA units. MANPAD systems can be used to protect these ADA units when they are displacing, traveling in a convoy, emplacing, refueling, or during other critical periods that make the units vulnerable to air attack. This chapter discusses how MANPAD teams can be employed to protect these ADA units (high-to-medium-altitude air defense [HIMAD] and Chaparral) from enemy air attack.


HIMAD units, such as Patriot, Nike Hercules, and Hawk, can no longer expect the relative security previously provided by their rear area locations. Threat forces now have the ability to launch aircraft in great enough numbers and speed to penetrate and saturate our forward area air defenses. These aircraft will then be able to penetrate to the HIMAD units in the corps and theater areas. MANPAD teams can be used by these units to provide some protection from these mass air attacks.

MANPAD teams are used by HIMAD units to compensate for system limitations. MANPAD teams can be incorporated into their defense to counter this low-flying aircraft threat. HIMAD radar systems are vulnerable to electronic countermeasures (ECM). Since MANPAD systems are not radar-directed missile systems, they do not fall prey to ECM tactics. Another advantage in positioning MANPAD systems with a HIMAD unit is that they can be used to engage threat aircraft in the HIMAD system's dead zone. Stinger's head on engagement capability can be effectively used to provide this needed close-in protection for the HIMAD unit. In effect, by adding MANPAD systems, the HIMAD unit is allowed to concentrate on its primary mission--high-to-medium-altitude air defense.

MANPAD teams should be positioned along avenues of approach likely to be used by enemy aircraft. Early engagement positions should be far enough away from the HIMAD site to insure that threat aircraft are engaged before they reach their bomb release point.


MANPAD Teams with HIMAD Units

MANPAD Team with Chaparral Units

A team may be positioned to cover an area that is masked by terrain features and is unseen by HIMAD radars. In this situation, the team is positioned within the masked area. The position selected should allow good observation. If possible, this position should also allow the HIMAD unit to be seen. In this way, attempted air attacks from other directions may be seen.

On flat terrain, two teams are placed opposite each other on the site's perimeter. This will allow 240 coverage in azimuth by each team. Used in this way, Stinger can engage aircraft before they enter the HIMAD's dead zone. Impossible, more teams should be trained so that the basic load can be split and deployed.

MANPAD personnel in Hawk units usually receive their rules of engagement and firing instructions directly from the tactical control officer (TCO). By marking MANPAD team positions on their plan position indicator (PPI), Hawk personnel can direct the engagement of approaching low-flying aircraft, not engageable by Hawk.

MANPAD personnel in Patriot and Nike Hercules units may receive some guidance from the battery control officer (BCO) through his battery control station. Normally, team personnel will operate IAW their battery's TSOP. Since MANPAD teams will be used primarily to engage undetected aircraft approaching Patriot positions and Nike Hercules sites, it is unlikely that team members will receive any early warning information from the BCO.

Usually (if available), the AN/PRC-77 radio will be used for communications with the HIMAD unit. However, wire communications can also be used. Teams can be linked by wire with the following HIMAD control vans:

  • Patriot--battalion tactical operations center (TOC) and battery command post (CP).

  • Nike Hercules--director station.

  • Hawk--battery control central (BCC) and platoon command post (PCP).


    When employed with Chaparral units, MANPAD teams can be used for self-defense, augmentation of a defense, or as a substitute weapon. As a self-defense weapon for a Chaparral unit, MANPAD can be used to cover a nonoperational fire unit. In augmenting a Chaparral defense, the MANPAD team(s) may be used to provide low-altitude coverage to areas inaccessible to the fire units. Stinger can be used as a substitute weapon for Chaparral because of the similarity in the two missile systems' effective ranges.

    In a self-defense role, Stinger protects exposed Chaparral fire units. One example of this is when an emplaced Chaparral fire unit is completely masked on one side by hilly terrain. A threat attack helicopter, using a pop-up tactic, can rise behind the terrain and fire at the Chaparral fire unit. A Stinger team in this instance can be positioned on the other side of the hill to counter such an attack.

    Stinger can be used to augment Chaparral's defense of a critical asset. The teams are positioned to cover vulnerable areas in the low-altitude defense. These vulnerable areas are formed because of the limited number of Chaparral units allocated to the critical asset's defense. These areas can be formed by surrounding terrain features which may deny access to Chaparral fire units. For example, Stinger teams can be positioned on steep hills that the Chaparral fire units cannot climb.

    MANPAD provides continuous air defense coverage while the Chaparral fire unit is nonoperational. This may occur during rearming, refueling, maintenance downtime, or for other reasons. Since the effective range of the Stinger missile is close to that of the Chaparral missile, the Stinger system can temporarily replace the Chaparral system. It is also during these vulnerable periods that Stinger can be utilized as a self-defense weapon. When employed in these situations, the Stinger team should be positioned as close to the fire unit as possible, observing safety restrictions.

    When Chaparral elements are displacing to another location by convoy, they are vulnerable to air attack. MANPAD teams must be used to protect these elements on the road. The MANPAD quick reaction time can be most valuable to the Chaparral units at this time. MANPAD teams supporting an ADA unit in convoy are integrated into the march column to take advantage of the Stinger missile's head-on engagement capability.

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