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The ability of a Stinger platoon/section leader to react to rapidly changing conditions on the modern battlefield is dependent on efficient and reliable communications. Radio and wire communications are provided Stinger units to facilitate command and control. Because the Stinger teams are widely dispersed, and subject to frequent and rapid moves, radio is the prime means of communications during tactical operations.

Threat forces know the key to success in combat is an effective communications system. The Threat will use electronic warfare (EW) to disrupt as many command, control, and weapons communications systems as possible. Their major electronic offensive will happen during the first minutes of the first battle. Therefore, communications on the modern battlefield may be considerably degraded or nonexistent.

The improved early warning Manual SHORAD Control System (MSCS) ties in the air defense coordination net and the early warning broadcast nets which are used by Stinger units. (See FMs 44-3, 44-11, and 44-18-1 for further details.)


Stinger platoons use only one type of AM radio - AN/PRC-l04 for receipt of early warning. Stinger platoons use FM radios for battery and platoon command nets, and for supported unit nets. Stinger platoons within armored, infantry, mechanized (AIM) infantry divisions and separate brigades are authorized the AN/VRC-47 radio and AN/VRC-48 radio. Within these units, Stinger teams are authorized an AN/VRC-47 radio. Stinger platoons within air cavalry combat brigades and armored cavalry regiments are also equipped with these radios. Stinger platoons with airborne divisions are authorized the AN/VRC-48 and AN/GRC-160 , radios. Stinger platoons within air assault divisions are authorized the AN/VRC-48 and AN/PRC-77 radios.


Stinger Radio Equipment

Radio Nets


Wire Communications

Backup Communications

Using the CEOI


The relationship of the Stinger nets and equipment within a sample platoon in an AIM division is shown below. No attempt is made to show communications links or equipment above platoon level.

Normally, the Stinger platoon leader will place the receiver/transmitter unit of the AN/VRC-48 on the frequency of the platoon command net. This allows two-way communications between the platoon headquarters and the sections. The platoon may be in support of a maneuver unit. In this case, one receiver of the AN/VRC-48 is tuned to the frequency of the supported unit's command net. If not in support of a maneuver unit, this receiver can be used to monitor other air defense units. These units operate with or in the vicinity of the platoon. The second receiver of the AN/VRC-48 is normally used to monitor the C/V battery command net. The platoon leader can switch frequencies to transmit to monitored units as necessary.

The TADDS (FM) and the AN/GRC-213 (AM) radios are both used to monitor early warning information. The TADDS receives this information directly from a FAAR. The AN/GRC-213 monitors early warning information which is generated from either a HIMAD battalion or the nearest air defense command and control facility.

When the platoon leader uses his equipment in this manner, he is receiving a great deal of data. The table shows what data are transmitted over the various nets.

The Stinger section headquarters has similar communications capabilities as the platoon headquarters. The Stinger section headquarters is authorized an AN/VRC-48 radio, a TADDS, and an AN/GRC-213 AM radio set. This equipment gives the section chief the capabilities to receive early warning information from the early warning net and FAAR. Also, he can monitor two frequencies while receiving and transmitting on a third.

The Stinger section headquarters operates in the Stinger section command net. Normally, the Stinger section chief will place the receiver/transmitter unit of the AN/VRC-48 on the frequency of the section command net. This allows two-way communications between the section headquarters and the teams. If the section is in support of a maneuver unit, one receiver of the AN/VRC-48 is tuned to the frequency of the supported unit's command net. The second receiver of the AN/VRC-48 is normally used to monitor the Stinger platoon command net. The section chief can switch frequencies to transmit to monitored units as necessary.



The FAAR is a self-contained, pulse-doppler search radar system. Its mission is to provide EW in the form of general target location and tentative identification. The EW is provided to TADDS receivers located at Chaparral/Vulcan fire units, Stinger platoons, sections, and teams. 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 the division area. Each has a different address code. Also, each is assigned a different frequency in the Communications-Electronics Operations Instructions (CEOI). To get the location of the FAARs, the section chief usually obtains this information from the local C/V battalion tactical operation center.

Normally, the Stinger section chief will study the positions of the various FAARs in the division area. He will then determine which one will provide the best early warning coverage for his teams. He then must determine if line of sight can be achieved with the selected FAAR. If the teams cannot achieve line of sight, he must choose another FAAR. FAAR positions may change during a battle. Therefore, the section chief must know where the FAARs are located at all times.


The size of the sector a Stinger team must search affects the range at which aircraft can be detected. If an observer is warned of an approaching aircraft and has a narrow sector of search, his chances of detecting the target early are greatly improved.

Each Stinger team is authorized a target alert data display set (TADDS). The battery operated TADDS is a lightweight FM receiver used to obtain early warning, location, and tentative identification of aircraft detected by a FAAR belonging to the Chaparral/Vulcan battalion.


Wire is one of the most dependable communications means. Wire is more secure than radio communications, but security of classified information is only insured when it is used over security approved wire systems. Wire communications are especially useful in defensive operations when movement is often limited and time is available for installation and maintenance. When the supported unit establishes its wire system, Stinger units can communicate by wire. Stinger wire communications means are limited. The Stinger units depend on the parent organization or supported unit to lay wire to them.

Stinger team positions may be interconnected by wire for local communications in static situations or during listening or radio silence. This might be the situation where Stinger units are supporting a battalion task force.

Members of split Stinger teams also use wire to communicate over short distances. The gunner strings wire to another position, attaches the field telephone, and establishes communications with the team chief.

Two types of field telephones are used within the platoon. The TA-312/PT is used by both platoon and section headquarters, while the TA-1/PT is used at the team level.


The mobility required of a Stinger section in most cases dictates that radio be the primary means of communications. For sections in a static situation, wire can be used effectively as a backup. For sections on the move, however, wire is impractical.

The Stinger sections and teams need early warning and command and control information to accomplish their mission. Backup channels for this information already exist in the platoon's and section's normal communications setup. Use of alternate routing of information can be accomplished through the supported unit nets. For instance, a message could be routed over the supported unit net to a Stinger team whose radio has been damaged. The section chief could send the message through the supported unit command net directly to the unit nearest the Stinger team. In the same case, if time and distance permit, the team could also lay wire to a nearby unit for temporary communications.

The AN/GRC-213 receiver gives the platoon leader and section chief the capability of getting early warning. The Stinger team does not have this capability. Therefore, any early warning from this source must be relayed to Stinger teams over the section command net. Since this type of information is time-essential, it could be outdated before the team receives it. This information must be verified.


Arm and hand signals may be used by the Stinger team members. They use these signals 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 are covered in FM 71-1. They are used to control small unit actions, recovery operations, and vehicle movements for the tank and mechanized infantry company team. Arm and hand signals for the communication of Stinger fire commands are shown in FM 44-18-1.


Such simple devices as whistles, bugles, horns, sirens, bells, klaxons, voice amplifiers, and explosive devices are used for sound communications. Principal uses of sound communications are to attract attention, transmit prepared messages, and spread alarms. Sound signals are satisfactory only for short distances; range and reliability are greatly reduced by battle noise. Sound signals are open to enemy interception and imitation. Thus, they may be restricted for security reasons. To avoid misunderstanding, sound signals must be simple. Prearranged meanings for sound signals are normally included in the unit SOP and CEOI.


Proper use of the CEOI is a major portion of operations security (OPSEC). The CEOI is perhaps the most abused document in the Army today. Often it is regarded as a document which interferes with communications instead of aiding effective, secure communications. To be effective, all of the CEOI, not just parts of it, must be used in training. Operations security, including use of the CEOI, is discussed further in appendix B.

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