THE ENGAGEMENT SYSTEMS
This appendix addresses essential elements that optimize the system's capabilities. Avenger platoons must deny enemy aerial platforms the opportunity to observe or penetrate within striking distance of the supported force or its assets. As in all wars, friendly and hostile aerial platforms operate in the same airspace. This constraint adds pressure to all leaders. It is very important for the Avenger platoon to be able to detect, acquire, identify, and rapidly engage threat aerial targets without fratricide. Speed and accuracy of an engagement depend on leadership and training.
The Avenger FU is top heavy and can easily roll over. The squad must be familiar with the capability of the weapon system. This section discusses the Avenger capabilities. For more information on capabilities and operations, see TM 9-1425-433-10.
FIRE ON THE MOVE
The Avenger squad should not attempt to fire a missile while climbing a 31-degree slope or 22-degree side slope at more than 4 MPH. For more information on engagement while moving, see ARTEP 44-117-21-Drill.
FIRE FROM REMOTE EMPLACEMENT
The missile or gun can be controlled by the gunner and driver from a remote position. Target engagement using the remote control unit (RCU) follows a similar procedure as used inside the turret when using automatic slew-to-cue. For system setup, refer to the Avenger operator's manual and ARTEP 44-117-21-Drill.
The Avenger has specific capabilities under degraded operations. These capabilities allow the Avenger squad to continue the mission when system or terrain conditions cause degraded operations such as equipment failure or terrain characteristics which do not support use of the HMMWV. To convert the missile-round to a weapon-round, see ARTEP 44-117-21-Drill.
M3P .50-CALIBER MACHINE GUN
The primary role for the .50-caliber machine gun is for engagement of aerial targets within the missile's dead zone. The machine gun may be used on ground targets.
The Avenger laser range finder provides distance to target range for firing the machine gun. However, manual range estimation will be used when the laser range finder is inoperative. See the Machine Gun Range Estimation Guide illustration below. Aerial targets should be engaged with the system in the automatic (25-round burst) mode.
Ground targets are classified as point targets or area targets. Because of the Avenger's limited basic load of .50-caliber ammunition, ground targets should also be engaged with the system in automatic. Area targets should be engaged using a Z pattern.
Weapon selection criteria against enemy threat is critical to the Avenger squad. The selection procedures are one of the most important functions the squad will make. These procedures could be the difference between failure and mission accomplished. The gunner must keep in mind that the Stinger is the primary AD weapon and the .50-caliber machine gun is used to complement the Stinger. The Avenger squad must know the system's dead zone and be prepared to engage targets within the dead zone. The engagement steps are the same, but the firing techniques are different.
ENGAGING HIGH-PERFORMANCE AERIAL PLATFORMS
High-performance aerial platforms should only be engaged if the aircraft is a direct threat to the FU or supported unit (actually making an attack run). A general rule of thumb is to avoid engaging high-performance aerial platforms with the .50-caliber machine gun because of--
- Target speed.
- Avenger's limited ammunition.
- Brief target exposure time.
The rule of thumb for engaging high-performance aircraft also applies to helicopters. However, when helicopters are exposed on the ground, or are slow-moving or hovering, they become targets of opportunity that should be engaged if within effective machine-gun range.
The Avenger squad should use the following techniques when engaging helicopters with the .50-caliber machine gun. If the helicopter is flying a crossing or overhead profile, the gunner uses a lead of 50 meters or half the length of a football field. If the helicopter is flying directly toward the Avenger, fire should be directed slightly above the nose of the helicopter. If the helicopter is hovering, the gunner aims just above the fuselage and fires an automatic burst of 25 rounds.
ENGAGING UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES
When engaging UAVs, the same principles apply that are used for the engagement of other hostile aerial platforms.
The engagement sequence consists of a series of squad-level actions. Every shooter must detect, acquire, identify, and engage the target to destroy it.
Discern the presence of an enemy air element which is or may become a threat.
Obtain data defining enemy air element's position. The data must be sufficiently accurate to provide targeting information. The FAAD C3I system will cue FUs to targets.
Provide the specific and timely positioned data with tentative identification of aerial platforms within a designated FU's range.
There are three acquisition methods:
- Automatic acquisition. This method involves sensors and the FAAD C2I system providing data sufficiently accurate to place a target within the Avenger's narrow field of view. The GBS provides range, azimuth, and elevation of a target. The FAAD C2I system transmits the data digitally to the SHTU. The squad follows slew-to-cue procedures as outlined in ARTEP 44-117-21-Drill. These procedures automatically place the target within the narrow field of view, and the squad then follows their engagement procedures.
- Manual acquisition. This acquisition method also involves the SHTU, but the target data is not sufficiently accurate to place the target in the field of view. The data may come from a source that cannot provide a cue. The squad must manually acquire the target using the limited data from the SHTU.
- Autonomous acquisition. This method describes target acquisition for fire units without FAAD C 2 I, SHTU, or with degraded capability because of mechanical or communications problems. Under these conditions, the squad will use manual search methods (horizontal and vertical scanning) to acquire targets.
In a horizontal scan, the observer searches the horizon to about 20 degrees (356 mils) above the horizon by moving his eyes in short movements across the sky, working his way up and across. He continues the scan pattern to below the horizon to detect aerial platforms flying close to the terrain (see the Horizontal Scanning illustration).
In a vertical scan, the observer searches the sky using the horizon as a starting point of reference. He moves his eyes in short movements up the sky, then back down, continuing this movement across the terrain. He scans in the same pattern below the horizon to detect aerial platforms flying close to the terrain (see the Vertical Scanning illustration).
Identify is a determination of whether a potential target is friendly or hostile. Identification of fixed-and rotary-wing targets must be visual. Unmanned platforms can be engaged upon recognition under the following conditions:
- Fixed-wing aircraft. Information from the sensor and C2 node indicate a FW aircraft which is flying too slow to be a manned fighter and bomber, and visual inspection indicates it is not a helicopter, and no friendly UAVs are operating in the area.
- Cruise missiles. As soon as it can be determined that the platform is unmanned (3 kilometers maximum range from FU), the target can be engaged. Straight, level flight paths of these platforms will assist in this determination.
Engage is the decision to fire; this action is conducted upon hostile recognition. The squad leader is the only member of the squad who can make the engagement decision. The gunner has several actions and procedures prior to pulling the trigger. For more information pertaining to engagement, see ARTEP 44-117-21 Drill.
Destroy means to kill the target the first time, or prevent it from fulfilling its mission.
The Avenger weapon system, like all other modem-day weapon systems, must have a backup system when the main system is nonfunctional. The squad must know how to engage targets using the estimated range techniques, as discussed in the following paragraphs.
MISSILE MANUAL RANGE ESTIMATION
The Avenger squad must be familiar with manual range estimation techniques. The Avenger gunner applies manual range estimation when the LRF fails or when no fire permit symbol appears during engagement. The Avenger system can fire a missile without the fire permit symbol. Prior to firing, the gunner should apply manual range estimation procedures. See the Missile Range Estimation Guide illustration.
MACHINE GUN MANUAL RANGE ESTIMATION
The Avenger gunner must be familiar with manual range estimation when using the machine gun. To fire the machine gun, the Avenger system must have a fire permit symbol. The Avenger fire control computer receives range data from the LRF and computes lead angle and superelevation. The Avenger automatically tracks the target using the proper lead and superelevation. If the LRF fails, the gunner must go to the manual mode. This requires the gunner to manually insert the lead angle and superelevation. Prior to firing the machine gun, the gunner should apply the range estimation procedure. This procedure determines the lead angle and superelevation required to successfully engage the target. Manual range estimation is performed using the steps below:
Step 1. Acquire the aircraft. The gunner acquires the target as described in the Engagement Techniques paragraph of this chapter.
Step 2. Determine the aerial platform characteristics:
- Type aircraft. Is the aerial platform fixed or rotary wing?
- Aircraft flight altitude. Is the aircraft high or low?
- Aircraft flight profile. Is the UAV incoming, outgoing, or crossing?
Step 3. Determine aircraft width. The gunner determines the size of the target in milliradians (MRAD). This is accomplished by using the optical sight or the FLIR. These devices have symbology features that are used to measure the size of the target. The gunner places the target near the selected symbology and determines the size and range of the aircraft image in MRAD. When using the FLIR for size estimation, the gunner should measure the target based on the FOV selected.
Step 4. Determine if aircraft is in range. Based on the aircraft type, altitude, and image size, the gunner determines if the target is within range of the machine gun. The guidelines in the Machine Gun Range Estimation Guide illustration will assist the gunner in determining range.
Step 5. Determine superelevation and lead angle. Based on the aircraft type, attitude, and range estimate, the gunner determines the superelevation and lead angle. The guidelines in the Turret Adjustment for Lead Angle and Superelevation illustration below will assist the gunner in determining this information.
Step 6. Check the azimuth and elevation indication on the CDT.
Step 7. Deactivate the FLIR autotrack. Manually track target using the hand controls. Ensure STAB mode is selected. Move the turret in azimuth (ahead of the target) and elevation (above the target). The following illustration shows the turret adjustment procedure.
Step 8. When hostile criteria and WCS are satisfied, tire at the target. Observe the tracer rounds to determine the effect on the target. Use the Hitting the Target illustration below to determine the adjustment needed to hit the target.
Step 9. Make adjustment and continue the engagement.
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