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This chapter discusses command and control techniques and communications requirements for the successful integration of the Avenger platoon with its supported force. Command is the authority vested in an individual of the armed forces for the direction, coordination, and control of military forces. Control is the authority, which may be less than full command, exercised by a commander over part of the activities of subordinate or other organizations. The platoon leader commands the Avenger platoon. The platoon sergeant assists the platoon leader in controlling the platoon. Effective platoon command and control is mainly dependent on leadership, training, standing operating procedures (SOPs), drills, and the effective use of control procedures and communications techniques.


For forces to properly task-organize to accomplish varying missions, command and support relationships have been established to define relationships between supported and supporting forces on the battlefield. This section describes the relationships between supported and supporting units.






Command relationships define the specifics of command, control, administration, and logistics between supported and supporting forces. Command responsibility and authority varies depending on the types of command relationships between units and elements. The four types of command relationships the Avenger platoon functions in are discussed in the following paragraphs.


A unit is organic when it forms an integral part of a larger unit and is listed in the larger unit's table of organization and equipment (TOE). For example, an Avenger platoon is organic to an Avenger battery.


Assigned units are those units placed in an organization on a permanent basis. Assigned units are controlled and administered by the organization to which they are assigned. For example, an air defense artillery battalion is assigned to a division.


Attachment places a unit in an organization on a temporary basis. Attached units are subject to limitations specified in the attachment order. The attachment order should state clearly the administrative and support responsibility of the gaining unit to the attached unit, and any limitations. The commander of the formation, unit, or organization receiving the attachment will exercise the same degree of command and control as he does over units organic to his command. When a unit is attached, the supported force normally provides administrative and logistical support to the attached unit. However, the responsibility for transfer and promotion of personnel will normally be retained by the parent formation, unit, or organization. For example, an Avenger platoon from one battery in the air defense battalion may become attached to another battery in the same battalion.

Operational Control

OPCON is a relationship in which a unit is provided to the commander of another unit to accomplish specific missions or tasks which are usually limited by function, time, or location. OPCON is normally assigned when the parent unit cannot exercise effective command and control. Units placed in an OPCON relationship do not normally receive administrative or logistical support, unless specified in the operation order directing their OPCON status. An example of OPCON is an Avenger platoon placed under OPCON to a mechanized task force for an offensive mission.


Support relationships define specific arrangements and responsibilities between supporting and supported units. There are four support relationships.

Direct Support

In direct support (DS), the supporting unit provides dedicated support to a specific unit. A DS ADA unit provides dedicated air defense for a specific element of the force which has no organic air defense. The supporting ADA unit coordinates its movement and positioning with the supported unit. An Avenger platoon, for example, may provide direct support to a task force. The platoon will provide dedicated support to the task force, and the platoon leader will position the platoon in conjunction with the task force commander's concept of the operation.

General Support

An ADA unit in general support (GS) provides support for the force as a whole. It is not committed to any specific element of the supported force. It does not support a specific unit within the larger unit's area of operations. An ADA unit in general support remains under the control of its higher ADA commander and is positioned by its ADA commander.


A reinforcing (R) ADA unit augments the support of another ADA unit or strengthens the air defense of the force. A reinforcing ADA unit is positioned to protect one or more of the reinforced unit's priorities as specified by the supported ADA unit commander. For example, an Avenger platoon could reinforce the ADA battery of a separate heavy brigade attached to the division.

General Support-Reinforcing

An ADA unit with a general support-reinforcing (GS-R) mission provides support for the force as a whole and augments the support provided by another ADA unit. ADA units with a GS-R mission still have a responsibility to provide support to units or assets within a specific area, but they must coordinate with the supported ADA unit to reinforce the coverage of assets in the area of operations.


The ADA Support Relationships illustration shows responsibilities associated with each ADA relationship. To determine the most appropriate support relationship for accomplishing the ADA mission, the questions in the illustration need to be answered.


It is imperative that the platoon leader coordinate with the supported unit's staff throughout the planning process. Examples of information coordinated with the supported task force are listed below in the following text and in the Supported Force and ADA Platoon Leader Responsibilities illustration.


The platoon leader provides the commander with the status of his air defense combat power. The platoon leader must understand the commander's intent, the amount of risk he is willing to accept, and his guidance. The commander will determine his priorities based on the platoon leader's recommendation. The commander is the final approval authority for the ADA plan.

S1 Section

The platoon leader will give the S1 a battle roster of authorized and on-hand personnel by military occupational specialty (MOS) and grade. He must also coordinate to integrate platoon casualty evacuation into the TF plan. Routine personnel reports required by the supported unit, such as personnel status reports, must be submitted as specified in the supported unit's tactical SOP (TSOP).

S2 Section

The platoon leader assists the supported unit's S2 in the development of the air intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB). The platoon leader must pay particular attention to enemy air avenues that can influence the supported force's area of operations. Enemy air avenues and corresponding air named areas of interest (NAIs) must be depicted on the supported unit's intelligence overlay. Time permitting, the battery commander should provide this information to the platoon leader.

S3 Section

The platoon leader recommends AD priorities to the supported commander and helps the S3 integrate air defense into the supported unit's operations. During the planning process, the platoon leader will assist in developing any graphics dealing with his platoon's scheme of maneuver. The platoon leader will receive a copy of the supported force's final operational graphics with the OPORD. He should also request an update of enemy activity, security, and possible minefield in the area. These graphics must be disseminated to the platoon sergeant and section leaders.

S4 Section

While the platoon sergeant executes logistics for the platoon, the platoon leader must conduct initial coordination with the supported force. The PSG will conduct additional coordination with the supported force's S4 or support platoon leader, as well as the ADA battery first sergeant. The platoon sergeant may contact the supported force on its ADMIN/LOG radio net to conduct routine logistics functions and submit reports required by the supported force SOPs. More information on logistics is contained in Chapter 6.


Once the supported unit's obstacle plan and engineer priorities for support have been specified, the Avenger platoon leader will coordinate with the supported force engineer. If the Avenger platoon is scheduled to receive engineer support for the mission, direct coordination with the supported force engineer is required to coordinate specific vehicle location requirements.

Fire Support Officer

The platoon leader's coordination with the fire support officer (FSO) may include the following: type and location of targets and target reference points (TRPs), A2 C2 information, and current fire support information. Full integration with the fire support scheme of maneuver is imperative for mission accomplishment.

Air Liaison Officer

The air liaison officer (ALO) is a critical staff member to coordinate with. The ALO can assist in the air portion of the IPB process by giving a pilot's perspective to possible air avenues of approach (AAAs). He is also key to A2 C2 synchronization. The ADO can reduce the risk of fratricide by coordinating with the ALO concerning the friendly air and ADA plan.

Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Officer

The platoon leader must include decontamination sites, MOPP level, and emergency procedures for downwind message in his platoon briefing. The platoon sergeant must ensure that each squad member has the necessary equipment to accomplish the mission.

Communications-Electronics Staff Officer

The platoon leader coordinates with the communications-electronics staff officer to ensure his platoon is given the current frequency and call signs. This further ensures that resupply, maintenance, and communications can be maintained at all times.


Combat orders are the tools with which leaders and staffs transmit battle plans to subordinate units. The Army has developed standard combat order formats; however, units often modify or augment basic combat order formats to meet their specific needs.

Combat arms platoon leaders may issue orders either verbally or in writing, depending on time available. Optimally, combat orders should reference unit SOPs to enhance brevity and clarity.

Avenger platoons will use a combination of combat order formats. In addition to the orders format used by the parent air defense artillery battery, the platoon leader must use the supported unit's orders format. This section will list the most frequently used combat orders and describe the basic information included in each.

Warning Order

A warning order (WARNO) notifies subordinate units of future missions. Normally, warning orders include the anticipated upcoming mission statement, any changes to task organization, any movement instructions to position units for the upcoming mission, a general description of the area of operations, an intelligence update, and time and location for issue of the operation order. The WARNO should be brief. It may be disseminated via radio or messenger. A sample WARNO is in Appendix A.

Operation Order

An operation order (OPORD) is a complete order issued to units prior to a specific mission or a series of missions and follows the format topics listed below:

  • Situation.
  • Mission.
  • Execution.
  • Service Support.
  • Command and Signal.

OPORD formats are frequently modified by units to meet their specific needs while adhering to the standard five-paragraph format. OPORDs may contain annexes for each paragraph to more completely describe the actions and events.

Avenger platoon leaders will write the air defense annex to the supported unit's OPORD. Depending on the parent air defense artillery battery and supported unit SOPs, the air defense annex may be written fully or in matrix format. An example of an air defense annex is in Appendix A.

Fragmentary Order

A fragmentary order (FRAGO) is an abbreviated form of an OPORD. A FRAGO is used to update existing OPORDs. Examples of information contained in FRAGOs are changes in enemy situation, friendly task organization, mission, graphic control measures, commander's intent, and scheme of maneuver. During extended operations, units will publish an initial OPORD and update it with FRAGOs for each follow-on mission. Like warning orders, FRAGOs are usually brief oral or written messages. An example of a FRAGO is in Appendix A.


Upon receipt of an order, combat arms platoon leaders must begin their own planning process. Troop-leading procedures are designed to focus the leader's effort, given the time available, on preparations for the ensuing mission.

Avenger platoon leaders must understand the steps of troop-leading procedures and practice them to implement them efficiently for each mission. This section addresses standard troop-leading procedures and how each step applies to the Avenger platoon leader.

Step One--Receive the Mission

Upon receipt of the mission, the platoon leader must conduct an initial mission analysis as well as begin to prepare the platoon for its next mission. The ADA mission as well as the task force mission must be considered. Timely mission analysis for both air defense and supported force requirements will enhance the efficiency of the planning process.

Depending on the command and support relationship, the Avenger platoon leader may or may not receive an AD plan from his battery commander. If he does, this plan may be given by the battery commander via various means (radio, facsimile [FAX], et cetera) due to battery dispersion and time available. This plan may be general, depending on information available. The AD plan will normally include the air defense artillery task organization, current situation, battery mission, supported unit commander's intent, and scheme of maneuver for the supported unit.

The AD plan will continue to be adjusted based on the maneuver plan. Each task force will receive the brigade order containing the completed AD annex. The Avenger platoon leader supporting the task force must review the AD annex in the brigade OPORD. This written annex contains the AD plan that will provide the Avenger platoon leader information on the following:

  • Ground and air intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB).
  • The sensor plan.
  • Enemy aviation C2 facilities targeted by the division.
  • Locations where the platoons may be employed.
  • The Army airspace command and control (A2 C2 ) plan.
  • The logistics plan.

The platoon leader should have sufficient information from the battery AD plan to synchronize his air defense plan with the supported unit scheme of maneuver. Accordingly, he must consider the following: mission; commander's intent; and reconnaissance, intelligence, surveillance, and target acquisition (RISTA) threat.

Leaders must follow a logical process when analyzing the mission requirements. The commander's estimate of the situation includes an analysis of mission, enemy, terrain, troops, and time available (METT-T). The platoon must be aware of the factors of METT-T and how they apply at platoon level. METT-T must be applied during mission analysis for both air defense requirements and the ground scheme of maneuver. Following are examples of questions that may be considered during mission analysis:

  • What is the mission? What are the specified and implied tasks? What is the commander's intent? If the Avenger platoon is DS to a task force, the Avenger platoon leader must conduct mission analysis for both the AD mission and the supported task force mission.
  • Where is the enemy, and what is his strength? What is the enemy air threat? What weapons does he have that can affect the supported force? What can he do in response to the platoon's actions? What are his weaknesses and how can the platoon exploit them? The Avenger platoon leader must consider the ground threat as well as the enemy air threat.
  • What is the impact of terrain and weather on both air and ground operation? Observation and fields of fire, cover and concealment, obstacles, key terrain, and avenues of approach (OCOKA) should also be considered.
  • What are the conditions of personnel and vehicles? What is the status of ammunition, fuel, and supplies? Who is best able to do a specific task? What is the crew endurance (rest) plan? What other assets are available to support the mission? What are the other ADA platoons in the supported force doing? Who and where are the adjacent ADA units?
  • How much time is available for planning and mission preparation prior to mission execution? How long will it take to position assets and prepare positions if necessary? When can the platoon rehearse? The platoon leader should adhere to the 1/3-2/3 planning rule and take no more than 1/3 of the time allocated to prepare his order and disseminate the order to his platoon.

Step Two--Issue a Warning Order

The platoon leader issues a warning order to the platoon upon receipt of a warning order from higher headquarters. The WARNO is refined upon receipt of the OPORD or FRAGO. The platoon leader briefs the platoon on the upcoming mission, initial preparations that must be made, when and where a detailed OPORD will be issued, and any other information that he can give the platoon to aid in its preparations.

Step Three--Make a Tentative Plan

The platoon leader begins planning by reviewing the information gleaned during mission analysis. Backward planning, based on the analysis of available time, must be conducted. The result of backward planning will result in a time line that may include the following events:

  • Mission execution time (line of departure or defend no later than time).
  • OPORD issue time.
  • Movement time between positions.
  • Emplacement time.

The initial time line must be disseminated to the platoon as soon as possible and be updated as necessary.

Once the time line is complete. the platoon leader will begin to plan his concept for air defense coverage, based on higher headquarters plans. At the same time, he will begin to plan his platoon's ground scheme of maneuver, based on the supported force's ground scheme of maneuver. To begin planning, the platoon leader must have an understanding of enemy air and ground avenues of approach, the supported force mission and scheme of maneuver, and the supported force commander's intent.

The Avenger platoon leader will conduct parallel planning with the supported unit's staff. This occurs during the staff planning process. The Avenger platoon leader, as the senior air defender of the supported force, is the commander of the Avenger platoon, supported force commander's air defense advisor, as well as the staff air defense officer. Integration with the supported force staff during the planning process and an understanding of the planning process used by the supported force are imperative for proper mission planning. The Avenger platoon leader must align his air defense plan and his plan for positioning his fire units with the phases specified in the supported force's scheme of maneuver.

During the planning process, the platoon leader must ensure that any additions or changes to mission-specific information are immediately disseminated to the platoon (that is, linkup time and location with subordinate units, current task force and company team locations, changes to task organization, et cetera).

When developing the plan for air defense coverage of any supported force, the platoon leader must consider the six air defense artillery employment guidelines. These guidelines aid air defenders at all levels when planning for air defense coverage.

Early engagement Fire units must be positioned so they are capable of engaging enemy air platforms before they can release their ordnance on or gain intelligence about friendly forces. With the mobility provided by the Avenger, units may be located well forward to support the scheme of maneuver of the supported force.

Weighted coverage. Once the supported force commander designates his main effort, Avenger fire units should be positioned along the most likely enemy air avenues of approach to support the commander's main effort. This massing of firepower increases the Avenger platoon's probability of destroying enemy air targets. It is extremely important that a detailed, in-depth air IPB be developed prior to deciding where to provide weighted coverage of air defense assets.

Depth. Depth is achieved by positioning fire units so threat air platforms encounter an ever-increasing volume of fire as they approach the protected force or asset. The Avenger 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 used in the defense. Additional air defense assets on the battlefield such as MANPADS, BSFV fire units, HIMAD assets, and combined arms air defense efforts from ground forces contribute to the creation of depth on the battlefield.

Balanced fires. Balanced fires are created by positioning air defense weapons to distribute fires equally in all directions. Except for the mission of defense of a static asset, where no clear avenues of approach are identified, this guideline will seldom be employed. As an example, on a flat, open battlefield characteristic of a desert environment, no specific air corridors exist. In this scenario, planning for balanced fires may be viable.

Mutual Support. Mutual support is achieved by positioning weapons to complement fires from adjacent fire units, thus preventing the enemy from attacking one position without being subjected to fire from one or more adjacent positions. Mutual support will enhance volume of fire as well as cover dead space of adjacent units. The planning range for mutual support for Avenger systems is approximately 3,000 meters.

Overlapping fires. Fire units should be positioned so that engagement envelopes overlap. When terrain limitations exist or the size of the area to be covered is limited, or there is a scarcity of available Avenger systems, the air defense planner should attempt to enhance the AD protection of the force or asset by ensuring engagement envelopes overlap. The planning range for overlapping fires for Avenger systems is approximately 4,000 meters.

In developing the plan, the Avenger platoon leader will incorporate a mix of guidelines in his coverage plan according to the mission, availability, limitations, survivability of ADA assets, the tactical situation, and the threat. Integrating all plan guidelines will seldom be possible or desirable. The most important guidelines for the Avenger platoon leader to consider include early engagement, weighted coverage, and depth.

Planning guidelines for developing the platoon's ground scheme of maneuver will incorporate those topics considered in developing the air defense coverage plan. The platoon leader will consider METT-T and OCOKA in development of his plan.

The platoon leader will determine best positions for both himself and the platoon sergeant based on the following:

  • Platoon task organization.
  • Location of the supported force command post.
  • Platoon dispersion.
  • Routes between locations.
  • Survivability of locations.
  • Communications with air defense network.

Initial positions for individual Avengers will be determined by considering--

  • Maximum observation and fields of fire on high ground over probable air avenues of approach.
  • Depth.
  • Communications with platoon leader, platoon sergeant, adjacent sections, squads, and sensors.
  • Routes to and from positions.
  • Protection against ground attack.

Platoon leaders must coordinate fire unit positions with the supported force. Sensors may be attached to the battery. If so, the battery commanders may have the sensor supported by a nearby AD weapon. Sensor positions will be selected by the AD S3 and the maneuver brigade S3 according to the IPB process which dictates those NAIs, TAIs, and AAAs.

Step Four--Initiate Necessary Movement

Movement should begin as soon as possible following warning order receipt. Often, movement occurs simultaneously with initiating the planning process. Normally, the platoon leader reports to the supported force tactical operations center (TOC) and begins the planning process with the staff. The platoon sergeant conducts resupply operations for the platoon and the initial coordination for linkup with the supported force. The platoon should be positioned to facilitate support of the upcoming mission.

Step Five--Conduct Reconnaissance

If possible, a ground reconnaissance of the area in which the supported force will fight must be made. This is often possible for defensive operations but harder to accomplish for offensive operations. Reconnaissance of the ground on which the platoon will fight will confirm or deny the tentative plan. For the Avenger platoon leader in support of a maneuver task force, reconnaissance efforts will normally be completed in conjunction with the task force reconnaissance. As a minimum, a map reconnaissance of the area in which the supported force will fight must be made.

Step Six--Complete the Plan

Based on the reconnaissance, the plan will be adjusted, details will be added, the air defense annex to the supported force OPORD will be completed, and the platoon OPORD will be finalized.

Step Seven--Issue the Operation Order

Orders may be issued verbally or in writing. When issuing orders, leaders must ensure that each soldier knows how to accomplish the mission and how they fit into the plan. Leaders should provide the platoon leader with a backbrief to ensure section leaders fully understand the mission and their required tasks. Orientation on terrain should be included, if possible. Sand tables and terrain models are effective tools to use if time is available for their construction.

Step Eight--Rehearse, Execute, and Supervise

Reheasals should be conducted prior to each mission. They can be conducted on the ground, over the radio, or on sand tables or terrain boards. Time permitting, all personnel in the platoon should attend the rehearsals; often, only the platoon leader, platoon sergeant, and section leaders will attend platoon rehearsals. The platoon's execution matrix is the script for the rehearsals. The platoon must leave the rehearsal with a clear understanding of its mission and where it fits into the supported force scheme of maneuver.

The Avenger platoon leader is an important participant at supported force rehearsals. He will explain the air defense plan to support the scheme of maneuver for each phase of the operation and describe its integration into the supported force scheme of maneuver. Final coordination with the supported force staff may occur at the rehearsal. ADA integration in the planning, preparation, and execution phases of the mission is critical. Usually, integration will occur concurrently at respective levels within the supported force. See the ADA Concurrent Planning Process illustration.

Execution and supervision will fall into place if a solid plan has been developed. The platoon leader must ensure vehicles are in correct positions, radio nets are monitored, and the platoon is ready to execute according to its matrix. Experience will enable the platoon leader to make decisions during execution based on changing enemy actions and modifications to the supported force scheme of maneuver.


Combat units at all levels are controlled on the battlefield through two major control methods: positive and procedural. This section will discuss the various types of positive and procedural control measures the Avenger platoon uses to accomplish its mission.


Positive control measures are developed through use of existing equipment and systems. Air defense positive control measures include early warning, alerting and cueing by sensors, and directed early warning.

Early Warning Sensors (Alerting and Cueing)

Early warning sensors are an air defense unit's primary resource for locating aerial targets. Early warning sensors are employed to observe aerial NAIs, TAIs, and air avenues of approach. The sensors broadcast air track data information on the EW net.

Early warning gives the initiative to the air defender. Accurate and timely early warning allows the Avenger to maximize the weapon system engagement capability against the aerial threat and also assists the maneuver commander in protecting his forces. There are numerous methods used to pass early warning information. Early warning dissemination requires careful coordination to ensure that the information gets to those who need it, at the proper place and time, and in the proper terminology. The Avenger platoon leader must ensure that all applicable early warning is passed to the supported force. See the Early Warning Network (A Backup to EW) illustration. For additional information, see Appendix E.

Directed Early Warning

Directed early warning (DEW) is designed to alert a specific unit or area of the battlefield of an immediate aerial threat. It is passed over the supported unit command net or a net designated by the supported unit commander. DEW defines the local air defense warning and states whether the aerial platform is unknown or friendly, location of the aerial platform, provides a cardinal direction of approach for the aerial platform, and, if unknown, the element most likely affected within the force.

DEW is quick, simple, redundant in nature, and is given in clear text. The unit SOP will specify the exact procedures to be used. The following elements of DEW will be determined by unit SOP:

  • Preface.
  • Identification
  • Local air defense warning.
  • Direction.
  • Size.
  • Affected asset.


Procedural control measures are control measures developed through established rules and standing operating procedures. Procedural control relies upon techniques such as segmenting airspace by volume and time, and using a weapon control status (WCS). Procedural techniques are usually more restrictive than positive techniques but are less vulnerable to degradation from electronic or physical attack.

Air Defense Warnings

Air defense warnings (ADWs) are established by the corps or area air defense commander. Any commander may raise the ADW. When received, ADWs apply to the entire force or a specific area and must be disseminated to every soldier within the force. At the brigade level and below, air defense warnings are disseminated over redundant nets along with LADWs. ADA commanders do not change readiness posture by changing ADW, but instead by raising or lowering a state of readiness (SOR). See the following Air Defense Warning table and the SOR Examples illustration.


ADW Red--Attack or surveillance by hostile aerial targets or missiles is imminent or In progress. This means that hostile aerial targets or missiles are within a respective area of operations or in the immediate vicinity of a respective area of operation with high probability of entry.

ADW Yellow--Attack or surveillance by hostile aerial tar-gets or missiles is probable. This means that hostile aerial targets or missiles are en route toward a respective area of operations, or unknown aerial tar-gets or missiles suspected to be hostile are en route towards, or are within, a respective area of operations.

ADW White--Attack or surveillance by hostile aerial tar-gets or missiles is Improbable.

Local Air Defense Warnings

Local air defense warnings (LADWs) are designed to alert a particular unit, several units, or an area of the battlefield. LADWs parallel standard air defense warnings and reflect the local aerial threat. They should be incorporated into SOPS which explain what response is desired by the supported force. For example, when Dynamite precedes ADW Red, the affected force may stop to increase passive air defense and engage with a combined arms response. The response desired by the force is METT-T dependent. See the Local Air Defense Warnings table.


Snowman--No threatening aerial targets are in the area.

Lookout--Aerial targets may be in the area of interest but are not threatening, or are inbound, but there is time to react.

Dynamite--Aerial targets are inbound or are attacking locally now. Response is immediate.

States of Readiness

States of readiness (SOR) describe the degree of readiness of ADA fire units. The decision to select SOR is based on intelligence, EW, and air defense warnings. SOR are normally designated by ADA battalion or battery commanders for their subordinate platoons and or fire units. Additionally, SOR are used to ready the force in a logical way for action against the enemy while retaining the ability to stand down units for rest or maintenance. See the SOR Examples illustration which is based on sample states of readiness.

Fire Control Orders

Fire control orders are commands used to control engagements on an individual basis regardless of the prevailing WCS. For the Avenger platoon, fire control orders are normally issued by the immediate ADA commander (section leader and squad leaders). The leader initiates orders for fire control purposes and for ensuring safety. Fire control orders are--

  • Cease Fire--Gunner does not fire--continues to track.
  • Hold Fire--Gunner ceases all tactical action, to include tracking (resume search of assigned sector).
  • Engage--Gunner fires.
  • Cease Engagement--Gunner changes an ongoing engagement from one target to another of higher priority. This order accompanies direction-to engage new target.

Rules of Engagement

Rules of engagement (ROE) are used to control fires to protect friendly forces and to maintain the needed level of defense. The ROE tells the Avenger section what, when, and where they may shoot. There are three primary ROE which are applicable to the Avenger.

Right of self-defense. The right of self-defense is never denied. The ADA section always has the right to defend itself or its supported unit.

Hostile criteria. ADA squad leaders have both identification and engagement authority. The exact criteria enabling the fire unit to declare a target hostile may vary with the tactical situation. Hostile criteria may include--

  • Attacking friendly elements.
  • Violating airspace control measures.
  • Being visually identified as hostile.
  • Responding improperly or not at all to IFF interrogation.

The Avenger squad leader has engagement authority. The target must satisfy one or more of the theater hostile criteria.

Weapon control status. WCS describes the degree of control for air defense fires. WCS applies to weapon systems, volumes of airspace, and types of aerial threats. The degree or extent of control varies depending on the tactical situation. The corps commander usually has WCS authority for rotary-wing aerial threats. ADA forces must have the ability to receive and disseminate WCSs: The WCSs are--

  • WEAPONS FREE--Fire at any aerial threat not positively identified as friendly. This is the least restrictive status.
  • WEAPONS TIGHT--Fire only at aerial threats positively identified as hostile.
  • WEAPONS HOLD--Do not fire except in self-defense. The term self-defense includes defense of the fire unit, supported unit, and protected asset. This is the most restrictive status.

Autonomous Operations

Autonomous operations are implemented when communications with the battery or higher controlling headquarters are lost for any reason. The platoon or squad leader must take immediate action to reestablish communications. Specific actions will be listed in the battery SOP. If communications are lost, the WCS will remain the same. If a time limit is placed on the weapon control status, the fire unit will maintain that status until this time limit expires and then revert to WEAPONS TIGHT. If the fire unit is in a WEAPONS HOLD status and a time limit was not established, it will maintain that status for 30 minutes and then revert to WEAPONS TIGHT. If the fire unit is using WEAPONS FREE and a time limit was established, the same rule applies as in WEAPONS HOLD. If no time limit was established for a fire unit using WEAPONS FREE, it will immediately revert to WEAPONS TIGHT. See the Weapon Control Status During Autonomous Operations illustration.


The differences in Avenger and gun turret weapon systems and their engagement techniques require separate control measures for each weapon system. For aerial targets, an ADA fire unit is assigned a sector of fire (SOF) and a primary target line (PTL). These are designated by the platoon leader after a review of fire unit positions to ensure that ail aerial targets threatening the protected asset can be engaged. These measures assist in the distribution of air defense fires against multiple targets threatening from different directions. Each fire unit concentrates its fires on the most threatening aerial target within its assigned sector or closest to its PTL. Controls provide efficient tires and reduce the probability of simultaneous engagements from two or more systems.

Avenger Control Measures

The platoon leader controls his FUs by establishing control measures. These control measures assist in the distribution of Avenger fires. This is one of the most important tasks the platoon leader will have to decide.

Primary target line. A PTL is an azimuth along which the gunner will focus his attention.

Sectors of fire. SOFs are specified by left and right limits SOFs aid target detection and identification of aerial targets. The fire unit will focus its attention (both searching and firing) within the designated sector. See the Sector of Fire and PTL illustration.

Selection Criteria

The assignment of an SOF and PTL does not restrict the Avenger squad to look only in that sector. Given two targets of equal capability within the sector of fire, the target closest in range to the PTL will be engaged first. Platoon leaders will ensure assignment of PTLs and SOF for each system during the planning of the operation. See the Single and Multiple Targets Selection Criteria illustration below.


The platoon leader will use several control measures which are the rules and mechanisms promulgated by joint and allied doctrine, and defined by the theater airspace control plan. They are associated with communications and airspace. They are described in the following paragraphs.

Emission Control Measures

Emission control (EMCON) measures apply to the radios within the Avenger platoon. Emission levels and conditions are listed in the OPORD. When operating with a maneuver force, the local commander may dictate some emission control measures such as radio silence or "EMCON silent." Emission control measures may also be listed in the battery or maneuver unit SOP.

Airspace Control Measures

Airspace control measures afford the commander a variety of procedural methods to increase combat effectiveness by promoting the safe, efficient, and flexible use of airspace. Airspace control measures are rules and mechanisms put into effect by multiservice perspective doctrine. This doctrine defines how the Army and Air Force execute the airspace functions in Army-Air Force operations, and methods the Marine Corps and Navy employ to provide airspace control in amphibious operations.

Joint Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and special purpose procedural airspace control measures include--

  • High-density airspace control zone (HIDACZ). The ground commander may establish a HIDACZ with approval of the ACA. This HIDACZ area allows the ground commander to control the use of a particular volume of airspace and establish WCS within that area. Example of use would be to allow a division commander to execute a joint air attack team (JAAT) mission.
  • Standard use Army aircraft flight route (SAAFR). The SAAFRs are jointly recognized but do not need ACA approval. These are routes established below the coordinating altitude to allow the Army commander to safely route movement of his aviation assets performing CS and CSS missions. They are normally located in corps through brigade rear areas but may be extended to support logistics missions.
  • Minimum risk route (MRR). MRRs are temporary corridors of defined dimensions recommended for use by highspeed, fixed-wing aircraft that present minimum known hazards to low-flying aircraft transiting the theater airspace.
  • Restricted operations area and restricted operations zone (ROA and ROZ). ROA and ROZ are synonymous terms for defining a volume of airspace set aside for a specific operational mission or requirement.
  • Coordinating altitude. This is a procedural method to separate fixed-and rotary-wing aircraft by determined operating altitudes for each type of aircraft.

The Army aviation operations rely on freedom of movement to and from the forward area and lean heavily toward procedural versus positive control. Distinctive Avenger platoon measures are defined as previously described. They include the--

  • Battle position (BP). A BP is a defensive location oriented on the most likely enemy avenue of approach from which a unit may defend or attack.
  • Initial point and release point (IP/RP). An IP and RP are predetermined points on the ground used to initiate a control procedure (IP) or terminate the conduct of a control procedure (RP).
  • Air control point and aerial checkpoint. An ACP or aerial checkpoint is a predetermined point on the ground used as a means of coordinating or controlling friendly Army aircraft movement.
  • Air corridor. An air corridor is a restricted air route of travel specified for use by friendly Army aircraft and established to prevent fratricide on friendly aircraft from friendly forces.
  • Air axis. An air axis is similar to a ground axis of advance and is assigned for control, which graphically depicts a commander's intentions.
  • Engagement area or kill zone. An engagement area or kill zone is an area in which the commander intends to trap and destroy an enemy force with massed fires of all available weapons.

The senior Army commander is represented at the AOC by the BCE. The BCE is the primary Army link in the exchange of information between the services; however, in joint or combined operations, the AOC includes liaison officers from other services and participating forces.

The AADC controls ADA fires through established rules and procedures. He manages the air battle and the integrated air defense system through a combination of C2 systems (positive control) and procedures (procedural control). Avengers are normally employed to support the commander's most critical assets against attack by enemy RISTA, CAS aircraft, and helicopters. They will also find themselves employed in rear areas to defend such critical assets as airports and seaports of entry, C2 facilities, logistical bases, air bases, and other key sites in the theater and corps areas. The precise dimensions of various air defense measures, are defined in the ADA Airspace Control Measures table below. For more information concerning multiservice airspace control measures, see FM 100-103-1 and multiservice procedures for integrated combat airspace command and control (ICAC2 ).



An air defense area is a specially defined airspace for which air defense must be planned and provided.


An ADIZ consists of airspace of defined dimensions that require ready identification, location, and control of airborne vehicles. This is normally the transition procedure that takes place between procedural control (outside) and positive control (inside) In an area of operations.


An air defense operations area is an area and the airspace above it within which procedures are established to minimize mutual interference between air defense and other operations. It may include one or more air defense action areas, ADIZs, or firepower umbrellas.


A WFZ is an air defense zone established for the protection of key assets where weapon systems may be fired at any target not positively identified as friendly.


A WEZ consists of defined dimensions of airspace--such as a FEZ, a high-altitude missile engagement zone (HIMEZ), a low-altitude missile engagement zone (LOMEZ), a joint engagement zone (JEZ), and a short-range air defense engagement zone (SHORADEZ)--In which the responsibility for engagement normally rests with a particular weapon system. The WEZ categories are further defined as follows:

  • FEZ. In air defense, a FEZ is the airspace of defined dimensions within which the responsibility for engagement normally rests with fighter aircraft.
  • HIMEZ. In air defense, a HIMEZ is that airspace of defined dimensions within which responsibility for engagement normally rests with high-altitude air defense surface-to-air missiles.
  • LOMEZ. In air defense, a LOMEZ is that aircraft of defined dimensions within which the responsibility for engagement normally rests with low- to medium-altitude, surface-to-air missiles.
  • JEZ. A JEZ is airspace of specific dimensions in which friendly surface-to-air missiles and fighters are simultaneously employed and operated.
  • SHORADEZ. In air defense, a SHORADEZ is that airspace of defined dimensions within which the responsibility for engagement normally rests with FAAD air defense weapons. A SHORDEZ may be within a LOMEZ or HIMEZ.


One of the Avenger platoon leader's most essential systems is his radio system. It is with this system that he is able to command and control his platoon, stay in touch with his battery, monitor the early warning network, and maintain communications with the supported force. Maintenance of radio nets within the platoon and with the supported unit and the parent air defense battery is a challenge for the Avenger platoon leader. He must maintain--

  • Control of the air battle.
  • Command, administrative, and logistical communications with higher headquarters.
  • Contact with supported units.

This section will outline standard communications networks that are used by the Avenger platoon. Unit SOPs will develop networks that modify those described here; however, the Avenger platoon leader must be flexible enough to operate within differing communications networks used by various supported units.


As stated above, and in the following table, the minimum communications requirements the platoon leader must maintain include the following nets:

  • Battery command net.
  • Platoon command net.
  • Supported force command net.
  • Early warning net.

In all situations, the Avenger platoon leader must comply with communications requirements established in the battery and supported force SOPs.

Communications equipment is often limited, and tactical situations change. Depending on the availability of radios and the tactical situation, the Avenger platoon may be required to operate on the following radio nets:

  • Supported force intelligence net.
  • Sensor early warning net.
  • Supported force ADMIN/LOG net.

Regardless of the tactical situation, the Avenger platoon leader establishes those nets that are required by the supported force or ADA unit being reinforced and complies with SOPs imposed by those forces.


The Avenger platoon, by nature of its mission, relies on FM radio as its primary method of communications. Each vehicle is equipped with a voice and digital radio, and all vehicles of the platoon monitor the platoon or supported unit net.

The enhanced position location reporting system (EPLRS) provides near-real time secure data communications and unit position location information to support FAAD command and control.

The single-channel ground and airborne radio system (SINCGARS) configuration consists of long-and short-range radios with mounted and dismounted capabilities. When dismounted, the SINCGARS has a line-of-sight (LOS) range of 5 to 10 kilometers for voice and 3 to 5 kilometers for digital data. When mounted, the SINCGARS has a LOS voice range of 10 to 40 kilometers and a digital range of 5 to 25 kilometers. The SINCGARS has the capability to transmit and receive in a frequency hopset network or in a single-channel network.


The Avenger platoon leader can choose from a number of different communications means: wire, radio, messenger, visual, and in the future, digital. Different means should be used when possible so that the platoon does not depend only on one means. Depending on the situation, one means of communications is often more effective than another. The following criteria must be considered when deciding means to use:

  • Reliability.
  • Installation time.
  • Transmission time.

The platoon leader selects the most effective and secure, yet least restrictive, communications means.

Wire Communications

A hot loop should be considered for use with perimeter defenses and other situations when FUs and or friendly units are in proximity. Each ADA squad has a sound-powered telephone (TA-312) and WD-1 wire.

Radio Communications

The radio is the platoon's most flexible means of communications. It can quickly transmit information over long distances with great accuracy. However, without secure equipment, the radio is vulnerable to enemy interception. All vehicles of the platoon will monitor the platoon net.


Using messengers should be a last resort. Messengers are the slowest, least secure method and endanger soldiers.


Visual communications include pyrotechnics (such as flares and smoke grenades), flags, ground panels, arm and hand signals, and light signals. Visual signals may be per unit SOPs or specially prearranged.

Arm and hand signals are useful when radio or wire is not available, and battlefield noise does not permit use of voice commands. Standard arm and hand signals are found in ARTEP 44-117-21-Drill.


Digital communications are those communication systems whose primary means of information exchange consists of data. The enhanced position location reporting system (EPLRS) is a digital communications system. The SINCGARS radio can be both digital and voice.


Communications security measures are employed to safeguard communications. These include all measures taken to avoid enemy detection and to deny the enemy any useful information about friendly forces. The most effective preventive technique is to keep all communications, especially radio transmissions, as short as possible.

Communications security techniques reduce the effectiveness of enemy spot and barrage jamming efforts. Specific procedures are covered in FM 24-33.

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