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*The mission of FA survey is to provide a common grid that will permit the massing of fires, delivery of surprise observed fires, delivery of effective unobserved fires, and transmission of target data from one unit to another to aggressively neutralize or destroy enemy targets. The establishment of a common grid, and the single operational datum within the common grid is a command responsibility.

*NOTE: Common grid refers to all firing and target-locating elements within a unified command located and oriented, to prescribed accuracies, with respect to a single three-dimensional datum.


a. Field artillery survey must provide indirect fire assets and target-locating assets with a common grid. Common survey control allows the maneuver commander to employ fire support resources with a guarantee of accurate and timely fire support. Survey planning within the force is based on the following tactical considerations:

  • The commander's target adjustment policy (that is, if the element of surprise is an important aspect of his tactical plan).
  • The requirement for transfer of adjusted target locations to higher and lower echelons.
  • The required attack of deep high-payoff targets onto which fire cannot be adjusted (or if surprise is a factor).
  • The planned positioning of indirect fire units during each phase of the operation.
  • The planned tasking of target acquisition (TA) sensors and the processing of targets to an attack system.

b. The maneuver headquarters (HQ) establishes survey time lines and accuracy requirements in the initial planning stages of an operation. The maneuver commander gives the artillery commander (fire support coordinator [FSCOORD]) targeting priorities and the effects he requires on high-payoff targets. This information translates into survey requirements for the TA sensors and the designated attack systems, which must be on a common grid by the time required. The effects required on the target and inherent system inaccuracies determine the survey accuracy requirement (hasty, fourth-order, or fifth-order survey).


AirLand Battle (ALB) doctrine describes the Army's approach to generating and applying combat power at the operational and tactical levels. Surveyors must adapt this doctrine to their mission.

a. AirLand Battle Surveyor. The ALB surveyor understands the principles of all survey methods. His attitude is that some kind of survey is always possible, and some survey is better than no survey at all. He is a thinker with an open mind, an expert in land navigation, and confident in himself and his leaders. He takes the initiative to ensure a successful survey mission. Using initiative and ability, he makes good use of the available time and resources to provide accurate survey control when and where it is needed.

b. Survey Mission Under AirLand Battle. The mission of FA survey--provide a common grid--does not change under ALB doctrine. However, the use of split battery operations, composite units, intelligence and electronic warfare (IEW) sensors, new systems, and greater dispersion and displacements have increased the survey workload. During the first 2 or 3 days of battle, artillery units expect to make many moves. The number of survey points required will depend on the type of unit and the intensity of battle. Prior planning is essential. Before hostilities begin, units should survey a network of artillery positions in their area of operation.

c. AirLand Battle Basic Tenants. The ALB basic tenets of initiative, depth, agility, and synchronization are the foundation of the Army operational concept. Survey leaders and planners must understand how the ALB basic tenets relate to the survey mission.

    (1) Initiative equates to the importance of speed. It means making things happen more quickly than the enemy can respond. Early planning enables commanders to take the initiative by ensuring that acquisition and firing units are located by common reference in relation to each other and that the data are timely and to the required accuracy. This provides for the rapid transfer of target data to and between firing elements without degrading accuracy.

    (2) Depth is important to the survey planner. It directly relates to the need for accurate and responsive common survey control for deep strikes against the enemy and for accurate fire support in close and rear operations. A combination of PADS and conventional methods provides the flexibility needed to ensure precise and rapidly extended common survey control to fire support elements (FSEs) in support of the maneuver forces.

    (3) Agility is gained through flexible organizations and quick-minded, flexible leaders. For FA survey, agility means having an appropriate mix of equipment and personnel capable of adapting to changing conditions and responsive to leaders who can "think on their feet." The ability to use conventional methods when and where they are advantageous gives the survey section added agility.

    (4) Synchronization refers to unity of effort throughout the force. Common survey control ensures this unity at every echelon in the fire support chain when required. Survey planning and cooridnation are, therefore, part of synchronization.

d. Command and Control. Command and control is an important part of ALB doctrine. Planning, communications, and coordination are essential parts of command and control. (Chapter 14, Figure 14-13 outlines the communications network for FA survey.) Field artillery survey planning and coordination begins at the corps artillery survey planning and coordination element (SPCE) with an interface between the topographic (topo) engineers and the SPCE at division artillery (div arty) and FA brigades. Communications is the key to the up, down, and lateral flow of information. The div arty survey officer and FA brigade chief surveyor further coordinate the survey plan down to battalion level with the battalion reconnaissance and survey officer (RSO) and chief surveyor. This type of command and control ensures a successful survey mission.


Successful accomplishment of the mission depends on the fundamental survey operations in Table 1-1.

a. Planning. Survey planning begins with understanding the maneuver commander's intent and receiving the FSCOORD's guidance. Then a thorough map and ground reconnaissance (recon) is conducted. When the PADS is used, ground reconnaissance and survey operations are conducted concurrently. During planning, full consideration is given to the following:

  • Artillery commander's concept.
  • Priorities.
  • Tactical situation.
  • *Operational datum and survey control available.
  • Desired accuracy.
  • Number of installations.
  • Terrain.
  • Weather.
  • Personnel.
  • Time available.

The commander is responsible for establishing a common grid and, therefore, accomplishing the survey mission. However, survey leaders must keep the commander informed. When the survey plan cannot support the commander's guidance, survey planners must pass the plan to the S3 and the commander. They will review, adjust, and/or approve the plan. Aggressive survey planning that answers who, where, when, why, and how is absolutely essential to ensure mission success.

b. Coordination. Coordination and planning originate at the corps SPCE located at the tactical operations center (TOC). The corps SPCE is the interface between the topo engineers, division artilleries, and nondivisional units requiring survey control. This coordination and planning effort at div arty is accomplished by the survey officer assigned to div arty headquarters and headquarters battery (HHB). The division survey plan is further coordinated at the battalion level with the battalion RSO. Interface between all echelons of command must be maintained to ensure that common survey control can be provided to units in support of maneuver commanders where and when it is needed. The coordination and synchronization of the survey plan are essential to mission success.

c. Fieldwork. Survey fieldwork is performed by the survey personnel to extend common survey control throughout the area of operations. Fieldwork includes establishing SCPs, measuring distances and horizontal and vertical angles, making astronomic observations, and accurately recording field data and sketches of SCPs established. The fieldwork must be started immediately on receipt of the commander's orders and be continuously and aggressively pursued until completion of the survey plan.

d. Computations. Survey computations include the use of known data to initiate PADS or conventional operations and the conversion of appropriate elements of field data to usable horizontal and vertical position locations and azimuths. Survey computations and fieldwork are performed at the same time.


a. Each FSCOORD is responsible for ensuring that required survey control, consisting of both horizontal and vertical position location and an orienting line of known direction, is furnished to subordinate units by the time required and to the required accuracy. The FSCOORD must issue orders to the S3 and/or survey officer so that detailed planning and coordination may begin. The FSCOORD guidance must provide priorities; accuracies; time to be finished; primary, alternate, and supplementary position requirements; and future plans.

b. The S3 is responsible for the direct supervision of the survey officer. The S3 issues orders and provides guidance based on the FSCOORD's requirements. The S3 coordinates with higher- and lower-echelon staff officers and commanders and advises the commander on any deviations from previous orders.

c. Survey operations must be started as soon as the requirement for survey has been identified. The goal is to establish survey control before occupation by the firing or acquisition elements. All training should point toward this end. The FSCOORD is responsible to coordinate the movement of survey teams with the maneuver commander.

d. When survey control is not immediately available, all efforts should be directed toward establishing common directional control in the position area. Recommended methods of establishing direction by priority are as follows:

  • Astronomic observation.
  • Simultaneous observation with direction established at the master station by--
    • --Astronomic observation (sun or star).

      --Survey instrument, azimuth gyro, lightweight (SIAGL).


  • Directional traverse by using a theodolite.

e. Providing the best available direction and location may take precedence over accuracy of data. In some situations, the commander may have to accept survey accuracies that fall short of the specifications given. This determination is the commander's decision. Survey leaders must advise the commander of the effect of inaccuracies on the guarantee of fire support. For example, in a conventional survey in which the azimuth closure error is excessive, the ability of a fire support unit to accomplish a fire mission on schedule may depend on using the best available data and may require time for adjustment. The use of substandard survey data can affect hitting the target and also could result in friendly casualties. However, these surveys of degraded accuracy should be rerun when the tactical situation and time permit.

f. If the terrain or the tactical situation is such that the survey sections of div arty, HHB, target acquisition battery (TAB), and battalion or battery cannot establish survey control by the time required, hasty methods may be used. The effects of using hasty methods and the guarantee of accurate fire support are shown in Table 1-2. Hasty survey techniques are completely explained in FM 6-50.


a. The engineer topo battalion is the primary source of topo support throughout the echelons above corps (EAC). The topo battalion responsibilities to artillery survey are as follows:

  • Extend horizontal and vertical control into corps and division areas.
  • Provide an SPCE in support of EAC.
  • Provide mapping survey control where required.
  • Advise on topo matters.
  • Assist in lower-level survey to augment FA survey when directed.

b. Topo surveyors establish and recover existing ground control and extend it by third-order or higher conventional survey or satellite methods. Exact positioning of this high-order survey control is coordinated by the corps survey officer. Topo survey support must be provided to multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) units, corps general support (GS) artillery units, and other nondivisional assets in the corps area. The number of SCPs that topo survey must provide for the EAC and corps area depends on the dispersion, amount of movement, and commander's priorities. For example, on the basis of five to seven moves per day, 10 to 20 SCPs will be required every 24 hours to support EAC and corps FA systems that div arty cannot support.

c. Topo surveyors extend survey control into the division area of operations. Initial SCPs must be within 5 kilometers (km) of div arty HQ. Div arty and TAB surveyors will further extend control to the vicinity of weapon systems and target-locating systems. Exact positioning of subsequent SCPs depends on dispersion movement, and priorities. For example, on the basis of five to seven moves per day, 15 to 30 points must be established or data provided from trigonometric (trig) lists every 24 hours. At a minimum, topo support must provide a grid network of high-order SCPs every 30 km throughout the division or corps area. These SCPs must also allow adjacent divisions or corps to be connected by a common grid.


In the transition from personnel-intensive to equipment-intensive technology, survey organizations were tailored in terms of mission, reliability, equipment, and personnel requirements. The FA survey structure is the key to the transition to new fire support systems, future survey systems, and different unit configurations such as the light infantry division (LID) and composite battalions. See Chapter 14 for more specific guidance on equipment and personnel authorizations.

a. Survey Planning and Coordination Element. At the higher echelons, there is a survey command and control cell called the SPCE. The SPCE is authorized at each corps artillery, div arty, FA brigade, and MLRS battalion. The personnel that man the SPCE are shown in Table 1-3. The SPCE plans and coordinates all of the surveys within its area of responsibility. Survey data collection, evaluation, and dissemination are additional functions of the SPCE.

b. Survey Platoon Headquarters. The survey platoon HQ of FA battalions executes survey planning and coordination. These responsibilities are carried out by an RSO (1LT), and a chief surveyor (SFC). An FA surveyor (SPC) performs survey functions when required and is the radiotelephone operator (RATELO).

c. Survey Section. The survey section for a heavy div arty and a 3 x 8 FA battalion consists of a section chief, one survey team, and two PADS teams. (The duty positions and organization for the survey sections of the different units are shown in Figure 1-1.)

    (1) Section chief. The section chief (SSG) is responsible for the total survey effort of his section. He must prioritize his personal involvement between the survey team and the PADS team as needed to execute the survey plan.

    (2) Survey team. The survey team consists of two FA surveyors led by the section chief. The survey team performs conventional and modified survey methods to--

    • Enhance the overall survey effort.
    • Speed up PADS operations.
    • Provide flexibility and agility to the survey operation.

    (3) PADS team. The PADS team, also led by the section chief, consists of a PADS team chief and an FA surveyor. The PADS team provides survey control as directed by the section chief.

    (4) Survey parties. Conventional survey parties (when authorized) are configured as shown in Table 1-4.

d. Equipment Constraints. Until all PADS are fielded, configure a survey section by using the options below.


The restructure of the conventional party causes a number of changes in the tables of organization and equipment (TOE). Table 1-5 summarizes the equipment authorized for the five basic elements.




Individual duties of the various survey personnel by military occupational specialty (MOS) code or area of concentration (AOC) are shown in Table 1-6.

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