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CHAPTER 3

JOINT FIRE SUPPORT OPERATIONS

Most operations envisioned for US Army corps and divisions will be joint operations. During these joint operations, a significant portion of fire support will be provided by other services. Similarly, Army corps and divisions will be required to provide fires to support those services. Previous chapters explained the duties of fire support personnel of other services. This chapter explains the specific procedures that FSCOORDs at corps and division use to coordinate fire support in joint operations. This chapter presents discussions on the several aspects of joint operations as follows:

  • USAF air support.

  • Amphibious operations.

  • Suppression of enemy air defenses.

  • Joint fire support communications.


USAF Air Support

The USAF provides tactical air support to the Army as one of its primary missions. The tactical air control system and the Army air-ground system bring together the Air Force and Army components to conduct tactical air support for the Army and SEAD support for Army aviation and the Air Force during joint operations. The TACS and AAGS do this by--

  • Establishing the personnel, facilities, and communications interface necessary for centralized control of available air support by the air component commander.

  • The decentralized execution of air attacks in priorities as prescribed by the joint force commander.

Centralized control of assets allows the air component to fully exploit the flexibility of assigned or attached air resources. The TACS provides liaison through all Army echelons down to battalion level. The Army counterpart of the system is the Army air-ground system.

The AAGS gives the ground force commander the organization and means to process, evaluate, and coordinate requests for air support and tactical air reconnaissance and to continuously exchange combat information and intelligence with the air component.

Air Force Missions

The Air Force missions that most directly affect Army operations are the air interdiction mission to include battlefield air interdiction, arid the close air support mission.

Air Interdiction

Air interdiction is defined as air operations conducted to destroy, neutralize, or delay the enemy's potential before it can be brought to bear effectively against friendly forces and at such a distance from friendly ground forces that detailed coordination is not required. Typical AI targets might include enemy surface forces in the follow-on echelons, road and rail networks, C3 nodes, and supply depots.

Battlefield Air Interdiction

BAI is an Air Force task within the framework of the AI mission. The AI attacks conducted against hostile land forces that are not in close proximity to friendly forces are referred to as battlefield air interdiction if the hostile forces could have a near-term effect on the operation support or scheme of maneuver of friendly forces. Prior coordination is required between the Army and the Air Force for attack of BAI targets. BAI has a direct or near-term effect on surface operations.

Close Air Support

CAS is air action in operations against hostile targets of ground that are in close proximity to friendly forces and that require detailed integration of each air mission with the fire and movement of these forces.

NOTE: Close proximity means that friendly forces and/or noncombatants are close enough to the target that care must be taken to avoid casualties from air-delivered weapons effects.

A joint air attack team is a combination of Army attack helicopter teams and tactical aircraft (usually CAS) supported by field artillery, operating together to simultaneously attack a single target or target array. Normally, the JAAT is an expansion of CAS in that it usually is employed close to friendly troops as an integrated member of the combined arms team. However, it can operate independently away from ground units. The relationship of AI, BAI, and CAS to the corps battlefield is shown in the illustration below. A summary of their characteristics is shown in the table. Of course, when dictated by the tactical situation, CAS and tactical surveillance and reconnaissance may also take place in the MBA or in rear areas. The illustration shows only the battlefield forward of the forward edge of the battle area (FEBA) and/or the FLOT.

Planning and Requesting Tactical Air Support

The joint force commander decides on the objectives and priorities for the employment of air assets. The land component commander and the air component commander negotiate on a recommended apportionment of air assets to meet the various requirements anticipated. This process results in an apportionment recommendation, usually around 72 hours before active execution. On the basis of this recommendation the tactical air control center gives the corps main CP initial planning guidance for the number of sorties expected to be available for BAI and CAS. This initial planning information is only tentative. However, it is a basis, or a start point, for battle planners at the corps main CP to begin the estimate process for the corps plan that will commence 72 hours later. The estimate process should include the corps commander's decision on the following:

  • Priority for the TACAIR to subordinate divisions.

  • AI target and priorities.

  • BAI target and priorities.

  • Percent of the CAS to be retained for immediate requests.

The G3 air, G2, and FSCOORD together must work out which targets developed or to be developed for the planning period should be attacked with air assets instead of with surface fires. A prioritized initial BAI target list is developed and passed to the battlefield coordination element. Any targets that are identified as AI nominations are passed separately to the BCE.

The targeting process conducted during this period must include predictions of target types and confirmed targets that will logically be expected to move before they are attacked. Target value analysis energizes the targeting process by identifying the types of targets that will most affect planned operations. Given the anticipated targeting requirements, Army intelligence collection and acquisition assets are used to develop an appreciation of the enemy for that time period. Air Force reconnaissance assets also must be considered for inclusion in the targeting process. Both the current Air Force tactical intelligence data base and the current tactical air reconnaissance operations can provide usable target information during these initial planning phases. Refinement of target information is a continuous process up to the time of the launch of attack aircraft. Information for the initial BAI list should include the following:

  • Target type; for example, a free rocket over ground (FROG) missile site.

  • Location - universal transverse mercator (UTM) grid coordinates or latitude and longitude location.

  • Desired effects; for example, destroy, neutralize, or harass.

  • Time on target expressed as a specific time, a not-later-than time, or an inclusive time period.

  • Air request number.

Certain types of targets may be dynamic in nature; or certain attack considerations may affect how, when, and where the target is attacked. In these instances, mission-type requests are acceptable. For example, "Stop armor movement east of the RED River" is understood by and acceptable to TACC mission planners and to weaponeers.

Planning for BAI in the 72 hours forward time period necessarily entails developing targets of interest to corps-level operations. However, targets that may have an effect on anticipated division operations during the ATO effective period also must be considered. Planning targets in the division zone of action, accepting BAI nomination, and establishing CAS allocation priorities help ensure that subordinate divisions receive effective air support for their respective operations. The corps FS cell, ASOC, and G3 air continue to develop BAI plans for each ATO period up to 72 hours (today's campaign and 24, 48, and 72 hours out). BAI targeting may include mobile targets; thus, a frequent dialog is required between the corps main CP and the TACC to provide accurate target information.

The prioritized BAI target list is forwarded to the BCE by use of the joint tactical air strike request or the US message text format/air support request. The target list also may be transmitted by voice by using information in either of those formats. The BAI target list should include alternate targets to be attacked should the target or tactical situation change as the time of target attack draws near. In the case of mobile targets, fixed targets, such as bridges and logistical and communications sites, should be nominated as alternates if they still support the BAI campaign effort.

Unforeseen real-time situations sometimes develop that would significantly change planned TACAIR support near or even during the ATO effective period. In these situations, the LCC may change his allocated air support to fit the real-time contingency. This could include diverting BAI missions to higher-priority targets or reallocating CAS missions to meet a close battle emergency, for example. Aggressive and timely coordination with the air component through the BCE and the ASOC will ensure TACAIR efforts are redirected as necessary to meet the new requirements.

Air Tasking Order Planning and Coordination Process

The ATO is the means for implementing TACAIR support. It tasks assigned and attached fighter wings to do specific missions and gives enough detail that mission aircrews can plan and execute those missions. The ATO is published to allow enough time for air forces and supporting elements to plan their aircraft, aircrew, support, and mission requirements. The TACC issues the ATO, which is valid for a specified effective period, usually 24 hours. While the ATO itself covers a specific period, the ATO planning process is continuous. At any given time, the TACC and BCE will be jointly working three or more ATOs - executing the current ATO, planning the ATO for tomorrow, and forecasting and coordinating for the ATO for the following day.

The graphic below presents a snapshot of a single ATO planning cycle. It is important to note that coordination and information flow are continuous, The actions described are those events that occur during the planning and coordination process. Theater-specific procedures dictate the actual time these events take place.

Immediate Close Air Support

Certain amounts of allocated CAS can be retained by corps or allocated in priority to division for immediate requests. Immediate CAS can respond to contingencies that develop during the course of division battles. Also, CAS can include spontaneous JAAT operations.

Immediate CAS is initiated at any level. The request is transferred to the Air Force request net by the first available TACP and sent to the ASOC. If the CAS request is part of a JAAT operation, it should be so identified in the remarks block of the immediate request. Once the request for immediate CAS is received at the ASOC, the CAS section of the ASOC waits for corps tactical CP approval of the mission and prepares to transmit the call directly to the servicing air squadron. The usual waiting period at the ASOC is 10 minutes. This time is used for intermediate Army levels to acknowledge the request and to intercede if necessary. Factors for Army and TACP consideration at intermediate levels are as follows:

  • What is the relative priority (of the requesting unit) for immediate CAS?

  • Can the target be attacked and adequately serviced by use of Army assets?

  • Is the request part of a MAT operation?

After acknowledging the immediate CAS request, silence on the part of intermediate Army levels indicates approval of the request. At the ASOC, approval must be obtained by the G3 air, FSCOORD, or other representative designated by the commander. Once this approval is gained, and if an immediate CAS sortie has already been allocated, the request becomes an Air Force requirement.

Usually, the CAS fighter is scrambled at the wing or squadron airstrip. If necessary, a sortie already aloft can be diverted to service the CAS requirement. In either case, the aircraft is usually on station and ready for control onto the target area within 30 minutes. CAS missions require positive strike control. The Air Force ALO or enlisted terminal attack controller (ETAC) at the unit normally provides this control. In their absence, the ANGLICO FAC, an aerial fire support observer, or the company FSO is also qualified for emergency control of the CAS attack.

Control of Close Air Support

Direct Control

Direct control of CAS target attack is the preferred method for either immediate or planned requests. The forward air controller can identify friendly positions and observe the target, target marks (if used), and attacking CAS aircraft. The FAC may clear or abort the attack on the basis of what he actually sees. This control is achieved primarily by radio communications. Aircraft equipped with frequency modulated (FM) radios are the Air Force A-7, A-10, A-37, and F-16 and the US Marine Corps A-4, F/A-18, and AV-8 A/B Harrier. Once the decision has been made to attack a target with air assets, the ALO or the FSO prepares final attack information and transmits the data to the final controller. After the final controller makes initial radio contact with the flight leader, he asks the flight leader to transmit the lineup information as follows:

  • Mission number.

  • Aircraft call sign.

  • Type and number of aircraft.

  • Ordnance.

  • Time on station.

NOTE: The lineup information received may be different than that received initially from the ALO, but it will reflect actual air assets allocated for the mission.

Indirect Control

Indirect control is used when the FAC cannot directly observe the target area during weapons employment.

The FAC may be in contact with someone who can directly observe the target area. He may then issue clearance or abort the attacking CAS aircraft on the basis of information from the observer.

If the FAC cannot maintain contact with someone who can observe the target area, he may establish procedures with the ground commander and the attacking CAS flight leader to allow weapons employment. This form of control is used only when authorized by the ground commander. Normally, clearance is issued when aircraft are departing the initial point (IP) or shortly thereafter.

Control Measures

Following are the three control measures for CAS missions with which the final controller is concerned:

  • The contact point (CP) is the point at which the aircraft makes initial radio contact with the final controller.

  • The initial point (IP) is the point from which the aircraft starts the timed run toward the pull-up point (PUP).

  • The pull-up point is the point at which an aircraft at low level begins a climb to identify the target and to gain altitude for the attack on the target.

Target Marking

The preferred method of marking a target is by use of a laser if the available aircraft has an airborne, passive laser tracker (Pave Penny). If Pave Penny is used, the final controller must have the same laser pulse repetition frequency (PRF) code as the aircraft. To make the Air Force four-digit code match the laser designator three-digit code, drop the first digit.

The PRF code is given in the mission brief. The final controller designates the target at the command of the pilot or as the aircraft approaches the apex of the PUP maneuver, whichever occurs first. He continues designating until the target or 20 seconds has elapsed, whichever occurs first. The call LASER ON is given to the pilot at the start of designation.

The alternate method of marking a target for a CAS mission is with artillery smoke, artillery and/or mortar white phosphorus (WP), or ground-burst illumination. The marking round should impact about 10 seconds before the aircraft reaches the time on target (TOT) or time to target. To have the round impact at the appropriate time, the final controller passes the time on target (for example, 1215) or the time to target (2 + 00....MARK) to the fire direction center (FDC). The FDC then computes the proper time to fire the marking round to allow for time of flight (TOF) so the round will impact 10 seconds before the bombs impact on the target. A good back-off time must be sent to the FDC and to the aircraft from the final controller.

Mission Control

The final controller's control of the mission begins when the flight leader makes initial contact at the CP and the final controller has the flight leader's lineup information. The final controller then verifies that the flight leader has the attack information. If he does not, the final controller transmits the mission brief by using the following format and sequence:

  • Initial point.

  • Heading (in degrees magnetic) (right or left).

  • Distance (in nautical miles).

  • Target elevation (in feet, in relation to mean sea level).

  • Mark (type) (color) (laser PRF code).

  • Friendlier (location) (danger close).

  • Threat (type and location).

  • Hazards.

  • Weather.

  • Time to target ([minutes plus seconds] . . .MARK).

The flight leader reports when departing the IP. The final controller then orients the flight leader to the target at the apex of his pull-up. He uses the clock method and relays direction and distance from the mark to the target. Direction is stated as one of the eight cardinal directions, and distance is stated in meters. Once the final controller is certain the flight leader has identified the target correctly and the aircraft is pointed at the target, he clears the aircraft to strike the target (cleared hot). The final controller should be prepared to call off the attack (abort) anytime before actual ordnance delivery if the aircraft starts to attack the wrong target or to have the aircraft reattack the target if more ordnance is required. Under certain circumstances, the aircraft may be cleared hot at the IP.

Procedural Control - A Technique

Positive control of a CAS mission may not be possible under some tactical conditions, or it may not be necessary because the target is prominent and well away from friendly troops. In such cases, a technique called procedural control may be used to attack a lucrative CAS target. In this technique, procedures are determined and agreed to between the USAF and the ground commander by prearrangement. The maneuver commander, G3 air, FSCOORD, ALO, and other members of the FS cell generate and coordinate all necessary data for procedure-controlled CAS. These data, once developed and agreed to, are forwarded to the USAF air support control system (TACS) for target attack scheduling. The minimum elements of information necessary for initiating this technique are as follows:

  • Target location - grid coordinates or specific terrain boundaries (box or circle).

  • Code name designation for the target (for quick reference and identification).

  • Nature of target and desired ordnance or effects on target.

  • Date-time frame within which procedure-controlled CAS may or should be delivered.

  • Emergency abort signal or codes.

Air Force Tactical Air Reconnaissance

Air Force tactical air reconnaissance (TAR) is available for use by Army intelligence and targeting agencies. TAR is ideal for target detection and surveillance and for intelligence gathering in areas that Army assets cannot adequately range or cover.

The tactical air force usually is configured with an air reconnaissance squadron. This squadron could be tasked to execute weather, visual, imagery, or electronic reconnaissance. The RF4C is the Air Force tactical reconnaissance platform. It is a two-seat, twin-jet aircraft capable of all-weather, high-low, day-night reconnaissance. A visual-type mission might include weather reporting; but more often, it is target confirmation based on what the crew sees. Visual missions are least precise but are quick in that there is no delay for processing data. An in-flight report must be requested. Imagery missions can provide precise target information, depending on sensor resolution and weather. Optical sensors include framing and panoramic cameras, nonoptical sensors such as infrared (IR) side-looking radar (SLR). The tactical electronic reconnaissance (TEREC) RF4C can collect target signal emissions and down-link such information to a TEREC remote terminal (TRT) for further processing.

Requesting Tactical Air Reconnaissance

The TAR requests can be either preplanned or immediate. The considerations and procedures for requesting TAR are the same as for requesting fighter TACAIR, except that Army intelligence communications channels are used in forwarding preplanned TAR requests to the BCE. Immediate requests for TAR are transmitted by the TACP of the initiating Army CP directly to the corps ASOC.

The corps G2 who requires TAR coordinates with the reconnaissance liaison officer of the TACP. At division and below, the ALO is the Air Force liaison for TAR. The following key questions are considered before tasking a TAR sortie:

  • Can the information be obtained by using Army assets?

  • Is the information required already available in the Air Force intelligence data base?

DD Form 1975 (Joint Tactical Air Reconnaissance/Surveillance Request) or US message text format/air support request is used to forward and process both preplanned and immediate requests for TAR.

Reports obtained from TAR sorties range from in-flight reports with immediate but uncorrelated information to detailed analyses which produce valid intelligence data.

  • The in-flight report (INFLIGHTREP) is generated by the flight crew while the aircraft is over or near the target area. It is what the crew sees. Information may be sketchy, but it is the quickest method by which to get information. The INFLIGHTREP is used to report perishable information.

  • The reconnaissance exploitation report (RECCEXREP) is sent via teletype. It comes from the first, rapid review of imagery and crew debrief. It is sent out as soon as possible (ASAP) but not later than (NLT) 45 minutes after the aircraft lands.

  • The initial programmed interpretation report (IPIR) is a teletype report with a second look at imagery. It is a more complete report and contains more analysis. The IPIR is sent NLT 4 hours after the aircraft lands.

  • The supplemental programmed interpretation report (SUPIR) is a teletype report on all significant targets covered by the mission. It may require up to 24 hours for dissemination.

Requesting Electronic Warfare Support

The Air Force has air platforms for the purpose of electronic combat (EC) with a primary mission of suppressing the enemy's integrated air defense structure. Nonlethal suppression could include the EF111 Raven as a radar jammer and the EC 130H Compass Call as communications jammer while the F4G Wild Weasel and other attack aircraft (F4E or F16s with air-to-ground weapons) provide lethal SEAD. Normally, such EC support is requested by the corps through Army channels to the BCE at the TACC as a preplanned mission. Such a request might be part of a SEAD requirement to support an Army air assault operation near or across the FLOT. Also, the Compass Call communications jammer could be requested to disrupt enemy C3 voice nets in conjunction with a corps or subordinate unit operation. Such requests normally are preplanned; however, in emergency conditions, an immediate request could be initiated via the air request net to the ASOC, EC and EW operations must be closely coordinated with electronic warfare staff officer (EWSO) agencies to prevent fratricide to friendly C3 or communications nets. However, such use of nonlethal weapons acts as a combat multiplier to fire support plans.

Amphibious Operations

An amphibious operation is an attack launched from the sea by naval and landing forces embarked in ships or other craft for the purpose of landing on a hostile shore. Normally, a naval officer is the commander of the amphibious task force (CATF). Troop components, ground and air, are called the landing force and are commanded by the commander landing force (CLF). The CATF exercises the degree of authority over the entire force that is necessary to ensure success. Subject to this overall authority, the CLF is responsible for conducting operations ashore. Planning and execution of the landing and assault are primarily his concern. An amphibious operation is conducted in five phases: planning, embarkation, rehearsal, movement, and assault.

Initially, the joint amphibious task force (JATF) commander is responsible for planning the use of all air support and indirect fires. He ensures that coordinated naval gunfire and air support plans are prepared for all phases of the operation. He also establishes an amphibious task force supporting arms coordination center (SACC). It plans and coordinates fires for the task force during the planning and execution of the operation. The CLF determines landing force needs for air, naval gunfire, field artillery, and mortars and prepares the fire support plan.

Coordination of Naval Gunfire

Navy surface vessels that mount guns can be used to support Army ground forces. The joint force commander (JFC) decides on the use of naval gunfire to support ground operations. Fire support planners must be aware of the employment considerations and procedures peculiar to naval gunfire in support of Army ground forces.

Missions

The JFC gives an individual naval gunfire ship the mission to support a ground force by assigning either a DS or a GS mission.

  • Direct support makes ship fires responsive to the needs of a battalion- or regiment-size ground force. Destroyers and frigates equipped with 5-inch guns usually are given this mission.

  • General support makes ship fires responsive to the needs of a brigade-size or larger ground force. Cruisers and battleships equipped with 5-inch and/or 16-inch guns usually are given this mission.

Considerations

A naval gunfire ship fulfills its support mission much as do other indirect-fire systems. There are certain special considerations that fire support planners must keep in mind.

The first priority of the ship is self-preservation. The ship will interrupt its support mission if its survival is threatened. This includes ammunition expenditure. Since naval guns are, in addition to shore bombardment, used for ship or fleet defense, the ship will keep a large percentage of its magazine capacity for this contingency.

Ships are positioned to provide support by assignment of a fire support station (FSS) or a fire support area (FSA).

  • A fire support station is a specific point on the water where the ship is required to maintain its position until the positioning authority, usually the JATF, allows it to move. An FSS is preferred from a fire support standpoint because the support ship is in a stable position and can provide more continuous and more accurate indirect fires.

  • A fire support area is an area within the amphibious objective area (AOA) where the support ship may steam at its own discretion. The FSA is preferred from a survivability standpoint. However, the delivery of indirect fires may be affected because of the changing gun-target line and less precise self-location for firing computations.

Procedures

During amphibious phases of a joint operation, a naval task force provides interface with the Army force senior FS cell through the ship-based SACC. The SACC is responsible for coordinating all fires during the assault. To facilitate the coordination of fires in support of the landing force assault to shore, the SACC staff is augmented with personnel and equipment from the senior landing force fire support facility. For example, if the ground force is a division, the main FS cell would be collocated with the SACC. Normal field artillery command/fire direction (CF) or fire (F) nets (FM) or the landing force fire support coordination net (high frequency [HF]) may be used for coordination. To minimize dependence on ship-to-shore communications, landing force units coordinate laterally whenever possible and when fires clearance is required from only one other landing force unit. When ashore and prepared to do so, the landing force FS cell assumes responsibility for fire support coordination. The change in responsibility for fire support coordination is based on the capability to coordinate all ground and air fires and is contingent on the decision of the CATF. Often, responsibility for controlling naval gunfire and artillery is phased ashore before responsibility for controlling air fires.

Requesting Naval Gunfire Support

Army personnel may request and conduct fire support missions using naval gunfire even in the absence of ANGLICO personnel. The NGF communications interface is as follows:

  • Net: Naval gunfire ground spot net.

  • Frequency: 2-30 MHz HF.

  • Compatible equipment:

      º USMC-PRC-104, GRC-193, MRC-138.

      º Army-GRC-106, GRC-193.

      º Air Force - PRC-104, MRC-107/108, GRC-206.

Naval Air

Naval air support may be provided to Army ground forces when available Navy aircraft exceed anticipated Navy requirements. The primary missions of Navy aircraft are fleet air defense and offensive attack.

Navy aircraft are capable of all Air Force aircraft missions, to include BAI, CAS, electronic warfare, and TAR. When Navy aircraft are designated to support Army ground forces, those aircraft are placed in the general aircraft sortie pool for tasking by the controlling TACC; and they conduct missions in the same manner as Air Force aircraft.

The Navy tactical air control system is very similar to the TACS and AAGS located ashore.

When Navy air supports Army ground operations, communications and control of Navy aircraft are the same as for Air Force aircraft. BAI sorties are tasked by the TACC. CAS sorties require the same positive control as Air Force CAS during the actual strike. As with Air Force CAS, the Air Force FAC, the ANGLICO, or the Army fire support team (FIST) can provide this strike control.

Army ground forces must be operating in an AOA or receiving their primary TACAIR support from the Navy (the naval air commander is the air component commander). In this case, the BCE will deploy to the CATF's TACC to perform the same full functional area interface and synchronization as it does with the Air Force TACC.

USMC Fire Support Assets

United States Marine Corps (USMC) forces normally are deployed as a Marine air-ground task force (MAGTF). The MAGTF is organized as a complete fighting organization. It is given artillery, TACFIRE and/or helicopters, and logistics support from attached USMC support units from the Fleet Marine Force (FMF). The fire support assets of the MAGTF are controlled by the MAGTF commander and are used solely to support the Marine ground operation. Employment of separate MAGTF elements such as the ground maneuver element by another command is doctrinally unsound. The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) guidance and policy on separate employment is in JCS Pub 12. Nonetheless, should a situation arise in which a Marine maneuver force is employed separately, the controlling commander, Army or Marine, must allocate fire support assets to the force.

Indirect fires are coordinated between the Army and the USMC by the exchange of liaison officers between the Marine artillery unit and the senior force FSE. The USMC artillery LO coordinates USMC indirect surface fires with Army indirect surface fires. He also provides an FM communications interface for the exchange of target information and requests for additional fires by either force artillery.

The JFC has the authority to artillery units a tactical mission assign USMC to support an Army ground unit or to reinforce Army artillery. The USMC artillery unit provides an LO to the Army ground unit CP or to the Army artillery unit, as required. All aspects of fire support doctrine apply and are exercised by USMC artillery units. One exception is that the USMC artillery unit cannot provide FSOs or forward observers to supported Army maneuver units. Army fire support personnel attached to the Army maneuver unit provide these fire support functions; the Marine artillery firing unit, linked by FM communications, performs firing operations.

Marine air can perform BAI, CAS, EW, and TAR. As a part of the MAGTF, Marine air is used to support Marine ground operations in any scenario. The MAGTF commander gives the JFC available Marine air sorties in excess of USMC requirements. The JFC also has the authority to apportion Marine air for support of joint operations. In either case, Marine air sorties available for support of Army operations are controlled by the air component TACC, usually the Air Force TACC. Marine air conducting CAS is controlled during the CAS strike in the same manner as are other CAS aircraft.

Army forces may be operating jointly with USMC forces in an AOA while elements of the Marine air command and control system (MACCS) (division air support center [DASC], tactical air operations center [TAOC], or TACC) are providing and controlling TACAIR support to Army forces in the AOA. Then the BCE will deploy to the Marine TACC or to other MACCS elements to perform the same full functional area interface and synchronization as it does with the Air Force TACC. The DASC will perform those functions normally performed by the ASOC.

Joint Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses

Joint suppression of enemy air defenses (J-SEAD) is that portion of SEAD operations that requires joint interaction to suppress enemy surface-to-air defenses having an influence on the operational and tactical portion of the AirLand Battle. The goal of J-SEAD is to increase the overall effectiveness of friendly AirLand operations through reduced attrition and improved capabilities of Army and Air Force air resources. Ground and naval forces have primary execution responsibility for J-SEAD to their limits of observed fire from surface weapons. The limit of observed fire is the range to which an airborne or ground-based observer can visually see the point of impact or burst. The fire can be controlled and adjusted on the basis of observation. The greatest indirect-fire suppression capability of ground and naval forces is against those threats that can be engaged by observed fire, SEAD operational procedures are in Appendix B, Section V.

FSCOORD Tasks for J-SEAD

The FSCOORD brings together the decide-detect-deliver process to accomplish J-SEAD during corps and division operations. He does this by accomplishing the tasks discussed below.

Ensure that SEAD target queries are conducted for each BAI and planned CAS request. The SEAD targets must be targeted, and the attack of these targets must be synchronized with the planned air strike. The sources for development of SEAD targets in the close battle area are primarily ground observers and Army electronic, imagery, or templating techniques. Deep SEAD targets to be suppressed for BAI attack missions are provided primarily by Air Force TAR flight reports or other aircraft reports available from the BCE intelligence division.

SEAD targets are attacked either as acquired or as part of a scheduled SEAD program. The FSCOORD coordinates the synchronization of SEAD programs with the ALO and the G3 Air.

Ingress and egress routes for aircraft should be an area of the battlefield focused for SEAD targeting. This information is available from the appropriate-level ALO or may be found in the ATO. Often requests for SEAD targeting will come through the BCE to corps fire support elements. Coordination in this case also must be thorough and responsive to ensure sustained aircraft survivability and support.

Joint Communications Interface

Timely and efficient exchange of information is a key requirement for successful joint operations. Published joint and interservice agreements on operations are commonly accompanied by communications guidelines and responsibilities that facilitate the joint operation. These agreements recognize the importance of passing vital information to the appropriate individual or agency in a reamer that is understood in both format and text. The surest form of communications interface is the collocation of coordinating agencies, such as the TACC and BCE. If personal coordination is required but collocation is not possible or desired, the exchange of liaison personnel facilitates personal interface. However, in joint operations, some means of radio-electronic interface among services is required.

TACS-AAGS Communications

Communications facilities over which tactical air support may be requested and directed exist from the frontline company through all echelons of command to the highest Army tactical CP. Communications are required from the lowest-level TACP or FAC up through the ASOC to the TACC. Communications also are required between the CP and the liaison officers at the fighter, reconnaissance, and airlift bases and the TACC. The following paragraphs describe the communications available to the air-ground system, to include both Army and Air Force systems.

Multichannel Systems

These systems provide the primary theater transmission media. Both Army and Air Force multichannel systems are installed to connect the BCE with the corps ASOC. These systems are used primarily to pass preplanned BAI and CAS nominations from the corps CP to the BCE and to pass intelligence information between the corps CP FS cell, the FSCOORD or G2, and the BCE intelligence and fusion sections. Other routine communications between the BCE and the corps ASOC are passed over either multichannel system. Where secure facsimile very-high-frequency (VHF) radio communication is available, the TACC plans division is connected with the ASOC.

Air-Ground Communications

All elements of the TACS are provided with an air-to-ground communications capability. Communications modes available in these air-ground nets are ultrahigh frequency (UHF), very high frequency, and high frequency/single sideband (HF/SSB). TACPs may use UHF or VHF/FM for directing air strikes. The ASOC air-ground communications provide a partial control capability and allow monitoring of TACP-aircraft communications for immediate report of strike results and in-flight reconnaissance reports. The forward air control post (FACP) also has UHF and VHF/FM for controlling the aircraft from the air base to and from the target. Spot reports and in-flight reconnaissance reports are passed to the TACC by long-range HF/SSB and by UHF. Tactical airlift movements and Army aircraft flights within the area have UHF and VHF air-ground communications with control agencies.

Air Force Air Request Net

The basic communications net in the tactical air support subsystem of the TACS is the Air Force air request net. The Air Force is responsible for providing, maintaining, and operating this net. The net provides the means for rapid transmission of immediate requests for tactical air support from the TACPs directly to the ASOC. A separate air request net, terminating at the ASOC, is provided for each corps supported. The primary communications means used is HF/SSB radio. The TACPs are also equipped with manpacked HF/SSB and UHF/FM radios.

Tactical Air Direction Net

This net is used by the TACP, ASOC, and airborne forward air controller (AFAC) for directing aircraft on tactical air support missions. The ground equipment used in this net consists of VHF and UHF radios that are either mounted in vehicles or manpacked.

Tactical Air Control Net

This net provides direct communications between the TACC and the control and reporting center (CRC), Army aviation agencies, and Army air defense agencies within the combat area. Its purpose is to provide communications for monitoring flights, air traffic control, and air defense.

Communications for a Preplanned Mission

Communications nets for preplanned missions are required from the frontline company to the TACC. No special net is provided for this purpose at any echelon. After approval by corps, the request is forwarded to the tactical air control center as a support requirement. The TACC orders the mission flown by one of its tactical fighter units. Existing facilities are used to request preplanned missions as shown in the illustration below.

Communications for an Immediate Mission

The frontline company uses its fire request net or its battalion command (cored) net to request an immediate CAS mission. Upon approval of the request by the battalion, the Air Force TACP forwards the request directly to the ASOC at corps on the Air Force air request net (SSB). The TACP intermediate headquarters monitors this net and acknowledges all requests.

Ground Liaison Officer Net (RATT)

The highest Army command echelon must furnish a ground liaison officer to each tactical fighter base. The duties of these officers are to brief the pilots on the missions and to debrief them on return from the missions. The GLO net (radio teletypewriter [RATT]) links the G3 air at the land component command post with the ground liaison officers at the fighter bases. This net is used to give the GLOs information to brief the pilots and as a means for sending debriefing reports to the Army command post.

Military Intelligence Battalion (Imagery Interpretations)
Operations Net (SSB RATT)

The military intelligence battalion (MIB) provides an air reconnaissance liaison officer and an MIB detachment for each tactical air reconnaissance wing and squadron. The ARLO is responsible for briefing and debriefing the Air Force pilots on missions flown in support of the Army and for passing the debriefing reports to the MIB detachment headquarters, the corps and higher army G2 air sections (when appropriate), and the joint task force (JTF) headquarters.

The MIB detachment includes an imagery interpretation section and a reproduction section. The Air Force processes the Army-requested photographs and passes a duplicated negative and two prints of each photograph to this detachment. The imagery interpretation section makes a detailed analysis of the photographs and prepares an imagery report to be passed to the requester. The reproduction section produces the required number of prints and passes them to the battalion headquarters for delivery to corps and division levels.

The MIB operates a RATT communications net (see the corps communications summary below). This net includes the battalion headquarters, the ARLOs, the corps G2 air, and JTF headquarters. The debriefing and imagery reports are transmitted over this net to the corps G2 air for retransmission to the requester.

NOTE: When an operation is conducted by a corps without army command headquarters, the corps requires the same nets normally required by a higher army command echelon.

US Message Text Format

JCS Pub 25 explains US message text and should be consulted for a complete understanding of this system.

TACS-AAGS Automation

The ongoing Army-USAF initiative to automate the BCE will soon provide a near-real-time data link between fire support and intelligence agencies in the corps CP, to format the BCE at the TACC, and all the way down to the GLOs and ARLOs at USAF wing operations centers (WOCs).




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