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CHAPTER 5

DELIVERY OF FIRES


Delivering MLRS fires and achieving the desired effects on target is a multistep, multichannel operation. It involves thorough and effective fire planning. The versatility of the MLRS FCS, FDS, and IFSAS/TACFIRE allows smooth, rapid, and accurate fire planning, target processing, and target engagement. The unique characteristics of this fire delivery process must be understood for maximum effective use. (A sample firing safety checklist is provided in Appendix J.)


Section I

INTRODUCTION


Organization and Structure

General

Organizations supported by MLRS units normally include division, corps and echelons above corps (EAC) and/or JTF. A number of fire support planning and execution agencies support the targeting process for MLRS units, especially those employed with Army TACMS. These agencies include:

  • The FSE and deep operations coordination cell (DOCC).
  • National/joint service target acquisition sensors and processing facilities.
  • Intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination nodes of the all-source analysis system/analysis control element (ASAS/ACE).

Systems

It is essential that requests for use of Army TACMS be entered as expeditiously as possible into the FS system. This is necessary due to extensive airspace and deep targeting coordination and planning needs. This is done manually, or in a semiautomatic mode using a variety of systems. This includes:

  • Automated deep operations coordination system (ADOCS), light TACFIRE, TACFIRE/IFSAS.
  • The FDDM.
  • The MLRS FDS, or the IFSAS, FDDM.

This process will ultimately become fully automated using Army Battle Command System Common Hardware and Software.

Structure

The command and control requirements for MLRS units are centered around a fire support structure that supports the scheme of fire and maneuver. This structure includes acquisition, C2, and fire control systems from sensor system through the delivery system. An example of the hierarchical structure is illustrated in Figure 5-1.

Control

Rockets. Rockets will normally be fired at targets within the division's area of operations by the organic divisional MLRS battery, an attached MLRS battalion, or a R FA brigade. These units supporting the division are normally under the control of the div arty with input from the division FSE.

Missile. Army TACMS variants will normally be fired at targets beyond the division's area of operations by the organic corps MLRS battalion(s).

The key to effective employment of Army TACMS is planning and coordination (prior to execution). The planning tasks and functions necessary for the employment of Army TACMS will be managed under centralized control normally at corps or EAC. Execution functions for fixed or non mobile targets may also be initiated under centralized control. Responsiveness may be improved by tailoring linkages to allow shorter paths (decentralized execution) from target acquisition sources through FA brigade or MLRS battalion nodes to the launcher, for the attack of fleeting targets. If the force commander desires to decentralize execution for certain targets (typically high priority fleeting targets which are vulnerable to attack for very short periods of time) he will normally designate a subordinate commander (unit) as the execution authority.

Echelons

The FDDM performs corps FSE, FA brigade, MLRS battalion, or MLRS battery functions depending on operator inputs. The FDS performs only MLRS battalion, battery or platoon functions. There is no significant degradation of functionality for battalions or batteries fielded with the FDS with the current munitions. All fire planning and FDC personnel work with different functions of the system appropriate to the assigned echelon. Thus, personnel can be easily transferred between MLRS unit echelons with little additional training. The general operational organization is as follows:

Corps FSE computer (FDDM):

  • Acts as the primary fire planning agency for Army TACMS. (Army TACMS SPAP will be loaded in this FDDM only. Loading in subordinate systems will significantly add to mission processing time.)
  • Determines target values and priorities.
  • Determines commander's criteria for effects.
  • Checks for fire support coordinating measure (FSCM) violations.

FA Brigade computer (IFSAS):

  • Performs fire planning function.
  • Checks for FSCM violations.
  • Performs tactical fire control.
  • Sets ammo expenditure and supply limits.

Battalion computer (FDS/FDDM):

  • Checks for FSCM violations.
  • Distributes fire missions based on platoon positions.
  • Assists batteries in coordination of positions.
  • Distributes and disseminates fire plans (target lists) to batteries.

Battery computer (FDS):

  • Performs effects processing based on commander's criteria.
  • Checks for FSCM violations.
  • Assigns missions to launchers based on current status.
  • Distributes fire plans.
  • Maintains status of launchers.


Section II

MLRS FIRE DIRECTION CENTERS


Battalion Level

The battalion FDC tactically controls the fires of the battalion with the FDS/FDDM. The battalion FDC is the NCS for the Fire Direction (FD) Net(s) and the primary link with the force FA headquarters for all delivery of fires by the MLRS battalion. (Battalion FDC personnel are listed in Table 5-1.)

Selection of targets for the MLRS battalion is the responsibility of the controlling FA headquarters or FSE. Fire plans are sent to a battalion as target lists with specific implementing instructions (e.g., H-hour and times, relative to H-hour in a series). The battalion selects batteries to execute the fire missions and then transmits the targets or the complete plans to them. Targets that fall in the category of unscheduled fires are distributed on the basis of battery or platoon status (range to target, number of missions in progress, launcher availability, and ammo type and status).

Battery Level

The MLRS battery is concerned solely with the delivery of fires. The battery engages targets in one of two modes--scheduled or unscheduled fires. These modes determine the way the FDS processes missions.

The battery FDS uses the methods of control below:

  • ONC (On Call). Must be changed to another method before execution.
  • WR (When Ready).
  • AMC (At My Command).
  • TOT (Time On Target). Uses a time for effects on target.
  • TTF (Time To Fire). Uses a specific launch time.

The launcher FCS uses the methods of control below:

  • ONC. Must be changed to another method before execution.
  • FWR (Fire When Ready).
  • AMC.
  • TOT.
  • TTF.
  • TTT (Timed Time On Target). Uses a time window for effects or target. (TOT with a NLT entered in the FDS).
  • TWR (Timed When Ready). Uses a time window for launch (WR with a NLT entered in the FDS).

Note: The TTT and TWR methods use time windows. These windows must be less than 60 minutes. TTT and TWR methods allow the firing launchers more flexibility than the TTF or TOT methods.

The FDS usually performs the fire direction tasks automatically. Battery FDC personnel are listed in Table 5-2. Responsibilities include the following:

  • Target analysis and selection of type and number of rockets and/or missiles to fire.
  • Selects number and dispersion of aimpoints.
  • Downrange mask checks.
  • Fire support coordinating measures and air corridor checks.
  • Selection of platoon and launcher to respond.
  • Transmission of fire orders.
  • Recording the missions.

Platoon Level

The FDS enables the platoon to command and control of platoon assets and, if necessary, to assume control of battery functions. Platoon FDC personnel are listed in Table 5-3.


Section III

MISSION PROCESSING


General

Fire mission source is not particularly important to the tactical conduct of the fire mission execution process for automated processing of missions. It does have some significance in terms of estimates of normal expected target location error for munition selection and effects calculation. What is important to the outcome of the automated processes is target type, the point of entry into the munition and fire unit selection process (node/system), linkage to the shooter, method of control and whether or not a munition has been specified.

The corps and MLRS FDS/FDDMs perform tactical fire direction based on the MLRS platoon centers reported by the battery. Generally, the battery is the highest echelon tracking individual launcher status. Launcher status reports are consolidated into platoon aggregates and reported to the battalion and subsequently the corps according to a predetermined time table. Since the corps FDDM generally has the least current information concerning launcher status, it is possible that missions may be assigned to platoons which cannot comply. This should be reported as soon as possible, since airspace coordination may require adjustment if alternative units are selected to fire the missions. The coordination is normally conducted at the corps or JTF level.

Once the FDO determines the exact unit to fire, the mission(s) is transmitted to the designated battery. The battery then transmits the mission(s) to the designated launcher(s) when the time to fire becomes 30 minutes or less. The launcher(s) will receive the missions, compute the technical solution and fire the missions(s) based on the method of control specified in the mission.

Extremely time sensitive targets designated for attack using Army TACMS may necessitate placing the launcher on the firing point to shorten the response time. This may be accomplished using a posture message (AFU; POSTURE to battery and MLRS; CMD to launcher), or by transmitting an AMC mission to the launcher. This technique will cause the launcher to complete the mission sequence up to the point of achieving aimpoint, and then report ready status. Upon receipt of an amended fire mission changing the method of control to FWR (or TTF or TOT), the launcher will complete the mission as directed.

Fire mission processing at MLRS battalion and battery FDCs treats all munitions in the same manner. As a minimum, an AFU; AMODAT message must be received and executed so that the software can recognize the munition J-Code in the CFF message. If effects processing is desired, entry of carrier delivery errors and effects (AFU; EFFDAT and SPRT;RNGEFF) data are required; otherwise, only volleys missions will be processed. There is no default in the FDS software for the number of Army TACMS missiles to be fired on a given aimpoint. When the fire mission (FM;CFF) is received at the battalion, the FDC will perform the tactical processing and (if applicable) effects processing. It will then format another FM;CFF for transmission to the battery; the battalion FDC will select the platoon to fire if it has not been selected, otherwise it will validate the BCD IFSAS selection.

At the battery level, the FDC will perform the tactical functions appropriate to the battery echelon, select the launcher or launchers to fire and generate a separate MLRS; CFF to each selected launcher.

Technical fire direction occurs at the M270 launcher. The appropriate weapon's application software and ballistics data must be resident on the launcher in order to successfully fire a specific munition. (See Appendix K for ballistic algorithm tables.)

Launcher Status Management

The battery FDC computer maintains the status for each assigned launcher. As a minimum, the battery maintains the following conditions and states:

  • Activity

-Single busy (one fire mission assigned and active)

-Double busy (two missions assigned and active)

-Priority busy (one or two highest priority missions)

-Not busy

-Not moving

  • Launcher operational status (OPER/INOP)

-Reason

-Duration

  • Location information
  • Ammunition status and availability

Fire Mission Execution Function

This section addresses the top level concepts of fire mission execution. This complicated process is deeply integrated with other FDC computer functions. The computer executes fire missions by establishing and updating relevant information. This function is graphically depicted in Figure 5-2.

Target Analysis

Upon receipt of a fire mission message, the computer screens the target to determine the requirements for target analysis. The computer analyzes the target using the information below to determine its placement in the commander's criteria and to specified priority or non priority handling.

  • Type/subtype/element
  • Location
  • Strength
  • Behavior
  • Permanence and age

A preliminary munitions list is developed and presented to the operator for a decision and for further processing after target and weapon analysis (FDDM only).

Weapon (Munition/Submunition) Selection

Targets/missions that are received from a higher echelon's computer that specify a weapon to be employed are evaluated. The subordinate unit has the capability to change the type of weapon employed against a target. Although subordinate FDCs have the capability to change the weapon type, authorization to modify missions directed by a higher echelon computer must be coordinated. If the FDC is authorized to change the weapon directed, it must be done manually.

Battlefield Geometry Validation

The FDC computer validates that the fire mission does not violate any FSCM or down range (DR) mask restrictions. FSCM violations will be presented to the operator in the form of a WARNING message, but can continue to process the fire mission. DR mask violations will be presented in the form of any error message and will prevent the operator from continuing the mission.

Fire Unit Selection

Fire unit selection in the FDC computer is based on the following:

  • Availability--No more than the allowable number of fire missions at each launcher.
  • Appropriate munitions onboard or at next reload point.
  • Within range of selected munitions.
  • No exclusions.
  • Able to meet all time restrictions.

Target Processing

Volleys-Type Target. If the target is designated as a volleys type, all rockets are normally aimed at the center of the target unless the of size or shape are large and specified. If the number of rockets to be fired at the one aimpoint is entered in the volleys field of the message, that number of rockets is fired at the target's center. If there is no entry, a default value of six rockets is used.

Effects-Type Target. If the target is designated as an effects-type target, the FDS may generate multiple aimpoints. The computer performs effects calculations and determines the expected effects for each target selected for engagement based on weapon performance, capability characteristics, and target degree of protection.

  • The target type is checked to be sure it is a legal effects type. If it is not, a warning message is displayed.
  • The target dimensions are checked to verify that they are within the size limits for MLRS processing. If they are not, the computer stops processing, the mission is rejected, and is redisplayed for transmission back to the higher headquarters.
  • The computer designates one to six aimpoints for an effects target. The number of aimpoints for an effects-type target and the number of rockets to be fired at each aimpoint depends on the following:

-Desired effects (for effects-type target only).

-Dimensions of the target.

-Range to target from the launcher.

-Lethal area of submunition in relation to target type.

-Disposition of enemy personnel in the target area.

  • The computer rejects the fire mission request when--

-Percentage of effects requested cannot be achieved.

-Solution indicates that more than maximum number of rounds to fire (for an effects-type target only).

  • The number of aimpoints, aimpoint casting and northing offset from target center, and number of rockets required for each aimpoint are stored, temporarily, for use by the fire unit selection routing.

Joint Munitions Effectiveness Manuals

Effectiveness tables published in joint munitions effectiveness manuals for surface-to-surface weapons (JMEM/SS) provide guidance for determining the expected fraction of casualties to personnel targets or damage to materiel targets. The JMEMs for surface-to-surface weapons are published as field manuals. The manuals currently available for all systems are listed in FM 6-141-1. The basic data for these manuals were obtained from test firings, actual combat performance, and mathematical modeling. Using JMEMs to determine attack data requires considerable time. Because of time constraints, use of JMEMs at battalion and battery FDC levels for engaging targets of opportunity is not recommended. The effects data included in these manuals incorporate reliability, delivery accuracy, and munitions lethality against a representative spectrum of targets. The computational assumptions, defeat criteria, and instructions for use are included in each manual.

Note: There is no assurance that the expected fraction of damage or casualties will be provided by any number of volleys in a given situation. Although not precisely within the mathematical definition, the method of averaging data used for the tables will result in less damage being realized for approximately 50 percent of the rounds and, conversely, greater damage for the other 50 percent of the rounds.

Fire Mission Support Function

The fire mission support function establishes or updates the map mod, geometry, ammunition effects, and meteorological databases to enhance tactical fire control. This function is depicted in Figure 5-3.

The basic functions are:

Coordinate Conversion

  • Zone to zone transformation.
  • Zone to zone across grid zones.
  • Spheroid conversion.
  • Datum conversion.
  • Geodetic/UTM.

Battlefield Geometry Maintenance

  • Overwrites duplicate geometry features.
  • Reports overlap of SPRT;ZNE messages.

Fire Support Scheduling Function

The planning and scheduling function of the FDDM computer are designed to provide the artillery commander, and to a lesser extent the FSE, tools to perform resource prediction, posturing, and accounting by event or time table. The fire mission schedule processing function establishes and updates fire mission schedule information, determines the number of fire unit assets eligible for scheduling, removes scheduled fire missions and fire unit assets, and generates the appropriate information messages for transmission to other FDC computers. The FDDM scheduler function accepts fire missions if the TOT and/or TTF specified in the original fire mission message is greater than 40 minutes but less than 96 hours from system time. Missions falling within the 40 minute window for engagement will be transmitted to the firing unit, to be engaged in accordance with the method of control associated with the mission. Figure 5-4 portrays the scheduling function.

The fire planning function for both FDS and FDDM accepts a maximum of 75 fire plan targets. The TOT and/or TTF specified in the message should be greater than 30 minutes but less than 24 hours from system time. A time of less than 30 minutes may preclude the FDS/FDDM from automatically retrieving the fire plan from the database for execution. A time greater than 24 hours will cause the computer to subtract 24 hours from the specified times (the system is on one 24 hour clock).

Fire Plans and Schedules

Fire plans and schedules of fires will be processed upon receipt. When the timetable for execution is known and within scope, allocations of available ammunition and fire units will be made for the fire plan or scheduled targets. FDCs should know that this does not prevent execution of other missions using this allocated ammunition. If execution of all targets is not possible, an exception report will be prepared and presented for operator action and adjudication.

Resource Scheduling

Resource scheduling is the process of pre-allocating fire unit and ammunition resources to expected mission loads in advance of execution time. This should occur as soon as projection of friendly and enemy courses of action and expected resource demands by time period can be made, so that battalion and battery level posturing and ammunition loading can be accomplished. Development of alternate courses of action and supporting plans typically occurs from 72-96 hours in advance of the intended operation. Consequently, this function provides scheduling of resources no earlier than 96 hours prior to execution. Expected mission loads exceeding anticipated available resources, are reported to the operator for exception resolution. As a minimum, the operator must report exceptions relating to ammunition type, ammunition quantity, and fire unit sufficiency (i.e. "are there enough launchers?") by specifying the time period for which resources are unavailable or insufficient (e.g. "2/A/3/9 FA down for maintenance 0600-0700," or "there are insufficient launchers available to properly cover target #AA000l during time period X"). The fire planner then accounts for resources which are unavailable for whatever reason. Fire missions to be included in this analysis are TOT, TTF (and TWR/TTT), or other scheduled targets. AMC and WR mission firing times are undefined and consequently will not influence the analysis except by their impact on current resources.

Ammunition Positioning Planning

Ammunition positioning is closely related to the AFU functions and resource posturing. When performed properly, it involves the use of fire plans and schedules, resource scheduling, and contingency planning outputs combined with expected usage rates. (Further discussion on Ammunition Posturing is in Chapter 4.)

Fire Mission Cycle

The BOC processes fire missions for the MLRS firing battery. Mission assignments are based on the following information:

  • Grid locations of FPs.
  • Requested FP and RL employment sequence.
  • Number and type of rockets or missiles currently on board each launcher and on HEMTT-HEMATs in the platoon OPAREA.
  • Down Range Mask.
  • Launcher status and locations.
  • FSCMs.

These are all part of the FDS database for the battery. The FDS then selects the launcher to respond, the number and type of munitions to fire, number and dispersion of aim points, and the method of fire. The fire mission is then passed directly to the launcher. Using the platoon FDS, the POC monitors the fire missions. If the launcher cannot communicate digitally with the BOC, the platoon FDS can be used to relay fire missions. At a minimum, both the BOC and POC record the mission by using DA Form 7232-R (see the example below, Figure 5-5) and plot the target on the firing capabilities map. The completed DA Form 7232-R should be retained for one year.

Upon receipt of a fire mission, the launcher FCS conducts a consistency check of the fire mission data to ensure that the launcher can fire the mission, that it has the correct munitions loaded, and that the target is in range. If it can fire, a will comply (WILCO) message is generated to be sent to the battery FDS.

The section chief should have previously inspected the FP for any immediate mask (within 2000 m). If one is apparent, he measures the mask with the M2 compass to determine if it should be entered in the FCS. The mask should be entered if it measures 100 mils or greater. If the launcher cannot fire over the mask, it must be repositioned.

If an immediate mask is not a problem, the launcher then moves to the designated FP and orients on the selected parking heading. The crew lays the LLM, arms the system, fires the mission(s), stows the LLM, and moves as directed. The launcher crew records the mission data by using DA Form 7233-R (MLRS Launcher Fire Mission Log) as shown in the example, Figure 5-6, below. A reproducible copy of DA Form 7233-R is at the back of this manual. The completed form should also be retained for one year.

Commander's Criteria

The commander influences IFSAS/TACFIRE tactical fire control (TFC) solutions by establishing his commander's intent, which is used to develop the commander's criteria for engaging targets. These criteria guide the selection of units to fire, munitions, and volume of fire for each mission. The IFSAS, based on a portion of the Commander's criteria, selects targets for MLRS engagement. It helps in the fire planning, collation of intelligence, and TFC for MLRS. The commander's criteria should be entered into IFSAS/TACFlRE before the fight begins. When they have been entered, the computer will automatically execute the criteria without delaying fire mission processing.

Commander's criteria are established, and updated as the situation changes. They may be overridden manually whenever a situation warrants. As circumstances and SOP dictate, the battalion operations officer, battery operations officer, and/or fire direction personnel can override the commander's modifications on a mission-to-mission basis. A specific request for fire overrides the commander's criteria. Extreme care must be used in modifying the execution of the commander's criteria, since their effect on the IFSAS/TACFIRE and FDS solutions influences the outcome of the battle. The parameters involved in establishing the commander's criteria are discussed below.

The supported maneuver commander's intent is used to develop engagement criteria. When given an R mission, the MLRS unit will use the criteria of the reinforced unit's supported maneuver force. When assigned a GSR or GS mission, the MLRS unit will use the criteria of the force headquarters.

Commander's Criteria Modification File

The commander's modification file consists of multiple segments listed below, however. only the maximum rockets (MAXRKTS) and the effects cutoff factor (ECOF) can be directly influenced at the FDS. All other files are modified at the servicing IFSAS/TACFIRE.

Ignore Ammunition

The IGAMMO (ignore ammunition) modification directs the computer to select units to fire regardless of the ammunition on hand. This keeps a fire unit from being excluded solely on the basis of not having the required ammunition. When IGAMMO is in effect, the controlled supply rates are violated, since all ammo constraints are ignored. Fire planners use IGAMMO in the fire planning modifications when planning future fires to determine ammo requirements Usually, IGAMMO is not used for current TFC operations.

Maximum Rockets

The commander can limit the number of volleys that a fire unit or weapon type may fire against a single target or target type. MAXRKTS is specified for each weapon type and applies to each fire unit with that weapon. The lower the MAXRKTS, the more fire units the computer must select to achieve the required volleys or desired effects on a target. If not specified for a particular weapon type, MAXRKTS defaults to six rockets.

Fire Unit Selection

The commander can assign an ordering number for each battalion and each fire unit within a battalion. He must be careful when ordering fire units, because the one ordered first will always be chosen before others. Therefore, it is recommended that all units be ordered equally. Fire units can then be selected on the basis of busy status, frequency of assignment, and the order entered into the ammunition and fire unit (AFU) file.

Exclusions

A commander can exclude fire units, weapon types, shells, or fuzes from consideration during TFC. The MLRS FDS can exclude a fire unit for a specific fire plan only.

Attack Methods

The attack methods table in the computer defaults to a desired effects value of 10 percent for M77 DPICM effects-type targets, except ARTY/POS and personnel type targets within a degree of protection (DOP) of PRONE, PRAND, and DUGIN, which all default to 30%. Default value for Army TACMS is 30 percent. An MLRS standard volleys factor (SVF) of six is the default for all volleys targets. The commander can override the attack criteria for each target type and can specify an SVF for an effects target. However, he cannot specify desired effects for a volleys target. For a volleys target, the SVF works with the volleys size factor (VSF) to generate the computer recommendation for the total number of volleys to fire on the target. The FDS or IFSAS/TACFIRE operator can override attack criteria by assigning the number of volleys to fire on the target on a mission-to-mission basis for either effects or volleys targets. Effects processing for MLRS targets is performed by battalion, battery, and platoon FDS--not by IFSAS.

Munition Selection Matrix

Table 5-4 gives the fire planner a matrix for determining the best MLRS munition with which to defeat a target.

Effects Cutoff Factor

The ECOF is a value that limits the ammo expenditures on effects targets. It specifies the minimum percentage of effects that the commander considers acceptable on a Fire Mission. The ECOF is always entered into the computer in tenths of 1 percent. For example, an entry of 20 specifies an ECOF of 2.0 percent. The above information applies to both TACFIRE, IFSAS, and the MLRS FDS/FDDM; however, each computer processes ECOF in a different way. The MLRS ECOF processing procedures are discussed in the next two paragraphs.

The MLRS FDS begins effects processing with one round specified for the target. Then it adds one round at a time. comparing the effects of the second and subsequent rounds to the ECOF to ensure the ECOF has been achieved. The computer stops processing effects when an increase of one round fired on the target does not provide an increase in effects equal to or greater than the ECOF value. The comparison starts with the first round added, or the second round. It is, therefore, possible to receive a computer solution of one round to be fired on an effects target. This is enough for personnel in the open, but it certainly would be ineffective on an armored target. The ECOF may be changed as the situation changes. However, in general, for hard targets, the MLRS ECOF should not be greater than 0.5 percent; 0.2 percent is preferred. This gives the commander more flexibility in employing his MLRS fires. If ammo availability becomes a problem, the commander can decrease the ECOF, restrict the use of MLRS to certain target types, specific all MLRS targets be treated as volleys targets, or do any combination of the above.

The ECOF is part of the MLRS setup process. The initial MLRS ECOF is included in the OPORD. Subsequent changes to the ECOF can be sent to the MLRS unit by courier or by secure radio (voice or data).

MLRS Size

If the TACFIRE/IFSAS AFU file contains MLRS fire units, the computer considers those units first to engage a target when the target radius exceeds the size entered in the MLRSIZ (MLRS size) modification.

Target Criteria

Another consideration for assigning targets to MLRS units is the possibility of TACFIRE/IFSAS or the FDS rejecting the target because of size or target type. It is very important that commanders and, in particular, FSE personnel and TACFIRE/IFSAS operators be thoroughly familiar with MLRS target criteria.

MLRS Fire Plan Processing

Current IFSAS and LTACFIRE software can perform effects processing for all MLRS munitions. For munitions other than M77 DPICM, IFSAS (and FDS) must have the supporting weapon's descriptor file in the data base to calculate effects.

On-call schedules for MLRS support should be requested no less than 30 minutes before desired fire support. This rule is based on the reaction time required by the MLRS FDS and the average fire mission cycle of 20 to 30 minutes. Included are receiving the fire mission, reloading, and moving to the firing point or hide area.

Depending on the time between missions in a single fire plan, launchers can fire, reload, and fire again. (From 20 to 45 minutes may be required for a launcher to reload and be ready for another mission.) Depending on the number of rockets required for each mission, launchers can fire one mission, move to another FP, and fire again. In the case of a rapid fire plan and large fire volumes, no single launcher should be given more than one target per fire plan, for a maximum of nine targets per battery. When the situation warrants, batteries can be given up to three targets per launcher. (This factor is based on the launcher capability to store three missions. Any number of targets over 27 would require processing by the FDS during the execution portion of the fire plan.) However, firing multiple missions from a single launcher during a rapid schedule may require launchers to remain on the same FP for an extended time. During this exposure, launchers become extremely vulnerable to counterfire.

The total rockets in the plan should not exceed 72 (6 launchers x 12 rockets each) and cannot exceed 108 (9 launchers x 12 rockets each). The number of rockets per target depends on target size and type. Schedules of fire must be coordinated with the operations officer so he can manage launcher posture and/or response time. The fire planner must have an accurate picture of launcher status. Because of maintenance, personnel, and other factors, a "rule of thumb" is to plan fires for no more than six launchers at one time. If a surge condition arises, the unit can be tasked to provide a higher number. If all available launchers fire on a schedule, temporary loss of a FS asset (20 to 45 minutes) can be expected while the launchers move to reload points, reload, and return to firing points.

In anticipation of future operations, the FSE can transmit posture information (see above), directing the munitions to be available within a specified time frame. This posture information can be stored in the data base at battalion, battery, and platoon.

Reacting to Fire Plan Changes

The NNFP function, for all IFSAS-based systems, does not lend itself to change. If last minute changes are anticipated to planned targets, then the FDC has several options based on anticipated reaction time to changes (see Table 5-5).

Resource Limitations

If the numbers of targets are excessive or the available launchers are limited, units can take advantage of the multiple fire mission sequence capability. The multiple fire mission sequence allows the launcher to fire two or more missions without stowing the launcher. If a battery, for instance, received eight targets to engage, it may commit less than eight launchers. Initiating the multiple fire mission sequence requires the assignment of two targets to the same firing point identifier. When this occurs, the FCS recognizes it as a multiple fire mission. If the method of fire control is FWR, the launcher will automatically lay on and fire the second target without a second SAFE, ARM or FIRE command. If another method of fire control is specified for the second target, the FCS will lay on the second target, then prompt the crew to SAFE the rockets. The FCS will then prompt the crew to ARM and FIRE IAW the specified method of control.



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