Combat support is used to enhance the combat power of the maneuver companies. Combat support elements may be organic or nonorganic. They can conduct a variety of missions in providing indirect and direct fire support, security, intelligence, and maneuver and fire control.
7-1. Intelligence support.
a. The success or failure of a ranger mission often depends on the accuracy, detail, and timeliness of intelligence information. Both deliberate and quick-response missions need specific information that can be obtained only by a multidiscipline collection and analysis agency. An active interface with all levels of the intelligence system helps get the needed information quickly.
b. The theater or JTF commander is responsible for providing intelligence support. The 1st SOCOM also provides information and analyzed intelligence to the ranger force commander. The main source of processed intelligence is the Echelons Above Corps Intelligence Center (EACIC), similar to the division level military intelligence (MI) all-source production center (ASPC). The EACIC provides intelligence, security, and electronic warfare (EW) interfaces (see Figure 7-1). It is through the EACIC that ranger commanders can request support from national, joint, combined, or CONUS intelligence analysis systems.
Figure 7-1. Intelligence at echelons above corps.
c. Intelligence requirements for ranger operations are unique, highly sensitive, and compartmented. The intelligence officer of the 1st SOCOM and the appropriate 1st SOCOM regional planning cell coordinate with theater intelligence agencies to provide needed information.
d. The ranger regimental staff and the ranger battalion staff have personnel in their intelligence sections to correlate and analyze information from many sources.
e. The reconnaissance platoon, organic to the ranger regiment, maintains surveillance of the objective area before the insertion of the main ranger force. It reports any last-minute developments that would affect the ground tactical plan. The platoon can also be tasked to determine any mission-specific items of essential information that the ranger force commander needs to complete his plan. This platoon is a highly specialized unit that is reserved for use by the ranger force commander. It is not a HUMINT collection agency for use by the theater or JTF commander. Reconnaissance teams normally link up with the ranger force in the objective area and are extracted with the main body. If this linkup cannot be made, they will exfiltrate enemy territory. They may use escape and evasion nets set up by other special operations forces or Department of Defense (DOD).
f. The ranger regiment normally places a liaison team at the headquarters of the command having OPCOM of a ranger force. This team provides command and control communications and liaison. It puts an intelligence liaison officer (LNO) at the EACIC or the appropriate ASPC (see Figure 7-2). This provides coordination to ensure that the intelligence needs of the ranger force are relayed to the intelligence processing center, and that the analysis is on the specific needs of the ranger force commander. This LNO coordinates with another located at the corps or EAC targeting center. Close coordination between the regiment, the intelligence analysis center, and the targeting center is essential to effective employment.
Figure 7-2. Intelligence source at corps and division.
7-2. Electronic warfare support.
a. Depending on the nature of the target and enemy abilities, a ranger mission may need support from EW units. This is mainly true during insertion. Electronic warfare operations disrupt or destroy the enemy's command and control of his forces and weapons systems, and retain friendly use of the electromagnetic spectrum. Electronic warfare is also used to support deception operations. They mislead the enemy by manipulation, distortion, or falsification of indicators, and persuade him to react in a manner prejudicial to his own interests.
b. Active jamming and chaff dispersal can prevent enemy early-warning radar from detecting the airborne force or determining its route. False transmissions can aid deception plans or feints used to help the ranger force's entry behind enemy lines. Selective jamming and imitative deception can disrupt the enemy command and control nets. This prevents the enemy from reacting to the presence of the ranger force in time to prevent mission accomplishment, or slows and interrupts his deployment of reaction forces.
c. Ranger elements, or other military forces, may conduct closely coordinated direct attacks against enemy EW sites during a ranger force's insertion or extraction. Not only does this reduce the enemy's ability to direct EW against the ranger force command, control, and communication system, but it misleads and confuses the enemy as to the true ranger objective.
d. The JTF or theater commander is responsible for planning the EW program to support a ranger mission. Planning and coordinating elements from the 1st SOCOM may also help. The EW program must be closely coordinated so as not to disrupt friendly air-to-ground or ground-to-ground communications, or to reveal the ranger force intentions.
e. The ranger regimental communications-electronics (CE) officer and those of the ranger battalions ensure that the required coordination concerning jammed frequencies, codes, authentication tables, and so on, is completed. The ranger regimental and battalion operations personnel ensure that the efforts of all EW units are combined to support the ground tactical plan.
7-3. Communications support.
a. Ranger operations are supported by secure long-range, lightweight, real-time, high-frequency (HF), and satellite communications. Effective long-range communications provide command and control links between deployed ranger units and the controlling headquarters. The JTF, ARFOR, or theater commander is responsible for communications between the controlling headquarters and the ranger regiment. The special operations force commander may also provide secure communications terminals to the ranger regiment or a deployed battalion.
b. Secure AM, FM, and SATCOM radios are the primary means of communication within the ranger regiment. Within the ranger battalion, AM and FM radios provide communications to company, platoon, and squad level.
c. During certain missions, specially trained and equipped quickreaction elements (QRE) deploy with the ranger force to provide secure communication links to the special operations force commander. These JCSE elements operate on either SATCOM or tactical satellite terminal (TACSAT) channels or through an airborne communications relay platform (see Figure 7-3). Depending on the mission, an airborne battlefield command and control center (ABCCC) aircraft or a joint airborne communications center/command post (JACC/CP) may be used. Their communications systems can operate at all levels of the national chain of command to permit a quick response to the tasking authority.
Figure 7-3. Airborne communications relay platform.
d. When only one ranger battalion is employed and the regimental headquarters is not the controlling headquarters, the ranger regiment provides a liaison cell to the controlling higher headquarters. This liaison cell includes a communications element from the regimental communications platoon. It can provide secure SATCOM, teletype, and facsimile transmission support to the ranger force in the objective area.
e. If two or more ranger battalions are employed, the ranger regimental headquarters deploys and acts as the command and control headquarters. The regimental communications platoon would then provide another communications link to the special operations force commander.
f. The ranger regimental CE officer ensures that the necessary communications links are set up and coordinated. The many communication means and channels available provide for effective control of a deployed ranger force. However, communication means must be closely coordinated at all levels of command to control the complex operations of a ranger mission. Planning and coordination with supporting aviation, transport, fire support, medical, and logistical elements before an operation are vital to efficient communications. The regimental CE officer must consider the communication systems linking the ranger force and other services. Air-to-ground and ship-to-shore communications are vital and must be set up early in ranger operations.
7-4. Fire support.
(1) The ranger regiment has limited organic fire support assets. The six 60-mm mortars in each ranger battalion (two in each rifle company) provide the only organic indirect fire available to the battalion commander. Each rifle company also has three 90-mm recoilless rifles and three Dragon missile systems that provide a small measure of organic direct fire support.
(2) The missions assigned to the ranger regiment and its subelements normally require fire support from organizations outside of the regiment. To plan, coordinate, and control these fires, the ranger regiment is organized with personnel dedicated to these tasks.
(3) The ranger regimental headquarters has a fire support element consisting of one fire support officer (FSO), two noncommissioned officers, and two fire support specialists. They prepare the fire support annex to the regiment's operation order. They ensure that all available fire support is planned to best support the regimental commander's ground tactical plan. They act as the primary coordinator for all external fire support, such as artillery, armed helicopter, close air support, naval gunfire, and short-range air defense. They also coordinate with each ranger battalion FSO to ensure unity of effort. The fire support element coordinates the efforts of air force, naval, and marine liaison officers when they are attached.
(4) The regimental commander may assign part of the fire support element to a committed ranger battalion as an attachment to help in the integration and planning of fires. The ranger battalions request through the fire support element that more or different fire support means be integrated into the ground tactical plan.
(5) The ranger battalion headquarters has a fire support team headquarters consisting of the battalion's FSO, two noncommissioned officers, and two fire support specialists. The FSO is the prime fire support coordinator for the ranger battalion commander. He maintains coordination with the regimental FSO and any attached fire support coordination elements, such as the USAF tactical air control party or naval shore fire control party. The FSO performs the following:
(a) Advises the ranger battalion commander on all fire support matters.
(b) Recommends allocation of fire support.
(c) Prepares fire support plans.
(d) Assigns target numbers.
(e) Processes target lists from the ranger company fire support teams to eliminate duplication.
(f) Monitors and functions as net control on the ranger battalion fire support coordination (FSCOORD) net.
(g) Reports changes in the status of fire support units to the ranger battalion commander, staff, and FISTS.
(6) When the ranger battalion is operating a single TOC, the FSO and his element are normally located there. When the ranger battalion is operating two TOCS, one TOC is normally manned by the FSO, the fire support sergeant, and a fire support specialist. The senior fire support sergeant and the other fire support specialist would then monitor the FSCOORD net at the other TOC. The FSO ensures that any attached fire support elements also divide when needed to operate in a two-TOC configuration.
(7) The ranger battalion fire support team headquarters has three fire support teams assigned to it. These are normally allocated one to each of the ranger rifle companies. The company FSO and his team--
(a) Locate targets and request and adjust surface-to-surface fire support (mortar, field artillery, and naval gunfire).
(b) Plan fires to support the company ground tactical plan and prepare target lists.
(c) Coordinate fire support requests through the FSO for surface-to-surface and air-to-surface fires.
(d) Report battlefield information.
(e) Control air-to-surface fires of helicopters and prepare to assume control of fires from fixed-wing aircraft.
(f) Coordinate airspace use within the ranger rifle company operational area.
(g) Advise the ranger company commander on all fire support capabilities, limitations, and methods of employment.
(h) Inform all fire support units of target priority changes.
(i) Designate targets for laser-guided munitions.
(j) Assume operational control of, and administrative responsibility for, all augmentation fire support personnel (TACP, shore fire control party, and attack helicopter liaison teams).
(8) The company FSO is normally with the ranger rifle company commander. The FOs and their RATELOs are normally with the ranger rifle platoon leaders.
(1) Coordination of fires is a continuous process. It involves implementing the fire support plans of the ranger force commander and reacting to changing tactical situations. The success of a mission often hinges on how well fires are coordinated during the operation.
(2) The fire support planners within the many echelons of the ranger force become fire support coordinators during the actual execution of the operation. They use standard fire control coordination measures.
c. Organic fire support.
(1) Indirect fires.
(a) The 60-mortars constitute the only organic indirect fire support available within the ranger regiment. The mortar squads in each ranger rifle company normally operate as a section under the control of the mortar section sergeant. However, they can operate alone for short periods.
(b) The 60-mm mortar is used to destroy enemy equipment and light vehicles and to attack enemy personnel. Its main advantage is the ease with which it can be brought into operation against the enemy. This ease of employment allows the ranger force commander to concentrate combat power at the critical time and place. This helps to surprise and destroy the enemy.
(c) Mortar fires are employed by the ranger rifle company commander and coordinated by the company FSO. They are normally requested and adjusted by the FIST observers. The mortars are normally emplaced in a central position, and their fires are controlled by the fire direction center (FDC) using the indirect-fire method. The mortars may also use the direct-alignment or the direct-lay method.
(2) Direct fires.
(a) Each ranger battalion is authorized 90-mm recoilless rifles and Dragon missile launchers. These weapons constitute the heaviest organic direct-fire ability in the regiment. The antitank section in each ranger rifle company may operate as a complete section, but normally individual weapons are assigned throughout the company sector wherever their fires can best support the mission. These weapons can destroy most enemy armored vehicles and can penetrate the flank and rear armor of all enemy main battle tanks. The 90-mm recoilless rifle has a multiple projectile round that is effective against exposed enemy personnel. The HE round is highly effective against buildings and bunkers.
(b) The main disadvantage of direct-fire antiarmor weapons is their weight. These weapons, and their ammunition, are man-portable but place a strain on the unit when moving across rugged terrain.
(c) The ranger battalion is trained in the use of light antiarmor weapons, such as the US M72A2 LAW and the Warsaw Pact rocket-propelled grenade (RPG). The following provide protection for the ranger force against attack by enemy armored forces:
- The employment of light antiarmor weapons at all organizational levels.
- The placement of the 90-mm recoilless rifles or guided-missile systems on the most likely avenues of enemy-armor approach.
- An aggressive, offensively oriented employment.
- The ability to move into and across terrain impassable to armored vehicles.
d. Field artillery fire support.
(1) Many ranger unit operations are out of the range of supporting field artillery fires. Whenever such fires are available, they are planned for and integrated into the ranger force ground tactical plan.
(2) Coordination and exchange of call signs, frequencies, and target lists occur before insertion of the ranger force. Unless required by the tactical situation, ranger units do not normally receive augmentation forward observers from supporting field artillery units. The degree of mental and physical training necessary to execute certain ranger techniques requires more preparation than field artillery units are able to provide. The FIST from the ranger battalion requests and adjusts field artillery fires for the ranger force.
(3) Field artillery fires can be used to support the ranger force even if the objective area is out of range. Field artillery cannon fire and multiple rocket launch system (MRLS) fire can be used to suppress enemy air defenses. This helps the ranger force as it crosses the FEBA during airborne or air assault operations.
(4) Field artillery fires can be used to support the exflltration of ranger elements as they approach friendly lines. These fires can contribute to the deception plan and add combat power to feints used to support ranger operations.
(5) When in range of the objective area, field artillery units can be used to emplace field artillery delivered FASCAM to enhance the security of the ranger force.
(6) Copperhead rounds fired by 155-mm field artillery units can be terminally guided by the ranger FIST forward observers (FOs). They can attack hardened point targets or enemy armored vehicles by using a man-portable laser target designator (see Figure 7-4).
Figure 7-4. AN/PAQ-1 laser target designator.
e. Aerial fires.
(1) Aerial fire support is usually the prime means supporting the ranger force due to the distance behind enemy lines at which most ranger operations take place. Aerial fire support can be provided by either fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters.
(a) Fixed-wing aerial fire support may come from USAF, USN, or USMC units. The type of unit providing support, the aircraft, and the mix of ordnance carried all affect the fire support planning and coordination process. Some aircraft have a night and all-weather strike ability enabling them to support the ranger force during any level of visibility. Operations during poor weather that limits visibility to less than 3 nautical miles are still somewhat restricted. The ranger fire support coordinators must ensure that the correct aircraft are requested and employed effectively on the enemy. The TACP directs and adjusts aerial fires in the objective area.
(b) The ranger force can use ground laser target designators to pinpoint targets for air strikes, as well as electronic navigation aids to permit nonvisual air strikes (beacon bombing). The ranger rifle company FIST or the TACP can control a laser-designated standoff air strike (see Figure 7-5).
Figure 7-5. Standoff air strike.
(c) If the enemy ADA ability is not great or it can be degraded to a low level, the ranger force uses specially equipped and armed AC-130 aircraft (see Figure 7-6) for fire support. These aircraft provide an invaluable combination of firepower, night observation and illumination, communications, and long loiter time. A well-planned and executed suppression of enemy air defense (SEAD) program, coupled with ECM directed against enemy ADA units, normally permits the use of AC-130 aircraft.
Figure 7-6. AC-130 aircraft.
(2) The attack helicopter, armed with a mix of antitank guided missiles (ATGM), 2.75-inch rockets, 20-mm cannon, and 40mm grenade launchers, is accurate and responsive aerial fire support. The ranger force commander plans to use all sources of aerial fire to help accomplish his mission. However, the nature of ranger operations may preclude the extensive use of armed helicopters due to their limitations. Some attack helicopters are limited in range and lack an all-weather ability. They are restricted during operations at night by a lack of sophisticated night vision devices. They may lack the speed to go with the ranger force on some heliborne insertions. Attack helicopters may be used to escort and assist the ranger force as it crosses the FEBA. They may also be used to conduct feints and demonstrations to cover the insertion of the ranger force. As the MV-22 Osprey and the AH-64 Apache enter service, more use will be made of these aircraft to support ranger operations beyond the FERA, (See Figures 7-7 and 7-8).
Figure 7-7. MV-22 Osprey.
Figure 7-8. AH-64 Apache attack helicopter armed with Hellfire missiles.
(a) If attack helicopters are used to support a ranger operation, planned indirect fires are normally delivered along entry and exit corridors. Attack helicopters approach and depart the objective area using nap-of-the-earth flight profiles.
(b) Fires from armed helicopters are normally requested and controlled by the company FSO or one of his FOs, operating on a special ground-to-air net. The laser target designator may be used to precisely identify targets for the AH-64 Apache. Friendly unit locations may be marked by smoke, panels, lights, mirrors, or infrared sources.
f. Naval gunfire.
(1) During amphibious assaults or operations near a coastline, the ranger force may receive indirect fire support from naval gunfire. Normally, a ranger battalion would be supported by either a destroyer or a cruiser in a direct support role. However, the type and importance of the mission, the type of targets, the ships available, the hydrographic conditions, and the enemy capability determine how many and which type of ships are provided to support the ranger force.
(2) Naval gunfire is characterized by large volumes of highly destructive, flat-trajectory fire. Planned strikes in support of the ranger force may also include surface-to-surface missile fire. Some naval guns can fire a laser-guided projectile much like the Copperhead. This projectile, called a Deadeye round, is terminally guided the same as the Copperhead. Deadeyes can be guided either by an attached spotting party from the ANGLICO or by ranger LTD teams.
(3) When ranger units are being supported by naval gunfire, a shore fire control party is attached to the ranger force, This party normally consists of a liaison team and several spotter teams (forward observers). The liaison team is integrated into the operations of the fire support element (FSE) at the ranger battalion TOC. The spotter teams are attached to the ranger rifle companies. The shore fire control party LNO is the ship's representative to the ranger force commander, through the FSO. The spotter teams request and adjust fires from surface vessels. They can also request and control air strikes by carrier-based aircraft.
(4) The LNO and the spotter teams operate in the ground spot net, communicating with the ship by high frequency (HF) radio to request and adjust naval gunfire. The spotter teams communicate with the LNO using very high frequency (VHF) radios. The LNO also can communicate with aircraft using ultrahigh frequency (UHF) radios.
(5) Coordination and control measures that apply to naval gunfire are the same as for field artillery, with the addition of two terms, which are:
(a) Fire support area (FSA)--a sea area within which a ship may position or cruise while firing in support. It is labeled as FSA and numbered by a Roman numeral - for example, FSA VII.
(b) Fire support station (FSS)--a specified position at sea from which a ship must fire. This is very restrictive positioning guidance. It is labeled as FSS with a Roman numeral--for example, FSS VII.
g. Air defense artillery.
(1) Army air defense artillery units are rarely used to directly support the ranger force since ranger operations normally take place deep behind enemy lines. However, it is possible that during the insertion or extraction phase of an operation, ADA units may support the ranger force as it crosses the FEBA.
(2) The ranger regiment's fire coordination element and the FSO in the ranger battalion are mainly concerned with adequate coordination of ADA fires. This prevents friendly units from being engaged. It allows the integration of ADA fires into the scheme of maneuver. The fire support planners ensure that enough coordination has been made so that ADA units are aware of the ranger force and know enough about its flight paths, routes, and altitudes to prevent engagement by friendly units. When conducting this coordination, care must be taken to pass only needed information to the ADA unit. To aid coordination, an ADA officer may be attached to the ranger force.
(3) The plan for a heliborne or airborne insertion and extraction of the ranger force must include the correct identification-friend-or-foe (IFF) codes, the flight profiles, the times of FEBA crossings, and the estimated number of aircraft making the crossing. There must also be a plan for crossing by straggler aircraft and battle-damaged aircraft that cannot reply to IFF interrogation. If possible, the routes selected should avoid concentrations of friendly ADA units.
(4) During an aerial crossing of the FEBA by a ranger force, the regimental headquarters may assign a liaison officer to the headquarters controlling the ADA fires in the crossing area. The LNO is then responsible for close and continual coordination. This ensures that the crossing is made without friendly ADA units engaging the ranger force while it is exiting or entering friendly lines.
(5) During ranger operations, the primary source of air defense fires is shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles carried by specially trained individual rangers. These weapons provide the ranger force commander a limited defense against attack by enemy aircraft. The decision to take these weapons into the objective area depends on the factors of METT-T. Ranger operations should be completed before the enemy can react with ground forces. However, enemy aircraft may be able to react in time to threaten the ranger force. These lightweight missiles offer a highly effective, short-range counter to enemy air attack.
(6) The ranger force commander must define the weapons control status and rules of engagement for all short-range air defense (SHORAD) teams under his control. Priorities of target engagement must also be determined to prevent multiple engagements of a single enemy aircraft. The ranger battalion FSO and the attached ADA officer are responsible for the coordination of ADA fires within the objective area. Standard ADA weapons-control status and rules of engagement may be modified by the ranger force command.
7-5. Aviation support.
(1) The ranger regiment may need extensive aviation support on some missions. The ranger battalion is organized and trained to move quickly to the objective area by air and to be resupplied by airdrop for short periods.
(2) Often the decision to execute a mission depends on the amount and type of available insertion and extraction aviation support. Normally, the theater commander or JTF commander allocates the type and amount of aviation assets to support a ranger operation. The theater or JTF commander's staff is responsible for the planning and coordination concerning aviation support. The ranger force commander must play an active part to ensure mission success.
(3) Due to the extensive training requirements and specialized operational techniques needed to support special operations, special air operations units in the Army and the USAF have been equipped and trained for the mission. These forces train with the ranger regiment and jointly develop tactics, techniques, and procedures of employment. These special units operate diverse aircraft that have unique capabilities. These help the ranger force commander to effectively employ his units. Command of these special units is maintained at a very high level in the chain of command. They are assigned to support a specific operation. Then they return to their parent unit's control.
b. Coordination. In addition to the staff of the theater commander or JTF commander, the coordination of aviation support occurs at all levels in the ranger force. These operations often are conducted in phases. A separate air mission commander is then designated. The AMC is responsible for the completion of each phase of the aviation mission, as well as the close and continuous coordination with the ranger force, commander. The ranger regimental air operations officer and the movements control officer are responsible for the planning, integrating, and controlling of aviation support.
c. US Air Force.
(1) The USAF provides special aviation support to the ranger regiment and other elements of the special operations force. The USAF has elements that are equipped with MC-130 Combat Talon aircraft (see Figure 7-9) and AC-130 Spectre gunships, as well as HH-53 Pave Low, UH-60, and UH-1 helicopters. These aircraft are specially equipped to conduct long-range infiltration, exfiltration, attack, and search-and rescue operations. The USAF also provides C-141B and C-130 aircraft for strategic and tactical airlift of the ranger force. There are specially trained USAF crews that can operate using AWADS and SKE. This gives them an excellent means of inserting the ranger force during reduced visibility.
Figure 7-9. MC-130 Combat Talon aircraft.
(2) The AFFOR commander provides the airlift control element (ALCE) support at the departure airfield. The ranger air operations officer ensures that coordination of aircraft load limits, air movement times, specific load plans, and manifests is conducted in an effective and timely manner. The air operations officer and the movements control officer ensure that a departure airfield control officer (DACO) from the deploying unit is designated to provide face-to-face coordination at the departure airfield.
(3) The USAF normally provides an airborne battle command and control craft. This is a specially equipped C-130-type aircraft that provides communications and data system down-links to ground stations.
(4) The terminal guidance needed for assault landings and air traffic control in the objective area is provided by a specially trained and equipped CCT. This element has habitual training and operations relationships with the ranger units. The USAF is also responsible for the specially trained and equipped weather teams that can be sent into the objective area with the CCT.
(5) The USAF Tactical Air Command (TAC) includes fighter, interceptor, ground attack, electronic countermeasure, early warning, reconnaissance, and airborne command and control squadrons, any of which may be used to support the ranger force. The Tactical Air Command provides the results of aerial reconnaissance to the AFFOR, who then processes it for use by the theater or JTF commander's staff. This reconnaissance may be by low-level photo, imaging infrared, side-looking airborne radar (SLAR), low-light-level television, or overhead photography.
(6) The Military Airlift Command (MAC) equips and trains special long-range SAR aircraft and crews. These aircraft, mainly helicopters, are equipped with sophisticated navigation, observation, and communications equipment, as well as extended-range fuel tanks and in-flight refueling capabilities (see Figure 7-10). The ranger regiment uses these aircraft for certain missions.
Figure 7-10. In-flight refueling.
d. US Navy and US Marine Corps. Both the USN and the USMC have units equipped and trained to support ground forces. The type of aviation support normally provided to the ranger regiment is close air support against targets in the objective area, or as suppression missions against enemy air defense installations. Long-range helicopters from the USMC may be used to support an amphibious operation or to insert special teams during ranger operations. The USN also has a search-and-rescue ability that may be used to support the ranger regiment.
e. Special operations aviation units.
(1) The US Army has specially equipped and trained SOA units tasked to support the ranger regiment, as well as other elements of the special operations force. These SOA units have a habitual training association with the ranger regiment and use dedicated aviation assets to -
(a) Insert, extract, and resupply the special operations force.
(b) Conduct armed escort, reconnaissance, surveillance, and electronic warfare in support of the special operations force missions.
(c) Provide airborne command, control, and communications for special operations force elements.
(d) Provide general support aviation during peacetime and contingency operations.
(2) Penetration of enemy airspace is normally done during limited visibility at very low altitudes. Penetrations are planned to maximize the use of existing terrain and exploit blind spots in enemy air defenses. On-board navigational aids are crucial to mission success. There normally is not any terminal guidance to the selected LZ or DZ. Deception operations of a tactical or operational nature help SOA units penetrate to the objective and reenter friendly lines. Advanced helicopters and short-takeoff-and-landing aircraft provide the help needed to do these missions.
(3) To survive enemy air defense systems and prevent mission compromise, SOA units avoid detection. Detected aircraft may reveal the location of supported special operations force ground forces or may be destroyed by enemy ADA fires. The SOA normally avoids detection by operating at night without illumination. This condition requires flight using sophisticated night vision devices. The SOA also operates in other conditions of reduced visibility, such as clouds, fog, rain, snow, smoke, and dust storms.
(4) Before an operation, the ranger force commander may need to place reconnaissance teams near the objective. Army SOA assets can be used to transport ranger reconnaissance teams.
(5) Elements of SOA provide the ranger regiment with short and intermediate range penetration, resupply, and extraction capabilities. Long-range aircraft must be provided from USAF special operations assets.
(6) The ranger regimental or battalion commander is normally provided a liaison aircraft while the ranger force is in the REMAB. This ensures that he can travel quickly to the dispersed headquarters of the agencies providing support for the mission. This aircraft and crew are provided by the theater or JTF commander from EAC general support aviation assets. It may be a helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft, depending on the location of the REMAB to a suitable landing field.
(7) Army helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft may be used to provide SEMA aerial reconnaissance; radar, infrared and photographic imagery; and electronic intelligence support to the ranger force commander. This support is normally provided by the aerial exploitation battalion of the theater Army military intelligence group.
7-6. Engineer support.
a. The ranger regimental and battalion operations officers plan and request engineer support for ranger operations.
b. The most common engineer-type tasks needed during a ranger operation are the destruction of enemy facilities, equipment, and material by use of conventional explosives; and the interdiction of major lines of communication. To reduce the need for external support, the ranger regiment trains selected individuals in advanced demolition techniques. All members of the ranger regiment are well trained in the basic employment of conventional demolitions. Therefore, there is no need to attach combat engineers to conduct normal demolition missions. If specialized skill or knowledge is needed for a specific mission, qualified personnel can be attached.
c. During the occupation of the REMAB and the rehearsal for an operation, the ranger regiment needs construction engineer support to build simulated target areas. The simulated target areas should be camouflaged to prevent the enemy from recognizing the target. The construction engineers augment the ranger unit's self-help construction efforts. Limited-facilities construction and improvement may also be needed at the REMAB to provide security and isolation. The theater commander or JTF commander provides the construction engineer support.
d. Certain missions, such as those of interdiction, may need engineer special weapons teams. The teams are provided by the theater commander or JTF commander, or they may come from other special operations force assets. They are attached to the ranger force for a specific mission and released at the completion of the extraction and debriefing phase.
e. Some operations may need the ranger force to use captured enemy heavy construction equipment. Selected members of the ranger regiment are trained to operate such equipment. However, construction engineer personnel may be attached to the ranger force for this mission.
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