Field Manual 100-5 states that ASSLT infantry units have great tactical and operational mobility. They train to fight across the range of military operations.
Air assault infantry units' significant antiarmor capability, AASLT artillery, and attack and lift aviation, joined with their strategic deployability, makes them particularly well-suited as an early deploying force in contingency operations against heavy forces. They can penetrate deep into enemy territory to cut LOCs, seize airfields, destroy C2 nodes, block reinforcing units, or seize key terrain. Because of their agility and mobility, AASSLT infantry units are also well-suited for covering force operations.
The purpose of deep operations is to deny the enemy freedom of action and to disrupt or destroy the coherence and tempo of his operations. Deep operations can also isolate the close battle by preventing the enemy from concentrating his forces. Its depth expands the battlefield in time, space, and resources.
Attacking enemy formations in depth destroys, delays, disrupts, or diverts enemy combat capability. Simultaneous attacks in depth cause confusion, destruction, and demoralization.
Going deep characterizes AASLT operations. Regardless of the overall situation, offensive or defensive, AASLT commanders look for opportunities to go as far behind hostile forward forces as possible to attack key enemy ground forces, command facilities, logistic areas, and/or AD systems.
Synchronizing simultaneous attacks in depth requires commanders and staffs to think in terms of commander's intent, battle space, time, and operational capabilities. For future operations, divisions consider each of these dimensions beyond the deep, close, and rear framework of previous doctrine.
Division deep operations include tactical activities directed against enemy forces not in contact. The division commander must envision his battle space as his personal domain. Battle space is the physical volume determined by a commander's capability to acquire and dominate the enemy. He does so by reviewing the corps or JTF commander's intent and concept of how the corps or JTF will fight the battle.
The corps or JTF commander envisions a series of smaller battles where subordinate divisions defeat and destroy the enemy piecemeal. The corps or JTF commander articulates this vision as an implicit contract with division commanders as to what they must do, a concept of time or events, and how the corps or JTF creates favorable battlefield conditions for divisions to defeat enemy forces. He sees a combination of simultaneous operations, a series of division battles by time or event windows, locations in depth, combat power ratios, and specific desired results. Units use deep operations to influence enemy forces so divisions can destroy them.
The division commander envisions the battlefield in terms of depth and time to develop simultaneous operations via a series of engagements for brigade-level units. He develops a deep operations plan to conduct simultaneous operations in depth.
Deep operations normally impact close operations. (See the deep attack synchronization matrix in Figure 8-1.) To ensure an effective system, the commander and G3 plan, control, and synchronize deep operations. The G3 is the primary staff officer responsible for deep operations. He tasks fire support and intelligence BOS targeting and execution.
Destruction of enemy forces in the deep operation is not always the intent and is difficult to achieve because it requires massive resources. However, lethality of ICMs in an air superiority environment make destruction possible.
Limiting enemy movements is an asset-intensive goal requiring significant reinforced terrain obstacles. Therefore, disruption is probably the most realistic goal. Disruption reduces the enemy's correlation of forces by desynchronizing or delaying subordinate elements.
The commander cannot just target a unit for destruction or specify an unreasonable delay period. Deep operations include the cumulative effects of many different actions on the enemy.
Tangible actions include attrition, destruction, and delay of combat formations that generally alter combat force ratios. Intangible actions alter combat power multipliers by degrading or disrupting enemy cohesion, synchronization, massing, sustainment, or control.
The division plans and directs deep operations, such as AI, deception, PSYOP, EW, direct-action SOFs, counterfire, complementary SEAD, and maneuver within the close battle. They produce effects at specific points of attack, counterattack, or defense.
Deep operations are not continuous, nor do units sustain deep operations at constant levels of effort. Planning for deep operations is a continuous process.
Units develop deep operations to achieve specific results based on METT-T. Units schedule limited assets to support deep and close operations execution.
Close operations should never totally depend on the results of deep operations. The effect of deep operations on combat power ratios is a key factor in determining when and where to accept or initiate decisive close battle. The unit conducting deep operations creates favorable conditions before risking potential critical losses in decisive close battle.
The commander develops his deep operations concept when war-gaming COAs. Either echelon may reserve specific targets or missions as deep operations. Examples are counterfire against specific artillery echelons or mission-capable units, or counterfire into one specific area, reserve units, and division C2 facilities.
Units may also attack specific targets reserved by type anywhere on the battlefield when a unit reserves these targets. However, the unit must identify these targets by means other than map reconnaissance.
The commander makes the decision to fire on templated locations while war-gaming. Units reduce risk when the target is under surveillance by HUMINT or SIGINT sources.
Corps deep operations normally--
The division normally--
The AASLT division can conduct large-scale, deep operations over time. Because of this unique capability, the AASLT division plans large operations to support deep operations to support a corps or JTF scheme of maneuver.
The AASLT division uses a "decide, set-the-conditions, execute" methodology for planning deep operations and a "decide, detect, track, deliver, and assess" methodology for deep targeting (Figure 8-3). The result is an effective, division-controlled, brigade-scale deep operation.
Commanders state desired damages (destroy, suppress, or neutralize) and associate them with enemy units to achieve desired results. Targeting teams use this targeting guidance to evaluate targets according to attack criteria.
Direct attacks attrit enemy combat forces. Indirect attacks attrit assets, facilities, or systems which support enemy forces.
Evaluation begins with the development of the HPTL. The targeting team matches systems to the detection means and target effects.
The targeting team is a fill-time organization. The commander is present for planning and war-gaming. The members are readily available during the operation.
The team functions as a fill-time decide, detect, track, deliver, and assess targeting team. They develop the decide phase and control the execution of the detect and track, deliver, and assess phases by subordinate and supporting units or headquarters.
The G3, G2, and DFSCOORD and/or assistant division or corps aviation officer continuously monitor the current battle, deep operations BDA results, intelligence assessments, and sequel mission requirements. The G3 issues FRAGOs to change decide guidance or to provide new guidance when required.
The G2 is the principal controller for the detect and track and assess phases. The DFSCOORD is the principal controller and coordinator for technical planning and the tasking of the deliver plan and for executing long-range fires (including USAF missions). The aviation brigade commander is the principal controller and coordinator for technical planning and the tasking of the deliver plan and execution by aviation assets (Figure 8-4).
Cross-FLOT operations encompass the highest risk of combat missions--making it through enemy lines and going deep with the intention of staying. The AASLT division offers the corps or JTF commander a force that conducts raids and air assaults in great depth. To go deep, the AASLT division works through three sequential steps: deciding, setting conditions, and executing.
Deciding the deep operation's mission comes first. The task is offensive in nature, revolving around seizure of key terrain or defeat of a specific opposing formation. Deep attacks usually aim to interdict enemy LOCs, block enemy reinforcements, destroy crucial service support facilities and CPs, or cut off withdrawals.
When formulating a deep mission, planners constantly consider the degree of risk to friendly forces. By their nature, cross-FLOT operations present soldiers with a "win big/lose big" proposition.
A successful deep operation might decide the entire campaign. On the other hand, a brigade that goes deep may well be cut off and lost forever. Every cross-FLOT operation risks the prospect of thousands of soldiers dead, wounded, and missing in a single night.
With its mission and the higher HQs' mission or intent in hand and risks assessed, the division designs a proposed concept and designates CCIR that support the concept. These are the products of the decision phase. The division commander determines if the mission justifies a raid or an air assault and how much force to commit.
Deep operation division CCIR reflect and summarize conditions the division sets. The CCIR is a guide for setting conditions.
As operations continue, the division adjusts CCIR. The division may not fulfill or reliably satisfy all CCIR. Such gaps and uncertainties increase the degree of risk.
The division may make a good mission decision based on only a map and intuition. But the best decision will not hold up unless the division, and sometimes the corps or JTF, works hard to set the conditions for victory.
Setting conditions involves combat operations, including deception operations and all types of raids and perhaps even battalion-scale air assaults. Thoroughness reduces risks and increases opportunities for a decisive cross-FLOT success.
With aggressiveness and some luck, condition-setting operations can defeat the enemy before the actual raid or air assault. The division adjusts the mission's final scale, composition, and destination based on conditions set for it.
Battlefield operating systems receive attention to prepare for successful cross-FLOT missions. Intelligence, fire support, C2, CSS, and maneuver demand extraordinarv interest as the division works to answer the CCIR and to set conditions for battle.
Intelligence rightly holds primacy. Air assault forces planning to go deep need to find out five things about the foe:
1. They look for the enemy's AD array, which can destroy deep aviation operations.
2. They try to pinpoint hostile artillery.
3. Intelligence experts search for the opponent's C2 nodes and networks.
4. The division locates enemy maneuver-defending forces on or near prospective LZs.
5. Intelligence sections identify those mobile reserves in position to threaten deep maneuver forces.
All of these efforts validate the detailed IPB situation template through steady collection work by aviators, long-range scouts, electronic scanners target-acquisition detachments, and national assets. Deep targeting means, such as JSTARS, UAVs, and SOF, prove especially helpful for far-ranging AASLT forces. The desired outcome is a reliable picture of the threat, including a reasonable basis for assessing damage inflicted by preoperation fires.
Compiling accurate BDA data creates a tremendous challenge for intelligence analysts. Intelligence elements employ every means possible to verify target kills and to adjust the number of remaining enemy ADA weapons, artillery tubes, or tanks to clarify the CCIR. Particularly good sources include TACAIR and Army aviation gun camera videotapes, UAV videotapes, reports from SOF and LRSTs, and overhead aerial and space imagery.
Order of battle specialists should also remain alert to overall enemy patterns of activity, such as dramatic reductions in hostile artillery barrages or ADA fires, which could indicate breakdowns in these complex coordinated systems. Even in the best of circumstances, the BDA may simply offer a veneer of numerical certainty over otherwise more subjective estimates.
Fire support destroys and suppresses what intelligence finds. Air assault forces rely heavily on supporting JFACC sorties to strike far beyond the FLOT. TACAIR, Army attack aviation, reinforcing corps artillery (particularly MLRS batteries) combine with organic artillery, artillery raids, and electronic jamming to destroy key components in the enemy's AD grid.
SEAD is paramount. Lethal friendly artillery fires suppress, neutralize, and destroy known and suspected threat AD weapons and affiliated warning posts and CPs.
Nonlethal friendly EW aircraft (such as the EH60A Quick Fix IIB aerial jammer) contribute to SEAD programs. Air Force, Navy, and Marine flak-suppression and EW aircraft combine to defeat enemy AD along flight routes and near LZs.
The division routinely plans and executes SEAD or JSEAD along multiple air routes to provide options and help confuse the enemy. SEAD and JSEAD provide the capability to cross the FLOT.
Once the division opens the enemy's ADA umbrella, fire support concentrates on freeing Army attack aviation to operate in the opposition's rear areas. Night-capable AHBs excel in identifying and destroying enemy AD positions, artillery units, headquarters, and vehicle parks.
Command and control of an AASLT operation undergoes its greatest test during condition-setting. Substantial intelligence and fire support means, including aviation and maneuver battalions fighting for combat information or battling enemy gunners, are already deep. Yet, the main effort remains 90 miles distant, waiting to go.
Micromanaging all of the moving pieces in an AASLT operation cannot happen. Command solutions include mission orders, detailed rehearsals and backbriefs, and most important, mutual trust based on shared experiences and an open command climate.
Control includes a reliance on a few simple but accurate reports twice a day, well-disseminated procedural controls for congested airspace, and smart use of available HF and satellite communications. For cross-FLOT missions, success in the C2 system amounts to centralized planning and decentralized execution.
Combat service support feeds the ravenous intelligence and fire support efforts to sustain the pressure. Logisticians also echelon their elements to project support forward 90 miles along tenuous air lines of communications (ALOCs).
Planners in the DISCOM designate tailored, multifunctional forward logistic elements (FLEs) to accompany the AASLT brigade into initial LZs. Follow-on aviation lifts build this austere logistic assault base into a full-blown FLB capable of servicing and sending forth additional AASLT and attack aviation raids.
Ideally, a ground supply route opens within 72 hours of the landing. This becomes the primary LOC.
The struggle to man, arm, fuel, fix, and sustain soldiers and systems, once won, underwrites the success of both condition-setting and execution phases. Setting up sound deep logistics is an absolute necessity; it has to work, or nothing flies.
The division may commit maneuver forces to rear operations to defend vulnerable aviation avenues of approach, refueling sites, and ammunition dumps. Aggressive rear operations eliminate enemy stay-behinds and infiltrators and allow air assaults and raids to proceed unhampered by the enemy's corresponding deep efforts. Because of the limitations of assault aviation's lift capacity, it cannot simultaneously commit all AATFs to cross-FLOT operations. There are always some forces available to carry out rear operations.
Even with a sound decision and the battlefield shaped for decisive action, executing an effective deep operation is difficult. It demands a rapidly increasing series of targeted blows that peak at H-Hour--aircraft touch-down time. A raid employs most of these same techniques except that attack aviation raids do not insert ground troops.
In air assaults or raids, attack aviation plays a featured role. Having set the conditions to go deep, attack units proceed to enforce the isolation of objective areas, developing a double-ringed aerial cordon around LZs. The cordon includes the following:
Decision and condition-setting phases may last many days, but an AASLT division can operate at a much quicker tempo--one of its true strengths. Any modern Army or Marine Corps division may mount an AASLT operation during combat. However, they will probably not conduct frequent, large-scale AASLT operations and almost certainly will not conduct them every 24 hours. An AASLT division can conduct large-scale (brigade-size) AASLT operations every 24 hours.
During continuous operations, the AASLT division, each of the three maneuver brigades, and the aviation brigade, should expect to be working a distinct part of the three-step, cross-FLOT process. Each step takes about 24 hours.
The result is a brigade AASLT or aviation brigade attack operation from about 48 to 72 hours after the decision process begins (Figure 8-5). It is not unusual to have all three maneuver brigades and the aviation brigade working through different segments of the deep operations process. Each brigade's current phase sets up the next one's future actions.
The AASLT division conducts two principal types of deep operations: raids and air assaults. While the division may conduct raids independently, air assaults often include raiding missions as subtasks in the overall operation.
Raids aim at destroying enemy forces. They envision ingress and egress from EAs, LZs, or objectives with no intention of leaving behind units on the ground. Most typically, the division employs attack aviation raids to destroy enemy forces in EAs.
The division may order an artillery raid using medium assault aviation assets to emplace a battery, fire a particular high-payoff mission, and then extract the battery. Finally, the division may execute rifle company raids or even infantry battalion raids to destroy especially critical targets, such as enemy CPs or logistic facilities. The AASLT division raids in company through brigade strength.
The AASLT division conducts operations to destroy enemy forces, secure key terrain, or both, that require insertion of a combined-arms force that expects to stay and fight. The AASLT division can conduct air assaults for three purposes:
1. To secure critical geographic choke points to assist friendly ground maneuver or to block enemy movements.
2. To destroy enemy forces located in and around the objective.
3. To establish an FOB for future raids and air assaults.
The AASLT division conducts raids cross-FLOT to destroy enemy forces. Raids also confuse and deceive the enemy by distracting his attention from a concurrent main effort.
Raids require detailed planning to increase chances for success. The division raids daily while in combat, often to establish conditions for air assaults.
Divisions and corps execute deep operations using a variety of forces and systems, including EW, long-range fires, Army aviation, and Air Force AI. Because of its speed, survivability, and destructive capability, AI paces day-to-day deep operations. But, because of the long planning times associated with USAF sorties, Army aviation offers a viable alternative or addition to AI.
Army attack helicopters strike deep during simultaneous operations to overwhelm enemy forces and to make the enemy react to simultaneous multiple attacks, causing him to break his tempo and hastening his defeat. In the AASLT division, Army attack helicopters independently raid to destroy enemy forces or as part of a larger operation to set the conditions for future operations. Attack helicopters may raid in brigade or battalion strength, typically under aviation brigade command.
The AASLT division controls division-level deep operations, but they require close coordination between all involved service components and all interested commands (corps or JTF through the lowest headquarters). This assures that deep operations plans support the overall concept and that different commands do not duplicate or impede each other. Corps aviation operations, for example, may aim at the same or similar deep EAs unless deconflicted.
The detailed planning, preparation, and coordination necessary for a successful attack aviation raid requires a well-defined task list at each level of command. This task breakdown reduces duplication of effort and prevents fratricide.
Finding enemy ADA elements and likely EA targets drives preparations for a deep aviation raid. The IPB identifies likely threat ADA positions, then collectors verify this template. The IPB also projects the likely target array in the chosen EAs, so the G3 and attacking commanders can adjust the plan as needed to accomplish the raid's objectives.
Before the G2 develops a collection plan and directs division collection activities, he must know the commander's PIR, which include a subset of the CCIR and ADA templates. Integrating information received by all collection assets, used with the IPB process, enables the division commander to decide when, where, and how to deliver combat power to the most decisive deep locations. Effective coordination must occur within the elements of the division targeting cell, between division and corps targeting cells, as well as between division and subordinate commands' collection means and operations sections.
The IPB process provides likely hostile ADA targets for the division's suppression programs. The division ensures that DIVARTY, the aviation brigade, and division staff elements conduct SEAD planning for all cross-FLOT operations, but it deserves special attention in aviation raids. These missions often initiate attempts to penetrate enemy ADA umbrellas, and so may pay an extra penalty for leading the way if SEAD efforts fall short of expectations.
During a cross-FLOT raid SEAD occurs with redundant systems at various operational levels. Corps and USAF assets execute collateral SEAD against acquirable enemy AD systems in support of USAF operations. The corps may order division assets to join this effort.
Localized SEAD supports USAF air support, AH, and AASLT operations. Cross-FLOT operations depend on localized SEAD.
Suppression begins before aircraft arrive and continues as long as aircraft are in range of enemy ADA systems. Complementary SEAD operations continuously seek enemy AD systems and attack to destroy or track these systems as collectors locate them.
The division aviation brigade, supported by appropriately tasked artillery and USAF sorties, plans, prepares, and executes SEAD or JSEAD in support of its operations. The division commander and staff synchronize SEAD support for deep aviation operations.
The FSE in the main CP plays a critical role. It recommends priority of fires to support the aviation brigade and coordinates with adjacent and subordinate units to ensure all division suppression operations prove mutually supportive. It can then capitalize on enemy vulnerabilities.
The brigade FSE section, with the division FSE, uses airspace procedural control measures to create generic artillery SEAD plans. Firing units compute and store these plans in the lightweight tactical fire direction system (LTACFIRE) and disseminate them to all FSEs planning cross-FLOT operations.
Units continually update SEAD plans as they locate new targets.
Choosing routes to avoid enemy ADA is still the best protection. The basic decisions on ingress and egress routes determine how much time and effort (in personnel, units, and munitions) the division plans to use in support of the operation. The G3 carefully considers all METT-T factors as he develops cross-FLOT aviation raids.
Cross-FLOT attack helicopter raids require using TTPs that combine intelligence, fire support, and maneuver at decisive points on the battlefield. Integrating and synchronizing BOS determine this high-payoff operation's success. When correctly done, these measures considerably reduce risks.
Division Responsibilities. The AASLT division plans and coordinates the following tasks for an attack helicopter raid:
Aviation Brigade Responsibilities. The AASLT division's aviation brigade plans and coordinates the following tasks for an attack aviation raid:
- Incorporating lethal and nonlethal fires to suppress enemy ADA systems.
- Incorporating jamming warnings and fire control systems associated with enemy ADA assets.
- Coordinating other EW targets through the EW staff officer in the division main CP.
The ADAO coordinates as required with division staff elements. He works closely with the G3 air to confirm the route structure; with the division FSE to confirm SEAD or JSEAD programs; and with the division G2 cell to confirm and update the enemy situation over intended routes and objectives.
Attack Helicopter Battalion Responsibilities. The attack helicopter battalion plans and coordinates the following tasks for its raid:
The AASLT artillery raid features an aggressive, short-duration operation against an HPT. Likely candidates might involve enemy CPs, AD radars, ammunition and fuel dumps, or unprotected troop concentrations. The key consideration entails subjecting vulnerable enemy units and facilities to intense artillery fires throughout the depth of the battlefield.
The ability to rapidly displace artillery forward, accompanied by enough of the correct ammunition, allows the division commander to engage enemy targets with artillery out to his aviation's maximum range. In short, aircraft extend the range of howitzers.
Artillery raids require extensive training and crew drill to achieve the required split-second timing. The risks to the artillery and to medium-assault aircraft demand precision execution. The raid requires the same cross-FLOT planning process as an air assault, including a careful risk analysis and definite efforts to set conditions before launch.
Artillery raids work best if they avoid or suppress threat ADA, land unopposed, and leave before hostile forces react and make contact. Doing so minimizes opportunities for enemy counterfires.
Field artillery battalions normally plan and coordinate raids, which usually occur in battery strength. The battalion's responsibilities include overall planning for the raid, organizing and controlling the PZ, establishing abort criteria, and conducting the air mission brief (AMB).
The firing battery commander serves as overall mission commander and ground tactical commander. He--
The AMC serves as flight leader. He also presents the AMB to the pilots and coordinates and synchronizes all Army aviation assets.
Artillery raids employ up to a company of assault or medium assault aviation, depending on weight, range, and whether the aircraft transport howitzers by slingload or if they are internally loaded in medium assault aircraft. Attack aircraft may provide armed reconnaissance, route verification, and armed escort. MEDEVAC and EW aircraft often fly in support of these raids.
Other habitual attachments include MANPAD Stinger teams, pathfinders, and a squad of infantry for security. Precision navigation instruments key the battery's emplacement and fires. There should be observers available either aloft or on the ground to adjust fires on chosen targets and to judge damage.
An AASLT artillery raid serves notice to the foe that his entire force lies exposed to indirect fires, regardless of traditional surface-to-surface range fans. However, these types of raids are high-risk, high-payoff operations. The division commander must judge the target to be worth the risk and effort.
The combined-arms raid goes deep to destroy enemy forces and facilities vulnerable to ground attack. Possible targets include CPs, AD sites, logistic bases, or transportation choke points (bridges, tunnels, and rail intersections).
The combined-arms raid works especially well in circumstances requiring seizure of equipment samples, taking EPWs, or performing demolition, Just as the artillery raid uses aircraft to extend the howitzer's effective range, the combined-arms raid stretches the normal operating radius of ground maneuver forces throughout the depth of the battlefield.
The division usually conducts combined-arms raids at brigade level and below. For example, the brigade may conduct deep raids, using several company teams against widely dispersed targets, or against a complex of interrelated targets. It may conduct single or multiple-battalion raids against widely separated targets or a cluster of targets in the same small area.
The division may order battalion or company raids under brigade control. Combined-arms raids often proceed along with attack aviation and artillery raids.
The key difference between a combined-arms raid and an air assault is intent. Raid forces do not intend to hold terrain.
The AATF achieves maximum destruction on the target, then withdraws from the objective area once the mission is complete. The raiding force's plans include conversion into an actual air assault if enemy action or friendly opportunity compels such a sequel operation.
The raiding force uses the complete cross-FLOT operation process, including carefully establishing favorable conditions to carry out the mission. They follow through with a clean extraction rather than with the air assault's typical buildup of forces and supplies.
Figure 8-6 is a schematic of an AASLT brigade deep raid against a mechanized brigade deliberate attack. The brigade orchestrates three separate battalion raids. One destroys an enemy CP; one demolishes a bridge to block reinforcing or retreating enemy forces; the other, an attack aviation battalion, raids against an enemy reinforcing armored battalion in an engagement area. All disrupt the coherence of the enemy's defense and forces him to fight in several directions at once.
Combined-arms raids represent the most risky form of raid. Commanders and staffs must prudently weigh these operations in light of all METT-T factors and the status of the CCIR before committing forces on the ground across the FLOT. Although raids hope to extract the raiding troops from the objective, the division commander implicitly accepts the possibility of decisive ground engagement every time he commits forces to a combined-arms air assault.
Air assaults occur when the situation offers opportunities to go deep to defeat the enemy. They involve holding terrain, either for its intrinsic value in view of the overall campaign, defeating an enemy formation, or establishing an FOB for future deep missions. Air assault infantry enters the fray as a member of the combined-arms team and so enjoins the firepower and assistance of a host of weapons and forces.
When an AATF goes deep it brings massive firepower against the foe, holds its position, and sustains itself. This mission must include more planning, preparation, and coordination than an attack aviation raid because of the need to synchronize an increased number of units.
The AASLT division conducts cross-FLOT air assaults to seize terrain and/or defeat or destroy enemy forces. The division considers all BOS as it works through the cross-FLOT operations process.
Air assaults deposit relatively light forces behind enemy lines. Such forces lack rapid ground mobility but have the firepower to take and hold terrain.
Air assault commanders prefer to seize undefended or lightly held key terrain to compel a hasty and, hopefully, unsynchronized enemy counterattack. Air assault forces conduct direct assault of enemy forces at increased risk to landing forces.
The battlefield framework provides structure for BOS synchronization efforts. The division organizes for an air assault by conducting deep operations to set conditions, rear operations to ensure combat and sustainment free from enemy interference, and security operations to blind enemy intelligence collectors and prevent spoiling attacks.
Close operations begin with the air assault once conditions are set. The division may designate a small reserve to exploit success, although the next brigade preparing for an air assault normally fulfills this role.
The CCIR define the conditions the division must set to launch the attack. The G2 and subordinate S2s cooperate to complete an IPB template to support the CCIR. The PIR from this careful IPB confirm or deny the template based on thoughtful analysis of the products of a vigorous collection effort. Intelligence professionals look for enemy AD, fire support, CPs, mobile reserves, and defenders on potential LZs, all the while assessing how well fire supporters are setting conditions for the air assault. Battle damage assessment is critical.
The intelligence effort goes beyond merely confirming or denying an IPB template. Units gather and check other helpful information. Items of interest include--
Division collectors work throughout the AO. The LRSD, the air cavalry squadron, and EW units play especially large roles in this effort.
The division's LRSD usually receives missions from the division commander based on G2 recommendations. The LRSD, normally inserted aboard rotary-wing aircraft, then infiltrates to conduct long-term surveillance on NAIs, LZs, and AASLT objective aviation and maneuver brigades.
DIVARTY identifies LRSD hide locations as NFAs to make sure attack aviation battalions, fire supporters, and maneuver battalions do not inadvertently engage LRSTs. Brigade FSEs incorporate NFAs into fire support plans. Units also coordinate an LRSD linkup plan to link the LRSD with the AATF once brigades land near LRSD hide sites.
Often, the division's air cavalry conducts reconnaissance operations. It represents the unit of choice for reconnaissance missions. Its information requirements include determining--
The G2, G3, and FSE coordinate a comprehensive EW plan and integrate it into intelligence collection and fire support efforts. To support the deep attack, the AASLT division requires jamming directed against enemy fire support nets.
The division also works with the corps or JTF headquarters and the USAF to use their EW assets for EW collection and SEAD. Finally, the MI battalion deploys C&J units to protect the division's C3 electronics by finding and suppressing enemy EW capabilities.
When the AATF flies cross-FLOT, SEAD programs and counterfire plans target what intelligence finds. SEAD fires combine all available lethal and nonlethal means to degrade and destroy key portions of the enemy AD envelope. SEAD allows conditions to be set and facilitates the actual air assault.
Units should always plan deception operations that include SEAD, and on-call SEAD, to permit maximum flexibility in air route selection. Units must integrate SEAD into the ongoing counterfire fight, and employ complementary EW, USAF, Army aviation, and surface fires to compound the enemy's problems as he tries to react effectively.
When facing an enemy who has modem systems, units must be able to defeat its fire support systems. Fire support is the foe's best means of rapidly engaging an air assault. Attack helicopters, along with USAF AI, tube and rocket artillery, and EW systems, mass synchronized cross-FLOT fires to defeat these assets.
The combination of artillery and attack aviation creates a synergistic effect that does not occur when these assets fight separately. For example, during the attack aviation's ingress and egress of the target area, division artillery can focus fire support assets on SEAD. Division artillery must destroy reported known and suspected enemy AD systems; localized SEAD programs along air routes out to the limits of range; and SEAD, as part of a deception effort along false air routes.
Attack aviation assists fire supporters by observing counterbattery preparations and other BDA. United States AF and Army aviation can provide localized SEAD when necessary.
An effective counterfire technique links the artillery's radars, the digital LTACFIRE system, and attack helicopters during cross-FLOT operations. This technique locates hostile firing units and immediately transmits accurate locations via LTACFIRE to the aviation brigade CP.
At the aviation brigade CP the FSE passes HPTs to the brigade S3, who coordinates for immediate attacks to destroy firing units. When attack aviation is not on-station, the division and the aviation brigade plan attack aviation raids to strike selected EAs as soon as helicopters become available.
SEAD and counterfire programs demand responsive fire support. Since deep missions often fly into areas which forward artillery cannot range, attack aviation provides its own fire support.
A technique to support an air assault, depending on the exact situation, is to air assault a reinforcing artillery battery or battalion with infantry security into an LZ offset from the main effort's LZs. This element provides preparatory and opportunity fires into the objective area from its offset location. Once the AASLT force secures the objective, the offset artillery flies back behind the FLOT or into the brigade airhead.
While preparing for an air assault, priority of fires normally goes to the aviation brigade, with targeting priority to enemy AD systems, fire support systems, maneuver forces, and C2 nodes. Reinforcing artillery locates to support SEAD and counterfires necessary to set the conditions in support of air assaults.
During the air assault itself, priority shifts to the brigade AATF. The DIVARTY establishes a Quick Fire net between the AATF and the reinforcing battalion to provide responsive fire support. The FSE maximizes the use of "push CAS" (USAF attack sorties on call), if available, to maintain the attack's momentum.
Close coordination between the AASLT division and the corps FSE prevents fratricide. The AASLT division establishes and disseminates FSCMs.
The FSE also coordinates who controls fires on the battlefield, particularly when an AATF goes deep into what was another brigade's zone or sector, or even the corps' zone or sector. All interested FSEs must filly understand and coordinate who controls and clears fires.
The maneuver scheme typically envisions landing as many maneuver forces as aviation can deliver as close to the objectives as possible. A massed simultaneous landing is normally ideal.
During planning, the AASLT unit, with the ALO, refines the ground plan and the landing plan to minimize the number of lifts needed to insert the AATF's ground elements. As defense of the airhead usually follows the landing, the AASLT force chooses LZs and objectives to ease the transition to the defense.
Deep operations set conditions for future close operations, and the AASLT division's main effort jumps swifty from deep to close operations at H-hour. Maneuver forces land, clear LZs, and secure objectives that accomplish the assigned mission.
Maneuver forces also secure the airhead line. Reinforcement and sustainment begins immediately, even in daylight, if operations have successfully reduced hostile ADA batteries.
The brigade usually employs all three infantry battalions and an OPCON attack aviation battalion to accomplish its maneuver tasks. The battalions, organized as combined-arms TFs, land on multiple LZs to establish a coherent perimeter after landing. The attack battalion flies outside the airhead in the brigade zone to engage enemy forces threatening AASLT infantry.
If AASLT forces land in contact (a hot LZ) with enemy forces, the brigade maneuvers on the ground to fix the enemy. If possible, they divert inbound aircraft to alternate LZs to envelop the enemy force and destroy it.
Forces en route by assault aviation possess a mobility advantage over enemy ground units. The AATF can translate this mobility edge into an effective maneuver advantage if it can divert following lifts to appropriate LZs. Staffs develop these "what if' branches to the basic landing plan to gain additional flexibility when going deep.
Allocating and task-organizing aviation to support the maneuver scheme represents a crucial division decision. The division assigns aircraft from all three organic assault battalions, reinforced when possible by corps aviation units under the AATF's senior assault aviator (normally the aviation brigade commander), to allow a maximum simultaneous lift. Sufficient medium assault, MEDEVAC, EW, and C2 aircraft round out the aviation task force.
Attack aviation generally splits out with one inner ring battalion OPCON to the AATF brigade. The rest are under aviation brigade command to conduct outer ring engagements.
Maneuver capitalizes on the conditions set by fire support. The AATF integrates and synchronizes each piece of the maneuver team (infantry, antiarmor companies, attack aviation, assault aviation) to deliver maximum impact at the chosen time and place.
A force so dependent on dominating the air cannot neglect enemy aviation. When the G2 develops the IPB, part of it includes enemy rotary-and fixed-wing air avenues of approach.
Air defense artillery units operate well forward to provide a cohesive umbrella of coverage, tied into the corps' HIMAD coverage. The ADA battalion supports priorities of protection.
During AASLT operations, priorities of protection go to the aviation brigade (attack, assault, logistics), engineers, corps and division artillery, C2, CSS, and maneuver forces. Air defense artillery batteries habitually air assault both man-portable and vehicular weapons systems with the AATF to ensure unbroken coverage.
Once landings begin, the ADA priority may expand to provide selective convoy protection to logistic trains moving forward to link up with AATFs on the objectives. It may also be necessary to provide critical-point protection during route construction or to FA assets moving forward to support successive deep attacks. The ADADO recommends priority shifts as the fighting develops.
Mobility, countermobility, and survivability factors affect air assault. Division engineers support the operation in both setting conditions and in execution. While working to establish favorable conditions, engineer priorities normally go to the aviation brigade, then DIVARTY. Mission priorities revolve around survivability of aviation, artillery, PZs, and logistics.
When the AATF begins its attack, priority shifts. Light engineer teams breach obstacles and reduce enemy fortifications. Once the AASLT force takes the objective, engineers quickly shift to survivability tasks to prepare for expected enemy counterattack direct and indirect fires.
If necessary, engineers conduct mobility operations to support the reserve reinforcement plan and the CSS support plan. Finally, they assist the infantry in countermobility operations.
If a ground linkup establishes a resupply route, division engineers clear the routes. The ADE recommends the priority on route clearances as well as priority of effort and priority of support throughout the operation. These priorities shift as the battle progresses.
The ADE also develops the division situational obstacle plan. The division may receive employment authority for long-or short-duration mines from the corps.
The division uses short-duration FASCAM to affect targets projected to be in the minefield's area in the immediate future. Air-deliverable scatterable mines contribute to the deep battle and work well to shape EAs for attack aviation. Engineers use ground mine-laying systems to help establish a secure corridor along ground routes and to provide flank security.
Combat service support defines the physical limits for all operations. DISCOM task-organizes to provide DS to all assigned and attached units throughout the operation.
As the division sets conditions, the concept of support differs significantly from that used during the air assault. While preparing for the air assault, the DISCOM supports with the traditional MSB and/or FSB concept. The FSBs displace with their supported brigades and conduct logistic operations.
When supporting AASLT operations, CSS units operate from a forward logistics base to ensure continuous support for the attacking brigade. Depending on the size and/or the duration of the AASLT operation, units can expand the forward logistics base into a full-scale BSA as required.
The type and quantity of logistic support accompanying the AATF into the deep objective depends on the exact situation. But, the most critical factor involves the number of lift aircraft available.
The AATF commander must apportion his assault and medium assault aviation, dividing his resources between combat and sustainment needs. The AATF S4's analysis of required service support greatly affects this decision.
Once the AATF determines the aviation CSS slice, the FSB commander tailors the forward logistics element (FLE). The FLE is the first element of the FLB to deploy.
The FLE's organization varies by mission, but it generally provides medical, maintenance, and supply capabilities. An FSB company commander commands the FLE (Figure 8-7).
Upon landing, the priority for aviation resupply goes, in order, to mission-critical supplies, MEDEVAC, preplanned Class V resupply, other preplanned resupply, and personnel replacements. As time and assets become available, DISCOM builds stockage levels. The FLE builds into the full FSB or larger unit depending on the mission.
Until the unit establishes the ground MSR, resupply arrives by air. Units plan and execute aerial resupply to units across the FLOT using the same cross-FLOT operation process as a raid or air assault, including SEAD and attack aviation.
Resupply should be in one lift. It generally goes in at night to minimize enemy ADA threat, although units can conduct daylight resupply based on METT-T and a thorough risk analysis.
Parachute airdrops from USAF aircraft also sustain the airhead. The division and the AATF plan for drops using the container delivery system, the low-altitude parachute extraction system (LAPES), and heavy drops of all classes of supply.
Bulk food and certain types of high-usage ammunition are candidates for this resupply method. The AATF may elect to try to bring in heavier engineer equipment by these means to create or upgrade roads and flight landing strips.
Eventually, preferably within 72 hours, a ground MSR links up with the airhead. The division establishes priority and controls ground movement along MSRs heading to the objective area. A typical priority for transportation support and MSR movement might be artillery unit displacements; then Classes V, III, and I supplies (including water); casualty evacuation from committed units, personnel and equipment replacements, and the build up of supply stockage levels.
Aviation, paradrop, and truck resupply rely as much as possible on preplanned, preconfigured packages. DISCOM develops a series of preconfigured loads of Class I, IV, and V supplies to satisfy resupply requests, sling-load packaging, airdrop rigging, and truck loading. It expedites both planning and execution of resupply into the objective area.
The concept of support for the attacking AATF requires in-depth analysis and planning. Each unit plans resupply and evacuation procedures for all supplies and services, determining the connections from the forward logistics base to the individual soldier and return.
The infantryman is not a pack animal. His combat effectiveness directly relates to the weight of the load on his back. To reduce the soldier's load, commanders at every level must make the CSS system responsive and effective.
The division normally sends the ADC-O and jump CP to fly with the AATF into the AATF objective. The jump CP attempts to land in the objective area and take control of the close battle. However, METT-T determines whether it remains, returns to the TAC CP, or brings the TAC CP forward. The main and rear CPs displace once the AATF secures the objective, the TAC CP becomes fictional forward, and the tempo of action permits such movements.
The AASLT division's ability to rapidly establish a deep FOB enables the division to project combat power even deeper before the enemy can react. While any AASLT airhead could be built into a FOB over time, attacking strictly to secure and build one emphasizes speed of establishment.
The true measure of a successful FOB relates to how quickly division units conduct decisive follow-on raids and air assaults throughout enemy rear areas. Establishing an FOB requires an air assault by a full brigade, delivered by the massed assault aviation resources of the entire division.
The FOB supports subsequent deep operations in three ways:
1. Refueling and rearming aviation assets for future deep raids and air assaults.
2. Sustaining ground forces with all classes of supply and services.
3. Providing a secure area to establish PZs for transiting follow-on AASLT brigades.
When the division gives a brigade a mission to air assault to establish an FOB, the brigade staff conducts a thorough estimate of the situation and detailed mission analysis. The FOB concept works best by "hitting where they ain't." The key involves getting in quickly and relatively unmolested. (Figures 8-8 and 8-9 show how a FOB may be developed.)
If possible, the AASLT division prefers to insert its FOB 150 kilometers deep into the enemy's sector. Within hours of an initial landing in an uncontested FOB, the division can threaten air assaults and raids across a 300-kilometer-diameter circle in the hostile rear echelon.
The CCIR and PIR for an FOB seizure reflect the vital need to find a suitable location largely devoid of the enemy or local civilians. The division might consider restrictive terrain (including mountains, forests, and wastelands), provided a suitable number of LZs exist and the AATF can seize and/or build a ground MSR (preferably several) to the FOB. All other collection and analyses for an air assault proceed normally.
The LRSD has an especially important role in an FOB seizure. Its on-the-ground surveillance offers a final confirmation of soil consistency, LZ conditions, MSR status, and enemy activity. The division should weigh the potential for compromise and be careful not to focus too many LRSDs or other collectors in one place which would help the enemy pinpoint the FOB site.
During the air assault and consolidation, MI GSR, LLVI, and C&J teams support the battalions. This places the division's electronic intelligence collectors well forward where they can be combat multipliers for security and a continuation of intelligence-collection purposes.
Fire support roles correspond to those in any other air assault. Delaying or disrupting hostile maneuver units threatening the FOB is a definite priority. The FSE and ADE work together to determine possible FASCAM targets, always mindful of the location of future MSRs.
Because an FOB seizure aims to set conditions to eliminate opposition upon landing, fire support must be able to land a DS artillery battalion in the FOB early on. Counterbattery radars and this responsive artillery cooperate to keep enemy forces and gunners at a safe distance from the airhead.
An FOB's purpose (to support future deep operations) necessitates a maneuver scheme built around defending CSS assets, especially refuel/rearm aviation sites. The defense and sustainment effort works best when a ground attack can link up within 72 hours to establish a solid MSR.
The AASLT force speedily closes sufficient combat power into the FOB to destroy small enemy elements, and then to immediately transition to a 360-degree defense of the airhead. FARPs form the centerpiece of the FOB; the security force must protect them from both direct and indirect fires.
At times, the force must establish a consolidated rearm and refuel point to provide the massive quantities of fuel and ammunition the aviation brigade requires. The elements that make up this consolidated point generally come from the DISCOM, the aviation brigade, and a corps support battalion, group, or both.
The airhead line marks the limit of effective enemy-observed indirect fire, usually 15 kilometers. The security force positions AT weapons in depth around the perimeter.
Scout and attack helicopters screen out to 40 kilometers to provide early warning, to interdict enemy ground forces, and to assist with counterbattery fires. Division-controlled attack aviation assets range out to 93 kilometers to create an outer ring.
Early positioning of an artillery battalion into the FOB provides responsive fire support to the task force. Assault aircraft reposition forces, move scouts, and resupply ground forces as necessary.
DISCOM assumes control of the central circle once combat forces secure the FOB. Even so, brigade forces coordinate for and use terrain in this DISCOM area.
The ground convoy attacks to link up with the FOB, establish an MSR, and resupply the FOB. It may follow an OPCON mechanized brigade, another division in the corps or JTF, or carry out its mission independently.
Choosing routes and planning the ground attack to clear an MSR cannot be afterthoughts. Without a ground linkup, the FOB will only have limited ability to sustain repeated deep operations. Planners must work with intelligence analysts and tire supporters to identify the best, least-defended route.
The ground convoy does not have the combat power to force a penetration through an enemy main defensive belt. If this looks like the only option, the division commander must reassess his entire FOB seizure plan and decide if he wishes to risk resupply by air alone.
The brigade habitually organizes for the FOB mission with three battalion TFs, an attack aviation battalion, an assault aviation TF, a ground attack and/or convoy TF, and brigade troops. Figure 8-10 illustrates a task organization for an FOB seizure.
Air defense air assaults into the FOB and moves with the ground convoy. As enemy airstrikes may be the first reaction to the FOB seizure, full integration of man-portable and vehicle systems offers immediate protection. This umbrella concentrates on preserving FARPs and aviation laagers at the heart of the FOB.
Engineers air assault, with priority to survivability of FARPs. A minimum of one bulldozer lands with the initial air movement to berm FARP fuel bags or blivets. Additional engineer equipment follows by medium assault, airdrop, or arrives with the ground convoy.
Engineers also assist infantry TFs as they dig in and erect obstacles. The infantry and their TF attachments do much of this work.
The engineers in the AATF, though limited in number, provide quality control and focus their efforts on critical fortifications and barriers. Planning and using scatterable mines serve to emplace mines rapidly to buy time for more deliberate countermobility work.
The FOB exists to provide light, tailored sustainment commensurate with the tactical need. Combat service support emphasizes--
The division uses push CSS to create and run the FOB. A successful FOB CSS effort relies on--
Brigade ground, aviation, and USAF airlift project sustainment as far forward as possible. DISCOM prepackages supplies in quantities readily usable by individual soldiers and small units. Examples would be rations by the case, water by the can, prepackaged Class IV supplies, 5-gallon fuel or oil cans, 55-gallon fuel or oil drums, ammunition by the case, or missiles by the round.
Once the division gets the MSR open, distributing supplies from the corps and the division rear areas to the FOB comes primarily by ground transport on a throughput basis. As AATFs launch out on subsequent air assaults, Class I and water, Class III, and Class V supplies are throughput directly to forward logistic bases, generally by Army aviation slingloading techniques.
Command and control of the AASLT portion of an FOB seizure proceeds as in Chapter 2. Distinctive measures for an FOB seizure relate to command of the ground attack convoy and command of the DISCOM CSS FLB inside the FOB.
Depending on METT-T considerations, either the division or the brigade forming the AATF takes charge of the ground attack. If significant enemy resistance seems likely, the ground attack should involve a brigade (an OPCON armored force, for example). The division would then assume control of the attack until the linkup scheme goes into effect, usually at a phase line within direct-fire range of chosen linkup points.
Should the AATF find or make a gap in enemy forces, it may also control the ground attack from start to linkup. This would be a less likely case, but preferable from the brigade perspective. In this case, the brigade designs its own linkup plan.
Command arrangements within the FOB also deserve attention. Before and during the air assault, the brigade TF commander positions all elements within the FOB.
A detailed LZ plan and early integration of advance party personnel from follow-on CSS elements reduces confusion. The brigade manages all terrain, including that in the CSS arena, until DISCOM assumes control of its planned central FOB CSS area.
When the brigade secures the FOB, DISCOM assumes responsibility for running CSS facilities. Inside the center of the FOB is the FLB where DISCOM allocates terrain and work areas, directs local security, and operates logistics facilities.
DISCOM coordinates its security scheme with the maneuver brigade and remains responsible for the FOB's external security. This gets the maneuver commander out of the resupply business and allows trained sustainers to carry out their tasks.
Normally, the logistics commander is the appropriate FSB commander. However, there are instances when the DISCOM TAC CP, under the DISCOM commander or executive officer, maybe in charge.
The sequence for a FOB seizure resembles other cross-FLOT missions until execution. The brigade begins operations once the division sets the conditions.
Immediately before the FLOT penetration, air strikes and artillery engage known and suspected enemy ADA targets. With SEAD, the attack battalion, accompanied by EW helicopters on jamming missions, launches toward the FOB.
Air Force CAS and jamming, if allocated, may assist the attack battalion as it transits its flight route. During SEAD, the AATF waits in PZ posture. The ground convoy stands by to depart its assembly area.
The attack aviation battalion conducts an armed reconnaissance along the flight route, over the LZs, and across the objective area. The attack aviation battalion attacks known or revealed enemy positions, with priority to ADA, artillery, and mobile reserves.
If the objective area still looks favorable for landing, the air assault launches. Based on the time of flight, the AATF lifts off to ensure the first aircraft of the first lift lands in the objective area at H-hour. This begins the assault to seize and establish the FOB.
To maintain coverage and security during the air assault, attack aviation will most probably need some fuel resupply. The attack battalion immediately sets up its own FARP, typically by slingloading in a fuel blivet on lift aircraft. If the attack helicopter fuel requirement exceeds this capacity, the AATF might allocate some medium assault aircraft to sling in a larger temporary FARP.
By H+l, units confirm the RP location and complete linkup with the LRSD. Not later than H+6, all AATF units (minus the ground attack element) close at the FOB. In addition, each battalion TF secures its initial assault objectives to establish an airhead line, after which the ground attack force crosses its LD. Bulk fuel begins to arrive by helicopter.
By H+6, DISCOM activates the forward area refueling equipment (FARE) and fuel system supply point (FSSP) and assumes command of the CSS core. The ground column links up as soon as possible, usually within 24 hours, but not later than 72 hours after the first landings.
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