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The commander uses combat support elements to enhance the combat power of his subordinate maneuver units. He must know CS capabilities, assign them appropriate missions, and control their operations to apply superior combat power at the decisive time and place. Specific applications of the command and support relationships are discussed in this chapter and outlined in Table 8-1.


Regardless of the relationship of the CS element to the unit, the airborne commander is responsible for integration and synchronization of available CS to accomplish his mission.


Combat support elements provide significant amounts of more combat power. The leader of a CS element that is attached, OPCON, or DS serves as special staff officer to the commander besides functioning as the CS leader. During planning, preparation, and execution of the mission, the CS leader advises the commander and staff on the employment of the CS unit, then he follows the commander's directions.


During the airborne assault, most CS units are initially attached to the elements of the assault echelon (battalion/company). As more assets enter the airhead, including the parent headquarters of these CS units, CS assets can be returned to parent-unit control for more effective employment.


Fire support planning for an airborne operation is initiated on receipt of the mission. Concurrent with the development of the concept of the operation, the commander plans for fire support so that it is provided throughout the operation.


Fire support planning, coordination, and execution for airborne operations are more complex than in conventional ground operations; the differences are as follows:

a. The assault elements of the airborne force are quickly placed in direct contact with the enemy deep in hostile territory. Initial operations are decentralized and communications can be limited or nonexistent

b. Airborne unit vulnerability increases during the time between landing and assembly into a fighting force. This time varies based on unit size and METT-T factors. During this vulnerable period, reliable communications are essential to the coordination and execution of fire support missions.

c. Calls for fire are often sent under conditions where units are in critical need of fire support. Units lack firm knowledge of the situation, especially the location of friendly and enemy units. This can also come at a time when reliable ground communications have not been firmly established.

d. Initially, artillery support in the airhead is limited. This situation occurs at the same time as the arrival of the assault echelon, the main effort, or the operation's opening phase. Consequently, the bulk of fire support must come from air support, organic mortars, or NGF. Support can also be provided by long-range artillery of advancing friendly forces (if in range), long-range rocket/missile fire, and strategic air force bombs or bombers.

e. During the initial airborne assault and periodically thereafter, airspace over the DZ contains a high density of airdrop aircraft. This complicates fire support aspects of airspace management.


Fire support assets can perform a variety of missions in support of the airborne assault. The following are examples of standard missions arranged by type of asset.

a. Tactical air support, mortars, and limited field artillery can be the only fire support available to the airborne force until the lodgment is established. It can provide any or all of the following types of support:

(1) Close air support.

(2) Column cover for the assault echelon, follow-up echelon, and resupply sorties.

(3) Suppression of enemy air defenses along the corridor selected for penetration and near the objective.

(4) Reconnaissance both before and during the operation.

(5) Counterair operations to gain and maintain air superiority along the corridor and in the objective area.

(6) Preassault fires of the airhead and other critical targets, and deception.

(7) Battlefield air interdiction of the objective area, including armed reconnaissance missions targeted against enemy forces that react to the airborne assault.

(8) Air defense of marshaling areas, resupply airfields, and the airhead.

b. Naval gun fire, when available and in range, is a reliable, accurate, high-volume source of fire support. It can provide any or all of the following types of support:

(1) Preassault fires of the objective and other critical targets.

(2) Suppression of enemy air defenses.

(3) Direct support and general support of forces in contact.

(4) Interdiction (land and sea).

c. Artillery of linkup forces within range can provide the following support:

  • Interdiction fires.
  • SEAD fires.
  • Counterbattery fires.
  • Direct support to maneuver units.

d. Army aviation assets can augment other fire support when the ISB/FSB is within range or when a secure airfield permits airland and buildup of Army aviation transported in USAF airlift aircraft. They can support--

(1) R&S forces.

(2) Interdiction of enemy reaction forces, especially mechanized forces with accurate, long-range antitank fires.

(3) Seizure of objectives with rocket fire and gunfire.


Fire support planning and execution relies on careful, thorough planning based on fire support principles designed to support maneuver. (See FM 6-20-30 for a detailed discussion.)

a. Unity of Control. This principle is met through the establishment of a joint headquarters (such as JTF) to include a joint operations center, which is responsible for providing adequate fire support to the maneuver commander.

b. Continuous Liaison. Liaison, especially between Army and Air Force units, is necessary at all echelons down to battalion level. It must be supported with adequate communications to facilitate command and to control lateral dissemination of information and coordination. Joint agreements memorandums of understanding, joint SOPs, and joint SOIs all facilitate the use of this principle. Each assault battalion and brigade must have attached TACPs and naval gunfire LOS (if NGF is available).

c. Centralized Coordination. Due to the nature of the airhead (basically a perimeter defense) and the required continuous airflow into the airhead, fire support assets must be closely controlled to prevent fratricide and waste of assets.

(1) During the initial stages of an airborne operation and before adequate ground communications can be established, coordination and control of fire support are accomplished from an airborne platform (an ABCCC or JACC/CP). (Appendix D provides detailed information on operations of the ABCCC and AWACS.)

(2) On landing, each battalion or brigade/regimental headquarters establishes contact with the ABCCC (or JACC/CP) through the TACP or FSO. Fire support, such as CAS, beyond that available from organic or DS assets would be requested from the ABCCC. Prioritization and coordination of requests arc accomplished by the ground force commander's representative in the ABCCC. His responsibilities include the following:

  • Prevent fratricide of ground personnel.
  • Ensure that requests do not interfere with incoming serials, other aircraft, or naval operations.
  • Determine the fire support means to be employed in coordination with appropriate battle staff members.
  • Determine (in coordination with the battle staff) any added safety or control measures required; transmit them to the appropriate ground elements.

(3) For air missions, the battle staff establishes contact with the appropriate flight, provides essential information, and then hands the flight off to the appropriate TACP or FAC for mission execution. At that point, the mission is conducted the same way as conventional operations. If NGF or air support is available, it is essential that a naval gunfire LO be present in the ABCCC to perform a similar function.

(4) Once adequate C2 facilities have been established in the airhead, fire support coordination responsibilities are passed from the airborne platform to the ground to be conducted as in conventional operations--there is no doctrinal time for this transfer. In some situations (for example, raids), this cannot occur; however, once a brigade main or tactical CP is on the ground, the transfer takes place.

d. Application of Adequate Control Measures. Fire support coordination measures, both permissive and restrictive, are employed to ensure the safety of friendly personnel, to synchronize all fire support means, and to permit maximum flexibility with minimum restrictions on the employment of fire support. The joint commander must also establish a common target and map grid system to permit transmission of target and friendly unit locations. This is critical if standard maps are not available. Provisions must also be made to identify friendly force locations through the employment of smoke, panels, beacons, or other devices. (Airspace control measures are discussed in Chapter 2. See FM 6-20-30 and FM 101-5-1 for a detailed description of fire support control measures.)


On receipt of the WO, the commander and his staff begin planning. They develop four basic plans (regardless of the type mission, force size, or duration of the operation) in a reverse planning sequence. The FSO responsibilities for each plan are as follows:

a. Ground Tactical Plan. The following fire support planning and coordination actions are the responsibility of the brigade/battalion FSO during ground movement.

(1) Support the scheme of maneuver. The goal is to place the maximum amount of indirect fire power on the ground as quickly as possible.

(2) Control indirect-fire systems. Initially, control is decentralized; an FO calls for fire directly to a fire support asset.

(3) Plan fires to block enemy avenues of approach (consider FASCAM delivered by air).

(4) Plan fires to eliminate enemy resistance (groups and series in the objective area).

(5) Plan fires to defend key terrain needed to link up with friendly forces.

(6) Plan fires to support security/reconnaissance forces in the objective area.

(7) Plan fires on top of, to the flanks, and beyond assault objectives.

(8) Plan close air support.

(9) Plan final protective fires.

(10) Recommend priority of fires.

(11) Select initial FA and mortar positions that can be quickly occupied from DZs/LZs.

(12) Select subsequent FA and mortar positions to provide combat outposts and security forces.

b. Landing Plan. Planning and coordination of fire support during the air movement and preassault fires are the JTF's responsibility; he plans SEAD fires along the flight route and in the objective area. Once on the ground, friendly positions are marked. The airborne FSO must ensure that preassault air strikes are planned against other enemy positions in the objective area. Preassault fires are planned as follows:

  • On and around the LZ/DZ (alternate and false).
  • On enemy air defense artillery.
  • On enemy command, control, and communication.
  • On enemy indirect-fire systems.
  • Sequence and location of delivery for FA and mortars.

c. Air Movement Plan. Fire support during movement to the objective area is the responsibility of the airlift commander and staff. However, the airborne force commander must be closely involved because of the possibility of downed aircraft or a mission being diverted. Planning considerations include the following:

(1) Ensure fire support personnel and equipment are included on load plans and manifests.

(2) Plan targets on enemy ADA along flight routes and alternate flight routes (JTF level).

d. Marshaling Plan. The FSO starts planning on receipt of the mission and assignment of assets. All leaders and fire support personnel must take part in the planning process from the beginning. All fire support personnel and equipment are prepared and rehearsals are conducted. Then, the fire support plan is briefed to all other leaders and staff involved in the operation.


The initial phase of the airborne operation is decentralized and flexible until the assault objectives are secured and the airhead is established. During the parachute assault, the FA battalion is attached to the airborne infantry brigade. As soon as practicable after organizing on the ground, normal command relationships are resumed; FA support is provided within thecontext of assigned tactical missions. After reorganizing, airborne artillery adheres to tactics and techniques applicable to other artillery units. (FM 6-20-30.)


When operating on islands or near a coastline, NGF support may be available to the airborne force. Naval guns can provide high-volume, long-range, accurate fires, which employ a variety of ammunition.


The ANGLICO provides ship-to-shore communications and fire control teams to adjust fire. In the absence of ANGLICO fire control teams, the FIST can call for and adjust fires through the ANGLICO team.


Deployed ANGLICO forces comprise a command element, operational element (air/NGF teams), and support element.

a. The company is organized into groupings. (Table 8-2.) The headquarters/support section and divisional air/NGF section furnish command, control, administration, training, and logistics support for the company. They also provide fire support planning and liaison personnel to the airborne unit. Three brigade air/NGF platoons provide liaison and control for air and NGF to the assault companies, battalion, and brigade.

b. Each brigade platoon is divided into a brigade team and two supporting arms liaison teams, which support two forward battalions. Each SALT has two firepower control teams, which support the forward companies of the battalions. (Table 8-3.)

c. The ANGLICO assists the staff in matters concerning air and NGF. It coordinates requests for air and NGF support from the battalions of the brigade and represents the ABCCC, AC-130, and AWACS, if required.

d. The LO and FCTs operate in the ground spot net. They communicate with the ship by HF radio to request and adjust NGF. The FCT communicates with the LO, using VHF radios. The LO also can communicate with aircraft using UHF radios.


Naval gunfire ships are assigned one of two tactical missions: direct support or general support.

a. Direct Support. A ship in DS of a specific unit delivers both planned and on-call fires. (On-call fires are to the ship what targets of opportunity are to artillery units.) A fire control party with the supported unit conducts and adjusts on-call fires; they can also be adjusted by an NGF air spotter.

b. General Support. General support missions are assigned to ships supporting units of brigade size or larger. The normal procedure is to have the fires of the GS ship adjusted by an aerial observer or to have the LO assign the fires of the ship to a battalion SALT for fire missions. On completion of the mission, the ship reverts to GS.


Coordination and control measures that apply to NGF are the same as for FA except for the addition of the terms fire support area and fire support station.

a. Fire Support Area. The FSA is a sea area within which a ship can position or cruise while firing in support. It is labeled with the letters "FSA" and a Roman numeral--for example, FSA VII.

b. Fire Support Station. The FSS is a specified position at sea from which a ship must fire; it is very restrictive positioning guidance. It is labeled with the letters "FSS" and a Roman numeral-for example, FSS VII.


A sound air support plan is an integral part of the ground combat plans. Reconnaissance, interdiction, and CAS are planned and ample communications for liaison and control are provided.


All air combat missions are performed concurrently and are mutually supporting. They include CAS, interdiction, tactical surveillance and reconnaissance, tactical airlift, and specialized tasks.

a. Counterair Operations. The ultimate objective of counterair operations is to gain and maintain theater air supremacy. This has two purposes; it prevents enemy forces from effectively interfering with friendly areas and activities, and it precludes prohibitive interference with offensive air operations in the enemy area. This is accomplished by destroying or neutralizing the enemy's air offensive and defensive systems.

(1) Offensive. Offensive counterair operations are conducted to seek out and neutralize or destroy enemy air forces at a chosen time and place. They are essential to gain air supremacy and to provide a favorable situation for other missions. Typical targets include the following:

  • Enemy aircraft.
  • Airfields.
  • Tactical missile complexes.
  • Command and control facilities.
  • POL and munitions storage facilities.
  • Aircraft support equipment and their control systems.

(2) Suppressive. Suppression of enemy air defense is conducted to neutralize, destroy, or temporarily degrade enemy air defense systems in a specific area by physical attack, electronic warfare, or both.

(3) Defensive. Defensive counterair operations contribute to local air control by countering enemy offensive actions. An in-place and operational radar warning and control system, consisting of both ground and airborne elements, can be effectively used by theater forces. They integrate and control the employment of fighters, surface-to-air missiles, and antiaircraft artillery systems.

(4) Tasks. Counterair tasks that can be employed as a part of offensive and defensive counterair operations include air-to-surface attacks, fighter sweeps, and force protection (escort).

b. Close Air Support. The objectives of CAS are to support surface operations by attacking hostile targets close to friendly surface forces. Each air mission requires detailed integration with those forces.

c. Air Interdiction. The objectives of AI are to delay, disrupt, divert, or destroy an enemy's military potential before it can be brought to bear effectively against friendly ground forces. These combat operations are performed far enough away from friendly surface forces so that detailed integration of specific actions with the maneuver of friendly forces is not possible or required. AI attacks against land force targets that have a near-term effect on the scheme of maneuver of friendly forces, but are not close to friendly forces, are referred to as BAI.

d. Tactical Surveillance and Reconnaissance. The TSR operations are directed toward satisfying the requirements of joint force and component commanders engaged in surface and tactical air operations. These operations provide timely information, either visually observed or sensor recorded, from which intelligence is derived for all forces. Surveillance operations continuously collect information; reconnaissance operations are directed toward localized or specific targets.

e. Tactical Airlift Operations. Tactical airlift forces perform four primary tasks: deployment, employment, logistics support, and aeromedical evacuation. Deployment operations make possible the movement of entire units within an area of operations. When combat forces and their logistics support are moved by air into an objective area for combat, the airlift is termed an employment operation.

f. Air Force Specialized Tasks. Specialized tasks are those operations conducted in direct or indirect support of primary tactical air missions. These activities include, but are not limited to electronic combat, combat search and rescue, and air refueling operations.


Tactical air support can be provided through missions incidental to air activity throughout the combat zone. It can also be provided by air units in DS of or attached to a joint force, or under OPCON of a joint force commander. A single tactical air force supports an airborne operation. The tactical air force, or designated units, can be attached to or under OPCON of a joint airborne force. When the mission requires the basing of tactical air support units in the airhead, they are always attached to the joint airborne force.


Adequate tactical air support of an airborne operation requires some integration of airborne forces and tactical air activity to support conventional ground operations.

a. The air support plan is based on the overall Air Force mission and the amount of available strategic, tactical, and airlift effort. The effect of forecasted weather en route and in the proposed AO must also be considered.

b. Offensive and defensive air operations must be continuously planned in support of an objective area. Immediate tactical air support must be continuously available (on air alert) in spite of an apparent absence of targets.


With the beginning of air operations in the objective area, provision must be made for command and air control of these operations and for integration of the air and ground effort. A joint operations center, where the supporting tactical air force and the airborne force is represented, performs the planning, integration, direction, and supervision of the air effort IAW the needs of the airborne force.

a. Preparatory Phase. If a joint airborne force develops and includes tactical air elements, the joint force commander directs part or all of the preliminary air efforts while other preparations for the operation are completed. If the airborne force does not include tactical air elements, tactical air support before and during the mounting of an airborne operation is an Air Force responsibility. Therefore, requests from the joint airborne force commander involving both reconnaissance and fire missions are processed through normal JOC channels.

b. Assault Phase. Requirements during the assault phase are the same for all airborne operations. During the dropping or airlanding and assembly of assault elements, aircraft that are on air alert status over DZs/LZs defend against hostile surface or aerial reaction to the assault.

c. Consolidation and Exploitation Phase. Air control net facilities in excess of TACPs and ABCCC are meager until the airlanding of more supplies and reinforcements during this phase. In an operation that does not involve an immediate linkup after seizure of objectives, the airlanding of reinforcing or supporting elements provides for the rapid expansion and improvement of tactical air control nets to meet the needs of any anticipated emergency.

(1) Aircraft providing support subsequent to the assault phase can be based within the objective area, outside the objective area, or both. In view of the logistics demands of aircraft, air support is based within the objective area only when it cannot be effectively provided from outside. Limitations in the effective radius of aircraft are the determining factors. An existing airstrip or sufficiently adaptable terrain is one of these factors in the selection of an objective area.

(2) A single commander in the objective area has command over both ground and air elements. However, such command can be retained by an officer charged with broader responsibilities whose headquarters is outside the objective area.


Air traffic control in the airhead is initially an Air Force CCT responsibility. The CCT can be augmented with and later replaced by Army ATC units. Air traffic services provided to airborne units come from contingency corps assets. Liaison, beacon, and tower teams are the most frequently employed elements.

a. During alert, marshaling, and deployment, a liaison team is sent to the headquarters that is planning the operation; it serves as a part of the section and provides advice on airspace management, especially in the airhead. The main concern in planning is the handoff between CCT and ATC parties, which takes place within 72 hours after the assault. CCT controls the airhead with the advice and assistance from ATC personnel until follow-on ATC elements arrive.

b. Beacon and tower teams deploy with the aviation or infantry brigade assault CP attached to the S3 section. These teams provide initial ATC in the airhead. The beacon team provides terminal guidance for Army aircraft from their ISB into the airfield. The tower team augments the CCT party and controls helicopter movement. The amount of control given up by CCT to the ATC teams depends on the size of the airflow.

c. Operational control of ATC assets usually passes to the senior aviation unit commander once he is established in the airhead. FARP and aviation assembly area operations include ATC elements and services, as specified by the senior aviation unit commander.


Army aviation provides the force with unique capabilities. When properly used, it increases the force's combat power by providing the advantages of speed, range, mobility, flexibility, and increased firepower.


Army Aviation provides close support to units in contact and the capability for air assault operations in support of the ground tactical plan. (Table 8-4.) They serve as aerial CPs that enable the commander to make his presence felt on the battlefield and to influence the action at the decisive point in the battle. Army aviation assets can evacuate the wounded, provide aerial R&S, and transport radiological and chemical survey teams. Appropriate missions for these forces include the following:

  • Exploitation of initial airborne assault.
  • Armed aerial reconnaissance and counterreconnaissance.
  • Limited CAS capability.
  • Early warning of guerrilla, airborne, or other infiltration threats.
  • Engagement and destruction of enemy ground forces by highly mobile maneuver tactics.
  • Domination of unoccupied areas between highly dispersed friendly positions.
  • Provision of immediately responsive air-to-ground fire support for either air or surface mobile task forces.
  • Provision of tactical and logistics support for guerrilla and special forces.
  • Provision of organized raid-type forces.
  • Tactical cover and deception.
  • Electronic warfare.

Note: Table 8-4 should be used only as a guide for commanders because environmental conditions will affect capabilities.


When possible, organic and attached Army aircraft self-deploy to the objective area, arriving as soon as possible after the initial assault. Flights are closely controlled and regulated to avoid interference with airlift aircraft flights. Terminal guidance can be furnished by pathfinder teams, USAF combat control teams, or Army ATC teams in the airhead.

a. When the distance from the departure area to the objective area is beyond the range of Army aircraft, many deployment options exist. When the distance from the forward battle area is within their range capabilities, aircraft are serviced in the departure area and flown to forward areas within a planned schedule. They are reserviced in the forward area and depart over planned routes to the objective area. Forward arming and refueling points can be leapfrogged ahead if multiple legs are involved. A variation of this technique is the employment of Naval carrier-type vessels as a refueling base or for transport on one leg of the trip to the objective area. Selected utility and cargo helicopters can employ extended-range fuel tanks to assist in deployment. Also, USAF aircraft aircraft, such as the C-130, may refuel Army helicopters at remote, unimproved airfields using the wet-wing technique.

b. When none of these methods can be used because of the distance to the objective area, Army aircraft can be disassembled and transported in airlift aircraft. For light Army aircraft, no or partial disassembly for transport and reassembly for use in the objective area is possible. However, this can be time-consuming depending on the aircraft--the impact on tactical plans must be considered. For other aircraft, particularly large helicopters, the complexity of the reassembly process in the objective area prohibits their early employment.

NOTE: See FM 1-100 for a detailed discussion of combat aviation operations.


Air defense of an airhead occurs in an environment that is unique in two respects: First, it is in an area that has a high density of friendly aircraft, Second, the quickest and potentially most deadly threat to the airhead can be enemy air. The principles and guidelines for employment of air defense weapons in support of airborne operations arc similar to those for other operations. The following major factors of ADA employment operations are unique.

  • The phasing of units and air defense support into the airhead.
  • Early warning procedures.
  • Airspace control measures.


The airborne brigade is normally task-organized to include an ADA battery. This battery can be augmented with added assets, depending on the level of air threat expected.

a. During the initial phase of the operation, one battalion from the brigade will normally be inserted with one Stinger section, which will provide air defense as the battalion develops the airhead. Stingers are not jumped with the team members, but are palletized or door-bundled and dropped separately.

b. Once the entire brigade is on the ground, a main CP is established. The SHORAD battery commander normally locates his CP with the brigade CP. He assumes control of all platoons, and he coordinates defense of the airhead.

c. The SHORAD battery has three Vulcan platoons, a Stinger platoon, and, normally, two forward area alerting radars. Vulcans and FAARs are usually airlanded. FAARs should be moved into the airhead as soon as airframe availability permits since they provide essential early warning to the air defense and maneuver units.

d. The SHORAD battery commander ensures that early-warning information is disseminated to his Vulcan platoons and Stinger sections. This will normally be done over an early-warning net rather than the battery command net.

e. The air defense liaison team at the brigade CP is the SHORAD battery commander's representative to the brigade commander. The liaison team advises the brigade staff on the air defense status. They coordinate with the Air Force LO, the Army aviation officer, and the FA officer on all matters concerning airspace usage.


Early-warning capability for the airhead can be provided by either the US Air Force or the Army.

a. Early warning will initially be provided by the Air Force in the initial assault or for short-term operations.

(1) An Air Force CRC will transmit early-warning information if the airhead is within range, or will retransmit by ABCCC if necessary.

(2) An Air Force CRP may also be deployed to the ISB to provide early warning. The CRP can employ the same communications as the CRC.

(3) If airland operations are scheduled, an Air Force vehicle-mounted FACP can be delivered to the airhead. (See Appendix D for more information.)

(4) The AWACS can send its early-warning messages to the ground commander's TACP, or the SHORAD CP. (Specific procedures for AWACS early warning of Army units in contingency operations are discussed in TRADOC Pam 34-4.)

b. The Army has two systems for early warning in the airhead.

(1) Tactical defense alert radar. The TDAR can be airdropped with the air defense unit, and then linked by wire or radio to all air defense units in the airhead. The TDAR has a 20-kilometer range, which provides a warning of air attack. The time of the warning varies, depending on air speed (fixed-wing can be one to two minutes in advance while rotary-wing may be up to ten minutes in advance). The TDAR can be mounted on a pedestal or in a HMMWV.

(2) Forward area alerting radar. The FAAR system is a complete, self-contained, acquisition radar system (AN/MPQ-49), which consists of a radar set (AN/TPQ-43 and TPX-50 IFF), the M561 Gamma Goat, and a trailer with a 5-kilowatt generator set. The system must be airlanded into the airhead. It requires about 30 minutes to emplace and can detect targets out to 20 kilometers.


Combat engineers are critical combat multipliers. The primary mission of airborne engineers is to increase the combat effectiveness of friendly soldiers, to facilitate their movement, and to hinder the enemy's movement. Many of the principle functions of the standard combat engineer battalion are carried on by airborne engineers but with different emphasis on the type and extent of work to be accomplished due to the limited transportation and heavy engineer equipment. Both corps and divisional engineer assets will be needed to support a divisional deployment. Airfield construction and repair packages, as well as airborne combat engineer battalions from the corps engineer brigade, will be task-organized to support divisional operations. This section focuses on forward aviation combat engineering as the primary engineer task in an airborne assault.


The task organization and subsequent C2 of engineer assets depends on the mission. An airborne combat engineer company is usually attached to a brigade for the airborne assault. The combat engineer company or its elements can be further attached to airborne battalions/companies based on the brigade's mission and ground tactical plan. After the engineer battalion lands, the combat engineer companies are brought under its control.


During airborne operations, priority is established among the following engineer support missions:

a. Mobility. Engineers provide mobility support to ground and air units.

(1) Forward aviation combat engineering, including preparation or rehabilitation of airstrips/airfields, EZs, and LZs.

(2) Assistance in the assault of fortified positions.

(3) Removal of mines, booby traps, and obstacles.

(4) Construction and repair of roads.

(5) Assistance in stream crossing.

b. Countermobility. During the expansion and defense of the airhead before reinforcement by air or ground linkup, engineers provide the following countermobility support:

(1) Erection of obstacles, roadblocks, and mine fields to secure the airhead.

(2) Destruction of bridges, railroads, power plants, communications centers, and key installations, or the preparation of such installations for demolition as part of strategic interdiction operations.

c. Survivability. Based on the commander's concept of the operation, engineers plan and construct defensive positions for facilities, air transport facilities, antiarmor weapons, FA, and dismounted forces.

d. Other Engineer Tasks. Engineers can support the airborne force in other ways:

(1) Division and corps engineer terrain analysis detachments can analyze the terrain selected for DZs, LZs, and assault airfield sites.

(2) Army or corps topographic companies can produce quick response map overprints, map revisions, and photo maps to provide the deploying units with the most current information available.

(3) Engineer well-drilling detachments can be airlanded to provide water for sustained operations.

(4) Engineer bridge companies can be airlanded to provide medium or heavy bridging support.


The combat engineer construction and maintenance effort in support of forward aviation operating facilities is a mobility functional area. Immediately available resources are used to accomplish FACE missions. Expedient techniques are used and extensive construction is limited to avoid enemy detection. The FACE projects that fall into this mobility function are discussed herein. (See FM 5-101 for detailed information on all facets of FACE operations.)


The following are the capabilities of the combat engineer construction and maintenance effort:

a. Construction of Landing Zones. Landing zones are required during helicopter movement of personnel and logistics, refueling and rearming, medical evacuation, and reconstitution. Engineer support is rudimentary for each type. Locations are selected that have suitable soil conditions without strength improvement to carry helicopter loads. Loose objects, including powdery snow, are cleared from the rotor wash area; all trees must be cleared from the rotor zones.

b. Construction of Low-Altitude Parachute Extraction System Zones. LAPES zones require relatively flat, stump-free terrain with features similar to those for a C-130 landing strip as specified in TM 5-330. Since the fixed-wing transport aircraft (typically a C-130) does not land when discharging its cargo, the ground strength requirements are based on the equipment being discharged.

c. Construction of Flight Landing Strips. The flight landing strip allows landing and takeoff of specific fixed-wing aircraft (see criteria established by TM 5-330). It must be relatively flat with a surface that can support fully loaded, freed-wing aircraft. Proper site selection is based on minimal need for surface improvement and earthwork.

d. Maintenance/Repair of Forward Aviation Facilities. Maintenance includes all activities required to correct deficiencies resulting from normal damage and deterioration. Repair includes restoration of damage due to abnormal use, accidents, and hostile forces. As an economy measure, maximum use of existing facilities should be planned.


The ground force commander is responsible for the construction, repair, and maintenance of airlanding facilities in the airhead. The airlift commander furnishes the ground force commander his requirements and the recommended priorities in order of accomplishment. The ground force commander establishes final priorities after joint consideration of the ground force and airlift requirements. Any deviations are coordinated with the airlift commander.

a. Construction or rehabilitation of airlanding facilities and airfields is initiated early. Plans for the initial assault provide for the seizure of airfields or sites for airlanding facilities to support the tactical and logistics plans. Assault units are augmented to perform minimum initial construction.

b. The airborne and airlift commanders prepare plans to cope with the problem of disabled aircraft on landing facilities. Airborne personnel provide assistance in moving disabled aircraft that might interfere with subsequent operations.


A large number of widely dispersed, low-activity, airlanding facilities are used in preference to a few highly developed airfield complexes, both in the departure and in the objective areas.

a. The number and location of airlanding facilities and airfields vary with the--

  • Size of the force to be employed and supported.
  • Planned buildup, including the number and type of aircraft to be accommodated.
  • Tactical and logistics plans.
  • Terrain in the objective area with particular attention to airfields, highways and roads, open areas, soil characteristics, relief, and vegetation.
  • Enemy capabilities.
  • Engineer capabilities.
  • Weather during the time of operations.

b. At least one assault airlanding facility is desirable in each brigade/battalion area. This does not include facilities for employment of organic and attached Army aviation, alternate facilities to offset losses from enemy action, or desired additional facilities.


Certain technical principles should be considered when selecting sites for airlanding facilities. Maximum use should be made of all existing aviation facilities. The site selection should fulfill the mission and provide for future expansion. It should be on terrain with soil that can be quickly and easily compacted to the standards listed in TM 5-330. The amount of earthwork is minimized by choosing a location that takes advantage of all prevailing grades that fall within the required specifications.

a. Airstrips and EZs are constructed across long, gentle slopes for ease of drainage. The bottoms of valleys or other depressed areas are avoided. Locations that require extensive clearing of flightway obstructions to meet glide angle requirements are also avoided.

b. Approaches are oriented IAW the prevailing winds in the area. The orientation should ensure 80 percent wind coverage based on a maximum allowable beam wind of 13 mph. If dust is a problem, the runway should be located 10 degrees to the prevailing wind so that dust clouds blow diagonally off the runway.


Landing mats and membranes are used as expedients for FACE site surfacing. Landing mats are used when the strength or smoothness of landing surfaces is not adequate. Membrane surfacing is used where soil strength is adequate but can become too weak when wet. Membrane is placed under all landing mats in high-traffic areas, such as runways and taxiways, to provide a waterproof covering for the soil. It is also used for dust control in aircraft traffic areas where chemical dust palliatives are either less satisfactory or require more time and effort to use. (The types, specifications, and emplacement of matting material are described in TM 5-330. Placement techniques, anchoring, repair, and maintenance of surfacing membrane are discussed in TM 5-337.)


An appraisal of the damage to a captured aviation facility precedes the decision to rehabilitate it. Occasionally, the effort to restore a badly damaged site is greater than that required to construct a new one. The enemy usually uses one or more of the following destruction measures:

  • Placing delayed-action bombs, mines, and booby traps.
  • Demolishing drainage systems and pavements.
  • Placing obstacles and debris on the landing surface
  • Flooding surfaced areas.
  • Blowing craters in runways and hardstands.

The first priority in restoring a captured airfield is to establish minimum facilities for immediate operation of friendly aircraft. This requires removing delayed-action bombs, mines, and booby traps from the traffic areas; clearing debris from the traffic areas; and repairing craters and landing surfaces. Adequate repair to the drainage system must be made promptly.


A number of engineer support packages are available to the commander to meet his requirements for FACE tasks. The greater the requirement for construction, the larger the number of aircraft sorties needed. The teams discussed herein are typical and can be modified to fit the situation.

a. Airfield Seizure. From an engineer perspective, airfield seizure involves three basic tasks: assessment, clearance, and repair.

(1) Airfield assessment team. This team consists of two or three qualified combat engineers who deploy into the airhead as early as possible. Once in the airhead, they assess runway/airfield damage and repair requirements and provide recommendations to the commander on use of undamaged portions of the airfield. They also determine what local construction materials and equipment are available, minimizing engineer impact on airlift sorties.

(2) Runway clearance element. This element is responsible for removing obstacles and demolitions from the runways in preparation for airland sorties and repair teams. It typically contains teams trained in detecting and neutralizing mines and booby traps, "hot wiring" secured vehicles, and an obstacle removal team that can be equipped with heavy equipment (bulldozers or scoop loaders) to remove runway obstructions too heavy to be manhandled. This equipment can also be used to jump-start inoperable equipment left on the runway as obstructions.

(3) Light airfield repair team. This team repairs light damage to an airstrip due to bombing or erosion and sustains extensive airland operations. (Figure 8-1.)

(4) Heavy airfield repair team. This team repairs extensive damage to an airfield. (Figure 8-2.) It can be provided by a construction platoon from the airborne light engineer company.

b. Airfield Construction. Tactical operations can occur where a facility does not exist for use in expanding the airhead and establishing the lodgment. In these instances, the airborne force must be tailored with enough engineer assets to build needed runway facilities within the allotted time. Airfield construction can be accomplished by an airborne combat engineer battalion (corps), an engineer combat support equipment company, or an airborne light equipment company with augmentation. The recommended equipment package is shown in Table 8-5.


Airborne operations often take place well beyond the range of some intelligence assets, which otherwise could support the airborne force. During planning for airborne operations, corps, EAC, other services, and national systems are the primary sources of intelligence. During the operation, organic resources provide much of the intelligence needed with more support coming from higher levels. MI units provide the airborne force with teams for interrogation, EW, and signals intelligence collection as well as CI support. They also provide a key part of the system designed to quickly collect, analyze, and disseminate information to the airborne force.


Interrogators are specially trained linguists and intelligence analysts. Their job is to screen and interrogate EPWs, detainees, and refugees and to exploit captured enemy documents. Their mission is to collect and report all information that meets the priority intelligence and information requirements of the supported commands.

a. Interrogation operations conducted below division level stress rapid screening and brief tactical interrogations of EPWs, detainees, and refugees. Enemy documents found on EPWs are used to support the screening and interrogation efforts; these documents can provide substantive combat information or intelligence for the commander. All other equipment and documents are evacuated as soon as possible to the rear areas for exploitation.

b. Forward-deployed interrogation teams can be placed in DS of the maneuver brigade. The brigade can further allocate these DS interrogation teams to its subordinate maneuver battalions to accomplish specific missions for a specific period. Direct support interrogation teams are tasked by, and respond to, the brigade or battalion S2. These teams usually operate from the maneuver brigade's EPW collection point in the BSA. Each team has two interrogators, one vehicle, and one VHF FM radio.


Contingency missions for the airborne division, and the manner in which its subordinate maneuver brigades are deployed, can dictate one or more CI teams (reinforced) to be placed in DS of brigade combat operations. The CI teams revert to MI battalion control for GS to the entire division once the division is deployed and operational.

a. Counterintelligence teams can identify and recommend countermeasures to the specific enemy HUMINT and surveillance and target acquisition means that pose a significant threat to airborne brigade operations. They help develop or refine friendly forces profiles and monitor and evaluate the most sensitive aspects of the brigades' OPSEC program and deception operations. More specifically, they assist the brigade's coordinating and special staff in the following:

(1) Identify the hostile collection and rear operations threat to the brigade and its subordinate maneuver battalions.

(2) Determine the EEFI that require protection.

(3) Identify brigade and battalion vulnerabilities to enemy RSTA, reconnaissance, and destruction activities.

(4) Maintaining intelligence, OPSEC, and deception data bases.

(5) Nominate enemy RSTA and reconnaissance assets or units for suppression, neutralization, destruction, or exploitation.

(6) Recommend OPSEC and deception measures to be employed, and monitor their effectiveness.

b. Individuals from supporting CI teams are located with EPW interrogators at the battalion/brigade EPW collection point. They perform CI screening and line-crosser operations from this location. These teams will operate in and out of the brigade's zone of operations and may cross boundaries to accomplish their mission.


All ground-based EW/SIGINT systems available within the division MI battalion can support the airborne brigade/battalion. The division's airborne EW system, QUICKFIX IIB, also has a significant collection capability; it can operate within the airhead if airlanded via airlift aircraft. All these systems can support airborne unit operations once deployed into the airhead. Major Army EW/SIGINT systems available to airborne units are discussed herein. Additional assets are available from the corps MI assets (see FM 34-25).

a. AN/ALQ-151(V) 2, QUICKFIX IIB. The AN/ALQ-151(V) 2 subsystem is a division-level, special-purpose countermeasures system. This subsystem is part of the heliborne system (EH-60A). The EH-60A includes a modified UH-60A helicopter fitted with special avionics and EW mission equipment to include ESM and ECM equipment. The ESM equipment is used to detect a target signal of interest and to locate its transmitting antenna.

b. AN/MSQ-103B, TEAMPACK (Lightweight). The AN/MSQ-103B, TEAMPACK, is a division-level, special-purpose receiving set. It is mounted in a protective shelter on an M1028 CUCV. It is used to intercept, process, display, and record noncommunications signals. The set operates over a frequency range subdivided into six separate bands within the UHF/SHF ranges. The operator has a secure VHF radio for tasking and reporting. The operating range of the AN/MSQ-103B is line of sight out to 30 kilometers.

c. AN/PRD-10, MANPACK. The AN/PRD-10, MANPACK is a division-level, man-portable, vehicular radio receiver and DF processor system. It is configured using commercial, nondevelopmental item equipment, which is easily transported and maintained in the field. The AN/PRD-10 provides accurate intercept and line-of-bearing information.

d. AN/TLQ-17A(V)1-Series, TRAFFICJAM. The AN/TLQ-17A(V) 1, TRAFFICJAM, is a division-level, transportable, electronic countermeasures set. This tactical mobile-jamming set is used against communications signals transmitting in the 1.5- to 80-MHz frequency range. The AN/TLQ-17A(V)1 can be used for surveillance or jamming against ground and airborne communications. It has both manual and automatic jamming capabilities for VHF and HF groundwave frequencies and can be operated in a mounted or dismounted configuration. The range is LOS dependent. A VHF secure voice radio provides communication.

e. AN/TRQ-32(V) 2, TEAMMATE. The AN/TRQ-32(V) 2, TEAMMATE, is a corps- and division-level radio receiving set. It is used to receive, record, and determine the direction of transmitted signals. Communications intercept is provided in the HF, VHF, and UHF ranges. Direction-finding LOB support is provided in the VHF range only. Up to four sets can be netted by way of FM data links for automated DF operations. The AN/TRQ-32(V) 2, TEAMMATE, is housed in an S-457B/G shelter, which is mounted on an M1028 CUCV. The communications subsystem provides secure FM voice radio, nonsecure field telephone, and secure UHF data links.


Remote sensors are a near all-weather, day/night surveillance system. They provide an added source of information for the battalion commander. These sensors can be used either alone or to complement or supplement other assets, such as GSRs. They provide information for the production of intelligence and timely, accurate target acquisition data. Sensors are emplaced in areas of expected enemy activity and monitored by teams in friendly forward areas. Movement of enemy forces within the sensor radius is detected and indications are transmitted to the monitoring team. These indications are then analyzed by the team, and the resulting information is reported to the battalion S2.

a. Ground surveillance system personnel from the division's MI battalion can be attached to, or placed in direct support of, the maneuver battalion. They can be further attached to the maneuver battalion's subordinate companies or the scout platoon. These sensors are used--

  • To monitor roads, trails, and avenues of approach to the airhead.
  • To monitor road junctions and bridges.
  • To monitor possible AAs.
  • To monitor DZs and LZs.
  • To provide target data for immediate use.
  • To extend OP capabilities.
  • To monitor obstacles and barriers.
  • To perform similar tasks designed to detect the movement of personnel or vehicles.

b. Sensors are hand emplaced in the target area by emplacement teams. The major advantages of hand emplacement include accurate determination of sensor location, better camouflage, and confirmed detection radius of each sensor. Disadvantages include threat to the emplacement team, the time required to install several strings, and the limited number of sensors that can be carried by the emplacement team. The emplacement team is transported by helicopter providing an accurate and quick response to the ground commander's request for support. This means of delivery provides access to areas normally inaccessible to ground elements, speeds emplacement, and increases the number of sensors that can be emplaced during a single mission.

c. Airborne units can employ the remotely monitored battlefield sensor system. In a tactical environment, REM BASS will provide the commander with a near all-weather, day and night target development capability in all types of terrain. Such a capability is necessary for the timely allocation of resources and combat power. With REMBASS, the commander has the capability for real-time detection of the enemy, and their exact location. REMBASS is integrated into the overall battlefield RSTA plans at each echelon (battalion and brigade).

(1) The REMBASS is a ground sensor system. It detects, classifies, and determines direction of movement of intruding personnel and vehicles. It uses monitored sensors emplaced along likely enemy avenues of approach. These sensors respond to seismic and acoustic disturbances, IR energy, and magnetic field changes to detect enemy activities.

(2) The three types of sensors (magnetic, seismic/acoustic, and infrared-passive) are normally employed in arrays of strings that complement one another. They are designed to function automatically, transmitting information when movement activates them. Each sensor has detection/classifying techniques suited to the physical disturbance (magnetic, seismic/acoustic, and infrared-passive). Each has a built-in, self-disabling and antitampering feature. Target data is transmitted by FM radio link to the monitor. The following information can be obtained:

  • Target detection.
  • Rate of movement.
  • Length of column.
  • Approximate number of targets.
  • Type of targets (wheeled vehicles, armored vehicles, or dismounted forces).

(3) The REMBASS has transmission ranges of 15 kilometers, ground to ground and 100 kilometers, ground to air. Because of its flexibility and wide range of applications, various equipment combinations can be selected to suit any given mission.


Ground surveillance radars provide the maneuver battalion with a highly mobile, near all-weather, 24-hour capability for battlefield surveillance. Units can employ them on patrols and at OPs and can use them with remote sensors and NODs. Ground surveillance radars can be used near or forward of the units' FLOT, on their flanks, or in their rear areas. The S2, company commander, or scout platoon leader of the supported battalion selects general locations for the GSR; then GSR team leaders select the actual site.

a. Surveillance platoons organic to the division's MI battalion have two types of radar--AN/PPS-5 and AN/PPS-15--that provide the supported commander with timely and accurate combat information and target acquisition data. They can detect and locate moving objects when other assets cannot. They are best used for random, short periods of time to search small areas or on a schedule for random or specific targets.

b. The AN/PPS-5 radar detects and warns of enemy dismounted movement over 3,000 meters; AN/PPS-15 radar works between 1,500 and 3,000 meters. Units can also use the AN/PPS-5 to search beyond engaged forces for indications of reinforcement, withdrawal, and enemy movements to outflank or bypass friendly forces in the engagement area.

c. The AN/PPS-15 radars provide the commander with highly mobile GSR support in operations where the heavier, less portable AN/PPS-5 radar is impractical.


The airborne force commander attaches intelligence and EW assets from the MI battalion to maneuver units for the airborne assault. The organization of the IEW unit varies based on the situation. Some assets return to higher echelon control as these levels of command establish CPs in the airhead. Other assets can remain attached (GSR, CI/IPW, and so on) to the battalion or brigade. (FM 34-80 provides a detailed discussion of employment, C2, and information flow for IEW assets.)


Victory on todays fast-moving, complex, lethal battlefield requires a reliable, secure, quick, and flexible communications system. This section discusses the key signal resources employed in airborne operations. Many sources provide signal support to the airborne force to include the joint communications support element in the joint headquarters, organic airborne signal units, and US Air Force or US Navy/Marine elements.


The joint communications support element provides modified C-130 and C-141 aircraft for the JTF commander to use en route to the theater or in orbit. The aircraft have roll-on/roll-off modules and provide SATCOM, UHF, VHF, HF, secure/nonsecure voice, and teletype to link the JTF commander with higher headquarters and component commanders. (Table 8-6.) After arriving in theater (for example, at an ISB or REMAB), crews can off-load the JACC/CP modules and place them into operation in a ground mode. The Defense Communications Agency provides more communications support through the Defense Communications System. Through DCS satellite relay support, the DCA connects the JTF commander in the JACC/CP to higher headquarters.


Signal units organic to the airborne force usually provide support for installation of Army communications in Air Force aircraft. These units can install air-to-air or air-to-ground communications equipment and associated equipment based on mission requirements. Three communications systems options exist: a secure en route communications package that is UHF air-to-air; HF air-to-ground; and SATCOM air-to-ground and air-to-air.

a. Secure En Route Communications Package. The SECOMP is used mainly for air to air between key ground force leaders on different airdrop aircraft. It has an AN/ARC-51BX radio that can transmit and receive voice between aircraft. The operator uses the intercom position to talk to the commander on the same aircraft when outside transmission is undesirable. The radio has KY-58 VINSON security. The operator can use a guard receiver to monitor a fixed-frequency guard channel. The frequency range is 225- to 399.95-MHz and the operator can preset up to 20 channels. About 10 minutes before the drop, the operator can set on LOS mode to net with JAAP SATCOM radios in the airhead, although this net is used only to deliver abort instructions or other last-minute information.

b. High-Frequency Operations. After coordination, the ground commander can use the second HF radio in the aircraft. He can secure this radio with the KY-65 PARKHILL device, using the DMDG with the secured radio for communications. The DMDG enables the commander to send and receive digital messages in electronic form.

c. Satellite Communications Operations. MC-130, AC-130, ABCCC, and JACC/PT aircraft (as well as HH-53, PAVE, low helicopters) have hard-mounted, hatch-mount, satellite antennas; they routinely employ SATCOM during operations. SATCOM is more reliable than HF for long-distance communications between airborne force elements, JTF headquarters, and any elements in the objective area. JCSE or organic signal units can provide SATCOM support. There are several SATCOM radios in the aircraft, but the main ones used are the URC-101 and AN/PSC-3, both of which operate in the 225- to 400-MHz range.

d. Hatch-Mounted Antennas. Sattelite communications and HF systems, which are employed on C-130, C-141, and C-5A aircraft, require hatch-mounted antennas. The most often used antenna is round, platter-shaped and, once mounted, sits parallel to the skin of the aircraft. Both UHF antennas can be used for SATCOM communications. Their radiation patterns slightly overlay. This provides useful information when the operator compares the flight route and aircraft location in reference to the satellite used. The operator can access both antennas, keeping one operational and one on standby.


The use of portable radar beacons in tactical operations improves radar-equipped TACAIR, bombers, and NFG support ships to provide night/adverse weather support to forces in the airhead. Commanders can use beacons in CAS, naval bombardment, AI, aerial delivery, and special operations.

a. Close Air Support. Radar beacons deployed with ground combat elements provide an accurate radar offset aim point for radar bombing of immediate or planned CAS targets. Commanders can use them to provide the direction to the target area while laser designators provide an exact aim point. Subordinate commanders request radar beacon CAS missions with standard air request procedures. The agency coordinating and directing CAS support ensures that the radar beacon and aircraft radar system are compatible, that the threat is permissive, and that radar beacons are the best delivery mode.

b. Air Interdiction. Planned AI attacks use previously emplaced radar beacons as radar-significant, offset, aim points. The positions, operational status, and codes of each radar beacon are published in the OPORD.

c. Aerial Delivery. Ground forces can deploy radar beacons for aerial delivery (airdrop) operations as agreed on between the CCT, or other terminal control personnel, and the mission controlling agency. Radar beacons provide airlift aircrews a positive means to locate, recognize, and align on a DZ, LZ, or EZ. Aircrews can make airborne radar approaches and airdrops under adverse weather/night conditions using the radar beacon as a terminal reference.

d. Aircraft Position Updates. Aircrews can use radar beacons placed along ingress routes to update their aircraft position. This reduces the need for navigation aids at or near the target and increases radar delivery accuracy.

e. Naval Gunfire Operations. The NGF radar beacons can be employed in any joint operation or to support other naval operations--for example, mine sweeping, patrolling, or coast-watching activities.

(1) Navigation. Accuracy of NGF depends on the ability of the ship to fix its position. Ships depend on visual reference points or landmarks to fix their position. When visibility is reduced, ships can use radar to determine their position relative to the known location.

(2) First-round accuracy. Radar beacons aid in the delivery of accurate NGF under all ceiling and visibility conditions. Navigation errors can be minimized, improving first-round accuracy.

f. Operational Considerations. When using radar beacons, units must consider the following:

(1) Range. Radar beacon employment range for an aircraft mission is limited by aircraft radar capability, offset data, and aircraft altitude. Targets should be within 15 NMs of the radar beacon location when the aircraft can ingress to the target at or above 10,000 feet AGL. When aircraft must ingress to the target at a low altitude (below 1,000 feet AGL), targets should be within 5 NMs of the beacon. Shipborn radar has the ability to "see" a full 360 degrees of horizon. However, because it sits lower than aircraft radar, target coverage for an NGF mission is limited by radar beacon signal transmission range.

(2) Placement. Placement of radar beacons depends on the following:

(a) Terrain and foliage attenuation. Since transmission of radar energy to and from the radar beacon is LOS limited, the beacon should be placed at the highest elevation available, while still providing for security of operations. Foliage attenuation greatly reduces acquisition ranges.

(b) Aircraft headings. Ideally, the axis of aircraft attack should be within 45 degrees of the beacon-to-target bearing, with the beacon placed beyond the target. Heading directly toward the beacon can degrade the accuracy of the system--some offset can be required. (Figure 8-3.) Because of typical aircraft radar sweep limits, a heading variance of over 45 degrees can cause the beacon to disappear from the radar scope before delivery. If a run-in heading in excess of 45 degrees offset is dictated by other factors, degradation of delivery accuracy can occur. Overflight of friendly soldiers should be avoided to the extent threat and airspace permit. Placement of the beacon along the axis of the run-in heading is not a factor for gunship operations since the gunship usually orbits its target. For airlift aircraft, the beacon should be placed on the PI for airdrops, either side of the leading edge of the LZ for airland, and between the right release panels for extractions.

(c) Aircraft position updates. For aircraft position updates, the radar beacon should be located en route to the target and be within 10 NMs either side of the proposed ingress flight route.

(3) Electromagnetic energy. Radar beacons are vulnerable to enemy DF equipment. Operators should limit "on" times to prolong survivability. "On" times must be firmly established during premission coordination between supporting and supported units. Most beacons can be triggered by any pulse-type signals of sufficient power transmitted in the beacon-receiving frequency band. Like any radar system, the beacon is susceptible to radar jamming and accidental interrogation.

(4) Weather. Areas of heavy precipitation between the aircraft or NGF support ship and beacon can reduce the radar energy enough to prevent triggering the beacon. The trigger range and beacon detection range can be extended or reduced by atmospheric conditions, especially in the mid latitudes and tropics. Cold weather adversely affects most batteries; more time can be required for warming up the magnetron before use.

(5) Communication. The controlling agency should relay mission data to the aircrew before takeoff or during ingress. When radio communications are impossible, alternate methods must be prearranged.

(6) Air threat. Radar beacons can be best employed in a permissive environment. This provides for higher flight profiles and better acquisition.

g. Responsibilities. Responsibilities for beacon employment during joint airborne operations are divided among a number of agencies.

(1) Before deployment, the Air Force TACC coordinates the allocation of Air Force radar beacon assets as required by the JFC and ensures that allocated aircraft are compatible with the deployed beacons. The JFC is responsible for frequency management.

(2) During execution of airborne operations, the ABCCC in its role as ASOC/TAC extension maintains operational control and a current status list of TAF RBs in its tactical area of responsibility. This includes the type, location, operational status, code, on/off status, and responsible ground unit or TACP. The ABCCC directs the employment of radar beacons in its area of responsibility and computes the required bombing data for planned and immediate missions. TACP computations can be used for actual missions when the ABCCC is unable to provide the data. The ABCCC can relay beacon bombing data to the AWACS or FACP for air interdiction and CAS missions. If AWACS is not available, the ABCCC controller can provide data to the flight.

(3) The AWACS, as an extension of the CRC, provides vector assistance to the beacon attack aircraft, as required. It passes radar beacon bombing data received from the ABCCC to the attack aircraft.

(4) The TACP employs beacons for CAS. They determine beacon location, target location, and bearing and range to the target. The TACP reports beacon status to the ABCCC.

(5) The airlift control center maintains close coordination with appropriate TACC for beacon use and directs the allocation of beacons for aerial delivery operations. The ALCC resolves conflicts between CCT radar beacon activity and associated ground or AF units before employment.

(6) The tactical airlift liaison officer coordinates the use of radar beacons for aerial delivery operations with appropriate units and agencies. He assists the airborne unit in forwarding specific aerial delivery mission beacon requirements to higher echelons.

(7) The CCT employs radar beacons to support aerial delivery operations in the airhead. They report beacon location, operational status, and code on/off status to the AATCC, TALO, ABCCC, and ALCC.

(8) During airhead operations, the airborne force commander forwards additional requirements for radar beacon coverage to the JFC and coordinates relocation of beacons with the ABCCC.

h. Airdrop Procedures. Radar beacons provide a positive means to locate, identify, and align on DZs, LZs, and EZs. While not a normal peacetime delivery method, with some restrictions aircrews can successfully perform airdrop missions using the beacon as a terminal reference. The navigator receives the beacon on the aircraft radar and provides headings for the pilots to fly to the release point. C-130 airdrops in IMC require either AWADS-equipped aircraft or a radar beacon. A C-141 requires an AN/TPN-27 (zone marker) or a radar beacon to perform IMC airdrops. Special restrictions must be complied with anytime the beacon is used to airdrop. All formation airdrops in IMC also require aircraft equipped with station-keeping equipment.

i. AC-130 Gunship Procedures. The primary concern in any AC-130 gunship operation with ground soldiers is the identification of friendly positions. Beacon operations are ideal for this purpose, especially during adverse weather. Once in radio contact, ground personnel provide beacon offset range in meters and specify whether the bearing is in reference to magnetic or true north. When correcting fire, ground personnel call ordnance impacts in meters long/short, and meters left/right from the ordnance impact area to the target. They use bearing from the radar beacon to the target as the base line. If ground personnel are not at or near the radar beacon, they can elect to call the impacts in range and bearing from the target.

j. Naval Gunfire Procedures. Three fire control methods can be employed using a radar beacon. The NGF support ship selects the best method, considering ship position, target position, and whether the beacon position is accurately known.

(1) Method Alpha. This method can be used when the exact location of the radar beacon is known (OPORD or radar beacon team information). The beacon is used as a navigation aid to determine the ship's position.

(2) Method Alpha modified. This method can be used when the exact location of the radar beacon is unknown, and when combat grid charts are not available. The target location is given in polar coordinates from the beacon. The ship plots the beacon, the ship's relative positions, and target relative position to engage the target.

(3) Method Bravo. This method can be used whether or not the radar beacon location is known. Target location is expressed in polar coordinates from the radar beacon. The beacon location is the point of aim, and offsets are introduced into the NGF computer to lay the gun on target.

k. Authentication. Proper joint authentication procedures must be used during radar beacon missions. Because intraservice authentication tables differ, each air, land, and sea element must obtain the joint authenticator, AKAC-1553, through unit COMSEC custodians. This joint authenticator, which has been developed for crisis or contingency use only, is called the Dryad Numeral/Authentication System. This system is used for joint interoperability worldwide and is a portion of the intertheater COMSEC package.


The MP have four battlefield missions: they ensure battlefield circulation control; they provide area security; they are charged with the EPW mission; and, at the discretion of the echelon commander, they provide law enforcement assistance. These missions are composed of a number of combat, CS, and CSS operations. The operations are performed independently or in any combination needed to accomplish assigned missions. The MP, in performing these operations, provide a full range of battlefield support.


Airborne MP companies (consisting of 99 soldiers each) have four 21-man platoons to support their divisions. The remaining platoon provides battlefield circulation control and area security near the division main CP.


Airborne MP accompany their divisions during the assault phase to provide support to the division airheads and support areas. Military police generally provide DS to the maneuver brigades during the assault. After the assault is complete and the airhead established, the MP platoons revert to a GS role.

a. The nature of airborne operations makes the capture of EPWs likely. Thus, during the first stage of the assault phase, priority of MP support is given to EPW operations. After assembly on the DZ, MP collect EPWs captured during the assault. Combat elements are relieved of EPWs as far forward as possible. Enemy prisoners of war are collected at the airhead and held for later movement to a central collecting point. Also during the first stage of the assault, MP perform limited straggler control and undertake reconnaissance operations. They also provide security for critical supply storage points when possible.

b. When the airhead is established in the second stage of the assault, the priority of MP support normally shifts to BCC. Although vehicle support is limited in the airhead, BCC measures are needed due to the limited roadnets with the airhead. Battlefield coordination center measures ensure timely and efficient use of the roadways by vehicles needed to support the assault. Also, during the second phase of the assault, MP elements take on much of the EPW and security support requirements. They provide area security in the expanding areas created by the outward bound tactical forces, They also begin to move EPWs to the central collection point for later movement to a holding area.

c. As the airhead is expanded during the third stage of the assault, MP stress battlefield circulation control, area security, and EPW operations to support the division commander's tactical plan. When the operation enters the defense phase, MP support expands to include all MP missions, as dictated by the commander.


The airborne force will fight on the integrated battlefield the same as on the conventional battlefield. However, CSS and communications will be disrupted more and the airborne force may be isolated or its movement restricted by radiation or chemical contamination. Tactics used on the conventional battlefield are especially suitable to the integrated battlefield--full use of cover and concealment, overwatch, and suppression. However, in such an environment, the unit must be prepared to quickly implement protective measures to enhance its survivability. They must also provide timely information to higher headquarters to assist in the employment of and protection from nuclear and chemical weapons.


The commander meets his responsibility for preparing individuals and units to operate in an NBC environment by the following:

  • Reduce unit vulnerability through terrain shielding and increase protective measures, while positioning elements to accomplish the mission.
  • Specify a level of protection, when faced with an NBC threat, that will reduce the risk of mass casualties.
  • Receive and submit reports on enemy use of NBC weapons IAW procedures established by higher headquarters.
  • Withstand an NBC attack with minimum interference to the assigned mission.

More specifically, the brigade/battalion commander in conjunction with his staff--

  • Determines the presence of a chemical hazard (using observation, chemical alarms, or detection devices), warns personnel, and takes proper defensive action.
  • Requires that tasks be performed while personnel are in MOPP.
  • Determines the presence of a radiological hazard (using radiation detection equipment), warns personnel, and takes proper defensive action.
  • Conducts monitoring and surveying to determine the extent and degree of contamination in a given area.
  • Establishes priorities for the treatment and evacuation of casualties.
  • Decontaminates personnel and equipment.
  • Conducts area damage control operations to minimize the impact of NBC weapons.


The brigade/battalion commander relies primarily on his chemical staff to provide advice and recommendations on all aspects of NBC operations. The chemical staff consists of a chemical officer, a chemical operations NCO, and an NBC enlisted alternate. The chemical staff is normally assigned to the S3 section of the battalion staff. Specific responsibilities include the following:

  • Prepare unit NBC defense SOP.
  • Supervise NBC training and defense preparation.
  • Ensure that NBC equipment is available and serviceable.
  • Advise commanders and other staff officers on all aspects of operations in an NBC environment.
  • Coordinate efforts of NBC defense assets within the company/battalion.


The following paragraphs provide guidance on measures which will reduce the brigade/battalion's vulnerability to NBC effects, and enhance its ability to detect, avoid, and measure NBC hazards.

a. Unit Vulnerability. A unit's vulnerability to an NBC attack is determined by its nearness to the enemy, its dispersion, its level of NBC training, and the degree of protection available to its personnel and equipment. When determining this vulnerability, it is assumed that the enemy can deliver his weapons on the most vulnerable location within the brigade/battalion area.

(1) To determine how vulnerable a brigade/battalion would be to an enemy-delivered weapon--

(a) Determine, from brigade, the yield of the weapon most likely to be used against the brigade/battalion.

(b) Determine the degree of exposure of brigade/battalion elements.

(c) Determine the radius of vulnerability. The Rv is the radius of a circle within which friendly soldiers will likely become casualties.

(d) Estimate the results of a potential enemy attack by drawing a circle showing the Rv on a transparent map scale, aligning the map scale to find the most vulnerable point, and making a visual estimate to determine coverage of the brigade/battalion.

(2) If coverage exceeds a level acceptable to the commander, the unit may decrease its vulnerability by digging positions or moving into existing protection, such as built-up areas. A centralized location may be depopulated if the unit is in an assembly area. Units may be separated laterally or in depth in a defensive situation. Distance between moving elements in the offense may be increased.

(3) While dispersion decreases the risk of destruction from nuclear attack, it may increase the possibility of defeat in detail and complicates the problem of control. The degree to which units can be dispersed depends on the mission of the brigade/battalion and on the risk the commander is willing to accept.

b. Monitoring. Radiological monitoring involves the use of radiac instruments to detect and measure residual radiation. Monitoring is performed while stationary. Its primary purposes are to allow warning of all personnel of the arrival or presence of a radiological hazard and to provide a basis for prompt action by the commander to minimize the hazard. Monitoring is included in normal reconnaissance and intelligence activities of all units. Radiological monitoring at all levels is initiated on order of the commander, on order of higher headquarters, or as required by SOP or other standing instructions. Units discovering radiological contamination in an area report according to their SOP and mark the area with a radiological contamination marker. Company-size units ensure soldiers are trained to operate unit dose-rate meters.

(1) Periodic monitoring. Periodic monitoring is routinely conducted when operating on the integrated battlefield. It requires units to monitor a designated point in their area a minimum of once each hour.

(2) Continuous monitoring. All units initiate continuous monitoring when a fallout warning is received; when on an administrative or tactical move; when a nuclear burst is reported, seen, or heard; when radiation above 1 centigray a hour is detected by periodic monitoring; and on order of the commander.

c. Surveying. Surveying may be necessary if monitoring reports do not provide the information needed to evaluate the contaminated area.

d. Operation Exposure Guide. Battalion operations in a nuclear environment will be complicated by the necessity to control exposure of personnel to nuclear radiation. An OEG provides a method of determining the maximum radiation dose to which units may be exposed. The OEG will be received from higher headquarters and stated in terms of degree of risk. The maximum dose is determined using the past accumulated dose or radiation history of the unit.

e. Defense Against Biological Attack. Defense against a biological attack is keyed on recognition of a biological threat by the enemy, preventive measures that can be taken by friendly units, and prompt evacuation of casualties.

(1) Recognition is accomplished by alerting unit personnel of indications that a biological agent may have been employed.

(2) Preventive measures can be taken by each unit to reduce casualties from biological attack. These include the following:

  • Maintain personal hygiene and field sanitation.
  • Avoid practices that produce extreme fatigue.
  • Provide immunization for enemy biological agents.
  • Provide instruction on the care of wounds.
  • Use only approved sources of food and water.
  • Ensure rodents and other pests are controlled.
  • Quarantine contaminated areas.

(3) Casualties of biological attacks will be processed the same as an illness resulting from normally transmitted diseases. The patients are reported to an aid station by unit aidmen or evacuated from the airhead (on available aeromedical evacuation) to a hospital, as required.


Unit protective measures are governed by the nature of the threat, the mission, the situation, and the weather.

  • Avoid crossing contaminated areas as much as possible consistent with the mission.
  • Cross unavoidable contaminated terrain as quickly as possible, preferably in vehicles, at speeds and intervals that minimize contamination of following vehicles.
  • Decontaminate after crossing.
  • Plan heavy work-rate activities for the coolest part of the day, if the situation and mission permit.
  • Thoroughly train each soldier in the use of individual and collective protective measures.


Mission-oriented protection posture is a flexible system of protection used in chemical warfare to facilitate mission accomplishment. It requires soldiers to wear individual protective equipment consistent with the chemical threat, the work rate imposed by the mission, and the temperature. Individual protective clothing becomes standard combat dress when directed by the theater commander.

a. Mission-oriented protection posture gives the commander and staff a choice of chemical protection for their units ranging from no protection at all to full protective clothing and equipment (Table 8-7). Ideally, a balance between the need for chemical protection and the work rate required by the mission can be determined to minimize chemical and heat casualties.

b. All combat operations are conducted under the MOPP system. When there is a continuing immediate threat of chemical attack, the unit may be required to wear protective clothing and equipment for extended periods.

c. The flexibility of MOPP in providing for varying levels of individual protection is limited by heat exhaustion, fatigue, senses, and personal needs.

d. The staff, with primary staff responsibility in the S3 section, will be required to recommend appropriate MOPP for a particular mission. When the commander gives his planning guidance for a particular mission, he may specify variations on the MOPP levels and any such variations from the orders as published in the coordinating instructions of OPORDs and OPLANs. In determining what MOPP to recommend, the staff evaluates the following:

(1) The type of mission and its relative importance to the overall mission.

(a) What work rate does the mission involve?

(b) What will the temperature be during the mission?

(c) Can the mission given to subordinates be changed or modified to achieve similar results with an increase in protection or a decrease in risk?

(2) The chemical threat and the capability of the threat forces to employ chemical agents, and the probability that they will do so.

(3) The expected number of heat casualties versus chemical casualties.

(4) The support required to minimize casualties from all causes, and the estimated time to complete the mission.

(5) The effects of environmental factors such as temperature and windspeed. (High winds decrease the probability that the enemy will use chemical agents.)

e. Before the start of a mission, the commander specifies the MOPP level to be used. He may later direct that this level of protection be increased, decreased, or varied among individuals or elements within the unit according to his evaluation of the current situation and operational limitation. He must consider that as the temperature and work rate increase, the level of individual protection must be reduced and work-pacing options must be taken, or he must accept the possibility of more heat casualties. One option is to reduce the chemical protection according to the temperature and work rate. Other options arc contingent on the hazards of contamination present.

(1) In a contaminated area, the commander may do one of the following:

(a) Rotate jobs requiring a heavy work rate among subordinate units, elements, or individuals.

(b) Authorize longer and more frequent rest periods. Rest periods are necessary to allow enough cooling time for the dissipation of built-up body heat. Work/rest periods may be repeated as many times as necessary to complete a job.

(c) Provide adequate water supply so that personnel can increase their water intake by drinking small amounts frequently.

(d) Use vehicular transportation whenever possible.

(2) When there is no immediate hazard from chemical agents, a commander may rotate personnel to various combinations of reduced chemical protection to provide relief from buildup of body heat. The commander may also allow a small percentage of his soldiers to be out of their chemical protective clothing at one time. The number of personnel in reduced protection is determined based on his evaluation of the local situation. Reduced protection is permitted on a selective basis for personnel performing certain tasks that require manual dexterity, visual acuity, and voice communication. It may also be necessary after considering the long-term psychological effects on personnel wearing full chemical protective clothing and equipment for extended periods.

(3) When there is no danger from chemical contamination (verified by the use of the unit's chemical-agent detector kits) and soldiers are required to operate at moderate to heavy work rates, the commander may authorize them to progressively reduce their protection by--

  • Opening the zipper of the hood (and possibly rolling it up) for ventilation.
  • Removing the protective gloves.
  • Removing the protective mask and hood.
  • Opening the duty uniform or the chemical protective clothing for ventilation. (This will require loosening or removal of external LBE.)
  • Removing some or all of the protective clothing.

(4) The commander can increase the work times significantly when a job requires a sustained effort for proper accomplishment or is an emergency. It must be noted, however, that soldiers who work for a long period will then require an extended rest to dissipate the built-up heat.


Chemical decontamination involves removing, neutralizing, absorbing, or weathering the chemical agent. Biological decontamination involves destroying or exposing the biological agent to sunlight. Radiological decontamination involves physically removing the radioactive material.

a. Types of Decontamination. There are three types of decontamination. See FM 3-5 for more information on all types of decontamination operations.

(1) Chemical contaminants on the skin are removed or neutralized by basic soldier skills.

(2) Hasty decontamination is done to remove gross amounts of NBC contaminants from weapons, combat vehicles, and each soldiers' clothing and equipment.

(3) Deliberate decontamination is conducted by specialized decontamination units so that soldiers do not have to wear complete NBC protective equipment.

b. Priorities. The battalion commander normally prescribes the priority of decontamination. He allocates necessary decontamination squads to ensure its accomplishment. The following are normal priorities:

(1) Personnel. Individuals or units are removed from contaminated areas, if possible, and are provided water for bathing. Fresh clothing and equipment are made available, and a means of disposing of contaminated clothing, equipment, and water is provided.

(2) Food and water. Ration containers are decontaminated with soap and water or other neutralizing agents, and rations are inspected by qualified medical personnel before consumption. Closed containers of water may be decontaminated by neutralizing agents, or uncontaminated water may be transported from another location.

(3) Critical equipment. Personnel and unit equipment vital to mission accomplishment are decontaminated or exchanged as required.

(4) Terrain. Small terrain areas may often be decontaminated by weathering, or by moving or turning the contaminated earth with spades or mechanical means.

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