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AIRSPACE COORDINATION PROCEDURES

by CPT Samel R. White, Jr., Observer/Controller, National Training Center


Brigades commonly use rotary-wing aircraft for:
  • air assaults
  • reconnaissance and surveillance
  • (R&S) asset insertions
  • resupply
  • command and control

The brigade's effort to execte A2C2is sometimes minimal to nonexistent. The brigade staff:

  • does not normally have a formal A2C2cell
  • is not at all versed in A2C2procedures
  • does not make any effort to coordinate the use of airspace

Routinely, the burden of A2C2falls upon the Aviation Liaison Officer (LO), with poor results.

Brigades must establish procedures for A2C2. Each member of the staff must understand their responsibilities in A2C2planning.

The following is a step-by-step methodology for A2C2.

STEP 1: Identify the need for army airspace. For example, the brigade FSO may identify that Combat Observation Lasing Team 2 (COLT) is to occupy OP 3, and the targeting team determines that COLT 2 will be air-inserted. The need for A2C2has just been identified. The staff now begins planning for A2C2.

S3: Allocates initial airspace for the insertion (air corridors, pickup zones (PZs), landing zones (LZs), etc.).

AVN LO: Works in conjunction with the S3 to develop air corridors based on the mission, aircraft type, enemy situation, etc.

S2: Identifies threats to the aircraft and recommends modifications to air corridors if necessary.

FSO: Identifies airspace control measure's affect on fire support and recommends changes.

ADA LO: Plan changes to Weapons Control Stats (WCS) based on the insertion.

ALO: Plans for coordinating altitude and separation distances.

STEP 2: S3 Air finalizes coordination with the A2C2 team, and ensures:

  • all graphic control measures are included on the brigade graphics.
  • necessary coordinating instructions are in the brigade OPORD.

STEP 3: S3 Air finalizes A2C2coordination with higher headquarters and adjacent units.

STEP 4: S3 Air continues to coordinate airspace throughout the preparation phase for the mission. Coordinates with the A2C2team as changes or refinements occur.

STEP 5: A2C2is rehearsed during the combined arms rehearsal. A2C2is also rehearsed at all subordinate rehearsals as required.

STEP 6: Execution--some tips:

  • Open and close air corridors only while aircraft are transiting the corridor. Leaving the corridor in effect continuosly will needlessly restrict fire support.

  • Plan aerial observation posts and air battle positions off the air corridor.

  • Only open sections (between aerial check points) of air corridors as the aircraft transit that section.

  • Plan air corridors behind or to the flanks of artillery batteries and mortar platoons/sections.

  • Consider task force mortar platoons/sections when planning A2C2.

  • Air corridors are manever graphics; include them on the brigade graphics.

  • Ensure indirect fire support assets are aware of the coordinating altitude in air corridors.

  • Implement NFAs on aerial OPs.

  • Aircraft must report aerial check points (ACPs) when transiting air corridors.


Battle Command at the Firing Battery Level
Indirect Fires and the Combined Arms Team



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