UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Appendix A

Intelligence Preparation of the Battlespace

This appendix describes the IPB process as it applies to TMD operations. The IPB includes an analysis of the terrain to determine constraints on enemy TM activities and favorable conditions for the establishment of assembly areas, forward operating bases, hide sites, and launch points. It provides the location of areas of interest (AIs) where enemy TMD activities are likely to occur and the identification of TAI, HPTs, and high-value targets (HVTs). It discusses the effects of weather on both friendly and enemy TMD activities and weapons systems.
The IPB is constantly updated as new information is obtained and as the battle situation evolves. Templating is performed continuously to predict likely enemy COAs regarding TM activity, anticipate the enemy actions, and locate TM targets.


A-1. FM 34-130 explains the IPB process in detail. The commander uses IPB to understand the battlefield and the options it presents to friendly and threat forces. IPB is a systematic, continuous process of analyzing the threat and environment in a specific area. By applying the IPB process, the commander gains the information necessary to selectively apply and maximize his combat power at critical points in time and space on the battlefield. IPB for TMD must include aspects from both ground and aerial dimensions. The intelligence staff must consider all the aspects of missile operations and must be aware of the capabilities of all missile threats, including TBMs and airborne TM launch platforms. The intelligence sections have overall staff responsibility for IPB. All officers with TMD staff responsibilities must provide input to the intelligence sections to facilitate integrating TMD into the IPB process.

A-2. The IPB process has four steps:

  1. Define the battlefield environment.
  2. Describe the battlefield's effects.
  3. Evaluate the threat.
  4. Determine threat COAs.

A-3. Since terrain, weather, and other characteristics of the battlefield have different effects on TMD operations, TMD IPB differs from ground IPB. Enemy forces must be evaluated in relation to the effects that weather, terrain, and friendly operations will have on them. TMD IPB must be integrated into the IPB process at all levels.


A-4. The battlefield includes aerial dimensions to AO, battle space, and AI. During this step, the staff identifies specific features of the environment or activities within it that may influence available COAs or the commander's decisions. TMD IPB focuses on areas and characteristics of the battlefield, which will influence the TMD mission. To effectively define the battlefield environment the following parameters must be considered.


A-5. The AO is a geographical area assigned by a higher commander to an Army commander who has responsibility and authority for military operations. The AO has lateral, forward, and rear boundaries that usually define it within a larger joint geographical area.


A-6. Battle space is the environment, factors, and conditions that must be understood to successfully apply combat power, protect the force, or complete the mission. This includes the air, land, sea, space and the included enemy and friendly forces, facilities, weather, terrain, the electromagnetic spectrum, and information environment within the AOs and AIs.


A-7. An AI is an area, including the area of influence, from which information and intelligence are required to execute successful operations and to plan for future operations. It includes any threat forces or characteristics that will significantly influence accomplishment of the command's mission. (See also AO and battlespace.)


A-8. Commanders must determine geopolitical considerations and constraints, which could affect operations including:

  • Population demographics (for example, ethnic groups, religious groups, age distribution, population concentrations, and income groups).
  • Political or socio-economic factors including the role of clans, tribes, gangs, et cetera.
  • Infrastructure, such as transportation or communications.
  • ROE.
  • Legal restrictions, such as international treaties or agreements.


A-9. Critical information directly affects the successful execution of operations. The commander's critical information requirements (CCIR) include information the commander requires that directly affects his decisions and dictates the successful execution of operations. CCIR are:

  • Applicable only to the commander who specifies them.
  • Directly linked to present and future tactical situation.
  • Situation-dependent.
  • Events or activities that are predictable.
  • Specified by the commander for each operation.
  • Time-sensitive information that must be immediately reported to the commander, staff, and subordinate commanders.
  • Always included in an OPORD or OPLAN.
  • Transmitted by a communications system specified in the SOP.

A-10. The CCIR are expressed as three types of information (see FM 101-5-1):

  • Priority intelligence requirements (PIR).
  • Friendly forces information requirements (FFIR).
  • Essential elements of friendly information (EEFI).


A-11. The effects of terrain and weather on the enemy and friendly forces must be analyzed. The terrain and weather must be analyzed from both a ground and aerial standpoint.


A-12. Once the AO and AI have been established, the terrain must be analyzed by looking closely at observation and field of fire, cover and concealment, obstacles, key terrain, and avenues of approach (OCOKA) to determine the effect of that terrain on TMD operations. During this analysis, the TMD planners determine probable BM and CM launch points, hide positions, movement routes, et cetera. Automated terrain analysis systems provide a helpful tool to examine specific areas for suitability.

Observation and Fields of Fire

A-13. In IPB, observation relates to optical and electronic line of sight (LOS). LOS plays an important role in operations for ground-based radar systems. Radars rely on LOS to detect and track enemy TMs, so terrain must be analyzed to determine areas of radar coverage. Coverage diagrams constructed either by automated or manual means may aid this process. Attack and reconnaissance aircraft require LOS to detect, acquire, and/or attack their targets. These criteria, applied to terrain, allow the TMD planner to determine what types of threats are and are not able to operate throughout the AI.

Cover and Concealment

A-14. Concealment measures are a double-edged sword offering protection to enemy and friendly forces alike. CMs may attempt to use terrain to prevent detection and to protect them from direct fire. Radar systems may be able to use camouflage, emission control, thermal masking, and other techniques to avoid being targeted. The need for cover and concealment must be considered along with the need for good radar coverage along probable enemy air avenues of approach. Enemy mobile missile launchers normally occupy hide sites prior to moving to and firing from predetermined launch points. Hide sites are concealed positions usually located in relatively close proximity to launch points.


A-15. Obstacles for air breathing threats are anything that cause aircraft or CMs to follow particular flight profiles or routes, or that cause them to gain excessive altitude. Some examples of air obstacles are tall trees, power lines, towers, built-up areas, weather, threats, mountains, et cetera.

A-16. Ground obstacles may restrict or constrain the movement of enemy mobile missile launchers. Narrow roadways, bridges, and difficult terrain may channelize movement of missile launchers along specific routes. Analysis of these obstacles may help predict TEL movement routes.

Key Terrain

A-17. Key terrain is any locality or area in which the seizure, retention, or control of it will afford a marked advantage to either combatant. In the aerial dimension, these consist of terrain features that channelize or constrain air threat systems and terrain with an elevation higher than the maximum ceiling of threat systems. Other areas that may be considered as key terrain are airfields, missile launch sites, enemy hide positions, and TM logistic sites.

Air Avenues of Approach

A-18. Air avenues of approach are those routes that protect CMs and airborne TM launch platforms from detection and engagement, while still allowing maneuver and providing adequate LOS to accomplish the mission. Enemy BMs are relatively unaffected by masking considerations. Factors that should be used to determine air CM avenues of approach, both ingress and egress are:

  • Type threat, attack profile, and ordnance.
  • Point of origin and ground control radar positions.
  • Probable threat objective.
  • Freedom to maneuver within the air avenue.
  • Protection afforded to the system.

A-19. Type of Air Threat. Most surfaced-launched CMs are terrain following, and they use terrain masking. Due to their range, they may take indirect approach routes. TBMs are not terrain dependent. They fly a straight ground track from launch point to objective. Their flight is not restricted by terrain. ASMs usually fly direct routes from launch platform to the target. Fixed-wing aircraft usually follow major terrain features. Depending on range, they may fly a straight line to the target. Ordnance or payload may affect range and altitude of the air system and, thus, influence the selection of avenues of approach.

A-20. Point of Origin. When determining air avenues, the staff looks at the commander's entire AI. Analysis begins at the threat airfield or missile launch site and works toward the probable enemy objective. This allows a look at the big picture. The staff considers the range of the air systems and location of navigation aids and ground control sites.

A-21. Probable Threat Objective. Each avenue of approach must end at a target. Reverse IPB is used to pick threat objectives.

A-22. Freedom to Maneuver. Does the avenue--

  • Channelize the air system?
  • Have access to adjacent avenues?
  • Provide the ability to acquire a target and use available munitions?
  • Assist in navigation?

A-23. Protection for System. Does the avenue provide--

  • Terrain masking (cover and concealment)?
  • Opportunity for the full use of system speed?
  • Protection against radar detection?
  • Protection from air defense weapon systems and tactical air support?
  • Standoff orbit location and allowance for a standoff orbit?

Examples of Areas with Terrain Analysis Implications

A-24. Specific areas of enemy TMD operations with direct impacts on terrain analysis include:

  • Marshaling areas,
  • - Oblique and vertical LOS.
    - Concealment from friendly intelligence collection systems.
    - Cover from deep attack systems.
    - Minimal ground obstacles which restrict or constrain the movement of missile launchers (narrow roadways, bridges, heavy vegetation, rivers, poor surface materials, et cetera).

  • Assembly areas (forward operating bases) for missile battalions,
  • - Access to hard surface roads.
    - Cover and concealment for 50-60 vehicles.
    - Access to landline communications.

  • Launch points,
  • - Location of potential TM targets.
    - Range of missiles.
    - Roads between the site, hide, and resupply positions.
    - Terrain slope and trafficability restrictions.
    - Cover and concealment.
    - Open areas to fire from (dependent upon threat system characteristics).

  • Hide positions,
  • - Cover and concealment for two to three vehicles (caves, overpasses, mine shafts, wooded areas, buildings, et cetera).
    - Access to improved dirt roads.
    - Good communications locations (AM/FM, land line).

  • Reload sites, and
  • - Cover and concealment for 5-10 vehicles (for example, open areas with woodlines).
    - Isolated areas.
    - Access to multiple roads.
    - Access to landline communications.
    - ADA short-range radar signatures with no tactical units present.

  • Cruise missile operations areas.
  • - Low-level air avenues of approach for CMs and UAVs.
    Indications of CM launch vehicle or carrier activity or capability.


A-25. Weather analysis is performed to determine the effects of weather on both friendly and enemy missile defense weapons systems, intelligence sources, and missile performance. Among factors that should be considered are visibility, wind speed and direction, precipitation, cloud cover, temperature, and humidity. The supporting weather unit can provide weather data and information on weather effects on the theater of operations.

Impact on Theater Ballistic Missiles

A-26. The following weather conditions could have an impact on TBMs:

  • High upper atmosphere winds can have a derogatory effect on the accuracy of TBMs.
  • Extremely cold weather could cause icing conditions.
  • Heavy precipitation could impact road trafficability thereby reducing the mobility of TELs.

Impact on Cruise Missiles

A-27. The following weather conditions could have an impact on CMs:

  • Ground and sea-launched CMs may be affected by icing conditions in cold weather.
  • Air-launched CMs (ALCMs) may be affected by the same weather conditions that affect air operations such as strong winds, extreme cold, icing conditions and poor visibility.
  • Heavy precipitation could impact road trafficability thereby reducing the mobility of mobile CM launchers.


A-28. Threat evaluation for TMD operations consists of a detailed study of enemy TM capabilities, organization, and doctrine. The following steps should be used when evaluating the threat:

  • Collect and analyze doctrinal threat data.
  • Analyze threat TM capabilities.
  • Conduct target evaluation.


A-29. Typical questions that should be answered during this step are listed below. Analysis in this phase must also include the commander's critical information requirements and priority intelligence requirements:

  • What are the major strategic, operational, and tactical objectives of the enemy's TM operations?
  • Which objectives may be targeted for destruction or suppression?
  • Where do friendly air defense assets fit into the enemy's objectives? Do they need to be destroyed or suppressed for the enemy plan to work? Answers to these two questions may result in modification to predicted air avenues of approach.
  • What is the enemy's TM order of battle (OB)? How are the assets organized? Knowledge of threat organization, and who has operational control, will indicate the importance of the AO. What is the size of the enemy BM brigade, battalion, or battery? Does it fire as a unit? Does the threat have mobile, fixed, or both types of launchers?
  • How does the enemy doctrinally attack? Will the enemy synchronize the air and missile attack?
  • What are air system ingress and egress speeds?
  • Where are missile launch points? What are the likely targets? What are the range, endurance, and profile of these systems?
  • At what altitude will the enemy approach the target, launch TMs, and exit the target area?
  • What is the release authority of certain types of ordnance? This is particularly important when dealing with NBC threats.
  • How has the enemy historically fought?


A-30. TMD IPB must evaluate a broad range of OB data and threat capabilities. This analysis also evaluates the answers to the following questions.


A-31. What are the capabilities of the air systems in terms of--

  • Performance (speed, altitude, airfield restrictions, troop, and weapon load capacity)?
  • Endurance and range? Ingress and egress altitudes and speeds?
  • Levels of combat readiness and sortie generation rate?
  • Standoff ranges for CMs and tactical ASMs?
  • Ordnance load (maximum weight, type, load mixture, and level of sophistication)?
  • Navigational capability (types of radar, night flight, and adverse weather capabilities)?
  • Combat radius (with or without external tanks, ordnance, location of staging bases)?
  • Loiter time (how long will systems have on station over the target area)?
  • Countermeasures environment? For example, will standoff jammers, ground-based jammers, reconnaissance or chaff-laying UAVs, or aircraft degrade friendly air defense systems?
  • Type, quantity, and quality of training have the enemy pilots received?
  • Extent to which the enemy conforms to doctrine?
  • Ability of pilots to fly at night or perform contour flying? During peacetime did the pilot conduct the type of mission expected to be conducted during war?

Theater Ballistic Missiles

A-32. What are the capabilities of threat TBM systems in terms of--

  • Performance (flight time, flight characteristics, speed, trajectory, launch restrictions)?
  • Maximum and minimum ranges?
  • CEP?
  • Crew proficiency and training levels?
  • Reload and refire time? What is the number of TBMs available per transporter erector launcher?
  • Warhead types and sizes?
  • Guidance modes?
  • Locations of surveyed launch sites?

Cruise Missiles

A-33. What are the capabilities of threat CM systems in terms of--

  • Performance (flight time, flight characteristics, speed, altitude, and launch restrictions)?
  • Maximum and minimum ranges?
  • CEP?
  • Targeting capabilities and type?
  • Contour flying capability?
  • Vulnerability to countermeasures?
  • Guidance modes?
  • Warhead types and sizes?

Industrial Facilities

A-34. Specific information requirements regarding industrial facilities include:

  • What are the locations of missile, launcher, and warhead manufacturing and assembly plants and types of missile, launcher, and warheads manufactured at each plant?
  • What is friendly ability to strike these TM targets?
  • What is the potential impact of loss on the enemy's capability to conduct TM attacks?
  • What numbers of TM items are produced per unit of time? What is the ability to proceed from production to delivery of operational missiles to launch sites?
  • What are the locations of missile and warhead inventory, the numbers and types of missiles and warheads at each location, and the capability to transfer them from stockpiles to operational sites?
  • What are those key materials necessary for the manufacture of TMs? What is the ability of the enemy to obtain or produce them, and the timelines for production of TMs? What are the locations of handling and processing facilities for key materials?
  • What are the locations of storage facilities for missile fuel and associated air defense emplacements?

Marshaling Areas

A-35. Specific information requirements for determining possible marshaling sites include:

  • What is the size of area required based on types of activity, types of units, and numbers of units?
  • What is the distance from possible launch points and travel time(s) required to reach them?
  • What is the assembly time needed?
  • What are the current mobility and transportation assets?
  • What are the signature ranges from electronic intelligence of equipment, such as air defense radars and radio transmitters? What are the aggregate signatures, such as the amount of heat produced by large number of internal combustion engines?
  • Does the enemy use decoys and OPSEC measures to induce confusion as to whether a site is an actual marshaling area?

Launch Points

A-36. Specific information requirements for determining possible launch points include:

  • What are the distances from hide sites and travel times?
  • What is the time required for emplacement once the unit has arrived at a launch point?
  • What are the signatures both prior to and after a launch? (for example, air defense radar emissions, communications with higher authority for C2)
  • Does the enemy use decoys and OPSEC measures to induce confusion as to whether a site is an actual launch point?
  • What are the times required to displace?

Hide Sites

A-37. Specific information requirements for determining possible hide sites include:

  • What are the distances from launch sites and travel times?
  • What times are required to reload once the unit has returned from a launch?
  • What are the signatures at a hide site?
  • Does the enemy use decoys and OPSEC measures to induce confusion as to whether a site is an actual hide site?


A-38. This action should determine what targets are to be labeled as HVTs. HVTs are assets the enemy or friendly commander has deemed as important for the successful accomplishment of a particular mission. HVTs are determined by operational necessity and weapon system capability.


A-39. Subsequent to evaluating threat missile forces preferences and the effects of the operational environment, likely enemy objectives and COAs must be evaluated. The G2/S2 develops enemy threat models that depict the threat's TM COAs. They also prepare event templates and matrices that focus intelligence collection on identification of which COA the threat will most likely execute. The process of developing these templates and matrices is covered in depth in FM 34-130. The decision support template is an integrated staff product that results from the analysis of potential friendly COAs.


A-40. The situation template is a doctrinal template arrayed on the map, integrating TM attack profiles with weather and terrain restrictions and with confirmed intelligence added. The completed situation template shows the movement of enemy missile units from their lager sites to upload and fueling sites, to hide positions, and to prospective fire positions; as well as deployment timelines and prospective targets. This process assumes knowledge of enemy doctrine and employment tactics. The planner must also consider the possibility that an enemy might deviate from normal procedures.


A-41. Built on the situation template, the event template is an intelligence collection plan built into graphic form. It incorporates time phase lines (TPLs) that depict expected movement times and rates for TM forces and support elements. Event templates provide a means of comparing activity on different avenues of approach. In order to make the template useful for enemy TM analysis, it is sometimes helpful to create a separate TM event template. The event template provides answers to the questions where to look, when to look, and what to look for.

A-42. The event template identifies areas called NAI, which are points or areas where enemy activity or lack of activity confirms or denies enemy COAs. Each NAI must be monitored by a sensor or other means. Prospective firing locations for TBM and CM units could be listed as NAI. Large blocks of airspace through which missiles might travel could also be NAI. Those NAI that the unit cannot monitor with its own assets are sent to higher echelons with a request that those specific areas be monitored. It is critical that NAI be placed far enough out that decisions can be made in time for units to react to specific intelligence collection at the NAI.


A-43. The decision support template (DST) displays all of the information from the situational template and the event templates. It is a graphic picture of the intelligence estimate combined with the OPLAN. The DST does not dictate decisions to the commander; rather it identifies when and where decisions must be made. This is done through TAI and decision points (DPs).

A-44. TAI are areas where interdiction of enemy forces by maneuver, fires, or jamming eliminates or reduces a particular enemy capability. These TAI are depicted on the DST and indicate that some type of fires or counteraction must be planned and coordinated. If NAI have been properly identified, enemy activity within those NAI will indicate which TAI are of immediate interest. Sample TAI may include:

  • Bridges and road junctions.
  • Choke points.
  • TEL hide areas.
  • TBM launch sites.
  • Marshaling areas.
  • Airfields.

A-45. DPs identify those events and areas that may require a tactical decision and when decisions must be made. The commander selects DPs. Example decisions might include types and numbers of engagements, changes in EMCON status, CSS adjustments, and relocating fire units. If NAI have been properly placed, they indicate when and where decisions must be made. Factors affecting placement of DPs include the time required to:

  • Collect and process the information concerning an event.
  • Provide the information to the staff and commander.
  • Evaluate and decide.
  • Disseminate orders.
  • Designate the asset to implement the decision.

A-46. A decision support matrix is an alternate means of showing the commander those decisions that he will face. The matrix indicates the DPs, options available, NAI and collection assets providing the cues and appropriate TAI. The matrix can be structured by area or by time. Many commanders find the matrix form easier to use than the graphics format.


A-47. IPB is a systematic, continuous process for analyzing the threat and environment in a specific geographic setting. Applying the IPB process helps the commander apply and maximize his combat power at critical points in time and space by determining the threat's likely COAs and describing the environment and its effects on operations. Preparation and continuous updates of the IPB are fundamental to the execution of the TMD mission on the modern battlefield. When considering IPB and TMD, both ground and aerial IPB are equally significant. IPB should be a synergistic product combining all dimensions and not delineated by separating the aerial portion from the ground portion of the process.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list