Close Air Support

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CAS is an air action against hostile targets which are in close proximity to friendly forces and which require detailed integration of each air mission with fire and movement of those forces. CAS provides ground or amphibious forces with firepower in offensive and defensive operations, by day or night, to destroy, suppress, neutralize, disrupt, fix or delay enemy forces in close proximity to friendly ground forces. The firepower and mobility of aircraft can make an immediate and direct contribution to the surface battle, especially against targets that are either inaccessible or invulnerable to available surface weapons effects. The variety of targets likely to be encountered makes it important to be able to employ a variety of weapons and delivery systems, thus reliable and interoperable communications with the supported force are essential features in the CAS environment.

CAS can be conducted at any place and time friendly forces are in close proximity to enemy forces. The word “close” does not imply a specific distance; rather, it is situational. The requirement for detailed integration because of proximity, fires, or movement is the determining factor. At times, CAS may be the best means to exploit tactical opportunities in the offense or defense.

Terminal Attack Control is the authority to control the maneuver of and grant weapons release clearance to attacking aircraft. A qualified JTAC, in accordance with CAS Syllabus, will be recognized across MA as capable and authorized to perform TAC operations.

In real life, another key player is the ground commander, responsible for ground operations, but in our context it's not allways a role that is present.

Order of Events

  • Initial contact - The CAS asset contacts the JTAC, ready to check-in or recive initial guidence.
  • CAS Check-in - The CAS asset provides the JTAC with its capabilities.
  • Situation Update - The JTAC updates the pilots on the situation on the ground.
  • Game plan - The JTAC provides broad term info for the upcoming attack.
  • CAS Brief - The JTAC provides the necessary details for the attack in a standard format.
    • 9-line
    • Remarks
    • Restrictions
  • Correlation - The JTAC confirms that the pilot has acquired the correct target when needed.
  • Attack - The pilot the pilot executes the attack.
  • Battle Damage Assessment - The JTAC/Pilot provides an evaluation of the attack. Later on, summarizes the final result of the CAS.


Key issues such as battle tracking, risk assessment, weapons release authority, methods of attack, airspace deconfliction and coordination, must be clearly understood and carefully planned.

Battle Tracking

Effective battle tracking will aid in maintaining and understanding of friendly and enemy progress, reduce redundant targeting, and reduce the possibility of friendly fire. JTAC must operate with the most currint information including:

- FSCM's/ACM's
- Friendly Unit Information. Unit boundaries, phase lines, friendly locations, objectives, etc.
- Current and planned artillery locations and gun-target lines.
- Enemy Locations including surface-to-air threats.

Risk Assessment

In addition to proper battle tracking, the supported commander and JTAC makes continuous tactical risk assessments. Risk assessments involve the processing of available information to ascertain a level of acceptable risk to friendly forces or civilians. Based on the current risk assessment, the supported commander will weigh the benefits and liabilities of authorizing CAS employment. CAS is not always the best option. Specific levels of risk should not be associated with each type of control or method of attack. Information to consider when assessing risk includes:

- Confidence in and the training of the unit, staff, and key personnel
- Confidence in battle tracking
- Threat information.
- Confidence in targeting information
- Ordnance available for attack

Colleteral Damage

Collateral damage is unintentional or incidental injury or damage to persons or objects that would not be lawful military targets in the circumstances ruling at the time.

The CDE process does not limit or supersede a commander’s responsibility to respond to time sensitive targets or inherent right and obligation of self-defense. However, an understanding of CDE can assist the CAS planner or JTAC in making a proportionality decision by answering five basic questions.

  1. Can I make a positive identification of the object I want to affect?
  2. Are there protected or collateral objects, civilian or noncombatant personnel, involuntary or unwitting human shields, or significant environmental concerns within the effects range of the weapon I would like to use to attack the target?
  3. Can I mitigate damage to those collateral concerns by striking the target with a different weapon or with a different method of engagement, yet still accomplish the mission?
  4. If not, how many civilians and noncombatants do I think will be injured or killed by this attack?
  5. Are the collateral effects of my attack excessive in relation to the expected military advantage gained, and do I need to elevate this decision to the next level of command to attack the target based on the ROE in effect?

JTAC's can help minimize and mitigate collateral damage in the following ways:

  • Understand the major causes of collateral damage.
- Failure to positively identify targets as hostile and geospatially define their location, or failure to identify civilians in the vicinity of the target.
- Improper weapon to target match in a given operational environment. Ordnance, fusing and delivery method can all have large impacts on the level of collateral damage and must be appropriately selected based on mission accomplishment, friendly force protection and proximity of collateral entities.
- Weapon malfunctions. Failure to properly plan attack axis to mitigate weapon guidance failures or miss distances. Human error or technology failure can lead to weapons landing off target or large miss distances resulting in increased collateral damage.
- Occasionally, certain targets are of such high strategic importance that a conscious decision is made by military and political leaders in light of the collateral risk.
  • Apply the proper mitigation techniques.
- JTAC's must be vigilant to identify the presence of noncombatants and incorporate pattern of life into their targeting decisions and recommendations to the supported ground force commanders. JTACs must be proactive and especially careful when using any form of remote targeting (scout, observer, VDL).
- JTAC's can select ordnance with lower explosive yield, greater precision, or which have less fragmentation potential if it still achieves the ground force commander’s intent. In addition, JTAC's can specify fusing combinations that lead to lower collateral damage such as delay fusing to minimize fragmentation, or airburst fusing to minimize the weapon’s penetration and effect of blast against a structure. JTAC's can also select an aim point offset to bias weapons effects away from nearest collateral concerns if the ground force commanders’ desired effect will still be met.
- JTAC's must take not only friendly locations but collateral concerns into account when planning attack axes to mitigate the effects of weapons landing off target due to human or technological failure. Properly orienting attack axis so the weapon is moving away from the nearest collateral concern at the point of impact accounts for possible misses and orients fragmentation pattern away from the nearest collateral concern.
- JTAC's must use all means available to ensure target location is accurate and of sufficient fidelity to achieve mission objectives. They must also exercise appropriate diligence in target correlation to ensure the correct target is attacked.

Types of Control

The type of control conveys the JTAC's intent on how best mitigate risk and his need to control individual attacks:

  • Type 1
JTAC will visually acquire the target and the attacking aircraft during the terminal phase of an attack, prior to weapons release, and assess attack aircraft geometry while maintaining control of individual attacks.
Used when:
- The JTAC requires control of individual attacks
- The situation requires the JTAC to visually acquire the attacking aircraft
- The situation requires the JTAC to visually acquire the target for each attack
- The JTAC will withhold clearance until the attacking aircraft has completed maneuvering on the target (wings level).
  • Type 2
JTAC will utilize other measures to mitigate risk while maintaining control of individual attacks. : While not required, if the tactical situation allows, the JTAC should make every effort to gain a visual on the aircraft and assess attack geometry under Type 2 control in order to provide an additional measure of safety, enhance SA, and be able to abort the attack if necessary.
Type 2 control may be applicable are night, adverse weather, and high altitude or standoff weapons employment.
Used when:
- the JTAC requires control of individual attacks and any or all of the conditions below exist
- JTAC is unable to visually acquire the attacking aircraft at weapons release.
- JTAC is unable to visually acquire the target.

  • Type 3
JTAC will utilize other measures to mitigate risk and assesses that the measures in place will allow multiple attacks within the same engagement.
While not required, if the tactical situation allows, the JTAC should make every effort to gain a visual on the aircraft and assess attack geometry under Type 3 control in order to provide an additional measure of safety, enhance SA, and be able to abort the attack if necessary.
Used when:
- JTAC requires the ability to provide clearance for multiple attacks within a single engagement subject to specific attack restrictions.

Method of Attack

Method of attack conveys the JTAC's intent for the aircraft's prosecution of the target; either the aircraft will acquire the target/mark (Bomb on Target) or correlation will be provided by system/weapon readback (Bomb on Coordinates).

  • BOC
A BOC attack is used when the JTAC determines that he can create the desired effects against the target with CAS aircraft employing ordnance on a specified set of coordinates.
For BOC missions, all aircraft delivering ordnance must readback Line 4 and Line 6 from their system or weapon, as appropriate, in conjunction with Line 8 and required restrictions. Aircrew will not modify coordinates once read back is complete.
  • BOT
A BOT attack requires that the JTAC's intended target or mark are TALLY/CONTACT/CAPTURED by the aircrew.
For BOT missions, only the flight lead is required to readback lines 4, 6 and 8 in conjunction with other required restrictions. All attack aircraft will provide readbacks only if requested by the JTAC.

Fire Support Coordination Measures


Airspace Control Means


Procedural Control Means

  • Contact Point / Initial Point / Battle Position Selection
The JTAC selects the CP's/IP's/BP's based on enemy capabilities, target orientation, friendly location, weather, aircraft capabilities, and FSCM's. CP's and IP's should be visually significant geographic points whenever possible so that aircrew can visually acquire them in the event of a degraded navigation systems or GPS-denied environments. IP's and BP's should be in such distance from target area that allows for safety of the aircraft from enemy AD threat, during holding and for employment of weapons, typically 5 to 15 NM. Actual distance therefore depends on anticipated threat, aircraft and weapons used. For example FW PGM delivery run typically begins about 8-10NM from the target. High altitude aircraft may require IP's in excess of 20 nautical miles from the target. If ground forces want to achieve surprise the holding distance should prevent the enemy from spotting the aircraft and reduce the noise to minimum.
IP's/BP's should be positioned over friendly territory, away from known friendly and anticipated enemy artillery positions. When selecting BP's for helicopters or IP's for low flying aircraft attention should be paid to terrain hampering LOS communications.
When coordinating the use of stand-off weapons, IP ranges may need to be extended to ensure appropriate weapon delivery parameters. In some cases, stand-off CAS platforms may need to apply required terminal deconfliction parameters to the weapon instead of the aircraft. In this case, the aircrew should communicate an appropriate stand-off IP to the JTAC, ensuring that the weapon will remain deconflicted throughout its entire route of flight.
  • Keyhole template
Keyhole is an efficient method for establishing an IP/BP in the absence of control points or their location does not sufficiently support target engagement. When CAS aircraft are passed to a JTAC from a contact point, the JTAC should immediately pass an “Echo” point (typically the target) to those CAS players, and then anchor their hold point off of the target with a direction and distance.
JTAC may also send other than target coordinates (for example center of the target area), however this has to be clearly communicated to the aircrew. The standard keyhole method is to label each of the cardinal directions with a letter: A – North, B – East, C – South, D – West and E – Overhead Target and use radials when cardinal/subcardinal directions are not appropriate. Distances are expressed in nautical miles (for FW) or kilometers (RW). FW Aircraft should hold outside the distance given. For RW the distance given is considered the center of BP.
Note: If holding multiple aircraft around one Echo point the JTAC should consider deconflicting all the players also by altitude, as holding patterns of some players may accidentally overlap during holding.


Pre-Combat Preperations

Pre-combat checks and pre-combat inspections allow personnel to prepare for a mission and provide the leader/supervisor an opportunity to ensure the operational readiness of personnel and equipment.

  • Ensure personnel in each subordinate element understand the mission, end-state, scheme of maneuver, and fires including:
- The ground force commander’s intent.
- Ground force scheme of maneuver
- Threat scheme of maneuver
- Communications plan
- Tasked ATO assets
  • Ensure all required equipment is full mission-capable.
  • Ensure distribution of graphics and/or overlays depicting:
- Scheme of maneuver.
- FSCM's
- ACM's
- NAIs and/or TAIs
- Decision points and triggers
- Aircraft CPs and IPs
- Helicopter HAs, BPs and/or landing zones
- Friendly marking procedures (Day/Night)
- Laser guided munitions/designator codes


Initial contact


When the flight is established at the contact point (CP), they will contact the JTAC and if unencrypted comms is used the pilot should challange the JTAC using RAMROD or AMSL. In our case the JTAC will typically pass an Echo point (target area) to the flight. If the flight is not able to work with MGRS coordinates (which is standard), and need some other format (typically DDD° MM.MMM' coordinates), this should be mentioned before the echo point is communicated. The JTAC might also give the flight instructions to proceed to another location in relation to the echo point.

Note: The actual check-in has not happened yet. The JTAC typically wants to point the flight in the right direction before that, in order to save time.



The flight should not check-in until the JTAC asks them to. JTACs should be directive about when they want the aircraft to check-in, providing the details on the flight's capabilities. When the flight checks in, the following info should be included:

  1. Flight callsign
  2. Number and type of aircraft
  3. Position and altitude
  4. Ordnance (including laser codes)
  5. Playtime
  6. Relevant capabilities (TGP, VDL, NVG, etc.)
  7. Abort code (if needed using AMSL/RAMROD otherwise "in the clear")

Situation Update

Situation Update

The JTAC provides a short overview on what's happening, and if there is anything the flight needs to know, like any hazards (air defence threat, other CAS flights), enemy and friendly forces situation and artillery activity.

It is not mandatory to write down everything that is said but the pilot should understand the situation and take note if needed.

Game plan

CAS Brief

The JTAC provides a short summary of how the attack is going to be performed. Game plan shall include:

  • Type of control (1,2 or3)
  • Method (BOT/BOC)

The game plan may include:

  • Ordnance requested/fusing/effect on target
  • Aircraft interval

Sometimes, a short back-and-forth between the JTAC and the pilot is required to determine the best choice of weapon for a specific target. This is initiated by the JTAC saying “I suggest.." and ending with "do you agree? oterwise weapon of choice is not negotiable.


The CAS brief is the standard for use with FW and RW aircraft. The brief is used for all threat conditions and does not dictate the CAS aircraft’s tactics. It consist of 9-line, remarks and restrictions.


The lines are always read in a certain order and should be as short/to-the-point as possible. It's encouraged that the JTAC reads all the line headers ("Elevation", "Target" etc) out loud, to make it easier for less experienced pilots.

  • Initial Point or Battle Position
The IP is the starting point for the run-in to the target. For rotary wing aircraft, the BP is where attacks on the target are commenced (for running and diving fire) or actual firing position (for hovering fire). IPs and BPs are usually described by name.
If Keyhole template is used, IP/BP can be expressed as cardinal direction and distance from Echo Point (see Keyhole procedures)
  • Heading and Offset
The heading is course from the IP or center of the BP to target. (Included in Line 1 during Keyhole procedure)
Magnetic North is considered standard but JTAC should be prepared to convert Magnetic North to True North, if necessary.
The offset is the side of the IP-to-target line on which aircrews can maneuver for the attack (LEFT or RIGHT)
  • Distance
The distance from the IP to the target. (Included in Line 1 during Keyhole procedure)
  • Target Elevation
The target altitude in feet MSL (above mean sea level).
  • Target Description
A concise description, for instance "T-72 tank".
  • Target Location
WGS-84 map datum is considered standard. Location is provided in one of following manners:
- Lat/Long
- Offset from known point
There are rare times when a JTAC is unable to provide a target elevation and coordinate. In this case, there must be additional correlation between the attacking aircraft and controller to confirm the actual target location. This may include verification through Talk-On or use of VDL.
  • Mark - The type of mark the JTAC will use (smoke, Laser/IR-pointer or direct fire).
If using a Laser, line 7 will also state:
  • Callsign of the platform/individual that will provide the lasermark/sesignation
  • Laser Code
  • Friendlies
Given in a cardinal/sub cardinal direction and distance in meters from the target to the closest friendly position (e.g. "North 500" or “South-west 300”)
  • Egress
The cardinal/sub-cardinal direction for the pilot to egress after weapon employment

The bold lines are mandatory for the pilot to read back when asked to.


Remarks convey additional information important to the conduct of the CAS mission. The following is a list of remarks that should be included in the CAS brief, if applicable:

  • Laser-to-target line - The direction of the laser expressed in degrees magnetic from point of

origin to the target.

  • Ordnance type/number (if not already specified in game plan)
  • Threats - AAA, manpads etc.
  • Active GTL's - GTL in degrees magnetic, Max Ord in feet MSL and TOF. (Position if not known by aircrew)
  • Weather - Cloud ceiling etc.
  • Hazards to Aviation - High ground, powerlines etc.

Remarks are not required to be read back by the aircrew, unless specifically requested by JTAC.


The following information is always a restriction and must be included if applicable. Additional restrictions are at the discretion of the JTAC. JTAC's should attempt to place as few restrictions as possible on attacking aircraft.

  • Final attack heading - If the attack needs to be performed at a certain heading
- Magnetic heading e.g. - "FAH 230 degrees"
- Magnetic heading with a cone - e.g. "FAH 230 +/- 20 degrees" or "FAH 210 - 250 degrees"
- Cardinal/Sub cardinal - e.g. "Make your attack from east to west"
- Geo.ref - e.g. "Make attacks paralell to the road"
  • Danger close - If the attack is expected to hit very close to friendlies (inside of the weapon's "0.1% probability of incapacitation" radius)
  • Airspace Coordination Area - If there is any limitation on use of the airspace that has not been briefed before
  • TOT - If there is a certain time-on-target when the weapons is intended to hit the target.

All passed restrictions shall be read back when asked to.


  • BOT
When the pilot has received the CAS brief, the JTAC needs to make sure the pilot is acquiring the correct target. Typically through a talk-on, guiding the pilot from a reference point, through distinguishable landmarks, to the target. This is a back-and-forth talk between the JTAC and the pilot, and can be very different depending on the situation.
Note: For talk-on, use "FIDO": From anchor, In a direction, Distance to travel, Object seen.
  • BOC
Correlation is complete when the attacking aircraft correctly read back lines 4, 6 from their weapon system along with line 8 and other restrictions.


When the correlation has been completed, the JTAC clears the pilot to approach by asking him to "call leaving IP". When the pilot has completed his preparations, and has turned towards the target, he calls "IP inbound", meaning he has left the IP and is inbound towards the target.

  • If the JTAC wants the pilot to continue, but he's not ready to let him open fire just yet, he calls "Continue".
  • When the pilot is 'ready to fire' he calls "In hot" or "In hot + attack heading" if restricted.
  • If the JTAC wants to cancel the attack, he calls "Abort, abort, abort!".
  • When the JTAC is confident everything looks good, he calls "Cleared hot!".

Note: For safety, "cleared hot!" are words ONLY to be said by the JTAC, ever. You are not allowed to asked "am I cleared hot?".

When the pilot fires, he should preferably call out the weapon release. For instance "Bombs Away" or Rifle (air-to-ground missile, like a Maverick). No callout is needed for a strafe.

When the pilot has fired, he calls "Off" if he has fired, or "Off dry" if he didn't fire.

Battle Damage Assassment

After the weapon has impacted, the JTAC should let the pilot know whether it was a hit or miss and if target is destroyed/neutralized. If needed the JTAC can ask the pilot to perform a BDA using on board sensors for a more precise assassment. Many times, a re-attack is needed either to re-engage the same target or engage a new target in the same position(Convoy etc.). In this case, the JTAC simply asks for a re-attack. The instructions and restrictions from the first attack still apply, so no new CAS brief is needed. The JTAC may give additional instructions when the pilot is maneuvering, typically an target position adjustment. This is typically given with reference to where the previous attack hit ("from your hits, north 100").

When the JTAC no longer needs the CAS flight, or the CAS flight can no longer support (out of playtime i.e. low fuel, out of weapons, other reason), the CAS session ends. The pilot or the JTAC could perform a full BDA, but in our case typically the JTAC makes the BDA and communicates it to the pilot). The BDA should include:

  • Number and type of equipment/personnel attacked
  • Mechanism/degree of damage, activity after the attack
  • Munitions expended, observed damage (number of tanks destroyed, number still active, and recommendation), mission number, and mission accomplished.

JTAC gives final instructions to pilots how to leave the AO (Usually back to CP where the pilots will contact any airborne C2 asset)

Rotary wing CAS


For rotary wing (helicopter) CAS, the JTAC has two options:

  • Using the normal procedures as described above.
  • Using the more compact "5-line" format, effectively replacing the game plan and the CAS brief with this shorter format. The 5-line assumes the aircrew has good SA and gets a positive fix on the friendly forces. If the air crew fails to locate the friendly forces, the JTAC should not proceed but instead use a 9-line.

5-line application

The game plan and the CAS brief are replaced with the 5-line. All other sections remain unchanged.

  1. Warning order - This lets the aircrew know that this will be a 5-line instead of 9-line, as well as including the gameplan with control type and engagement method (typically Type 2 and Bomb on Target).
  2. Friendly location/mark - The position of the friendly observer (typically the JTAC himself). Should be communicated by talk-on from a reference point (like the echo point) and/or by marking with smoke.
  3. Target location - Typically communicated in relation to line 2 (friendlies).
  4. Target description/mark - A concise description, for instance "T-72 tank" and any mark (smoke, IR, laser including code).
  5. Remarks/restrictions - Optional remarks such as requested weapon, and any restrictions such as final attack heading (see remarks and restrictions above for details).

After a 5-line, only the restrictions should be read back.

5-line example

In this example, Orca6, a friendly Ka-50 is 5 nm east of Bowser5's (the JTAC's) position. The JTAC has enemy infantry 400 meter to the south. The echo point has already been communicated, and the check-in is complete.

Situation update

Bowser5: "Situation update: We are taking small arms and RPG fire from infantry to the south. You are the only flight in the AO. Advice when ready for 5-line"


Orca6: "Ready 5-line"
Bowser5: (1) "Orca6, Bowser5. 5-line. Type 2. Bomb on target." (2) "My position: next to building 100 meters north of echo point, marked with green smoke." (3) "Target location: Bearing 180 and range 400, marked with tracers." (4) "Description: Infantry in the open." (5) "Restrictions: Attack east to west. All effect south of echo point." *
Orca6: "Copy, will attack from east to west. All effects south of echo point."

* Note: Line numbers are not read out loud.

From that point, everything works just like during a 9-line. "IP inbound", "Continue", "In hot", "Cleared hot!" etc.



  • Miller time Completion of A/S ordnance delivery. Generally used by the last striker in conjunction with a precoordinated egress plan.


  • PROCEED TO xxxx AND REPORT ESTABLISHED Call for aircrew to proceed to a location/elevation and verbally report when established
  • MAINTAIN xxxx Directive call for aircrew to hold at the specified location/altitude
  • REPORT PASSING xxxx Call for aircrew to verbally report passing the specified altitude


  • ABORT Cease action/attack/event/mission.
  • CLEARED HOT Type 1 and 2 close air support terminal attack control clearance to release ordnance on this pass.
  • CONTINUE Continue present maneuver, does not imply a change in clearance to engage or expend ordnance.
  • CONTINUE DRY Continue present maneuver, ordnance release not authorized. (Joint terminal attack controller must use “Type 3, CONTINUE DRY” for dry Type 3 control.)
  • CLEARED TO ENGAGE Type 3 control clearance. Attack aircraft or flight may initiate attacks within the parameters imposed by the JTAC. (Joint terminal attack controller must use “Type 3, CONTINUE DRY” for dry Type 3 control.)


  • BLIND No visual contact with FRIENDLY aircraft/ground position.
  • VISUAL Sighting of a FRIENDLY aircraft or ground position.
  • CONTACT Acknowledges sighting of a specified reference point (either visually or via sensor).
  • CAPTURED Specified surface target or object has been acquired and is being tracked with an onboard sensor.
  • LOOKING Aircrew does not have the ground object, reference point, or target in sight.
  • TALLY Sighting of a target, non-friendly aircraft, or enemy position.
  • NO JOY Aircrew does not have visual contact with the TARGET/BANDIT.


  • SPARKLE JTAC marks the target with an IR pointer. Can be initiated by JTAC or aircrew.
  • SNAKE Oscillate an IR pointer in a figure eight about a target.
  • PULSE Illuminate/illuminating a position with flashing IR energy. (pulse mode)
  • STEADY Stop oscillation of IR pointer.
  • CEASE SPARKLE Discontinue sparkle activity.
  • ROPE Circling an IR pointer around an aircraft (FRIENDLY).
  • CONTACT SPARKLE Acknowledges sighting of sparkle.
  • MATCH SPARKLE Overlay requested target designator type.


  • TEN SECONDS Standby for LASER ON call in approximately 10 seconds
  • LASER ON Start/ acknowledge LASER designation
  • SHIFT Shift LASER aimpoint.
  • SPOT Acquisition of LASER designation
  • CEASE LASER Discontinue lasing
  • DEAD EYE LASER designator system inoperative
  • NEGATIVE LASER LASER energy has not been acquired
  • LASING The speaker is firing the LASER
  • STARE Cue the LASER spot search/ tracker function on the specified location


  • CHECK CAPTURE Informative call that target appears to be no longer tracked by Sensor
  • CHECK FOCUSInformative call that the video image appears to be out of focus
  • DECLUTTER Directive call to minimize on-screen graphics
  • EXPECT HOLLOW Informative call that a condition will likely exist that limits FMV reception
  • HANDSHAKE Informative call to indicate receiving good FMV signal and/or Metadata
  • HOLLOW Informative call to indicate loss or no full motion video signal and/or Metadata
  • SET Informative call indicating no longer slewing the sensor and waiting for further updates
  • SHADOW Directive call to follow indicated target.
  • SLEW Directive call to slew the sensor a given direction and distance
  • STAKE A sensor mark has been set and is used as an anchor point
  • STARE Directive call to cue the targeting pod and enable the LASER spot search function
  • SWITCH CAMERA Directive call to switch to electro-optical or infrared camera/sensor.
  • SWITCH POLARITY Directive call to switch IR polarity to black hot or white hot
  • TELEMETRY ON/OFF Directive call to turn telemetry data (Metadata) on/off.
  • ZOOM IN/OUT Directive call to change field of view (FOV)


  • ACA Airspace Coordination Area
  • ACM Airspace Coordinating Measures
  • ATM Air Tasking Message
  • ATO Air Tasking Order
  • BP Battle Position
  • BDA Battle Damage Assessment
  • BOC Bomb On Coordinate
  • BOT Bomb On Target
  • CP Contact Point
  • FAH Final Attack Heading
  • FARP Forward Arming and Refuleing Point
  • FFA Free Fire Area
  • FO Forward Observer
  • FSCL Fire Support Coordination Line
  • FSCM Fire Support Coordination Measures
  • HA Holding Area
  • IAM Inertially-Aided Munitions
  • IP Initial Point
  • JDAM Joint Direct Attack Munition
  • JTAC Joint Terminal Attack Controller
  • LGB Laser Guided Bomb
  • LGM Laser Guided Missile
  • LRF Laser Range Finder
  • LST Laser Spot Tracker
  • LTD Laser Target Designator
  • MANPADS Man Portable Air Defense System


In our example, a JTAC called Bowser5 has found a group of T-72 tanks that he needs to see destroyed. He has requested air support from his commander (in our case, the mission commander, or the AWACS) called Stingray. A flight of two F/A-18C Hornets called Arctic1 will be dispatched to the area where Bowser5 is operating. A contact point (CP) called "Eddie" has been setup over a lake 20nm NW of target area and Initial Point (IP) Alex located at a highway crossing 10nm to the west of target area. These points are mentioned for everyone during the brief before mission start.

Initial contact

The flight Arctic1 is now enroute to CP Eddie, and has switched to Bowser5's frequency.

Arctic11: "Bowser5, Arctic11"
Bowser5:  "Arctic11, Bowser5, advice when ready for echo point"
Arctic11: "Ready to copy"
Bowser5:  "38 Tango, Lima November, 480 098. Elevation 2671"
Arctic11: "38 Tango, Lima November, 480 098. Elevation 2671"
Bowser5:  "Readback correct. Proceed to Delta 15. Send your check-in"


Arctic11: "Pushing Delta 15"
Arctic11: "Bowser5, this is Arctic1, two-ship F/A-18 Charlie, at CP Eddie, angels 15. Carrying 500 
20 mike mike, 2 GBU-12, 1 GBU-32 and 1 AMG-65E on each aircraft. Laser codes: Arctic11 - 1511, 
Arctic12 - 1512. Playtime 40 minutes. Carrying ATFLIR. Abort code: In the clear"
Bowser5:  "1511 and 1512, abort in the clear, call ready for situation update"
Arctic11: "Ready to copy"

Situation Update

Bowser5: "Current surface-to-air threat is a SA-6 at Lima November 970 965, just west of MSR Tampa; 
target is a armored platoon attempting to flank us to the north, break"
Bowser5: "Friendlies are a single FST in the vicinity of OP 2 on the high ground. There is also a Recon team 
at the southwest 3 km at the tip of Black Mountain, break."
Bowser5: "Bowser5 has control. Plan on using laser guided munition to disrupt the armor. Winds on  the deck 
are 10-knots out of the west. Bowser5 is Laser and IR capable, advise when ready for gameplan."
Arctic11: "Copy, Wilco"

Arctic1 flight now turns to Delta 15 (meaning 15 nm West of Echo).

Game plan

Arctic11: "Established Delta 15, Ready for game plan"
Bowser5:  "Type 2 control, Bomb on Target, GBU-12, JTAC Lased, Advice when ready for 9-line."



Arctic11: "Ready for 9-line."
(1) "IP: Alex"                                 "Lines 1, 2 and 3: Delta 10" *
(2) "Heading: 090° (Mag)
(3) "Distance: 10 
(4) "Elevation: 1725 (One-seven-two-five)" 
(5) "Target: 2x T-72 tanks" 
(6) "Location: Lima November 4790 1010" 
(7) "Mark: Designation by my laser, code 1511" 
(8) "Friendlies: 500 meters south" 
(9) "Egress: Left turn back to IP" 
"Advice when ready for remarks." ** 
Arctic11: "Ready for remarks." 
* Note: If using keyhole, lines 1, 2 and 3 can be marged in to one line.
** Note: It's implied that both remarks and restrictions will be sent during next transmission.


Bowser5:  "Final attack heading 070° plus/minus 45°. Readback"
Arctic11: "Elevation: 1725, Location: Lima November 4790 1010, Friendlies: 500 meters south. Final attack heading 070°, plus/minus 45°."
Bowser5:  "Readback correct. Slew sensor on target and call ready for talk-on."
Arctic11: "Ready for talk-on."


Bowser5:  "Do you see the MSR going east-west?"
Arctic11: "Contact."
Bowser5:  "Follow the road west, call contact on first bridge?"
Arctic11: "Looking..... Contact."
Bowser5:  "Just to the northwest of that bridge, call contact on two tanks?"
Arctic11: "Contact, two tanks driving west."
Bowser5:  "Picture same, That's your target."
Arctic11: "Tally! Captured."
Bowser5:  "Call leaving IP"


Arctic11: "IP inbound"
Bowser5:  "Continue"
Arctic11: "In hot 075°" 
Bowser5:  "Cleared hot! Call 10sec, Call for laser"
Arctic11: "Off" 
Arctic11: "10 sec"
Arctic11: "Laser ON"
Bowser5:  "Lasing"
Bowser5:  "Splash!"

Battle Damage Assassment

Bowser5: "Standby, target obscured.... Target Destroyed. One tank left"

Arctic11 starts looking for the other tank on the way back to IP.


Arctic11: "Capture T-72, just north of previous target"
Bowser5:  "Picture same, That's your target."
Arctic11: "Tally!"
Bowser5:  "Cleared for imidiate re-attack, Call in hot with heading"


Arctic11: "In hot 110°" 
Bowser5:  "Cleared hot! Call 10sec, Call for laser"
Arctic11: "Off" 
Arctic11: "10 sec"
Arctic11: "Laser ON"
Bowser5:  "Lasing"
Bowser5:  "Splash!"

Battle Damage Assassment

Bowser5:  "Standby.. Target Destroyed"
Bowser5:  "Battle Damage Assassment as follows. Mission success, Two tanks destroyed. No further tasking, push CP Eddie angels 15 and above, contact Stingray5, Thanks for the support and have a safe RTB!"
Arctic11: "Wilco, thanks, Arctic1 pushing Eddie angels 15 and above!"