Orignial Post By Shuru
Table of Contents
3. CAS pilot and I-TGT
4. Weapon systems
5. Brevity calls
6. Calling in CAS. Scripts/examples.Introduction. I. Close Air Support (CAS)
is a critical element of fire support and is, perhaps, the most valuable force multiplier. With the game mode such as Domination, and in Operations, where we the players usually face a much larger force, the use of CAS is crucial to overall success, as a fixed-wing/rotary-wing aircraft on station is sure to turn the tides of any mission.
That said, employing CAS aircraft(s) to their fullest capacity, much like with any other force multiplier, requires a degree of cooperation between both airborne and ground units, as to limit friendly/civilian casualties as a result of an airstrike, collateral damage and et cetera.
This guide’s purpose to provide a better understanding of, and necessary skills required, playing as JTAC/FAC on our servers and for aspiring CAS pilots to be able to work with JTAC/FAC and to strike where it hurts the most.JTAC/FAC.II-A. JTAC (Joint Terminal Attack Controller)
and FAC (Forward Air Controller)
are the two most important units when it comes to Close Air Support. The aim of both is to provide accurate, if brief, description of the battlefield condition, position of threats to friendly aircraft, precise descriptions and locations of enemy targets, friendly units in relation to them and to be able to guide the CAS aircraft onto the target in shortest time, with minimal exposure to enemy anti-air weapons.
The sole difference between the two units in ETR is that JTAC is a team of two, acting on their own or in conjunction with a friendly unit, primarily in use on the public server, whereas FAC is a single person, attached to a platoon, during operations
The role may sound like an easy one, however it is anything but. As stated previously, the aircraft pilot depends solely on you to provide them with targets, to acquire clearance to strike said targets, and to be guided through the AO/task safely, with exposure to as few risks as it is possible. I will be focusing mostly on JTAC, however I will every now and then draw the parallel between them and the FAC.II-B.
While FAC is almost always attached to a platoon, and tasks the aircraft with platoon commander’s directions in mind, JTAC has the added privilege of acting on their own, with only their own common sense and discretion limiting their targets. However, that does not mean that a JTAC team should mindlessly call in airstrikes on anything and everything they see. Communication is key.
A JTAC team consists of two people: one is whom I like to think of as a liaison between the JTAC team and the rest of units, and the other – a liaison between the JTAC team and the CAS aircraft.
I recommend the following set-up, so that both of the team elements can focus on their own task. One of the team members stays on Channel 5 on the long-range radio, while the second – on Channel 7 on the long-range radio, with Widow pilot staying on the same frequency, while having your 148s tuned to the other channel – 7 or 5 respectively, and rely on direct voice chat to exchange information with the other team element. With that in mind, I usually have the secondary channel in one ear, on 20% volume so that it does not distract me.II-C.
When it comes to your equipment, the most important piece of kit that you ought to have with you is a SOFLAM (Special Operations Forces Laser Acquisition Marker)
– a device that goes into your binoculars slot, and allows you to mark targets for precision, laser-guided weaponry delivered by the CAS aircraft.
It is crucial that the JTAC team member that communicates with the aircraft has one.
Operating the SOFLAM is simple. Bring it up by using the scroll-wheel menu or pressing your ‘Binoculars’ key, and then RMB to begin using it. SOFLAM provides basic information such as azimuth to your target, the range, laser designator code, as well as letting you know whether or not you are lasing your target. Be sure to have Designator Batteries with you to operate one. When calling in laser-guided munitions, remember
that the pilot needs to lock on to your mark, while also distinguishing it from other various lookalike marks on their HUD, so the optimal solution is, after having given them an approximate grid of the mark, to start lasing the target AFTER the pilot said they’re on final attack heading.
Unfortunately, current state of ACE does not allow you to connect the SOFLAM to a DAGR/MicroDAGR to derive grids.
1. Azimuth to target
2. Range to target
3. Laser ON indicator
4. Elevation difference (kinda useless)
5. Zoom level
6. Optics mode.
CODE – laser desginator code, useful when you have more than two units with the ability to lase targets (however I am unsure whether or not the pilot can switch to different codes)
The second important piece of kit you will need is a Vector 21 Rangefinder
– the most common rangefinder in our modset. It goes into your binoculars slot, and allows you, among other things, to find out the distance and azimuth to target, as well as distance between two targets. It can also be connected to your MicroDAGR to allow you to find out target’s location (using 10-number grids).
Having the Vector with you is always beneficial as it saves you the work of working out exact grids, distances between two points (i.e. a friendly unit and a CAS target) as well as the bearing from one to another, and generally saves time, as opposed to having to rely on your own map-reading skills and a map tool.
1. Connect your MicroDAGR to your Vector 21 by clicking on the time, and then – “Connect To”.
2. Point the Vector at the target, and hold TAB+R until you get a red circle around the crosshairs. Release both buttons, and you will see azimuth (1) and range to target (2) on the Vector.
3. Now, when you look at your MicroDAGR, you should have the precise, 10-digit grid for the target, as well as its range from you, and its elevation (in relation to the Mean Sea Level).
To get the distance and azimuth between two points, point at the first position, hold TAB and tap R once. “1-P” should pop up on the left. Now move the crosshairs to the second position, and let go of TAB. You should now see the distance and the azimuth FROM the FIRST position, to the SECOND position. REMEMBER!
I-TGT System works poorly with United Sahrani, and thus the Y-axis grids that you get from using a Vector will NOT be representative of the grid in the I-TGT. To derive a correct Y-axis grid for the plane to use, use this simple equation (for 8-digit, simply remove the last digits of the grids): 20380 – VECTOR Y-AXIS = I-TGT Y-AXIS grid
Target is located at 14475 09655
. The grid you would need to give to the pilot would be 14475 10725
. By using the equation (20380-09655=10725)
you have derived a grid that in I-TGT System will mirror the grid from your MicroDAGR.
(Kudos to Acid on this one; http://tacticalrealism.eu/foru ... ic/jdams-on-sahrani/
)Smoke grenades/IR beacons.
A must-have for JTAC/FAC, as well as infantry squad leaders. The use of smoke grenades allows you to visually designate precise locations of friendly (GREEN), hostile (RED) and CASEVAC (BLUE) locations in day time, and IR beacons to designate locations of friendly (unless specifically stated otherwise) units. This goes for M203 smoke/IR rounds as well.
The CAS pilot will easily be able to see those marks, and with an azimuth provided FROM TARGET TOWARDS MARK, and avoid friendly fire incidents.CAS Pilot/I-TGT. III-A. CAS Pilot.
I will skip the basics of flying a CAS plane as you can probably pester Masonator to hold a training session and will go over the few neat little tricks and FIR AWS functionality that we have on the public server/operations.Rearming your plane.
To rearm your plane, and select the loadout that you use with it all you have to do is taxi up to the ‘missile rack’ that we have next to the plane, and while in the cabin, use the scrollwheel menu to scroll down to “Open dialogue
”. This screen will appear:
1. Selecting custom preset
2. Saving custom preset.
THE ONLY AMMO FOR GAU-8 THAT WORKS IS ‘STANDARD’ (as far as I know).
On this screen, you are able to select what armaments your plane will carry, as well as save and load custom loadouts that you favor. To load one, simply select the preset in the drop down menu and click APPLY.
Repairing and rearming works best via that menu, however using the ‘REFUEL’ option will only give you 50% of the tank – use the fuel truck or the nearby gas station to refuel.Pilot camera.
You can access a great camera, attached to your plane, with a ridiculous zoom as well as night vision and thermal optics, and the ability to lock on to a specific area, by pressing CTRL + RIGHT MOUSE BUTTON
. It works much like any other camera in the game, with + and – keys controlling zoom, ‘N’ switching between optics.
By pressing Ctrl+T (by default; Lock UAV Target in Weapons controls), you will lock the camera to a specific spot, allowing you to keep an eye on it midflight – and yes, you can still control the plane
while in this camera.
1. Indicator that your camera is locked on to a specific spot
2. Distance from you to target (horizontal + vertical) as well as a 6-digit grid of target
3. Optics mode (Daytime, Night vision, thermal)
4. ROLL of the plane
5. Altitude of the plane
6. Speed of the plane
7. Zoom level The camera does not show you the pitch of the plane, so be mindful.YOU MUST HAVE A SNIPER XR/LITENING POD WITH YOU TO USE IT.
I would, however, advise against using it to confirm effect of your strikes, and prioritize getting the heck out in one piece – unless JTAC/FAC specifically ask you to confirm it for them.III-B. Loadout.
I would never say there’s a restriction on which armaments to use, seeing how all of them work well – however it is best to take what the JTAC/FAC tells you to take, because they have a decent idea of what targets they will call fire missions on, and thus, will know what weapons they would like you to use, on each specific target.
For example, if you load yourself with a bunch of MK82s instead of JDAMs or Paveways, and the JTAC/FAC has a very specific spot for you to strike with your bombs, it will require much more time, precision and general nuisance to actually hit said target. INDULGE, AND TAKE WHAT THEY ASK YOU TO TAKE.
When it comes to me, I like to have a mix of everything – Paveways for when I’m designating targets myself, JDAMs for when the infantry calls in the airstrike, as well as a couple of cluster bombs. Needless to say, at least 3 AGM-65Ds (or a couple of AGM-65Ls) is a must for taking out vehicles. When it comes to bigger, badder bombs, I favor Paveways because I have much more control over those, however GBU-38s are a must in case an infantry commander calls in an airstrike on a position you cannot see.
For the loadout I usually ask the pilot to take, refer to screenshot in figure III-A.III-C. I-TGT System.
The I-TGT System (Intergrated TarGeTing System)
is a system used by the CAS pilot to designate targets for their GPS-guided weaponry (GBU-31/32/38/CBU-103 WMCD). It is fairly simple to use, and provided your JTAC/FAC know what they’re doing (especially on United Sahrani), all you have to do to designate a target is a few simple steps.YOU MUST HAVE JDAM BOMBS WITH YOU TO USE THE SYSTEM.
1. Prior to scrambling, open the I-TGT System (via scroll wheel menu, or by binding User Action 7 in Custom Controls to a key you’re comfortable with), and set the system to receive 10-digit grids (2), and the mode to GPS (1) (should be that by default, but double-check it).
1) GPS mode button
2) 8- and 10-digit grid buttons
3) ENTER button
4) DESGINATE button
5) SELECT button
6) CLEAR button
7) DELETE button
8) Space to enter the grid
9) Memory Slot dropdown menu
2. When the JTAC/FAC provide you with a ten digit grid, type it in to the lower left corner (8) (NumPad works for this), then press the ENTER button (3) on the I-TGT.
3. Press SELECT (5) on the left side of the I-TGT screen, to select the designated position as the destination for your JDAMs. You will know which target is selected by seeing a BLUE CIRCLE AROUND IT
You can save up to 5 desginated positions in your targeting computer. For this, you only need to switch between Memory Slots in the dropdown menu (9) in the bottom right corner.TO SWITCH BETWEEN TARGET POSITIONS, SELECT THE NEEDED MEMORY SLOT, CLICK ‘CLEAR’(6), then ‘SELECT’ (5) again.
4. To delete a target from the computer, you first need to press ‘CLEAR’(6), then press ‘DELETE’(7), while having the correct Memory Slot selected.
5. Point the plane in the rough direction of the target, and – if you think you’re high and fast enough, simply press ‘Fire’ – JDAMs do /not/ need to lock on to anything.
DESIGNATE button is only useful when you do not have a grid, but rather a map reference to target. By pressing that button, and then pressing on the map in the I-TGT, you manually create a target.III-D. JDAM/Paveway range.
The distance that the bomb will travel depends on two factors: your altitude, and your speed, at the time of release
. From what I’ve seen, and tried myself, provided there are no obstacles between the target and the plane, the optimal distance to release the bomb from (be it GPS or laser-guided) is ~3-6km away, at an altitude of ~1-2km, and speed of 350-600kph.
Use common sense when releasing a bomb – the farther away you are, the longer the time on target will be, and if that bomb is needed urgently, do not hesitate to drop it from as close as you think is necessary – JTAC/FAC will let you know if your ordnance is needed pronto.
That said, if your target is 1km away, and you are travelling at the speed of 200 kph, 200 meters above ground, the bomb will never reach its destination.Keep in mind!
The maximum range on some of those bombs is absolutely ridiculous: we (Acid and I) have managed to drop a GBU-10 (2000 lbs laser-guided) from ~15 km away, with the plane being up at about ~6km, and travelling at ~500 kph. Same goes for GBU-31 – it’s able to travel an insane distance.Weapon systems.
In this section, I will go over Air-To-Surface munitions, seeing how the Air-To-Air is best left to the pilot’s discretion.IV-A. GAU-8.
A devastating 30mm cannon, which can effectively take out or suppress infantry, static defenses, all types of vehicles (even aircraft) and buildings. Best used to counter enemy infantry in the open, to suppress enemy fortifications (after softening them up with bombs) and taking out enemy armor if no missiles/bombs remain on the aircraft.
My advice would be to only call in gunruns after most of the enemy air defenses were taken out/suppressed, because the GAU-8 does require the aircraft to come somewhat close to target.
I usually call in gunruns perpendicular to friendly forces, because it neglects the possibility of the aircraft’s rounds landing short, or overshooting, on friendlies.IV-B. Laser-Guided weapon systems.
There are quite a few laser-guided weapon systems that an A-10C (for public) can carry, including:
a) GBU-10 Paveway II – a 2000 lbs (~935kg) laser-guided bomb;
b) GBU-12 Paveway II – a 500 lbs (~227kg)* laser-guided bomb;
c) CBU-103 WCMD – (Cluster Bomb Unit / Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser) – a cluster bomb, most effective against enemy vehicles en-masse/buildings (in my experience, in ArmA)**;
d) AGM-65L – an Air-To-Surface missile, which locks on to a laser. Effective when the aircraft cannot get a bead on the enemy vehicle (Keep in mind: the aircraft must always have AGM-65s of ONE TYPE – they are not separated in weapon selection, thus rendering AGM-65L pointless if AGM-65Ds are on board)
All these are a must-have for precise, JTAC/FAC-controlled hits, and allow for most control of the impact.
*For some reason or another, I believe that GBU-12 comes up as a 1000 lbs bomb, so treat it as such.
** CBU-103s can also be delievered via the I-TGT GPS coordinates.IV-C. GPS-Guided weapon systems.
Much like Laser-Guided munitions, the A-10C can carry several kinds of GPS guided bombs:
a) GBU-31 JDAM – a 2000 lbs (~935kg) GPS-guided bomb;
b) GBU-32 JDAM – a 1000 lbs (~450kg) GPS-guided bomb;
c) GBU-38 JDAM – a 500 lbs (~227kg) GPS-guided bomb);
d) CBU-103 WCMD – a cluster bomb unit.
These are most effective when calling in a strike on a position/target that you, the JTAC/FAC, cannot see, and have received information about it from a friendly commander. They will provide you with the 10-digit grid, which you will then feed to the pilot.IV-D. AGM-65G/D/L.
AGM-65 Maverick is one of the most effective ways of taking out enemy armored vehicles. With FIR AWS, they come in three different types: G, D and L.
I am still unsure whether or not there is any difference between G and D – both lock on to enemy vehicles without any aid from ground-based units.
AGM-65L, as mentioned above, locks on to a laser, and is able to be guided precisely by a JTAC/FAC onto the target (which can serve as an improvised way to take out enemy infantry).IV-E. Dumb rockets.
The A-10C has two options when it comes to dumb rockets – Hydras and Zunis.
The difference between the two is that a Hydra is a 2.5 inch rocket, and the aircraft can carry 6 in one pod, where as a Zuni is a 5 inch rocket, and there is 4 per pod.
Effective against enemy infantry/buildings/fortifications, as well as suppressing said targets.IV-F. Mk 82.
Mk 82 is an unguided, general purpose 500 lbs (227 kg) bomb, and thus, in our playstyle, the least useful. It is just as effective as any other 500 lbs bomb, should the pilot be able to get to hit on target, but with lack of precision, I would advise against taking it in favor of JDAMs/Paveways/CBUs.
There are also 3 types of different CBUs that you can get with FIR AWS, but seeing how they seem to be unguided, refer to Figure IV-F for their usefulness.Brevity calls.V-A.
Brevity calls are, for all intents and purposes, short radio transmissions that the pilot and JTAC/FAC use to exchange crucial information. There are far too many brevity calls which are used when it comes to CAS, so I narrowed it down to a few that I found most useful.V-B. General purpose brevity calls.
• SCRAMBLE – the call from JTAC/FAC to the pilot to take off and proceed to the holding pattern;
• BINGO – indicates critical fuel levels, and eventual RTB to refuel. (Optionally: JOKER – the aircraft will soon hit critical fuel levels);
• WINCHESTER – indicates that the aircraft is out of ordnance, usually given even if the aircraft still has cannon ammo; JTAC/FAC then decide whether or not the aircraft is clear to RTB;
• ABORT – cease current fire mission/attack pattern;
• WINGS LEVEL – the aircraft has lined up with the target and is closing in to strike;
• CONTINUE (DRY) – call from JTAC/FAC to the pilot, indicating that the fire mission is GO after ‘WINGS LEVEL’ call have been received (Proceed without ordnance release on the same attack heading);*
• SPLASH – the call from JTAC/FAC to the pilot, indicating that the munition hit the target (be it A/A or A/S);
*Really rather situational, but sometimes it comes in handy; I barely use it.V-C. Air-To-Air threats, Air-To-Air missile launches.
• BOGEY – unknown visual/radar air contact;
• BANDIT – enemy visual/radar air contact;
• FOX (NUMBER) – launch of Air-to-Air missile;
ONE – usually an AIM-7 Sparrow
TWO – usually an AIM-9 Sidewinder
THREE – usually an AIM-120 AMRAAM
V-D. Air-To-Surface ordnance release.
• BOMBS AWAY – bombs have been released, be they unguided, GPS- or laser-guided;
• RIFLE – A/S missile launch (such as AGM-65);
• RIPPLE – multiple A/S missile launches;
• GUNS GUNS GUNS – the aircraft is engaging with the cannon;
• CLEARED HOT – the call from JTAC/FAC to the pilot to indicate they are clear to drop bombs/launch missiles/fire cannon.V-E. Laser-guided munitions brevity calls.
• TALLY MARK– the call from JTAC/FAC to pilot to proceed to lock on to the target with laser-guided munitions;
• TALLY/CAPTURED – the call from the pilot, indicating that they have successfully locked on to target;
• NO JOY – opposite of TALLY/CAPTURED;
• (Situational) CEASE LASER – the call for the lasing party to stop using laser designators (whether because it causes interference or otherwise)Calling in CAS. Scripts/examples.
Seeing how there are many factors that influence CAS fire missions when controlled from the ground, using a specific script to interact with JTAC/FAC and with the plane is very useful. However, using the 9-liners and everything else is just too much of a pain in the dick, so I narrowed it down to crucial info, because a lot of 9-liner information is useless in ArmA.VI-A. Briefing and reference points.
I myself found it very useful (on Domination), prior to moving out to the AO, to set specific Ingress Points and map references for an easier time calling in a fire mission from the plane, even though it may seem too complicated.
As seen below, pilot and I agree on specific IPs all around the map (the more the merrier, but even 8 is sometimes a bit too much), which cover most of approach vectors. This way, I can simply say “Approach IP 5” and not have to bother with specific vectors or directions.
I then also mark specific roads and points of interest (usually a very prominent spot on the map, from which I can give directions to target), which allows to talk the aircraft onto a specific reference point, where the target is located.
It is all, however, down to your preference, as using this method means you have to RTB for a brief for every new AO. I also do not believe this method would work in Operations, seeing how they’re much more fluid and you’re rarely ever stuck in one spot for too long.VI-B. Calling in CAS.
I personally use this script to call in a CAS fire mission. Below, ‘X’ marks JTAC talking to the plane, ‘Y’ marks JTAC talking to the Command units, and ‘Z’ – the pilot, ‘C’ – command elements.Calling in bombs.
After confirming there are no friendlies in immediate vicinty of the target:
X: Widow, Yankee, fire mission, over.
Z: Send fire mission.
X: Target is infantry in the open and one times T-Tank, requesting one times GBU-10 on my lase, break.
X: Approximate grid is 1, 2, 3, break.
X: 3, 2, 1, break.
X: Approach IP 5, go high, egress North East (IP 1, etc.), break.
X: Friendlies are 1 klick West of target.
Z: I read, 1, 2, 3, 3, 2, 1, one times GBU-10, approach IP5 through North East, high, over.
X: Readout correct, proceed.
Y: Yankee to all elements, bombs going into grid 1, 2, 3, 3, 2, 1, over.
Z: WINGS LEVEL.
X: CONTINUE, TALLY MARK.
X: CLEARED HOT.
Z: Bombs away.
Y: Bombs away.
X: SPLASH, BDA to follow…
Now, when using GPS-guided munitions, instead of ‘ON MY LASE’, I’d say: “One times GBU-38, on the following coordinates, break.”, after which, instead of a 6-digit grid, a 10-digit grid would follow. Allow the pilot enough time to open up the I-TGT and prepare to enter the grid.Calling in A/S missiles.
C: Yankee, Alpha, we’ve got two T-80s in 1, 2, 3, 3, 2, 1, need CAS, over.
Y: Yankee copies, can you recommend approach?
C: North to South.
Y: Copy all, Widow inbound.
X: Widow, Yankee, fire mission, over.
X: Target is two times T-TANK, approximate grid 1, 2, 3, 3, 2, 1, break.
X: Request Mavericks on target, approach IP 3, egress SOUTH-EAST, go HIGH, over.
Z: 1 2 3, 3 2 1, two times T-TANK, approach IP 3, egress SOUTH-EAST, high, over.
X: Readout correct, proceed.
Z: WINGS LEVEL.
X: CLEARED HOT.
C: SPLASH. Good effect, two T-Tanks destroyed.
Y: Yankee copies, good effect on T-Tanks.
X: Good effect, scratch two T-tanks.
Obviously, this is the perfect scenario, but so long as you can give the aircraft crucial information, anything goes.REMEMBER!
It is crucial to let the friendly commanders know when the plane has released ordnance, so that they can take hard cover in time to avoid friendly fire – bombs don’t care who they kill.SOURCES.
1. Lack of social and love lives.
2. FIR AWS manual
3. A big fuck-off ~360 pages Joint CAS publication.
4. Acid’s nerdiness.