Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTP)
The Army Tactical Missile System (Army TACMS)
Family of Munitions (AFOM)



Command and Control. The exercise of authority and direction by a properly designated commander over assigned forces in the accomplishment of the mission. Command and control functions are performed through an arrangement of personnel, equipment, communications, facilities, and procedures employed by a commander in planning, directing, coordinating, and controlling forces and operations in the accomplishment of the mission.

Joint Pub 1-02



Overview. The AFOM provides added capabilities and challenges for the commander and staff charged with synchronization and integration of deep operations. The added capabilities include: greater range, accuracy, payload, and responsiveness. The challenges include: accurate and timely target acquisition, coordination with all friendly airspace users, and posturing MLRS firing units for responsive deep fires while ensuring adequate close fires. Command and control (C2) translates the commander’s concepts into actions needed to attack targets with AFOM and other deep precision strike weapons. Field Artillery Tactical Data System (FATDS) Package 10 or AFATDS 98 software supports each AFOM variant with C2AP software.

Communications nets (voice and data), linkages, and subscriber lists require careful management for timely information flow. The AFOM planners must have near-real-time (NRT) access to all sensors and/or their products. This is especially critical when engaging high priority fleeting targets such as Surface-to-Surface Missile (SSM), Transporter Erector Launchers (TELs), or MRLs.

The MLRS automated command, control, and communications (C3) system consists of: the Fire Control System (FCS) in the launcher, the Fire Direction System (FDS) at battalion, battery, and platoon, and the FDDM at FA brigade and corps FSE. The FATDS version 11 and the AFATDS Version 98 fielding will incorporate the FDS and FDDM's functionality. Upon incorporation, the FDDM will be removed from the inventory.

AFOM missions are planned, coordinated, and executed within the existing Fire Support structure. All target acquisition, intelligence gathering/analysis agencies, and command and control nodes at corps and EAC support the targeting process. Requests for AFOM originating from maneuver elements (EAC/JTF and subordinate division FSEs) are entered into the FS system quickly for planning or execution. This is done manually, or in a semi-automatic mode, at the point or node of entry—usually the first field artillery or fire support unit contacted by radio, wire, or other means. Example nodes include the brigade fire support element (FSE) or the field artillery battalion fire direction center (FDC). This process will ultimately become fully automated using Army Tactical Command and Control System (ATCCS). Figure 3-1 shows how some of those organizations can pass an AFOM fire request.

Figure 3-1. Fire Support Organizations Supporting AFOM

Deep Operations Coordination Cell (DOCC)

The operational and tactical situation and the threat forces are unique to each theater or contingency area of operations. The uniqueness of each situation may require that the operational commander tailor his planning staff and facilities. The "doctrinal" agencies and personnel described in FM 6-20-10, FM 100-15 (and other appropriate references) serve as the basis from which modifications should be made to support the commander’s concept of operations.

Recent conflicts have identified the need for a specialized cell at the corps/JTF level to perform planning, coordination, and execution of deep strike operations. The Deep Operations Coordination Cell (DOCC) was formed with primary responsibility for these tasks. The DOCC has the communications equipment, processing hardware, and manpower to interface with higher headquarters, Joint, and National sensors.

The DOCC OIC is designated by the corps commander, but is normally the chief of staff or corps artillery commander and is solely responsible to the commander for planning, coordination and execution of deep operations. The DOCC does not replace the functions of other cells, but does centralize the process. The DOCC may consist of members of the following section or staff elements:

  • Targeting Team
  • A2C2 Cell
  • Fire Support Element (FSE)
  • Intelligence Cell
  • Electronic Warfare
  • Air Liaison Officer (ALO)
  • Naval and Amphibious Liaison Element (NALE)
  • Special Operations Command and Control Element (SOCCE).
  • Army Aviation Element
  • Fire Control Element (FCE)
  • Air Defense Element (ADE)

Due to the time sensitivity of precision strike missions such as Theater Missile Defense (TMD) Attack Operations, the DOCC may establish direct communications channels to selected attack systems under its control. The DOCC is responsible to coordinate and/or deconflict attack of targets when multiple delivery systems may be available, or are operating in the same general area.

The Analysis and Control Element (ACE) provides the intelligence, target analysis and correlation support for the DOCC. The G2/J2 controls the ACE. The sensors report their priority acquisitions to the DOCC. These reports serve as the trigger events for deep fires execution. The DOCC incorporates routine, less time sensitive sensor reports into fire plans (FA systems) or strike plans (Army Aviation, Deep Maneuver, etc.).

For the DOCC to conduct its deep operations functions, it must be able to accomplish key tasks based on the D3A process. First, it must have the authority to attack deep targets without waiting for command approval. Second, it must have access to information generated by sensors. The timeliness of sensor information affects deep fires’ effectiveness. Third, the DOCC must control the deep operations attack assets. FM 100-15, Corps Operations, contains a detailed discussion of the DOCC organization and functions.



Overview. The AFOM utilizes currently fielded and future Fire Support Command, Control and Communications (FSC3) systems. The following paragraphs describe the FSC3 evolution.


The Fire Direction Data Manager (FDDM) is the currently fielded computer that performs effects processing and generates airspace clearance messages for the AFOM. The FDDM uses the Lightweight Computer Unit (LCU) and an external communications and data processing unit (CDPU). The CDPU runs the weapon specific C2 Application (C2AP) software required for extensive data processing.


The Fire Direction System (FDS) performs tactical fire direction processing for the AFOM. The FDS receives processes, and transmits fire unit, ammunition and target data. In addition, the FDS maintains databases which include fire units, munitions and tactical fire plans/situations. FDS software runs on the LCU or FDDM. The computer hard disk contains the operating system, executable files and data files required to operate the system.


AFATDS is the Fire Support Battlefield Functional Area (BFA) C2 system within the Army Tactical Command and Control System (ATCCS). It provides decision aids and an information system for the control, coordination and synchronization of all types of FS means. It acts as the force field artillery C2 system. The objective AFATDS supports all parts of the fire support system: FSC3 operational facilities (OPFACs), personnel, target acquisition, battlefield surveillance, and weapons systems.

AFATDS is located at FA command posts from basic fire unit to corps artillery and is employed in varying configurations at different OPFACs. AFATDS is interconnected by the Area Common User System (ACUS), the Army Data Distribution System (ADDS), or Combat Net Radio (CNR) communications). AFATDS operates with other services using Joint Variable Message Formats (VMF), or the United States Message Text Formats (USMTF). The system complies with standardized message formats derived from North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Standardization Agreement (STANAG) 5620 and bilateral agreements with the United Kingdom, Federal Republic of Germany and other nations, as applicable.

AFATDS is being developed through five major versions, identified as AFATDS 96, AFATDS 97, AFATDS 98, AFATDS 99, and AFATDS 00 (the objective system). Earlier versions of AFATDS possess increasing levels of functionality. The objective system automates all fire support tasks and functions.

The AFATDS fielding schedule extends from the current time frame to 2007, with the last active component fielded in 2002. Fielding includes both software and hardware. It consists of hardware devices, software modules, and necessary communications equipment to provide seamless C2. The objective version provides full FS planning; technical and tactical fire direction, advanced automated decision aids, etc.- all of which significantly contribute to effective AFOM employment. Units which have been previously fielded with AFATDS will receive a software upgrade package to install into the latest version of the hardware. Each subsequent build will increasingly automate all FS tasks ending with the objective system which will be fully automated. System evolution is summarized below:

Table 3-1 illustrates the transition of the AFOM variants, launchers and C2 Systems from the current to the 2002 timeframe.


Table 3-1. Transition of Weapons, C2 Systems and Launchers















AFATDS 97,98 or 99









AFATDS 97,98 or 99







AFATDS 97,98 or 99






AFATDS 97,98 or 99








Overview. This section discusses the process and procedures involved in executing AFOM fire missions. The following paragraphs describe the employment considerations for planned and unplanned missions.

Planned Missions. The AFOM is most effective when used on planned targets. Attack of planned targets permits refinement of target locations (or predicted locations for moving targets) to the required (or better) accuracy and description and to posture missiles and launchers. Planned fires typically use the following methods of control: At My Command (AMC) Time On Target (TOT), On Call (ONC), Not Later Than (NLT), Time To Fire (TTF), and When Ready (WR).

Planned fires may be scheduled missions which are executed according to a predetermined time schedule or sequence of events or on call. Scheduled missions are planned and sent to the lowest command and control echelon for execution at the appropriate time. This allows mission execution upon receipt of the trigger event or scheduled time to fire. AFOM missions are scheduled in the same manner as rocket missions. On call missions are like scheduled missions since they are sent to the lowest command and control echelon, but the time of execution is unknown.

AMC missions are planned missions where the time of execution depends on occurrence of a trigger event or confirmation of target intelligence. The FDC can use these missions when the commander desires rapid attack of a target, or when attack is keyed to other significant events on the battlefield. When the launcher receives this type of AMC mission it moves to a firing point (if in hide position) and elevates to aim point. The launcher reports "READY" to the controlling FDC and awaits the command to fire. Appendix A describes the decentralized execution mission in detail.

Unplanned Missions. The AFOM may also be fired against targets of opportunity at corps level. Figure 3-2 describes the fire mission linkage employed at corps level down to the launcher. The dotted lines depict the decentralized execution mission linkages. All available communications means are used in mission processing. Prior coordination among the various agencies may reduce the processing time associated with targets of opportunity. For selected targets or areas of interest, more direct links may be established between higher and lower agencies to reduce processing time. Those nodes left out of the process will be provided information and status as the mission progresses. A number of automated tools are being developed to improve overall system responsiveness. These are discussed in the following sections.

Figure 3-2. Fire Mission Linkage

Mission Processing

Overview. This section describes the mission processing for planning and executing AFOM missions. The first part describes the mission processing steps. The second part provides a launcher mission processing sequence.

The organizational hierarchy of EAC, corps, and FA Brigades can provide planning and control functions for MLRS. In a large theater of operations where distances between C2 nodes may be very large, all of these nodes may need to process missions. Successful operations depend on unity of command and clear authority for use of AFOM.

Subordinate organizations should not modify execution instructions unless designated firing units cannot complete the missions. Each node between the controlling authority and the launcher acts as a communications relay. Each node also maintains and reports firing unit status and mission completion to its controlling echelon. When all the launchers from the designated platoon cannot comply with a mission, the battery FDC should reassign the mission. The new firing platoon and its location are reported through higher FA C2 echelons to the FSE for airspace coordination.

Bypassing intervening C2 nodes is desirable when responsiveness is critical. Decentralized execution may be used for the most time sensitive targets on the HPTL. The executing commander must have the authority to fire specified AFOM according to established guidance without further approval. He must also have the processors and communications systems (or channels) needed to receive and process sensor information. Figure 3-3 shows a typical processing sequence involving corps, brigade, battalion and battery echelons and a launcher. The longer arrows depict missions that by-pass intervening nodes or have decentralized sensor-to-shooter execution.

Figure 3-3. Typical Mission Planning Sequence

The corps or JTF commander may need to directly control a battalion or battery to increase responsiveness. Additional communications capabilities (such as a dedicated tactical satellite channel) may be required because of the distances involved. The battery also can be positioned within tactical communications distance of the corps or JTF. This tactic reduces the effective range available from the AFOM unless the corps or JTF is deployed well forward. In this situation, the corps/JTF level fire direction computer or FDDM transmits missions directly to the battalion FDC.

When FDCs receive a mission where the assigned UFFE cannot comply (no launcher or missiles available) while they are in the "auto-processing" mode, the mission is returned to the originator for reassignment. After airspace coordination has been completed based on a new UFFE, the mission is reassigned. The corps DOCC must keep platoon locations current, especially for the attack of time sensitive targets.

The decisions made when the attack guidance matrix and HPTLs were developed must be implemented in the fire support command and control system. This involves ensuring the attack systems are in place with the proper munitions, and all necessary coordination is done. Various sources provide the required target information. Some may be specified by the commander and manually entered into the system. Others may be present in the target database maintained by the automated fire control system supporting the JTF or corps (i.e., FATDS, IFSAS, FDDM, or objective AFATDS). Still others may come from the supporting intelligence analysis and processing centers or directly from sensor platforms.

The automated Fire Support C3 system assigns targets to attack systems based on their characteristics. The commander and staff may designate that AFOM be used against specific targets. The AFOM weapon to target pairing may be accomplished by using a manual decision matrix based on the commander's attack guidance. Also, the "Capability Fire Mission" function may be used. This function determines a capability to execute missions without affecting the current database. The operator uses it to determine which units are available, in range of the target, and which munition(s) will achieve the desired results. He can accept the capability fire mission results, or change it to designate the unit to fire, munitions, or number of volleys. When the operator is satisfied with the solution, he enters the missions into the schedule and transmits it to the designated unit. The battalion and battery ensures the designated firing units and munitions are available when scheduled.

The corps, FA brigade, and MLRS battalion perform mission processing based on the MLRS platoon centers. Generally, the battery is the highest echelon that maintains individual launcher status. The platoon prepares launcher status reports and forwards them to the battery, who then forwards them to battalion. Launcher status reports are sent to the corps as required. The DOCC/FSE typically only keeps launcher status for the units that have AFOM. However, they may have difficulty keeping launcher status from several battalions current. Since the DOCC/FSE generally has the oldest launcher status information, they may assign centralized missions to platoons that cannot comply. The battalion should report this quickly since airspace may need to be cleared if alternative units are selected. The corps or JTF normally clears AFOM airspace.

Techniques to Reduce Mission Timelines

The commander should always direct automatic processing at intermediate nodes to attack AFOM targets. Automatic processing allows the mission to pass through echelons without operator activity. However, the FDC must ensure the following information is kept updated: the designated firing platoon is available, within range of the target, and loaded with the right munitions. The FDS;ATOSUM (automatic message processing summary) message informs computer operators at each node when missions are automatically processed.

The commander should strongly consider mandating decentralized execution for short dwell targets. This reduces the mission execution response time. Extremely time sensitive targets may require the launcher to remain on the firing point to shorten the response time. An At My Command (AMC) mission can be sent to the launcher. The launcher acknowledges the mission, moves to the firing point, lays on the target then reports "ready" and time of flight. If the target is detected at the aimpoint grid, the mission is executed in the normal manner using an FM;FOCMD "fire" message. This technique (commonly termed "Stay Hot - Shoot Fast" eliminates launcher movement from hide position and elevation time. The M270 and M270A1 launchers can remain at aimpoint indefinitely. While this technique saves 2-5 minutes in reaction time, units must assess the threat, including Special Operations Forces (SOF) and aircraft.

A variation of this technique is used when a target is detected in the target area at a grid other than the one the launcher laid on. In this case, the new target location is entered into the original fire mission message and the method of control (MOC) changed from AMC to execute the amended mission; thus by-passing the FM;FOCMD "fire" message. If the target is stationary, the when ready MOC is used. If the target is moving, a time on target or time to fire calculated to dispense the munitions on the predicted engagement point is appropriate. When the launcher crew receives the message they complete the mission as directed.

AFOM C2 Application (C2AP) Software

The AFOM weapon specific C2AP software incorporates AFOM selection, effects processing, and airspace coordination. The weapon specific C2AP software is unique to each AFOM. For example, The ATACMS Block II and IIA missile C2AP software calculates the mission data requirements for BAT and P3I BAT. The requirements are determined from the fire mission message and data available in the database. This data package is sent through the C2 system to the launcher with the fire mission message. When the FS computer has mission data loaded, the hard disk and RAM are CLASSIFIED to the software's level.

The C2AP software processing complies with the established attack guidance (commander’s criteria) in its database, and the message priority. The operating mode (fully automated or manual) determines the amount of processing required. In the auto-processing mode, the FS computer checks message validity, the unit to fire and ammunition availability. If it finds no exceptions, it enters the data and forwards the message to the next subordinate echelon. If it finds exceptions, it alerts the operator, and recommends another solution.

The processing of any one of five separate fire mission messages specifying an AFOM munition initiates the C2AP software. The fire mission messages are:

Initiating AFOM Fire Missions

AFOM fire missions can be initiated by any agency capable of requesting fire. Agencies supported by digital communications systems that do not use FATDS protocol/message formats cannot automatically request the AFOM. However, they can compose and send a plain text message requesting fires. Fire mission source is not important for automated processing of AFOM missions. It is significant for estimated target location error (when TLE is not reported), for munition selection, and effects calculation. Automated processing depends on:

Once an AFOM variant has been selected (usually at the corps FSE or DOCC), a fire mission message format (e.g., FM;CFF) is generated. It contains a minimum of a weapon type (or J-code) and a designated unit to fire in effect (UFFE). It is then transmitted to the selected FDC for execution. The designated launcher is then selected from one of the previously cleared platoon operating areas.

Fire Direction System Processing

The general operational organization (and associated automation) for mission processing and functions appears as follows:

Corps DOCC computer (FDDM or FDS with version 11 C2AP or AFATDS 98)

FA Brigade computer (FDDM or FDS with version 11 C2AP or AFATDS 98)

Battalion computer (FDS and AFATDS 98/99 or AFATDS 00)

Assigns missions to launchers based on current status

Maintains status of launchers