Space, Millile, Command, and Control


This instruction implements AFPD 13-1, Theater Air Control Systems. It provides principles, concepts, and guidance for tactical air support coordination and control and the fundamental procedures for operation of Air Support Operations Centers and Tactical Air Control Parties (TACP). It does not apply to United States Air Force Reserve members or units. Do not supplement this AFI. Send recommended changes through command channels via AF Form 847, Recommendation for Change of Publication, to HQ ACC/DOYC. For a list of abbreviations and acronyms, see attachment 1.


This revision aligns the instruction with AFPD 13-1; deletes reconnaissance duty positions and their descriptions; updates AFSC and regulation changes; and provides diagrams to depict TACS/AAGS and Fire Support Channels.

Chapter 1--Air Support Operations Centers (ASOC)
Organization .................................................................................. 1.1
Mission - Functions ........................................................................ 1.2
Functional Positions ....................................................................... 1.3
Communications Procedures .......................................................... 1.4
Site Layout .................................................................................... 1.5
ASOC Leap Concept ...................................................................... 1.6
Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center (ABCCC) ......... 1.7

Chapter 2--Tactical Air Control Parties (TACP)
Organization .................................................................................. 2.1
Mission - Functions ........................................................................ 2.2
Functional Positions ....................................................................... 2.3

Chapter 3--Air Support Functions and Procedures
General .......................................................................................... 3.1
Air Support Requirements .............................................................. 3.2
Close Air Support .......................................................................... 3.3

Supersedes AFR 55-33, June 1992. Certified by: SAF/XOF (Col Norton A. Schwartz)
OPR: SAF/XOFI (Maj Gordon A. Olvera) Pages: 19/Distribution: F

1. Standard TACP Staffing ........................................................................ 1.1
2. Standard ASOC (7FVQB) Staffing ........................................................ 1.1
3. Fire Support Channels Diagram ............................................................. 1.2
A2.1. Theater Air Control System/Army Air Ground System ...................... A2.1

1. Glossary of Abbreviations and Acronyms 15
2. The Air Support Concept 17

Chapter 1


1.1. Organization. The ASOC is an operational component of the TACS under the operational control of the AOC. The ASOC coordinates and directs close air support (CAS) and reconnaissance sorties allocated by the Joint Force Air Component Commander (JFACC) following priorities established by the Land Component Commander (LCC). Its mission is to provide fast reaction to immediate requests from land forces for CAS. The ASOC is designed to provide rapid processing of Army requests for immediate CAS. It is located within the fire support center or element of the senior Army tactical field element command post (CP). The ASOC consists of both operational and maintenance elements organized in garrison under air support groups. ANG ASOCs may be organized under air support groups. Operational requirements determine size, configuration, manning, and equipment as depicted in figures 1 and 2. ASOCs will provide logistics, maintenance, and administrative support for deployed TACPs under their operational control.
Attachment 2 describes the overall air support concept; paragraphs A 2.1 to A 2.3 specifically discuss the ASOC in relation to the TACS.

1.2. Mission - Functions. The ASOC receives, coordinates, and processes requests for immediate CAS. TACPs normally transmit requests directly to the ASOC over the Air Force Air Request Net (AFARN). Intermediate level TACPs monitor transmissions and coordinate approval or disapproval with their collocated Army unit. A TACP will transmit disapproval when the Army G/S-3 at any intermediate echelon denies that request. An absence of disapproval ("silence is consent") within a specified time (theater specific) as coordinated between the ASOC director and the G-3 indicates approval of a mission. Upon receipt of the request at the ASOC, begin concurrent coordination and planning. For a diagram of fire support channels, see figure 3.

AFS Grade AFSC Corps Div Avn Bde ACR* Hvy Sep Bde Hvy Bde Hvy Bn* Lt Sep Bde Lt Bde Lt Bn* Rgr Rgt Rgr Bn Bn ALO
ALO O6 11F3Y/12F3Y 1
ALO O5 11F3U/12F3U 2 1
ALO O4 11F3U/12F3U 2 3 1 3 2 1 3 1 2
ALO O3 11F3U/12F3U 1 1 1 1 1 1 2
ALO O3 11S3U 1
ALO O2 11F3N 1
TALO O4 11A3U 1 1 1 1
TALO O3 11A3U 1 2 1 1
Officer O3 14N3B 2
TACCS E9 1C400 1
TACCS E8 1C491 1
TACCS E7 1C471 1 1 1 1 1 1
TACCS E6 1C471 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
TACCS E5 1C471 1 2 1 4 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1
TACCS E4 1C451 1 1 1 4 1 1 1 1 2 2 2
TACCS E3 1C431 1 1 1 3 1 1 1 2
Radio Mt E7 2E173 1
Radio Mt E6 2E173 1
Radio Mt E5 2E153 2 1 1 1
Radio Mt E4 2E153 2 1 1 1
Supply E5 2S051 1 1 1 1
Supply E4 2S051 1
Pwr Pro E5 3E052 1 1 1
Veh Mt E5 2T451 1 1 1
Info Mgt E7 3A071 1
Info Mgt E5 3A051 1 1 1 1
Intel E5 1N051 1
Person E5 3S051 1 1
Person E4 3S051 1 1 1 1
Total 18 26 6 24 15 6 2 15 6 5 10 6 1

Figure 1. Standard TACP Staffing.


Commander (ALO) C11F3U 1 1
Ftr Plt ( ALO) 11F3U 1 1
Ftr Plt/Nav (ALO) 11F3U/12F3U 2 3 5
Air Ops Off Plt (F16) 11F3H 1 1
Air Ops Off Plt (A10) 11F3B 1 1
Intel Applications Off 14N3B 3 3
Comm/Elec Officer 33S3 1 1

Subtotal 13


First Sergeant 8F090 1 1
Personnel 3S0X1 1 1
Information Mgr 3A0X1 1 1 2 4
Tac Air Cmd/Ctl 1C4X1 1 1 5 4 5 16
Intel Ops 1N0X1 1 1 1 3
Power Production 3E0X2 1 1 3 4 3 12
SAT/Wideband CE 2E1X1 1 3 6 7 2 19
Radio Maintenance 2E1X3 1 1 5 5 12
Comm Sys Supt 2E190 1 1
Elec Comp & Swg 2E2X1 1 2 2 5
Secure Comm Sys 2E3X1 1 1 1 3
Fuels 2F0X1 1 1
Logistics/Plans 2G0X1 1 1
Inventory Mgt 2S0X1 1 2 1 4
Veh Ops Dispatch 2T1X1 1 1 2
Veh Maint Ctl/Analy 2T3X3 1 1
GP Veh/Body Maint 2T4X0 1 1
GP Veh Maint 2T4X1 1 4 5
Com Comp Sys Prog 3C0X1 1 1 2 1 5
Com Comp Sys Ctl 3C2X1 1 2 3
HVAC & Refrigr 3E1X1 1 1

Subtotal 101

Total ASOC Pers 114

Figure 2. Standard ASOC (7FVQB) Staffing.

Figure 3. Fire Support Channels Diagram.

1.2.1. The ASOC fills Army requirements for immediate air support from allocated sorties or by authorized diversion of preplanned sorties. The AOC normally passes scramble and control authority to the ASOC for allocated sorties and establishes coordination procedures to facilitate authorized diversion of preplanned missions. The ASOC keeps the AOC advised of the air effort needed to satisfy Army air support requirements and will request additional air resources when requirements exceed the sortie allocation. The AOC, however, does not usually allocate reconnaissance sorties to the ASOC. The AOC combines ASOC and all other requirements and distributes the planned sorties to satisfy multiple requests. The AOC and ASOC coordinate and control in-theater airlift according to AFM 2-50, USA/USAF Doctrine for Joint Airborne and Tactical Airlift Operations.

1.2.2. As a USAF tasking agency for the Army commander, the ASOC provides advice on requests for CAS and reconnaissance with the assistance of ALOs at corps, division, brigade or regiment, and battalion TACPs.

1.2.3. The ASOC assists the corps staff to plan for executing localized J-SEAD (Joint Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses). It participates in J-SEAD target nominations and weapons selections, and coordinates J-SEAD operations with the AOC and subordinate TACPs.

1.2.4. The ASOC coordinates air support with organic Army air defense organizations through the Corps Army Airspace Command and Control Element (A2C2). Through the BCE, the ACE at Corps is responsible for coordinating all Corps airspace requests with the Airspace Control Authority. The Airspace Management Section in the AOC executes airspace authority. The corps will recommend minimum risk routes and coordinate special use airspace requests for all LCC aircraft that will transit airspace above the Coordinating Altitude (CA). Additionally, the ACE will process all air defense airspace measures (Weapon Free Zones, High Density Airspace Control Zones, etc.) with the Area Air Defense Commander (AADC).

1.3. Functional Positions. The Director commands the ASOC. Functional positions within ASOC operations normally include the Assistant Director, the Fighter Duty Officer (FDO, AFSC 11F4/12F4), Fighter Duty Technician (AFSC 1C4X1) or Command and Control Specialists (AFSC 1C3X1 for ANG only), Intelligence Applications Officers (AFSC 14N3B), Intelligence
Operations Technicians (AFSC 1N0X1), Communications-Computer Systems Officers (AFSC 33S3), and Radio Communication Systems Technicians (AFSC 3C1X1).
1.3.1. Director. The Corps ALO normally becomes the ASOC Director, reporting to the AOC when the ASOC deploys, and locates within the senior Army element CP, normally the Corps. The ASOC Director reports to the AOC Director or Commander. Functions of the ASOC Director include:

Represents the Air Force Forces (AFFOR) Commander and serves as the senior air advisor to the Army Corps commander.

Exercises control over tactical air sorties made available to the ASOC.

Ensures that command uses air assets in the most effective manner commensurate with the current threat, battlefield situation, and disposition of friendly air defense weapons.

Advises the AOC of the air effort needed to fill Army requirements.

Assists with the development of fire support plans and Corps staff for supporting air sorties.

Is responsible for assigned Air Force personnel and equipment.

Follows AOC directives and ensures that the ASOC performs duties to support the AOC.

Exercises operational control and supervisory responsibilities (according to UCMJ) over assigned TACPs, in addition to providing logistical, maintenance, and administrative support.

Is responsible for operation and control of the ASOC communication nets.

Ensures subordinate TACPs receive necessary portions of the Air Tasking Order /Integrated Tasking Order (ATO/ITO) for effective mission execution. Do not disseminate the complete text of the ATO/ITO below ASOC level due to possibility of compromise.

Coordinates with Corps G-2 and G-3 to establish liaison, as a minimum, with the following element
agencies: FSE, A2C2 element, aviation, special operations, G-3 Plans/Operations, and G-2 targeting.

Coordinates J-SEAD requirements with Corps G-3.

1.3.2. Assistant Director. The ASOC Squadron (ASOCS) Commander or Operations Officer normally becomes the Assistant Director. The Assistant Director:

Performs overall supervision of the ASOC activities when required.

Reviews mobility and load plans to support displacement requirements.

Supervises and manages personnel resources.

Supervises and manages operations of the leap ASOC.

Manages and reviews ASOC equipment resources and requirements.

1.3.3. Fighter Duty Officers (FDO). Note: An Air Operations Officer, or senior Fighter Duty Technician (AFSC 27570) if an Air Operations Officer is unavailable, mans this position.

Is responsible for the planning, coordination, and execution of CAS and reconnaissance missions.

Advises the Director and staff on matters pertaining to CAS.

Advises the Army commander and his staff, through the Director, of the capabilities of the available CAS resources.

Monitors status, capabilities, and limitations of TACPs.

Maintains current status of distributed air assets and effects changes in alert status by contact with the Wing Operations Centers (WOC) and the AOC.

Reviews immediate CAS requests for feasibility and threat compatibility.

Assigns and launches allocated sorties to fill Army requirements for CAS.

Coordinates CAS missions within the ASOC positions and with other TACS elements.

Advises TACPs on matters pertaining to CAS.

Validates localized J-SEAD requirements.

1.3.4. Fighter Duty Technicians (AFSC 1C4X1):

The senior Fighter Duty Technician performs the duties and responsibilities of Fighter Duty Officer if required (AFSC 1C471/1C491 with SEI 914 or previous Terminal Attack Controller experience). The FDT:

Performs shift supervisor duties as required.

Supervises the operation of the AFARN.

Supervises subordinate Fighter Duty Technicians.

All Fighter Duty Technicians do the following:

Coordinate and process CAS or reconnaissance requests.

Are responsible for posting, filing, displaying, updating, and recording information on logs, charts, or other records.

Post status of CAS, reconnaissance, airborne Forward Air Controller and TACPs.

Break out and disseminate the ATO/ITO.

Operate the Air Force AFARN.

Provide Net Control Station (NCS) functions for the Air Force Air Request
Receive air support requests from TACPs and dispatch the information to the appropriate ASOC sections.

Transmit mission data and other operational information to TACPs.

Make entries in required communications logs and journals.

Provide status reports on communications net and associated equipment to the Communications Operations Officer.

1.3.5. Command and Control Specialists (AFSC 1C3X1) (ANG Only):

Is responsible to the appropriate duty officer for posting, filing, displaying, updating, and recording of information on logs, charts, or other records.

Posts status of CAS, reconnaissance, and FAC assets.

1.3.6. Intelligence Applications Officers:

Processes immediate CAS requests for target validation and for ordnance recommendations.

Identifies J-SEAD requirements to support the CAS effort.

Monitors the current tactical situation and recommends adjustments to preplanned CAS missions.

Screens intelligence reports to determine significance and updates the Director and ASOC staff on changes in the threat affecting current and future operations.

Passes significant Army-developed intelligence pertinent to tactical air operations to the AOC through spot intelligence reports.

Passes significant intelligence and target information received from Air Force elements to the Army G-2.

Maintains situation maps, intelligence reference materials, and supervises maintenance of the intelligence mobility kit.

Monitors the Inflight Report Net.

Supports the corps target cell as required.

1.3.7. Intelligence Operations Technicians:

Assists in screening intelligence reports and posting situation and targeting maps.

Plots and validates immediate air request target locations.

Compiles targeting statistical data and drafts daily bomb damage assessment summary reports.

When appropriate, monitors the Inflight Report Net and records mission results.

Maintains intelligence reference materials and the intelligence mobility kit.

1.3.8. Communications-Computer Systems Officers:

Oversees the operation of all ASOC communications facilities.

Ensures communications security equipment, publications, and procedures are used.

Establishes and reviews log and journal entry and maintenance procedures.

Responsible for the communication architecture and overall operation of the AFARN.

Ensures availability and proper use/maintenance of TACP call signs and frequencies.

Establishes procedures for monitoring and tracking TACP locations and operational status.

1.4. Communications Procedures. Secure voice or data means is the normal mode for all communications. Air support coordination depends heavily upon the availability of an organized communications system that will provide current information and capability to control allocated resources. The ASOC is responsible for ensuring frequencies are available for the various communications nets from the appropriate frequency managers. ASOC communications and procedures interface with the various Air Force and Army elements as follows:

1.4.1. Army Tactical Nets. Hardwire telephone facilities may be provided to the ASOC for communications links to the CP and Army tactical communication nets. The ASOC has organic VHF-FM voice communications
equipment for entry into Army Command Nets as required.

1.4.2. Command and Control Net. Accomplish interfaces with other TACS units (AOC, CRC, and WOC) via HF-SSB, tropo-microwave links, and satellite communication systems (SATCOM) of which all systems should normally be encoded. Use these communications nets for command communications traffic including operations and scramble orders, coordination, intelligence, and air defense warning. Whenever possible, use multiple systems and redundant switches to enhance reliability and survivability.

1.4.3. Air Force Air Request Net (AFARN). The AFARN is the link between the ASOC and subordinate TACPs for request and coordination of immediate air support. The ASOC is the Net Control Station (NCS). Each division normally has an AFARN. The ASOC will activate and operate as many nets as necessary, contingent with needs, equipment available, and frequencies allocated. The normal mode for the AFARN is secure HF-SSB; however, the ASOC must be capable of operating the AFARN (secure) on other radios when the tactical situation requires.

1.4.4. Tactical Air Control Net. The purpose of this UHF-AM Air-Ground-Air (AGA) net is to coordinate mission direction of airborne aircraft under control of the CRC or FACP. The ASOC interfaces with the Tactical Air Control Net through the Command and Control Net.

1.4.5. Tactical Air Direction Net. The TACPs/FACs use this UHF/VHF-AM AGA net for the direction and control of aircraft engaged in air support. The TACP is the prime user of this net; it receives allocated specific frequencies to conduct tactical operations. The ASOC may also enter the net to pass time sensitive information.

1.4.6. Inflight Report Net. This UHF/VHF-AM AGA net is for the airborne transmission of inflight reports to the elements of the TACS. CRCs or FACPs normally receive inflight reports and relay the information to the AOC or ASOC, or both. The ASOC and AOC monitor this net when in range.

1.4.7. TACP Command Net. This net is used to pass urgent administrative, logistic, and command information between the ASOC and subordinate TACP elements.

1.5. Site Layout. The ASOC is normally located within the CP, as close as possible to the Fire Support Element
(FSE), to permit rapid exchange of information and direct coordination. Specific site configuration depends upon Corps and ASOC agreements, terrain features, and the tactical situations.

1.6. ASOC Leap Concept. The ASOC normally moves with the Army main CP with which it operates. The leap package is a resource used to permit continuous operations during mobile combat situations by providing an interim ASOC capability. The package allows rapid main ASOC resumption of operations following a displacement or loss of the Army main CP. The manning and equipment requirements of the leap ASOC are determined by the Director. Deploy the leap package at a time agreed upon with Army planners. Depending on the specific Army operating procedures, the original main ASOC will continue to function while the leap ASOC is being set up. The leap ASOC assumes control coincident with Army transfer of G-2 and G-3 approval authority to the leap Army site. Portions of the original main ASOC may join the leap ASOC to reconstitute a new main or move in total to a new main CP location. The orchestration of an ASOC leap will vary with the tactical situation, Army movement tactics, and equipment limitations. Each ASOC must adapt its capability and resources to meet the requirements of its associated Army CP.

1.7. Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center (ABCCC). The ABCCC is an airborne command and control element of the TACS that provides management of forces operating beyond the normal communication coverage of ground TACS elements. The mobility and communications advantages inherent in this platform enable it to stay abreast of the current ground and air situation within its assigned area of responsibility. This ensures continuity of operations in the event elements of the TACS are disabled or not yet deployed. The ABCCC system, with its trained battle staff, is able to perform limited roles for Crisis Management, Special Contingency Operations, ACC Combat Operations, and ASOC Operations (see MCR 55-130).

Chapter 2


2.1. Organization. The Combat Air Force organizes TACPs as subordinate units of a Numbered Air Force (NAF) or an Air Operations Group (AOG) and when in garrison are under the operational control of this parent organization (ANG TACPs are organized as separate units - Air Control Party Flights (ACPFs) within their respective states with a parent organization of an Air Support Group). The parent organization is responsible for the administrative support of TACP units. The Air Force and the Army share logistic support of TACPs according to AR 525-25. When deployed, TACPs report operationally to the ASOC or senior echelon TACP if an ASOC is not deployed. Their purpose is to provide liaison to the ground commander on matters related to tactical air support and to provide terminal attack control for CAS missions. Attachment 2 describes the overall air support concept; paragraphs A 2.1 and A 2.4 discuss TACPs in relation to the TACS.

2.1.1. The USAF aligns TACPs with Army combat maneuver units from corps through battalion and squadron. TACPs aligned with corps, division, regiment, brigade, combat aviation brigades and ranger battalion headquarters are permanently stationed with the Army unit and function as a special liaison staff element within that unit headquarters. (Battalion TACP equipment and
Tactical Air Command and Control Specialists are normally organized at brigade level in garrison and dispatched to aligned Army battalions when deployed).

2.1.2. The NAF organizes TACPs by location into squadrons. The Air Liaison Officer (ALO) supporting the highest Army headquarters on the installation is the Squadron Commander (ANG TACPs are located in their respective states).

2.1.3. Air Liaison Officers and Tactical Air Command and Control Specialists (AFSC 1C4X1) man TACPs at corps, division, regiment, brigade, and battalion. Communications Equipment Maintenance personnel, Aerospace Ground Equipment (AGE) Repairmen, Supply Technicians, and Administrative personnel also are assigned to division and regimental TACPs. (See applicable UTC for specific manning.) All personnel maintain mission status in accordance with AFI 13-102, Air Support Operations Center (ASOC) and Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Training and Evaluation Procedures.

2.1.4. TACPs normally deploy with aligned Army units during contingencies, exercises, tests, and evaluations. Man them according to Attachment 5 with standard TACP staffing.

2.1.5. The NAF assigns and maintains FAC aircraft at a Main Operating Base (MOB). The AFFOR Commander may designate support equipment and personnel to deploy to a Forward Operating Location (FOL) to operate with Army units commensurate with the availability of USAF resources. Airborne FACs may perform terminal attack control of CAS missions if the tactical situation permits or may serve as the Tactical Air Coordinator-Airborne (TAC-A) when terminal attack control is not feasible (see MCM 3-1, Volume VIII).

2.2. Mission - Functions:

2.2.1. TACP operations fall into two general categories: liaison and control. Senior echelon TACPs (corps through brigade) function primarily in the liaison role. Battalion TACPs have the added responsibility of the terminal attack control role (see paragraph 2.3).

2.2.2. The general functions of a TACP are to:

Advise the Army commander and staff on the capabilities and use of air power.

Assist the Army commander and staff in planning for air support operations.

Provide coordination and attack planning for J-SEAD operations, targets of opportunity when authorized in Rules of Engagement (ROE), and targets in position for near term effect on friendly forces.

Operate and maintain TACP communications equipment to support the Air Force Air Request Net, Tactical Air Direction Nets, and the Airlift Advance Notification/Coordination Net (TALO).

Provide terminal attack control of aircraft employed to meet Army requirements.

Provide USAF tactical expertise and a focal point for detailed integration of CAS with the fire and maneuver of ground forces.

Be familiar with Army maneuver tactics and weapon systems. Ground combat TACP training is the responsibility of the host Army unit, requested by the senior ALO, and supported by written inter-service agreements.

2.3. Functional Positions:

2.3.1. Air Liaison Officer (ALO). The Corps, Division, Regiment Brigade, or Battalion ALO is the senior Air Force officer at each TACP and is responsible for subordinate echelon TACPs. ALOs have the following functions and responsibilities that vary in scope and degree with the level of command supported:

Represents the Air Component Commander as the senior air advisor to the appropriate Army commander.

Advises the Army commander and staff on the capabilities and proper use of air power.

Is responsible for the operations of the AFARN and TAD Nets.

Coordinates and transmits requests for immediate air support.

Assists army counterparts in the preparation of preplanned air support requests.

Assists in the preparation of Army plans dealing with tactical air support.

Coordinates tactical air support missions with the FSE and the appropriate Army Airspace Command and Control (A2C2) element.

Integrates air support sorties with the Army unit scheme of maneuver.

Ensures a terminal attack control qualified ALO or Enlisted Terminal Attack Controller (ETAC) is available to control CAS missions.

Keeps abreast of Army ground operations and informs the appropriate USAF agencies of the situation.

Is responsible for assigned Air Force TACP personnel and equipment.

Reports operational status of assigned equipment to the ASOC and ensures that requests for Air Force unique supply items are forwarded to the ASOC.

Coordinates with Army staff agencies on TACP facilities, messing, POL support, and maintenance of vehicles and equipment. Logistics support must be ensured by an established system that is responsive to TACP needs. ALOs will obtain logistic support from the Army in accordance with AR 525-25 under the terms of DOD 4000.19, Interservice, Interdepartmental, and Interagency Support, and the ACC/AMC/FORSCOM/TRADOC Memorandum of Agreement. Such negotiated agreements will be documented as inter-service support agreements and will be approved by parent organizations. Each agreement will cover logistics support to be provided by the Army and will specify Army maintenance supply support of TACP equipment. Support Agreements, DD Form 1144, will be consummated separately. Whenever possible, such agreements will be reviewed and, if necessary, updated prior to deployment to a new environment.

2.3.2. Fighter Liaison Section (Corps, Division, Regiment, Brigade, and Independent Brigade):

Advises the ALO and Army commander's staff on the capabilities and employment of available air assets including reconnaissance assets.

Assists in the development of air support requests.

Assists the Army FSE with the preparation of the Fire Support Plan.

Coordinates air support with the FSE and A2C2.

2.3.3. Theater Airlift Section (Corps/Division/Brigade/ Regiment). Responsibilities are defined in Air Mobility Command Regulation (AMCR) 55-55.

2.3.4. Battalion Air Liaison Officer:

Coordinates with the ground commander on employment of tactical air support.

Maintains a station on the AFARN, TAD Net, and appropriate Army net(s).

Transmits Army requests for immediate air support.

Coordinates all air support requests, including J-SEAD and JAAT, with the FSE and A2C2.

Forwards weather observations to the ASOC as required.

Performs CAS terminal attack control.

Reports mission results to flight lead.

Advises fire support personnel or the Army commander when aircraft have cleared the target area.

Passes intelligence information to the ASOC.

2.3.5. Tactical Air Command and Control Specialist (AFSC 1C4X1) (Corps Through Battalion TACPs). The 1C4X1 AFSC provides TACP members trained in performing combat communications operations and in coordinating air support with the Army.

Airmen. 1C4X1 airmen at the 3 skill levels are Apprentice level performers. They are primarily responsible for establishing and maintaining communications with other TACPs, the ASOC, and their aligned army unit and are trained in a variety of communications, operations, and field skills. Their experience, capabilities, and limitations must be taken into account when duties are assigned.

NCOs. 1C4X1 NCOs at the 5 and 7 skill levels are Journeyman or Craftsman level technicians and supervisors who have attained ranks commensurate with their experience and expertise. They possess a variety of communications, operations, liaison and field skills to include the ability to perform emergency Terminal Attack Control of strike aircraft. 1C4X1s at the 7 and 9 levels are primarily supervisors, superintendents, and managers.

ETACs. Certain specially qualified 1C451 and 1C471 Tactical Air Command and Control Specialists receive special additional training and are awarded a Special Experience Identifier (SEI 914). They are subsequently certified as ETACs. ETACs can routinely perform unsupervised Terminal Attack Control and add to the flexibility of the brigade pool or battalion ALO in discharging his duties of liaison with the battalion commander and staff.

Chapter 3


3.1. General. Air Support includes the combat functions of Close Air Support (CAS), Air Interdiction (AI), Reconnaissance, and Theater Airlift (TAL). The ASOC provides the necessary liaison and coordination to incorporate apportioned sorties and to integrate the air operations into the Army scheme of maneuver. The AME/TALCE and/or TALO/CCT provide liaison, coordination, and control for tactical airlift. Airlift operations are contained in AFDD 31 (formerly AFM 2-50).

3.2. Air Support Requirements:

3.2.1. Preplanned Requests. Target requirements that can be foreseen in time to be included in the ATO/ITO are forwarded as preplanned air requests. The TACP provides technical expertise to the Army S-2/3 or G-2/3 staff for planning this support. The preplanned requests are then forwarded through Army channels to the appropriate Army level for approval. The approved requests are then sent through Army channels to the Battlefield Coordination Element (BCE) at the AOC for incorporation into the ATO/ITO. Preplanned requests for air support normally do not include detailed target information and may not include detailed timing information because of the lead time involved. Preplanned requests involve any information, even general information about planned schemes of maneuver, that can be used in the apportionment, allocation, and tasking cycle. Estimates of percent weapons effects needed (60 anti-armor, 40 anti-personnel), sortie time flows, peak need times, and anticipated distribution patterns are vital to preplanning the ATO/ITO. ALOs should request that such information is forwarded through the BCE as soon as it is foreseen by the echelon's planners. The ALO must ensure that the Army does not wait to plan all details of individual air support missions at battalion level before forwarding data with which to preplan air support. Higher Army echelons must request air support as soon as the need is anticipated and update and refine requests regularly.

3.2.2. Immediate Requests. Target requirements for CAS are often generated by the dynamic tactical situation with insufficient time to be included in the ATO/ITO. Immediate requests may enter the TACS through the ASOC or TACPs at any Army level. Upon receipt at the ASOC, concurrent coordination and planning begin. Use of this air support must, however, still be in accordance with the concept of operations of the LCC.

3.3. Close Air Support (CAS). The JFACC allocates sorties for Army requirements from resources apportioned by the JFC. Allocated sorties are distributed among various land maneuver units following guidance provided by the LCC. CAS is accomplished by tactical aircraft capable of delivering a wide range of ordnance with terminal attack control provided by a FAC/TACP. CAS sorties can be flown in response to land forces other than the Army; i.e., US Marine Corps or Allied Forces.

3.3.1. All air support sorties must be preplanned by the Air Force to some degree. Ideally, full mission information such as target, location and type, controller call sign and frequency, defenses, and ground situation would be available for generating the Air Tasking Order. However, ATO/ITO generation typically begins 36 hours ahead of the execution period, and therefore, it is normally difficult for the ground forces to provide detailed mission information for air support far in advance. Instead, each echelon uses its planned scheme of maneuver to generate priorities of fires (including priorities for CAS), expected categories of targets (by percentage), time flows and peak need times, expected user units, and other factors as early as possible. These preplanned factors are passed to higher echelons as soon as possible and refined as soon as further information becomes available (for a description of how this process affects apportionment, allocation, and tasking of CAS sorties see TACP 50-29, General Operating Procedures for Joint Attack of the Second Echelon and J-SAK. Requests for CAS in future ATO/ITO cycles are passed through Army channels for consolidation, validation, and prioritization. Requests or refinement of requests for air support in the cycle of the ATO/ITO being executed are passed through AF channels to the ASOC as immediate requests.

3.3.2. Either type of mission (immediate or preplanned) request may originate at any echelon of the Army forces to which a TACP is aligned. In order to be published in the ATO/ITO, preplanned requests must reach the AOC by a time dictated by the ATO/ITO planning cycle of the supporting AOC. Those preplanned requests not reaching the AOC in time to be published in the ATO/ITO could be filled by immediate requests.

The ATO/ITO includes CAS missions that are reviewed by the ASOC Director, FDO, and the G/S-3 Air.

The ASOC FDO extracts the ATO/ITO information on those CAS sorties distributed to satisfy anticipated immediate requests. The ASOC FDO, in coordination with the G-3 Air, Intelligence Applications Officer, the WOC(s), and the AOC FDO, reviews ordnance configurations, alert postures and/or flow schedules for these assets and adjusts these, as necessary, to fulfill Army requirements. TACPs normally pass immediate requests over the AFARN to the ASOC, however, any appropriate means available to the TACP can be used. The request is passed to Army (normally the G-3 Air) for validation and approval, ASOC Intelligence Applications Officer for coordination, and the ASOC FDO for planning. The ASOC FDO passes the scramble or divert order and control information to the AOC, WOC, and CRC. Sorties not assigned to the ASOC must be requested and executed through the AOC. Mission information or disapproval is transmitted by the Fighter Duty Technician to the originating TACP. The ASOC will specify the format for CAS requests. Sensitive data such as coordinates and time on target (TOT) should be encrypted or passed on a secure frequency as dictated by the tactical situation and the enemy's estimated capability to react. The ASOC may develop standard assumptions for their TACPs to reduce transmission time. Subordinate TACPs will be advised when such assumptions are developed.

3.3.3. The method of mission control depends upon the communications and control agencies available. The Tactical Air Control Net will normally be used to control flights into the target area where they are handed off to the FAC or TACP. When scrambling immediate CAS missions, the ASOC FDO may provide full target information to the WOC or may launch the aircraft and pass target information to the CRC or other appropriate control agency for relay to the attack flight. Terminal attack control is accomplished on the assigned TAD Net.

3.3.4. Inflight reports are submitted to any TACS agency but are normally transmitted to the ASOC or relayed by the TACP. Inflight reports will be submitted on significant enemy activity.

BUSTER C. GLOSSON, Lieutenant General, USAF
Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations


and Acronyms Definitions

A2C2 Army Airspace Command and Control
AAGS Army Air Ground System
ABCCC Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center
ACE Airspace Coordination Element
ACPF Air Control Party Flight
ADA Air Defense Artillery
AFAC Airborne Forward Air Controller
AFARN Air Force Air Request Net
AGA Air Ground Air
AGE Aerospace Ground Equipment
AI Air Interdiction
ALO Air Liaison Officer
AME Air Mobility Element
ANG Air National Guard
AOC Air Operations Center
ARTY Artillery
ASOC Air Support Operations Center
ASOCS Air Support Operations Center Squadron
ATO Air Tasking Order
AWACS Airborne Warning and Control System
BCE Battlefield Coordination Element
BDE Brigade (Army)
BN Battalion (Army)

and Acronyms Definitions

CA Counter Air, also Coordinating Altitude
CAS Close Air Support
CCT Combat Control Team
CM Collection Manager
CO Company (Army)
CP Command Post
CRC Control and Reporting Center
DCA Defensive Counter Air
DIV Division (Army)
ETAC Enlisted Terminal Attack Controller
FA Field Artillery
FAC Forward Air Controller
FACP Forward Air Control Post
FDC Fire Direction Center
FDO Fighter Duty Officer
FDT Fighter Duty Technician
FIST Fire Support Team
FM Frequency Modulation (Normally VHF FM)
FOL Forward Operating Location
FSCOORD Fire Support Coordinator
FSE Fire Support Element
FSO Fire Support Officer
G-2 General Staff Intelligence Officer (Corps/Div)
G-3 General Staff Operations Officer (Corps/Div)
and Acronyms Definitions

GLO Ground Liaison Officer
HF-SSB High Frequency Single Sideband
ITO Integrated Tasking Order
JAAT Joint Air Attack Team
JFACC Joint Force Air Component Commander
JFC Joint Forces Commander
JFLCC Joint Force Land Component Commander
JOC Joint Operations Center
J-SAK Joint Attack of the Second Echelon
J-SEAD Joint Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses
LCC Land Component Commander
MOB Main Operating Base
MPC Message Processing Center
NCS Net Control Station
OCA Offensive Counter Air
RFI Request for Information
ROE Rules of Engagement
S-2 Staff Intelligence Officer (Brigade/Battalion)
S-3 Staff Operations Officer (Brigade/Battalion)
SEAD Suppression of Enemy Defenses
SPINS Special Instructions
TAC-A Tactical Air Coordinator - Airborne
TACP Tactical Air Control Party
TACS Theater Air Control System

and Acronyms Definitions

TAD Tactical Air Direction (Net)
TAL Theater Airlift
TALCE Tanker/Airlift Control Element
TALO Theater Airlift Liaison Officer
TOC Tactical Operations Center
TOT Time on Target
TSO Tactical Surveillance Officer
UHF Ultra High Frequency (UHF-AM)
VHF Very High Frequency (VHF-AM)
WOC Wing Operations Center
1C3X1 Command and Control Specialist
1C4X1 Tactical Air Command and Control Specialist


A2.1. Theater Air Control System. The Air Force Forces (AFFOR) Commander exercises operational control over his assigned forces through the Theater Air Control System (TACS). The focal point for tasking and exercising operational control is the Air Operations Center (AOC), the senior element of the TACS. Subordinate TACS agencies perform the tasks of planning, coordination, monitoring, surveillance, control, reporting, and execution of the airland operations. These agencies are Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), Control and Reporting Center (CRC), Message Processing Center (MPC), Forward Air Control Post (FACP), Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center (ABCCC), Air Support Operations Center (ASOC), Tactical Air Control Party (TACP), Air Mobility Element (AME), Tanker/Airlift Control Element (TALCE), and Combat Control Team (CCT). For an illustration of the TACS/AAGS system, see figure A2.1.

A2.2. Mission. The TACS provides the AFFOR with the organization, personnel, and equipment necessary to control theater air operations, execute area air defense and airspace management, and coordinate operations with components of other military services. The mission of the air support elements is to plan, coordinate and control counter-air, interdiction, close air support, reconnaissance, and in-theater airlift operations conducted in concert with operations of land forces and operate dedicated communications nets to ensure timely and adequate response to land forces requirements.

A2.2.1. Close Air Support (CAS). CAS is air action against hostile ground targets in close proximity to friendly forces. Each air mission requires detailed integration with the fire and movement of friendly supported ground forces.
A2.2.1.1. CAS missions are of two types: Preplanned and Immediate as defined in the DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. Both types of missions may be initiated by the Air Liaison Officer (ALO) at any Army echelon of planning.

A2.2.1.2. Immediate CAS missions may be accomplished using either Push CAS or Pull CAS.

A2. Push CAS - Directed CAS support to a high priority unit on the battlefield to stabilize a situation. This concept may be used in fast moving, modern warfare to slow the advance of enemy ground forces.

A2. Pull CAS - CAS support provided on request. This concept may be used in a slower paced, sporadic warfare, similar to Southeast Asia.

A2.2.1.3. During combat operations, an Air Liaison Officer (ALO), Forward Air Controller (FAC) or Enlisted Terminal Attack Controller (ETAC) is normally available for control of close air support missions. These individuals are the only authorized Air Force personnel permitted to routinely control CAS missions in support of US Army units or other ground maneuver units, allied or joint, when attached. During emergency combat operations however, when these individuals are not available, a designated individual may direct attacking aircraft for close air support. The ground commander must designate this emergency terminal control agent and assumes responsibility for troop safety. There is no peacetime requirement for emergency CAS.

A2.2.1.4. The Joint Air Attack Team (JAAT) is a combination of attack and scout helicopters and fixed-wing attack aircraft which may be supported by field artillery, operating together to simultaneously attack a single target or target array. The JAAT may operate either as an integrated combined arms team or it may operate independently away from ground units. When integrated with ground forces, the JAAT may be strengthened by the firepower capabilities of maneuver forces.

A2.2.2. Air Reconnaissance and Surveillance. Air Reconnaissance and Surveillance are air actions employing visual observations or sensors to acquire intelligence information. Reconnaissance forces are designed to meet the requirements of all joint forces rather than for any single component.

A2.3. Air Support Operation Center (ASOC). The ASOC is a specialized operations center responsible for planning, direction, and control of the air effort in support of land forces maneuver objectives. It coexists with the senior Army tactical field element, normally a corps (but can be an independent division), and should be collocated with the corps Fire Support Center (FSC). In a multi-corps environment, there will normally be one ASOC with each corps, reporting individually to the AOC. The corps ALO becomes the ASOC director when the ASOC is deployed and the ASOC commander performs as the assistant ASOC director.

A2.4. Tactical Air Control Party (TACP). The TACP is the most forward operations element of the TACS that functions directly with Army maneuver units. These elements are located with corps, division, brigade, separate brigade or regiment, combat aviation brigade, and battalion ground combat maneuvering units and are operationally subordinate to the ASOC. The TACP mission is to assist ground forces in planning, requesting, coordinating, and controlling air power.

A2.5. OA-10 Fighter Squadron (FS). The FS or elements will normally deploy to Forward Operating Locations (FOL) during contingencies to meet AFFOR Commander requirements. The ASOC exercises operational control of all FAC aircraft employed within its area of responsibility.

A2.6. Coordination and Control. The responsibility for the coordination of joint airland operations is shared equally by the AFFOR Commander and Joint Force Land Component Commander (JFLCC). They have parallel capabilities for the coordination and integration of tactical air support with land force operations through the Air Force TACS and the Army Air Ground System (AAGS). The Battlefield Coordination Element (BCE) is an Army liaison element assigned to the JLCC and located in the AOC. The primary function of the BCE is liaison between the JLCC and the AOC (for more information see J-SAK, TACP 50-29/TRADOC PAM 525-45).

A2.7. Voice Communications. The TACS voice communications are those which are required to command, direct, and control air operations. These communications are aligned into the functional areas of command, control, and air support coordination. The ASOC and TACPs are provided equipment and personnel to operate tactical air support nets and to interface with air control nets and in-flight report nets. The functional relationships of the communications are:

A2.7.1. Command Communications. The ASOC is interconnected with other elements of the TACS and subordinate units by command communications nets (voice, teletype, data) used for communications traffic including operations and scramble orders, coordination, intelligence, weather, operational reporting, and air traffic and air defense warnings.

A2.7.2. Control Communications. Air Force Tactical Air Control Nets include the air/ground and interfacing communications employed by the appropriate controlling agencies for sector and subsector control of tactical air mission aircraft. Control of tactical air support aircraft is provided to the contact point where the flight receives direction for hand-off to an AFAC or TACP Tactical Air Direction (TAD) Net frequency for final control. The ASOC coordinates mission direction with the appropriate control agency, but has limited capability to monitor the control net.

A2.7.3. Air Support Communications. Air Support Communications includes the equipment to establish the Air Force Air Request Net(s) (AFARN), TAD Net(s), and Airlift Advance Notification/Coordination Net(s) employed to request, coordinate, and control air support assets.

A2.7.3.1. Air Force Air Request Net (AFARN). The ASOC is the net control station for one or more nets and maintains appropriate logs and records. All TACPs monitor the net that is used to transmit requests to the ASOC for immediate tactical air support. The number of AFARNs established by an ASOC will depend on the amount of traffic anticipated. The primary equipment provided is high frequency single-sideband radio (HF-SSB); however, other communications methods may be used when the situation dictates.

A2.7.3.2. Tactical Air Direction (TAD) Net. The TAD Net provides necessary communication for the ASOC and each subordinate TACP for directing aircraft allocated for tactical air support missions. This net consists of UHF, VHF-AM, and VHF-FM radios available in the FAC aircraft and the mobile communications centrals assigned to the TACP.

Figure A2.1. Theater Air Control System/Army Air Ground System.