Patriot units provide essential air defense of the force from the establishment of the lodgment through the termination of the contingency operation. Patriot's firepower and capabilities against both TBMs and ABTs make it an indispensable part of force-projection operations. This chapter discusses the role of Patriot battalions and batteries as part of the family of AD weapon systems in contingency operations. Also addressed are special planning considerations for Patriot during entry operations into a nonmature theater of operations. Figure 4-1 depicts ADA participation from initial lodgment operations through full-scale combat operations.
Contingency operations may require Patriot units to operate without a well-developed support base and to face a threat capable of attacking any point in the area of operations. The stages of force-projection operations for Patriot units include predeployment activity, deployment, entry operations (establishment and expansion of the lodgment), operations, postconflict operations, and redeployment.
Regardless of post and unit preparations and emergency deployment readiness SOPs in support of force-projection operations, Patriot battalion planners must plan each deployment individually. Planners must assess the threat, determine mission requirements, and phase Patriot deployment. The staff should use a reverse planning sequence. Operational requirements for a specific contingency will determine arrival times and sequences. Tactical requirements, the threat, and airlift capacity will be factors in determining exactly how the Patriot force will be packaged for deployment. These, in turn, determine the embarkation times and priorities. If a forced entry is required, US forces will organize into two echelons--an assault force and follow-on forces. Patriot planning must include provisions to provide air defense to forces.
Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy air elements may not initially achieve air superiority in contingency operations. Threat forces will attempt to gain the military advantage by disrupting and or destroying our ability to deploy forces into the theater. Threat air power and TBMs may be used to achieve these aims. Additionally, threat ground combat units along with special operations forces and airmobile forces represent a continuing threat to the lodgment area. The battalion S2 must conduct as thorough a predeployment IPB as possible.
Air defense C2 is critical to successful air defense of the lodgment. While C2 is always a joint service effort for Patriot battalions, it is especially so during contingency operations. It should be addressed in Patriot battalion mission plans and SOPs, and it must be flexible enough to adapt to different situations, equipment, and unusual US or allied command structures. The theater air operation in which Patriot participates will be planned and controlled by a JFACC designated by the joint task force (JTF) commander.
Normally, the JFACC exercises operational C2 of Patriot forces in two ways. First, procedural control is established through the use of AD procedures and rules of engagement (ROE). These also include air defense warnings (ADWs), weapon control status (WCS), self-defense engagement criteria, airspace control orders (ACOs), and air tasking orders (ATOs). These must all be developed specifically for the theater, and put into operation quickly to reduce the possibility of fratricide. Secondly, USAF components normally deploy with their organic C2 facilities. This enables them to establish an air operations center (AOC), formerly the tactical air control center (TACC), with one or more subordinate control and reporting centers (CRCs). Using the CRC, the JFACC establishes positive control of Patriot fire by means of data link or voice transitions.
Command relationships (Army, joint, and allied) are complex in contingency theaters due to their unique mission and ad hoc nature. The chances that all forces in the JTF have trained and worked together are remote. It is likely that allied forces have different and noncompatible equipment. In multinational forces, even something so basic as a common language may not be available. Patriot commanders and staff officers must keep these facts in mind when planning and executing Patriot air defenses in the lodgment.
Operations in a contingency theater will commence with air, sea, or land insertion of assault forces into the area of operations to establish a lodgment. Entry may be opposed or unopposed. Whenever possible, US forces seek unopposed entry, entering the theater peacefully with the assistance of the host nation. This lodgment provides a foothold through which further US forces and materiel enter a theater of operations.
Assault forces equipped with organic ADA elements will be directed to the defense of airfields and seaports, transportation centers, nuclear storage and delivery facilities (if they exist), C3I activities, and geopolitical assets when applicable (see Figure 4-2). A requirement for deploying Patriot into the theater at this stage would reflect the need for the firepower and capabilities Patriot units can provide. The theater threat may possess TBM and aircraft capabilities that require Patriot units or a HIMAD TF to be deployed early.
Patriot units should be deployed ahead of other units when the threat possesses TBMs that threaten the lodgment or possesses sufficient aircraft to overwhelm US and allied defensive counterair (DCA) capabilities. Commanders must balance the factors of METT-T against available airlift and sealift assets to determine the composition of the ADA force. For example, within the first few hours of entry operations, it may be necessary to put a Patriot minimum engagement capability on the ground. Three C-5 aircraft could transport an engagement control station (ECS), radar, electric power plant (EPP), two launchers with eight missiles, and 30 days minimum support for initial protection of the lodgment area.
As the lodgment expands and becomes better established with the arrival of more forces, ADA C2 elements and further Patriot firepower are introduced into the theater (see Figure 4-3). This effort may likely employ Patriot units from EAC rather than corps ADA brigades. The initial mission of these Patriot units is to provide air defense of the first and most important theater asset, the lodgment itself.
Patriot elements may be airlifted, sea-lifted, or a combination of both. The Patriot FDC with its information and coordination central (ICC) should be considered a high priority and deployed as early as possible because of its capabilities to control the firepower of both Hawk and Patriot fire units, and because of its ability to communicate via data link with higher echelon control centers.
At some point during the expansion of the lodgment, the joint force commander will decide to move against the enemy. ADA units may have already begun the battle protecting the force and geopolitical assets from enemy TBMs, UAVs, and FW aircraft. EAC AD units may be augmented to provide air defense to corps units while remaining under EAC control. While previously deployed EAC Patriot units continue to defend EAC priorities, corps assigned Patriot units may be deployed to the theater to provide air defense to corps priorities (see Figure 4-4).
The goal of force-projection operations is a quick, decisive victory with minimum casualties. However, if the objectives of the deployed forces are not accomplished in a limited time frame, the theater may transition into a mature theater of operations. The lodgment will transition to support sustained, mature theater tactical operations. As the mature theater develops, added forces with their support and command, control, and communications (C3) elements will require Patriot defenses.
Successful termination of a contingency operation causes forces to transition to a period of postconflict operations. ADA units still provide vital force protection to prevent isolated attacks during this period. Selected ADA units, to include Patriot, may continue their presence in the theater as a deterrent and provide stability to the region. Based on METT-T, Patriot units may be among the last to withdraw.
Patriot unit deployment, by air or sea, into a nonmature theater requires planners to package the force in order to meet available space requirements. Initial forces must be packaged to support the mission using the least amount of transportation space possible. Deploying batteries must be tailored with a self-contained balance of firepower and support. The number of launchers and support should be reduced to exactly what is required and no more. Essential repair parts and support equipment should accompany initial elements. Batteries must be capable of fighting and be self-sustaining until battalion support elements arrive. Planners should think imaginatively about what equipment is needed or not. For example, if batteries initially deploy without the ICC to perform a TBM mission, there is no reason to send survey crews and equipment with them.
It is unlikely that Patriot units will deploy to an AO as a complete battalion. Some parts of the battalion may deploy by air, and some by sea. This requires a power-down approach to leadership to maintain control. Leaders at all levels must be able to perform with a minimum of guidance and a maximum of initiative. All equipment should be accompanied by at least one member of the unit to reduce the possibility that essential pieces might go astray during deployment or after arrival in the AO.