FM 6-70 Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for
M109A6 HOWITZER (PALADIN) OPERATIONS


CHAPTER 7

PALADIN OCCUPATION PROCEDURES

The battery commander is responsible for everything his battery does

Or fails to do. However, during normal operations, he may not always be in the platoon position areas. In the absence of the battery commander, the responsibility

for safety rests with the Platoon Leader, FDO, Platoon Sergeant and

Section Chiefs. Outlined in this chapter are the standard occupation procedures

for PALADIN units.. These procedures provide reasonable

assurances that all rounds fired will impact accurately and safely.

 

7-1. RESPONSIBILITIES

a. Commanders of Field Artillery Units: Commanders establish and maintain a safety training and certification program for their personnel. The Paladin Howitzer is no exception and personnel operating the equipment must be qualified to perform related safety duties. A sample checklist for qualification of Paladin personnel is found at Appendix F. The responsibilities of leaders in the platoon during occupation are listed below and all additional duties are found in Chapter 2.

b. Platoon Leader: The platoon leader is the officer in charge of firing and is responsible for the following:

(1) Safety of the firing element.

(2) Ensures AFCS database has been input correctly.

(3) Checks the survey data at SCPs

(4) Ensures verification of the howitzers location and direction as required.

 

c. Fire Direction Officer: In addition to those listed in FM 6-50, the FDO has the following responsibilities in a Paladin unit: Verifies POC and gun databases by conducting a verification mission (dry fire or AMC) after initialization, or when either the AFCS and LCU is powered up, or when a significant change occurs to the LCU/howitzer's database (MET, MVV, registration corrections). NOTE: Location is not a significant change to a howitzer database.

d. Platoon Sergeant: In addition to supervising general safety practices, the platoon sergeant, with the help of the gunnery sergeant, is responsible for the following:

(1) Ensures the verification of the howitzers location and direction as required.

(2) Complete the Firing Area Defense Diagram (FADD).

(3) Forward TRP grids to POC for platoon defense.

e. Gunnery Sergeant: The Gunnery Sergeants responsibilities are as follows:

(1) Conducts reconnaissance and provides key information to the POC for howitzers move orders

(2) Determines center grid, altitude, and radius for each firing area.

(3) Identifies TRPs to be used in the platoon defense, and initiates the FADD.

(4) Determine worse case site to crest/piece to crest range along the azimuth of fire to be used by the POC for clearing intervening crests.

f. Howitzer Section Chief: The Howitzer Section Chief is responsible for all actions within his section. These include, but are not limited to:

(1) Verifying the howitzer location/direction using prescribed methods.

(2) The accuracy of database information.

(3) Verifying firing limits.

(4) Visually verifying adjacent piece locations, and TRPs.

(5) Initiating and maintaining the section FADD.

 

7-2. CONCEPT

a. Safety: The Paladin occupation procedures are designed to maximize the system capabilities, allow the Paladin unit to train as it will fight.

b. Independent System Checks: The procedures outlined in this chapter describe a system of independent checks for both the POC and howitzer databases and related firing data. Independent checks are necessary to ensure that all actions that affect firing data are verified by someone other than the person who performs the action. Though most independent checks take place before missions are received, performing secondary independent checks is a continuous process, and must be rigidly enforced to ensure fires are timely, accurate, and safe.

 

7-3. OCCUPATION PROCEDURES The employment of the Paladin howitzer is divided into four phases: initialization, conducting the tactical move, occupation of the position and during firing.

 

a. Phase I: Initialization:

(1) Howitzer: Initialization/database checks occur either in the motor pool or whenever the AFCS has been shut down (IAW procedures found in Chapter 2 of the howitzer operator manual). Unit SOPs should list explicitly those settings to be made at the howitzer. Upon completion of initialization, the howitzer will conduct a verification mission with the POC to ensure accuracy of the ballistic solution.. The platoon leader, assisted by the platoon and gunnery sergeant will verify each howitzer's initialization database. At a minimum, they will verify the initialization grid (Easting, Northing, and altitude).

(2) POC:

(a) The POC initializes the LCU IAW the procedures found in the applicable TB and their BN SOP. The Paladin Weapons Dependent Program has 5 unique formats, 2 of which need to be completed during initialization, the HOW;SBT and HOW;UPDATE. The FDO/Chief Computer verifies that all entries made by the LCU operator are correct. Once communications with the guns are established, the POC will transmit the subscriber table, map mod, MET, and other pertinent ballistics data to the guns. This information flow is transparent to the guns.

(b) Verification Mission. Once the guns have initialized, the POC will initiate a verification mission, specifying a converged sheaf, charge, shell-fuze combination, and lot, using BCS (SYS;SETUP, GUNORD;X). This will produce firing data at the LCU which the POC records. Next, the POC removes X from the GUNORD field and re-executes the mission to all howitzers. The AFCS at each howitzer will compute firing data. The chiefs report, charge, deflection, quadrant, and fuze time (if applicable) to the POC. The POC will compare the data computed by the AFCS to the data computed by the LCU. The data must agree within the following tolerances:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Version 10 or Higher

Fuze Time:

 

 

.1 sec

 

Fuze VT:

 

 

1 sec

 

Deflection

 

 

1 mil

 

Quadrant

 

 

1 mil

 

Table 7-1 Verification Mission Tolerances.

 

Verification missions must be conducted after initialization, or when an AFCS or LCU has powered down and powered back up again, or when a significant change to the database occurs. A significant change is one or more of the following: change in MET, MVVs, or registration corrections. A howitzer's location is not considered a change, if the howitzer's location was properly verified by an independent means. Comparison between the AFCS data and the LCU data, highlights gross inaccuracies in muzzle velocities, ammunition, fire unit, met, registration corrections, and powder temperature.

b. Phase II: Conduct Tactical Movement:

(1). Howitzer:

(a) After initialization is complete, the guns are given movement orders by the POC. The movement order includes the guns proposed location, center sector (AOF), start time (SP), and movement radius. The POC will use the location and radius provided by the Gunnery Sergeant for use with the howitzer tracking chart.

(b) If the tactical move is less than 27 kms, ZUPTs are performed and no faults detected, the howitzers begin occupation procedures. If faults are detected, acknowledge (ack) fault and perform appropriate level of degraded operations IAW Appendix A. If movement is greater than 27 kms or ZUPTs not performed, conduct NAV update at a SCP prior to arrival. Along the route of march close to the battalion release point or at an R3SP there will be one (1) to four (4) SCPs set up as described in chapter 3, survey operations. The platoon arrives at the SCP and performs a Navigation Update. Upon completion of the NAV Update, the section completes the movement.

(2) POC: The POC transmits movement orders to the guns, sending them to a platoon position area. Included in the movement order is the center sector, left and right sector limits (if necessary), grid coordinates, start time (SP), and radius. Other instructions should be sent to the howitzer using a PTM or voice communications.

c. Phase III - Occupation of Position:

(1) Howitzer:

(a) Upon arriving at the position area, occupy position IAW the following flow charts:

 








 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 


 

 

 

 

Once the howitzer stops, the section chief records his position from the display unit. Concurrent with this action, the howitzer's location is independently verified by the section chief if not GPS aided. Next, the section chief presses the arrive key which automatically transmits the piece status to the POC. Simultaneously, the driver releases the travel lock and the other members of the section conduct pre-fire checks.

(b) The chief actions the MAX tube elevation screen, and determines/inputs a one-line site entry between his left and right sectors of fire. It is recommended that the Chief of Section sweep 400 mils left and right of his center sector of fire to determine his one line site data. As part of position improvement, the CS will establish 6400 mil site data. These entries will cause a warning message to be displayed on the DU if the firing limits are violated, except for load elevation.

(c) Once these checks are completed, the gun is considered safe and ready to fire. The Ready to Fire (RTF) times are found in ARTEP 6-037-30 MTP, appendix C. Table C-7 for normal occupations and table C-7.1 for emergency/hipshoot missions. Currently the M109A6 platoon has 3 minutes for normal occupation and for 60 seconds emergency mission/hipshoots 75 seconds (outside the position area). Next, the CS directs position improvements. These actions include but are not limited to: verifying boresight; establishing alternate aiming points; establish 6400 mil site data; visually identifying TRPís; establish sectors of fire for crew served weapons; and transmit updated piece status to POC.

(2) POC: Refer to chapter 4 for POC 2 minute drill.

d. Phase IV - During Firing:

(1) Howitzer Crew:

(a) Section Chief Announces Fire Commands.

(b) Driver will record commands on the 4513.

(c) Chief verifies that fire commands are applied as announced (Projectile, Charge, Fuze).

(d) While laying the howitzer, the chief will verify the following to ensure that the howitzer is properly laid: lay key is backlit, commanded and actual deflection/quadrant match, and the warning prompt, "warning tube is not in lay position" is not displayed.

(e) Chief presses lay key until back lit, ensuring the commanded and actual deflection and quadrant match. Next, he checks for warning prompts and verifies firing data is within firing limits.

 

(f) The gunner verifies the lay data and announces "Verified!". If gunner does not announce "Verified", or data is not correct, "CHECK FIRING!" is announced.

(g) The chief then commands the #1 man to prime, hook-up, and fire.

(2) POC: The POC is responsible to conduct a verification mission every time there is a significant change in the database, MVVs, MET, and registration data. The POC is responsible for verifying that targets do not violate fire support coordination measures and that the targets plot within the prescribed target area. It is imperative that the FDO or chief computer verifies the plot of the target and the target location that is input into LCU.

e. Survivability Moves: After completing a survivability move, if the howitzer remains within the prescribed radius, the requirement exists to determine max tube elevation, site data, and transmit piece status. Survivability moves will normally take no longer than 75 seconds before the gun is safe and ready to fire.

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

f. Moving Missions Inside Firing Area: These procedures apply when conducting survivability moves inside an assigned radius and the howitzer receives a fire mission. The Chief of Section takes the following actions: find a suitable location; arrive; verify location; verify direction; verify immediate crest along the commanded deflection and quadrant; and execute the fire mission. There is no requirement to recompute firing limits since the howitzer is within its assigned radius.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


75 SECONDS

 

 

g. Moving Missions Outside Position Area (HIPSHOOT): These procedures are similar to the occupation procedures inside a position area. The difference is that when a howitzer receives a "hipshoot", the section chief cannot access his site data screen. He must verify his immediate crest along his command deflection. The POC announcing "fire mission" over the voice net enables the SC to reference his movement screen in verifying location.

(1) Position is checked by secure GPS, or map spot if the howitzer is not GPS aided, once the howitzers have stopped moving. This check can be done by the platoon leader or platoon sergeant, or the Section Chief if he has a secure-GPS.

(2) POC will ensure there are no intervening crests and the target does not violate any fire support coordination measures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

h. Verifying Direction: The DRU-H is extremely accurate and dependable in maintaining directional control for the Paladin system. Institutionally there is no requirement for the operator to check the Paladin for directional control during normal operations. However; some units may require operators conduct verification of direction of the system. If verification of direction is used, the following proven techniques will give leaders a reasonable assurance that directional control of the Paladin is operational. The section chief must always be aware of the azimuth of fire as it relates to the tactical situation. This is particularly important when traveling or conducting survivability moves, as the section chief can position to shoot emergency missions and resolve mask problems during occupation much faster. During occupation, the CS should ensure the howitzer hull and gun tube is oriented along the azimuth of fire. This will ensure faster mission times when attacking targets along the azimuth of fire. Before he takes the tube from travel lock, he may conduct verification of direction to ensure the system is reporting proper direction. He can verify direction using the M2 Compass method, Tube to Tube, or any of the methods listed in FM 6-50. The method used is determined by METT-T. The M2 Compass method is normally the faster than the Tube to Tube method, but the latter method allows all section members to remain in the howitzer.

 

(1) The M2 Compass Method: The gunner exits the howitzer and moves to the rear of the piece not less than 10 meters to get an accurate reading from the compass. He orients the compass by sitting along the side of the turret or along the length of the tube. The compass reading must be within 10 mils of the azimuth displayed on the AFCS.

(2) The Tube to Tube Method: The gunner sites through the bore of the cannon and aligns his gun tube on the gun tube of a second howitzer. Both gun tubes are pointed directly at each other and the subordinate chief, wingman, reads his azimuth of lay to the senior chief. The senior chief then reads his AFCS azimuth and compares the two (adding or subtracting 3200 as required). If the wingman is positioned to the left of the team leader, the senior chief adds 3200, and if to the right, he subtracts 3200. The two readings must be within 10 mils to be valid. If performing the tube to tube method during platoon operations, the procedure is faster if the senior chief flanks his wingmen. The two wingmen orient on the senior chief and the senior chief sequentially verifies direction with each of his wingmen.