ST 6-50-60 Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for
M109A6 HOWITZER (PALADIN) OPERATIONS


CHAPTER 7

PALADIN OCCUPATION PROCEDURES

Safely firing artillery missions, both in combat and in training is a general responsibility of everyone. The battery commander is responsible for everything his battery does or fails to do, but during normal Paladin operations, he does not spend much time in the platoon areas, so the responsibility for safety falls on the shoulders of the Platoon Leader, FDO, Platoon Sergeant and Section Chiefs. The occupation procedures outlined in this chapter will be utilized by units in wartime and in peacetime. 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 the safety duties required. A sample checklist for qualification of Paladin personnel is in 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) Computes the minimum QE that can be fired safely from each pair's firing position.

(5) Ensures verification of the howitzers location and direction.

 

c. Fire Direction Officer:

Same as FM 6-50. The FDO has the following additional responsibilities:

(1) Verifies site data with platoon leader.

(2) Verifies the POC and guns database by conducting a verification mission (dry fire or AMC) after initialization, or when either the AFCS and LCU is powered up, or when significant change occurs to the LCU/howitzer's database (MET, MVV, registration corrections). NOTE: Location is not a significant change to a howitzer database.

(3) Computes safety data.

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.

(2) Verifies each gun's initialization data.

(3) Verifies the confidence test on the howitzer as required. Refer to TM 9-2350-314-10.

e. Gunnery Sergeant:

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

(2) Determines center grid, altitude, and radius for each pair/platoon in a firing area.

(3) Selects POC location.

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

(5) Computes the worst case MIN QE along the center sector of fire that can be fired safely from each pair's firing position. This will be compared to MIN QE computed by the POC and the higher MIN QE will be used as load elevation.

f. Howitzer Section Chief:

Responsible for all actions that take place at the howitzer. These include, but are not limited to:

(1) Verify howitzer location/direction using prescribed methods.

(2) Inputting initialization data

(3) Verifying firing limits.

(4) Verifying piece location.

 

7-2. CONCEPT

a. Safety Capabilities:

The Paladin occupation procedures are designed to allow the Paladin unit to train as it will fight, maximizing the capabilities of the system.

b. Independent System Checks:

The procedures outlined in this chapter describe a system of independent checks of both the POC and howitzer databases and firing related information. An independent check is necessary to ensure that all actions that affect firing data are checked by someone other than the one who performs the action. Though most independent checks take place before missions are received, performing 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 at the motor pool or whenever the AFCS has been shut down, IAW procedures found in Chapter 2 of the howitzer -10 manual. These include entering communications parameters, navigation system alignment, date/time, BCS data transfer, ammunition inventory, propellant temperature, and TOT response time. 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 correctness. 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 will verify 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. Firing limits for the next position are computed by the POC, using accepted manual procedures, LCU, or the Automated Range Safety System (ARSS).

(b) 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 will 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

 

 

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. 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 and a PTM with firing limits by the POC. The movement order includes the guns proposed location, left and right limit, center sector, and movement radius. The POC will use the location and radius provided by the Gunnery Sergeant to compute firing limits.

 

 

 

NOTE: Different training areas have different regulations concerning how far from the "firing point" a gun can be in order for the computed safety data to be considered valid. Whatever this limit is, the POC should include that as the radius of the position area when they send the movement orders to the guns. Then, during survivability movement, as long as the CS stays within the circle on his NAV screen he will be safe and firing limits do not have to be computed a second time. The PTM includes the appropriate charge, max QE, min QE, and fuze settings. This data is recorded and applied in the following manner: Max QE is input as max tube elevation, min QE as load elevation. Left and right firing limits were sent in the movement order.

(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 an 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, complete movement.

(2) POC: The POC will transmit movement orders to the guns, sending them to a position area. Included in the movement order will be the left and right sector limits, which will be the left and right safety limits, center sector, grid coordinates, and radius.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

c. Phase III - Occupation of Position:

(1) Howitzer:

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the howitzer stops, the section chief records his position from the steer to screen, and verifies the direction of the howitzer. Concurrent with this action, the howitzer's location is independently verified by the section chief, PLT SGT, GSG or the platoon leader. Next, the section chief presses the arrive key which automatically transmits the piece location to the POC. Simultaneously, the driver releases the travel lock and the other members of the section conduct pre-fire checks.

(b) After verifying direction, the chief actions the MAX tube elevation screen, and determines/inputs a one-line site entry between his left and right sectors of fire. He then enters his MIN QE as his load elevation. 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. It should take no longer than 2 minutes. Now the CS can direct position improvement, which includes, but is not limited to verifying boresight, establishing alternate aiming points, establish 6400 mil site data, transmit updated piece status to POC.

(2) POC:

(a) Verifies location as received from each howitzer.

(b) Verifies mask data and compares against min QE. Adjusts guns load elevation if required.

(c) Verifies azimuth of fire, left/ right limit and max/ min quadrant for each howitzer and again computes or transmits safety limits to any gun that needs it.

(d) Conducts a verification mission if required (i.e. new MET, MVVs, or registration corrections).

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. Ensures the commanded and actual deflection and quadrant match. Checks for warning prompts and verifies firing data is within firing limits.

(f) The gunner verifies the lay data. If gunner does not verify data or data is not correct, he must announce " CHECK FIRING".

(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 any fire support coordination measures, and it is responsible for ensuring that targets plot within the impact area. It is critical that the FDO or chief computer verifies the plot of the target and verifies the target location that is input into LCU.

e. Survivability Moves:

As long as the guns stay within the given radius, upon completing a survivability move the only requirements are to determine site data, and verify firing limits. This will take no longer than 75 seconds and the gun will be safe and ready to fire.

 

 

If the gun moves outside its given radius, new safety data has to be applied. Use the following chart:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

f. Moving Missions Inside Position Area:

These procedures apply when conducting survivability moves inside an assigned radius and the howitzer receives a fire mission. The Chief of Section must find a suitable location, arrive, verify his immediate crest along the commanded deflection, and execute the fire mission. There is no requirement to recompute firing limits since the howitzer is within its assigned radius, verify location and direction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving Mission Procedures ( Inside Position Area)

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 direction and 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 direction.

(1) Position is checked by secure GPS or map spot 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) Verify the howitzer's direction. The primary method is with M2 compass but any method can be employed.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving Mission Procedures (Outside Position Area)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

h. Verifying Direction:

The section chief should always know the azimuth of fire as it relates to the tactical situation. This is particularly important when traveling and conducting survivability moves, because the section chief can position to shoot emergency missions and resolve mask problems during occupation much faster. During occupation, he must ensure the gun tube is oriented on the azimuth of fire. He can verify direction by M2 Compass method, Tube to Tube method or any of the methods in FM 6-50. The method used is determined by METT-T and each method has some advantage over the other. The M2 Compass method is normally the faster to perform than the Tube to Tube method, but the latter method keeps all section members 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 siting along the length of the tube. The compass reading must be within 100 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 the 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 azimuth is read off the AFCS and the wingman adds or subtracts 3200 as required. If the wingman is positioned to the left of the team leader, the wingman adds 3200, and if to the right, he subtracts 3200. The senior chief compares his AFCS reading to that of the wingman, and 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.