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


CHAPTER 2

AFOM TARGETING

 

"Targeting is the process of selecting targets and matching the appropriate response to them on the basis of operational requirements and capabilities." . . . "Targeting is a complex and multi-disciplined effort, that requires interaction among many groups. These groups working together are referred to as the targeting team and include, but are not limited to, the fire support, intelligence, operations, and plans cells.

 

Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTP)

for the Targeting Process

Overview. The Army developed a methodology that focuses the targeting effort on four functions: Decide, Detect, Deliver, and Assess. FM 6-20-10, Tactics Techniques and Procedures for the Targeting Process provides descriptions of the activities that occur within these functions. This chapter focuses on targeting considerations for AFOM employment. Chapters 4 and 5 provide more specific employment guidance for the individual AFOM variants.

AFOM CONSIDERATIONS DURING THE DECIDE FUNCTION

Overview. The Decide Function of the Targeting Process places a demand on all elements of the targeting team which ultimately impacts on the timeliness and responsiveness of AFOM fires. This function provides the overall focus and sets the priorities for intelligence collection and attack operations. These priorities must be established for each phase or critical event of an operation. A number of decision aids and visual products are designed to assist the commander and his staff in the decision-making process. The decision aids and products discussed in this section are briefed to the commander and result in operations orders with annexes.

Matching AFOM to Target Types

The AFOM can be employed against a variety of high payoff targets. The targeting team must match the AFOM type that is most effective against particular target types. The majority of AFOM targets are stationary with medium to long dwell times. Timelines for these targets are not as critical as the short dwell time or moving targets timelines (where rapid engagement is very critical to mission success). Table 2-1 provides a sample matrix of the target types in each target category and the AFOM variant recommended for attack.

Table 2-1. AFOM Target Sets

TARGET STATUS

TARGET TYPES

AFOM VARIANT

 

STATIONARY

 

SOFT

C2 CENTERS, LOG SITES,

SRBMs, FARP

HELICOPTER STAGING AREAS, AIR DEFENSE SITES, TRANSLOAD SITES

BLOCK I, IA

BLOCK II WITH P3I BAT

 

HARD

ACV ASSEMBLY AREAS

BLOCK II WITH P3I BAT

 

MOVING

SOFT

SRBMs,

MEDIUM/HEAVY MRLs,

SELF PROPELLED ARTILLERY

BLOCK IIA

 

HARD

ARMORED COMBAT VEHICLE FORMATIONS

BLOCK II WITH BAT OR P3I BAT

Legend: C2 Command and Control LOG Logistics

FARP Forward Area Rearm/Refuel Point MRLs Multiple Rocket Launchers

SRBM s Short Range Ballistic Missiles

C2 Command and Control LOG Logistics

FARP Forward Area

SRBM s Short Range Ballistic Missiles

 

Availability and Responsiveness of Other Weapons Systems

Staff elements at each level from task force to corps level are charged with the responsibility for planning and execution of operational fires. The targeting methodology used to employ fires involves both tactical and technical considerations summarized below:

  • Delivery system availability
  • Effects desired on the target
  • Ammunition availability
  • Coordination required
  • Target location error (TLE)
  • Range to target
  • Time of attack
  • Attack / commander’s guidance
  • Threat / target characteristics

The AFOM variants are all-weather, day-night weapon systems that are usually more responsive against time sensitive targets than airborne attack assets. Additionally, the missiles are autonomous after launch, which negates the risks associated with manned aircraft.

For targets of opportunity or targets with large location errors, manned aircraft operating near the target may be more responsive and effective.

The AFOM are weapons of choice for attack of targets where delivery asset survivability (e.g., manned aircraft) against enemy air defense and airborne threats is a concern.

Range to the Target

Units should not plan to fire AFOM variants on targets within range of other weapon systems or on targets planned for engagement by aircraft. This does not preclude use of AFOM against such targets. The targeting team also must consider the range differences between Block I and Block IA.

Timelines for Effective AFOM Employment

The AFOM mission timelines depend on a number of factors. Planned targets with long, or medium dwell times do not usually require rapid response times. The D3A planning cycle provides adequate time for target acquisition and posturing (e.g., fire support computer and launcher software configuration) MLRS launchers with AFOM. The following affects the short dwell target engagement timeline: the target type, dwell times, sensor systems timeliness, threat movement/employment tactics, and missile employment command and control structure.

Target Size/Nature of Target

Determination of the number of missiles to fire depends on the target's type and size. The fire direction computer (i.e. Fire Direction System (FDS)) automatically recommends the number of missiles to fire based on: target size and type, number of target elements, weapon descriptor files contained in the databases, and the fire request. The commander can specify the "commander’s criteria" during the planning phase which provides guidance regarding the number of missiles to shoot at certain types of targets.

Large targets may be segmented manually or by the computer. Targets may be manually segmented and each aim point designated as a separate target if the commander wants to attack specific locations. Target planners should familiarize themselves with the way individual C2 application (C2AP) software segments targets by performing capability fire missions.

Air Defense Threats to AFOM

The targeting team should carefully plan AFOM when the threat has a sophisticated, high-density air defense umbrella. The AFOM is generally not vulnerable to short-range, low-altitude air defense weapons. However, some potential enemies possess long-range, high-altitude air defense assets that are marginally effective against an AFOM missile.

Target Location Error (TLE) Considerations

The targeting component of the Deep Operations Coordination Cell (DOCC) must consider the target location errors (TLE) and response time to assess AFOM effectiveness against a target. Figure 2-1 depicts an arbitrary relationship between expected fractional damage and TLE. As the graph portrays, the expected damage to the target drops below 20% when TLE is greater than 300 meters. The AFOM normally require a TLE of 150 meters or less to achieve satisfactory effects on target.

Figure 2-1. Expected Damage and Target Location Error (TLE) Relationship for Block I and IA

Target Selection Standards

Target selection standards (TSS) are criteria the targeting team use to isolate actual targets from suspected targets. The TSS consider what each attack system requires along with the nature of the target (size, activity, etc.) and timeliness of the targeting information. The targeting team uses TSS to identify targets suitable for attack by an AFOM variant.

High Payoff Target List

The high payoff target list (HPTL) prioritizes the targets that, when attacked, provide the greatest benefit for a specified phase of the battle. The HPTL is used to determine attack guidance and to refine the collection plan.

Attack Guidance Matrix

The attack guidance matrix (AGM) is a key product of the decide function. It condenses the staff and commander’s tactical and technical decisions into a single reference. Tactical decisions determine; the time of attack, the desired effects, and the attack system to be used. Technical decisions are based on the tactical decisions and include; number and type of munitions, unit to conduct the attack, and response time of the attacking unit. Pages 2-12 through 2-14 in FM 6-20-10 contain a detailed discussion of tactical and technical decisions. The TSS, HPTL and AGM can be combined into a single document for easy reference. Figure 2-2 provides an example of one.

Figure 2-2. Example of a Partial Combined HPTL - TSS - AGM

THE DETECT FUNCTION

Overview. The detect function occurs during the execution of the Operations Order (OPORD). The Collection Managers focus the collection effort on the commander’ Priority Information Requirements (PIRs) developed in the decide function. (Collection Managers prioritize PIRs and optimize collection results by planning collection assets for each PIR (see FM 34-1, Intelligence and Electronic Warfare Operations for more details)). Some collection assets produce targets while others produce information that must first be analyzed to produce targets.

Staff planners must take into account the TLE capabilities of sensors during the detect phase. Sensors whose TLE is greater than that required for AFOM targeting may be used to cue other sensors to refine the TLE. The staff requires information on AFOM targets concerning target size, description, location accuracy, and degree of protection.

Planners must understand that some sensors require more time than others do and may require correlation or fusion with other sensors to produce a target.

The IEW ground processing facilities (GPF) (e.g., the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Ground Control Station, Common Ground Station, etc.) must be able to send target locations quickly to the fire unit(s) for planned missions against targets with short-dwell times. One way to do this is to use decentralized execution and locate these assets at battalion or battery. Examples of procedures are found in Appendix A. The MLRS unit and IEW GPF must rehearse the fire mission execution procedures thoroughly. Another method is to streamline the communications from corps to launcher by having the MLRS platoon, battery or battalion respond directly to the DOCC/FSE.

Many targets have critical elements that may be more vulnerable to sensor acquisition and attack by the AFOM. For example, air defense sites may have target acquisition radars, command and control vehicles, fire control radars, resupply vehicles, and surface-to-air missile (SAM) launchers. Whenever possible the critical element of any target should be identified and aimpoint optimization used in order to achieve maximum effectiveness. Engagement of large area targets without targeting the critical element(s) may yield less effective results.

 

THE DELIVER FUNCTION

Overview. The main goal during the deliver function is to attack targets in accordance with the attack guidance. Once the attack means is determined, the staff must determine; the specific attack unit, the type of munitions to use, the time to attack, and any coordinating instructions.

The main staff concern in the deliver function deals with launcher control methods for proactive and reactive attacks of targets. Proactive attacks supporting a specific plan or schedule of fires requires advance positioning of launchers and munitions. Launchers should be postured using the various methods of control outlined in FM 6-60. Although reactive engagements (fires in response to enemy actions) cannot be scheduled, the attack guidance can be specified in the AGM and/or commander's criteria. Such guidance may include the following (not intended to be a complete set of criteria):

 

Centralized and Decentralized Execution

Since AFOM missiles are a limited resource, the corps/JTF usually plans their fires and maintains centralized control of their execution. The corps/JTF may have designated MLRS platoons in a "hot" status to expedite fires on critical targets. The battalion postures specified launchers within the hot platoons with AMC missions to reduce response times. The battalion must keep the corps informed of current hot platoon locations so the corps can clear their airspace hazard areas. The commander also can posture one or more launchers in the center of the operational area to deliver fires on any target without repositioning.

The corps/JTF may use decentralized execution missions for certain high payoff targets with relatively short dwell times. This method of execution is used to reduce the number of echelons through which the commands must pass. The commander decides to engage the target based on its importance. The subordinate commander (usually FA brigade or MLRS battalion) makes target engagement decisions for decentralized execution missions. Decentralized execution techniques that report final target location to the executing echelon reduce response times dramatically.

The corps DOCC plans targets and performs pre-firing coordination. Coordination includes airspace and target deconfliction. Planning includes identifying the platoon to fire and mission execution instructions. Planning also includes designation of the sensor to "trigger" the mission, and establishment of necessary communications. The sensor (or its processing facility) transmits trigger events for decentralized execution targets directly to the appropriate echelon (FA Brigade or MLRS battalion). The sensor or agency designated as the "trigger" must fully understand the engagement criteria of the mission, and have direct communications with the executing echelon. The "trigger" may be the command to fire or an amended fire mission (possibly updating target location, activity or description based on established criteria). The executing echelon command center confirms the target still meets the attack guidance and sends the mission through subordinate echelons to the attack system. Since targets authorized for decentralized execution are usually extremely time sensitive, every effort must be made to avoid processing delays.

Targets of Opportunity

Some AFOM variants may also be fired When Ready (WR) against targets of opportunity. However, the targeting team should consider the target type, and the reliability, accuracy, and age of the target information. Firing AFOM against unplanned targets may require the approval of the controlling authority (or his representative) and other considerations provided in this TTP.

The planning process must be flexible for deep fires weapon systems. The ability to react to unforeseen events on the battlefield is essential in combat operations. The commander can maintain flexibility by retaining launchers and missiles immediately available to him for rapid attack of high payoff targets of opportunity. High payoff targets of opportunity are processed in the same manner as planned HPTs. The decision to attack targets of opportunity follows the attack guidance and is based on such factors as: activity of the target, dwell time, target payoff compared to other targets currently being processed for engagement.

The Theater Missile Defense Challenge

Some of the most challenging targets are those that are highly mobile, have low signatures, and are highly lethal (e.g., SS-21 and SCUD TELs, heavy MRLs, and similar type weapons). These targets are typically single vehicles and are hard to acquire when inactive. They often have large TLEs when acquired while moving. The preferred time to attack these targets is when they are stationary, prior to launching their munitions. Precise, responsive attack of the system and its infrastructure (logistics, C2, and reconnaissance, intelligence, surveillance, and target acquisition (RISTA)) is the rule for these target types. The challenge is to "fit" the engagement cycle for these fleeting targets into the target’s movement and firing cycle. The timelines are extremely short. Within six to eight minutes, the joint force must detect theater ballistic missile launches, warn units at risk, engage incoming missiles, locate the launchers and cue additional sensors (as required).

The subordinate echelon fire direction center (FDC) computers should be set up to perform auto-processing of missions. This procedure streamlines the mission processing during non-routine operations, or when responsiveness to time critical targets is required. When the FDC computer is set up to auto-process it performs all necessary consistency checks to ensure receipt of a valid message. If the message passes the consistency checks, and the unit to fire for effect (UFFE) is available, the FDC computer relays the message to the next subordinate echelon. The battery FDC computer:

THE ASSESS FUNCTION

Overview. The assess function determines the effectiveness of the attack. If the commander’s attack guidance was not met, the detect and deliver functions continues to focus on the target. The information obtained in the assess function may also cause changes in the original decisions made during the decide function.

The commander and staff assess the results of mission execution. If the commander’s guidance has not been met, the staff continues to use the decide, detect, deliver, and assess functions to focus on the targets. For some fire missions, such as Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD), the assess function is as simple as determining if the target activity was suppressed (e.g., the radar stopped radiating). In cases where the goal is to delay or disrupt moving forces, Block II fire mission assessments usually take longer and may require multiple sensors to assess effectiveness.

 

AFOM FIRE SUPPORT COORDINATION

With the AFOM’s long range, the Army can strike more targets at greater depth than ever before. The fire support coordinator's goal is to integrate the AFOM with other services’ assets and Army aviation to maximize each weapon system’s unique capabilities. This section provides procedures that allow each service to employ their weapons systems within acceptable risks. These procedures (when modified to include other service’s long-range surface-to-surface, and air-to-surface, attack requirements) should be part of the airspace control plan (ACP).

The staff should conduct target deconfliction for planned targets when the commander approves the HPT list during the decide function. They must coordinate with the Special Operations Command and Control Element to ensure the fires do not endanger any SOF elements.

The fire support coordination line (FSCL) is a key coordination measure for deconflicting AFOM fires. The FSCL is established by the appropriate land or amphibious force commander to ensure coordination of fire not under the commander’s control but which may affect current tactical operations. The FSCL is used to coordinate fires of air, ground or sea weapons systems using any type of ammunition against surface targets. The FSCL should follow well-defined terrain features. The establishing authority must coordinate the FSCL with the appropriate tactical air commander and other supporting elements. Supporting elements may attack forward of the FSCL without prior coordination with the land or amphibious force commander if the attack will not produce adverse surface effects on or to the rear of the line. Attacks against surface targets behind this line must be coordinated with the appropriate force commander.

Air Space Coordination

The staff must coordinate airspace for AFOM missions to ensure that the missile does not endanger friendly aircraft. The trajectory of AFOM variants is for the most part above the normal flight altitudes of attack aircraft operating behind friendly lines, and in designated target areas. Each AFOM variant C2AP software generates platoon air hazard messages defining the hazard area around and above the launcher. A distance from the platoon center defines the platoon air hazard area (see Figure 2-5). It can be quite large. The fire planners should coordinate the platoon air hazard areas with Army Airspace Command and Control (A2C2) elements and the Battlefield Coordination Detachment (BCD) when platoons occupy operating areas. Target air hazard areas around selected target areas will also be preplanned (Figure 2-6 displays typical target air hazard areas). The unit must establish standard operating procedures (SOPs) to facilitate airspace coordination. These SOPs must be rehearsed to ensure the necessary coordination can be conducted promptly. FM 100-103-1, Multiservice Procedures for Integrated Combat Airspace Command and Control provides guidance for integrating airspace C2 operations.

The FSE must have current platoon operating areas to perform airspace coordination for timely execution of AFOM mission. Only the Fire Direction Data Manager (FDDM), FATDS version 11 (or higher), or Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS) version 98 (or later) can process airspace clearance messages.

Airspace deconfliction continues throughout the operation. When MLRS platoons reposition, the computer generates the platoon air hazard (PLT;AIRHZD) message used in this coordination. Platoon locations for those units equipped with AFOM missiles must be updated quickly so airspace coordination is not delayed.

For unplanned targets the FSE immediately notifies the A2C2 element and Air Support Operations Center (ASOC) within the corps headquarters. The FSE, A2C2 and the ASOC are key to effective airspace management. These elements should be collocated for rapid information exchange.

AFOM Targeted Inside Corps Boundaries - Short of the FSCL.

The FSE must notify the A2C2 element when a missile will be launched. If there is a conflict, every effort will be made to clear the airspace before launching a missile. An airspace clearance checklist of responsibilities and actions for fire missions inside corps boundaries and short of the FSCL follows:

• Corps FSE provides platoon and target air hazard areas to A2C2 and ASOC elements.

Corps FSE notifies A2C2 and ASOC of imminent AFOM launch

• Corps A2C2 will:

- Notify BCD

- Determine if Army airspace users are clear

- If clear, notify corps FSE

- If not clear, deconflict Army-use airspace and then notify corps FSE

• ASOC will:

- Determine if CAS aircraft are clear and if so, notify FSE

- If not, clear CAS aircraft using any means available, i.e., direct communications, TACPs, etc.

- Notify JAOC to clear all other aircraft affected by the AFOM launch

• JAOC will:

- Determine if all other aircraft are clear

- If clear, notify ASOC

- If not, notify AWACS, Control and Reporting Centers (CRCs), FACPs, and/or ABCCC of imminent Army TACMS launch

• AWACS, CRCs, FACPs, and/or ABCCC will:

- When requested, clear all affected aircraft

- If unable to contact all affected aircraft, broadcast a BULL’S EYE CALL*

- Notify JAOC when all affected aircraft are clear or have been alerted

• JAOC will:

- With confirmation from AWACS, CRCs, FACPs and/or ABCCC that all affected aircraft are

clear or have been alerted, notify ASOC

• ASOC will:

- When all affected aircraft are clear or have been alerted, notify corps FSE

• FSE will be cleared to launch after receiving confirmation from both the A2C2 and ASOC that

airspace users are clear or have been alerted.

* Launch warning indicating an AFOM firing is imminent. Target location is provided using map coordinates, latitude/longitude or reference from navigational aids, etc.

Figure 2-3.  Coordination of AFOM Inside Corps Boundaries

AFOM Targeted Outside Corps Boundaries or Beyond the FSCL.

U. S. Army doctrine mandates coordination of fires across boundaries and for airspace deconfliction. Boundaries define the area of responsibility for each commander. They may be both permissive and restrictive. They are permissive in that a commander may exercise freedom of fire and maneuver within his area. They are restrictive in that no fire support means may deliver fires across a boundary unless it is cleared with the element having responsibility within the boundary. The airspace AFOM uses must be cleared. When that airspace lies outside a unit’s boundary, coordination, approval, and clearance by the organization that controls the airspace is necessary. For example, when a commander has located a target outside his area that he wants to strike, he must request permission from the supported maneuver commander for that area. If the request is approved, the responsible agent of the area deconflicts the airspace for the firing unit. Although fires beyond the FSCL do not require formal approval, there must be a coordinated effort to clear the airspace.

Deconflicting airspace outside the corps area is more complicated and takes longer. The same protocol is used for transiting aircraft within the ASOC’s area, i.e. through the JAOC/AWACS. The requesting authority is allowed to fire once airspace is cleared. Where airspace deconfliction is not possible, an assessment of target value, payoff, timing, and allowable risk is made. If an AFOM launch is necessary, the JAOC directs the AWACS and Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center (ABCCC) to simulcast the AFOM impact. The JAOC notifies the BCD and ASOC to relay AFOM launch approval to the corps.

An airspace clearance checklist of responsibilities and actions for targets outside the corps boundary / beyond the FSCL follows:

• Corps requests permission from the commander responsible for the area to attack the target

• The commander or his representative will:

- Determine whether it has the means to attack the target

- Determine whether or not to attack the target

- If not, determine if airspace is clear

- If clear, clear corps to attack

- If not clear, determine whether airspace can be cleared in time

- If airspace can be cleared in time, clear corps to attack

- If airspace cannot be cleared in time and target destruction is not deemed a high priority,

notify corps that their request is deferred

- If airspace cannot be cleared in time and target destruction is deemed a high priority,

notify the JAOC and clear corps to attack when Bull’s Eye Call is confirmed

• JAOC will notify BCD, AWACS, CRCs, FACPs and/or ABCCC of imminent AFOM launch

• AWACS, CRCs, FACPs and/or ABCCC will broadcast Bulls’ Eye Call

• Corps will launch AFOM into a commander’s AO when cleared with the commander or his representative.

Figure 2-4. Coordination of AFOM Beyond FSCL

The Platoon Information (PLT;INFO) Message

The operator (at FDC) uses the PLT;INFO message to input information that establishes the operational area and the platoon air hazard area. The computer identifies all units uploaded with the particular AFOM and generates entries entered into the fire unit field. Unless the operator manually changes the optional entries in this message, default values are used.

The PLT;INFO message displays default air hazard values to the operator for those platoon(s) with the AFOM variant uploaded. The operator can change the default values with new air hazard information. He can change the distance from platoon center to its outer operational area boundary (XDIST) to define its exact size. He can also change the air hazard ceiling above sea level (ZALT) to define the exact launch site air hazard boundaries. The default values and legal range of entries are provided below for each field.

XDIST Default = 3,000 Meters Legal Range = 0 – 3,000 Meters

ZALT Default = 10,000 Meters Legal Range = 5,000 – 15,000 Meters

The Platoon Air Hazard (PLT;AIRHZD) Message

When the C2AP processes an AFOM fire mission it generates a PLT;AIRHZD message. The message uses data from the PLT;INFO message to describe the aircraft danger area around the platoon selected to fire as the Platoon Air Hazard (PAH). The area is defined by four grids on the ground (depicted in Figure 2-5 by the numbers 1,2,3, and 4) and an altitude (depicted in Figure 2-5 as ZALT). This area is used to warn all flight operations and to gain clearance to fly through the airspace. If more than one platoon is required to fire the mission, separate messages are displayed for each platoon. It is munition specific. It is only generated for those platoons the computer has listed as having the munition. If a UFFE was specified in the fire mission message, that UFFE is used. If a UFFE was not specified, the computer provides the best solution based on available information. The operator can enter an effective date-time group (DTG) indicating when the platoon air hazard area is valid. The PAH may be passed to other organizations as a Restricted Operations Zone (ROZ). A ROZ is a volume of space that the Air Force often uses to restrict airspace. The same four points (1,2,3, and 4 in Figure 2-5) and altitude define the ROZ.

Figure 2-5. AFOM Platoon Air Hazard Area

The Target Air Hazard (TGT;AIRHZD) Message

The Target Air Hazard message describes the area around the target area as an air hazard. Like the PLT;AIRHZD message it is used to warn all flight operations and to gain airspace clearance. The Block I C2AP does not generate a target air hazard message. Unit standard operating procedures should be followed for clearing Block I target air hazard areas. The Block IA C2AP generates this message when an AFOM fire mission is processed. The Block IA TGT;AIRHZD message defines four points on the ground around the target. The size of the TGT;AIRHZD depends on the range to the target. The ZALT defines the height of the airspace hazard based on the target center and munition burst point (see Figure 2-6). The ZALT value is the same one defined in the platoon air hazard (PLT;AIRHZD) message. The operator entries are limited to defining the effective DTG of the message.

Figure 2-6. Target Air Hazard Areas

The Block II TGT;AIRHZD volume of space is larger than that for the Block IA due to the BAT submunitions’ flyout trajectory. Unlike the Block IA target air hazard area, the Block II air hazard area is a volume of space that is shaped like a cylinder instead of a box (see Figure 2-6).

The FDDM Operators Manual, TB 11-7025-306-10-3 and -4, and the Army TACMS Operator’s Notes provide detailed discussion of the AFOM C2AP software processing.