Air Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield
This appendix describes the IPB process as it applies to AD operations. The breakup of the former Soviet Union has caused the Army to shift its focus from the Soviet threat to regional threats. With the current lack of a single well-defined threat to plan against, the IPB process will provide continuous input toward defining that threat. Developing templates will be more challenging and more critical in support of the IPB process.
A-1. FM 34-130 explains the IPB process in detail. The commander uses IPB to understand the battlefield and the options it presents to friendly and enemy forces. IPB is a systematic, continuous process of analyzing the threat and environment in a specific area. By applying the IPB process, the commander gains the information necessary to selectively apply and maximize his combat power at critical points in time and space on the battlefield. Airspace, or the aerial dimension, is the most dynamic and fast paced of the three dimensions. The intelligence staff must consider all the aspects of air operations and must be aware of the capabilities of all air threats, to include UAVs, ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, ASMs, and rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft. The G2 and S2 have overall staff responsibility for IPB. ADA and aviation officers must provide input to the G2 and S2 when integrating air aspects into the IPB process.
A-2. The IPB process has four steps:
A-3. Since terrain, weather, and other characteristics of the battlefield have different effects on air operations and AMD operations, aerial IPB differs from ground IPB. Threat forces must be evaluated in relation to the effects that weather, terrain, and friendly operations will have on them. The most significant threats that must be evaluated for aerial IPB are UAVs, ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. Aerial IPB is an integral part of the IPB process at all levels.
DEFINE THE BATTLEFIELD ENVIRONMENT
A-4. The battlefield includes aerial dimensions in an area of operations, battlespace, and an area of interest. Because of the aerial dimension, each of these parts of the battlefield framework may be different from that of ground force operations.
AREA OF OPERATIONS
A-5. The air area of operations is the area where the commander is assigned responsibility and authority for military operations. It usually is, but does not necessarily need to be, identical to the ground area of operations in width and depth. It extends vertically up to the maximum altitude of friendly ADA systems.
A-6. Battlespace is a physical volume that expands or contracts in relation to the ability to acquire and engage the threat. It varies in width, depth, and height as the commander positions and moves assets over time. Battlespace is not assigned by a higher commander and can extend beyond the commander's area of operations.
AREA OF INTEREST
A-7. The area of interest is the geographic area and the airspace above it from which information and intelligence are required to facilitate planning or successful conduct of the commander's operation. The ADA commander's area of interest is generally larger than the area of operations or battlespace due to the great distances that enemy air and missile systems can rapidly cover. The air area of interest will extend vertically to cover the maximum service ceilings or trajectories of aircraft, UAVs, and missile systems. Horizontally, it will extend to cover the maximum range of aircraft, UAVs, and missiles, plus enemy airfields, forward arming and refueling points, navigation aids, and missile sites. The area of interest extends to the limits from which intelligence and information must be gathered about enemy forces that could affect friendly forces.
DESCRIBE THE BATTLEFIELD’s EFFECTS
A-8. The effects of terrain and weather on the enemy and friendly forces must be analyzed. They are different than the effects on ground operations.
A-9. Terrain analysis in support of air and missile defense is significantly different from terrain analysis for ground operations. The nature of airspace does not eliminate the need for terrain analysis because enemy air and friendly ADA will still attempt to use terrain to their own best advantage. IPB focuses on the impact of geographic factors on the ability of enemy air to approach, acquire, and engage a target, or deliver airborne or air assault troops. Analysis of the terrain for air and missile defense follows the same principles as ground analysis and uses the military aspects of terrain: observation and fields of fire, cover and concealment, obstacles, key terrain, and avenues of approach (OCOKA).
Observation and Fields of Fire
A-10. These aspects relate to the influence of terrain on reconnaissance and target acquisition. In the IPB context, observation relates to optical and electronic line of sight. Many battlefield systems require line of sight to effectively operate or acquire and engage targets. These systems include radios, radar, jamming systems, direct-fire weapons, and airborne and ground sensors as well as friendly ADA systems. Fields of fire relate to the terrain effects on weapon systems. Airspace must be analyzed with regard to routes that provide the best protection for air threats entering the target area, and those that provide the best fields of fire once they reach the target area.
Cover and Concealment
A-11. Cover and concealment have slightly different applications with respect to air systems. The following tactics and techniques fall into the context of cover and concealment:
A-12. Fixed and rotary wing aircraft, cruise missiles, and possibly even UAVs will use contour flying, masking, and ground clutter to avoid detection and to provide cover from direct fires. Aircraft will also use the terrain by loitering on reverse slopes, using pop-up tactics, and by using ground clutter and vegetation as a backdrop to enhance concealment.
A-13. Obstacles are broken down into three primary types:
A-14. Of particular interest are obstacles and terrain, which restrict lateral movement within an avenue of approach. This will canalize movement or restrict evasive action. Additionally, terrain may stop the employment of certain air threat systems if the terrain exceeds the system's maximum operating ceiling. Obstacles should be plotted on a modified combined obstacles overlay (MCOO).
A-15. Key terrain is any locality or area in which the seizure, retention, or control of it will afford a marked advantage to either combatant. In the aerial dimension, these consist of terrain features that canalize or constrain air threat systems, and terrain with an elevation higher than the maximum ceiling of air threat systems. Additionally, areas that can be used for airfields, landing and drop zones, or forward arming and refueling points also need to be considered as key terrain (since these areas could be used to support friendly or enemy air operations). Terrain can be used as an aid to navigation. Man-made features are also used as cues to navigate to targets.
Air Avenues of Approach
A-16. Air avenues of approach are evaluated using the same criteria as for ground. A good air avenue of approach will permit maneuver while providing terrain masking from surface-to-air weapon systems. Some common air avenues of approach are valleys, direct lines from the threat point of origin, and riverbeds. Factors that should be used to determine entry and exit air avenues of approach are as follows:
A-17. Type of Air Threat. UAVs are small and elusive. Although they usually fly at low altitudes, their altitude can vary. Once in the target area, they may fly an orbit attempting to stay out of engagement range of ADA. Most surfaced-launched cruise missiles are terrain following and they use terrain masking. Due to their range, they may take indirect approach routes. Ballistic missiles are not terrain dependent. They fly a straight ground track from launch point to objective. Their flight is not restricted by terrain. ASMs usually fly direct routes from launch platform to the target. Rotary-wing aircraft primarily conduct contour flights. They follow ridgelines and military crests, using the terrain to mask their approach to the target area. Fixed-wing aircraft usually follow major terrain or man-made features. Depending on range, they may fly a straight line to the target. Ordnance or payload may affect range and altitude of the air system and thus influence the selection of avenues of approach.
A-18. Point of Origin. Staff looks at the commander's entire area of interest when determining air avenues. Analysis begins at the enemy airfield, UAV, or missile launch site and works toward the probable enemy objective. This allows a look at the big picture. The staff considers the range of the air systems and location of navigation aids and ground control sites.
A-19. Probable Enemy Objective. Each avenue of approach must end at a target, drop zone, or landing zone; or within reconnaissance, intelligence, surveillance, or target acquisition range of a target. Reverse IPB is used to pick enemy objectives. Potential to support maneuver forces. Air assets that are used to achieve ground objectives will seek to use air avenues of approach coincident with ground avenues of approach. Air assets attacking deep are not limited to these ground avenues. Ground corridors do not limit missiles and ISR UAVs.
A-20. The following questions should be used to evaluate the avenue’s freedom to maneuver:
A-21. The following questions should be used to evaluate the avenue’s protection for the system and pilot:
A-22. The following questions should be used to evaluate the air threat and pilot capabilities. Can the air system or pilot--
A-23. Air operations are especially susceptible to the effects of weather. Weather analysis for air and air and missile defense operations is designed to predict the most likely time over target and other considerations based on weather effects and light data.
A-24. Many of the same factors the G2 or S2 considers for ground operations are as follows:
EVALUATE THE THREAT
A-25. Threat evaluation for air operations consists of a detailed study of enemy air capabilities, organization, and doctrine. The following steps should be used when evaluating the threat:
COLLECT AND ANALYZE DOCTRINAL THREAT DATA
A-26. Typical questions that should be answered during this step must also include the commander's intent, guidance, critical information requirements and priority intelligence requirements. They are as follows:
ANALYZE ENEMY AIR CAPABILITIES
A-27. ADA units evaluate a broad range of order of battle data and enemy capabilities to include the ground force and EW threat to ADA units. They also evaluate the answers to the following questions concerning threat systems.
A-28. Capabilities of air systems:
Unmanned aerial vehicles
A-29. Capabilities of threat UAVs:
A-30. Capabilities of threat ballistic missile systems:
A-31. Capabilities of threat cruise missiles:
CONDUCT TARGET VALUE EVALUATION
A-32. This should determine what targets are to be labeled as high-value targets. High-value targets are assets the enemy or friendly commander has deemed as important for the successful accomplishment of his mission. High-value targets are determined by operational necessity and weapon system capability.
DETERMINE threat COURSES OF ACTION
A-33. Determining both the enemy air and ground courses of action integrates the results of the previous three steps into a meaningful conclusion. Given what enemy air and missile forces prefer to do, and the effects of the operational environment, what are the enemy's likely objectives and what COA is available to him? The G2 or S2 develops threat models that depict the enemy's air and missile COA. They also prepare event templates and matrices that focus intelligence collection on identifying which COA the enemy will execute. The process of developing these templates and matrices is covered in depth in FM 34-130. The decision support template is an integrated staff product that results from the war gaming of potential friendly courses of action.
A-34. A situation template is a graphic depiction of expected enemy dispositions should they adopt a particular COA. They usually depict the most critical point in the operation as agreed upon by the G2 and G3. However, the G2 or S2 might prepare several templates representing different snapshots in time starting with the initial threat array. The situation template integrates air attack and surveillance profiles with terrain. It focuses on specific air avenues of approach and mobility corridors to determine which avenues are the most capable of supporting specific attack techniques, profiles, and the most direct routes to landing and drop zones to protect and ensure the survivability of air threat systems. See FM 34-130 for detailed information on preparing a situation template.
A-35. An event template is a guide for collection and reconnaissance and surveillance (R&S) planning. It depicts named areas of interest (NAI) where the commander expects to see certain activities of tactical significance and is used to confirm or deny an enemy course of action. These NAI are based on the terrain constraints on air approach routes to potential targets and analysis of the enemy’s attack and ISR profiles. The G2 or S2 develops an event matrix to support the event template by providing details on the type of activity expected in each NAI, the times the NAI is expected to be active, and its relationship to other events on the battlefield. Examples of NAI include landing and drop zones, forward arming and refueling points, forward staging areas, and previous BM launch locations. See FM 34-130 for detailed information on preparing an event template and matrix.
DECISION SUPPORT TEMPLATE
A-36. A decision support template is based on the situation and event templates, event matrix, and the war gaming of friendly COA results. A decision support template should depict the following:
A-37. Air TAI and DP are determined in the same manner as for ground operations. However, due to the high speeds of air systems, decision points must be placed significantly farther in advance of the TAI.
A-38. IPB is a systematic, continuous process of analyzing the threat and environment in a specific geographic setting. Applying the IPB process helps the commander apply and maximize his combat power at critical points in time and space by determining the enemy's likely COA, and describing the environment and its effects on operations. Preparation and continuous updates of the aerial portion of IPB are fundamental to the execution of the air and missile defense and land force missions on the modern battlefield.