Air Control: CAS Requests - Communication - United Task Force (UNITAF) Arma 3

P10-50 Air Control: CAS Requests

UNITAF / Arma 3 / Communication Procedures

Version 3 / 8min read / Updated Sun 08 May 2022 / 1651 views / of verified

CAS Request: Six Elements

A CAS Request consists of the following three full readback transmissions, composed of a total of six elements:

Transmission Elements
1 (1) Identification, (2) Warning Order
2 (3) Target Description, (4) Target Location
3 (5) Remarks & Restrictions, (6) Timing

If an element of a transmission is read back wrong, the FAC states “NEGATIVE” and then retransmits the element for correction. When the corrected element was read back correct, the FAC will state "CORRECT" to clarify this. When the CAS Request was fully read back correct the FAC will also state "CORRECT" to indicate this.

The first transmission includes the Warning Order, or WARNORD. It clears the channel of all other traffic and signals that a CAS Request  is underway. Other call signs mustn’t interfere, unless it is in a case of emergency. This also removes the need to begin every transmission with your call signs, because it is understood that this is a conversation between only you two.


(1) Identification

The Close Air Support Request is initiated like any other radio transmission with a verbal handshake. You first identify the addressee call sign, which is the Aircraft, and then identify yourself with your FAC call sign.

Lightning 5-1, this is Phoenix 8


(2) Warning Order, WARNORD

The WARNORD consists of the type of mission.

Type of Mission Meaning
Immediate CAS The FAC must only request this when that level of urgency truly exists. E.g. you are under direct pressure and not only have spotted a target of opportunity.
CAS The FAC requests this for any non immediate situation. E.g. when you spotted a target of opportunity. The differentiation is made, as to make the pilot aware of when lives are or aren't at stake.

requesting Immediate CAS


requesting CAS

This ends the first transmission, which will be read back to you by the Aircraft.



(3) Target Description

The target is described to the pilot to give him a better idea of the size of the area that will be engaged as well as what weapons are and aren’t usable.

Target Data Meaning
Number and type of targets The number and type of the elements
Degree of protection How protected is the target?
Size and shape of the target For area targets, what does the area look like? This is optional but gives the aircraft greater control over where they want to aum and which ordnance is required.

3 infantry squads dug in, 1 APC in the open


1 infantry platoon in the open, linear target 200 m west to east


An encampment with an enemy squad, circular target 100 m radius


(4) Target Location

The Location must be given to orient the pilot on where to spot the target.

Method Meaning
Grid This must be at least 6-figures, to provide enough accuracy to find the target, but no more than 8-figures, for the sake of brevity.
Visual description If no Grid is available, landmarks or other visually identifiable points can be used to talk the pilot onto the target. However, for this the pilot needs to have a rough idea about where to find those landmarks.

Grid 1234 tack 5678


From Thronos Castle Northeast 200 m

This ends the second transmission, which will be read back to you by the Aircraft.



(5) Remarks and Restrictions

The remarks and restrictions can be used to specify the ingress, give information about the target marking, the location of friendlies, the egress and to give the pilot further information on threats, the terrain, weather. etc. This part can contain as many or few of the following items as desired, though the ordering must be maintained for easier reference!

Remark/Restriction Meaning
IP/BP To specify the ingress you can designate a position from which to start the attack/to engage from.
Heading from the IP/BP to the target If IP/BP has been specified you can give the pilot a heading from it to the target so that he doesn't have to check for that himself inflight.

If you are using a mark on the target, you must specify this to the pilot so he knows what he is looking for. This could be smoke, a Laser-Pointer or a Laser-Designator.

If smoke is used, the color must be specified.

If a Laser-Pointer is used, the direction you are lasing in must be specified to avoid friendly fire.

If a Laser-Designator is used, the code must be specified so the pilot can lock onto it. However, you may already specify this during the Situation Update to save time. Further you should specify the direction you are lasing in as well so the pilot knows where the laser will splash on the target. Keep in mind that for designators the ingress heading should be similar to the Laser-to-target-line so the pilot can lock onto it.

Friendlies It is crucial that the pilot knows the position of the closest firendlies to the target, to avoid friendly fire. This is given as a direction and distance from the target. If applicable here it is also emphasized when friendlies are DANGER CLOSE.
Egress To specify the egress you can designate a heading as well as further instructions like waypoints and altitude. This is used to give the pilot a safe route out of the AO again, so that he doesn't have to figure out a way himself while possibly being under fire.
General remarks How is the visibility? Is there terrain the pilot should be aware of? Do you know of any possible threats on the in- or egress? What ordnance do you want on the target? Must the pilot stay above or below a certain altitude or are there lateral limits? Is the pilot supposed to re-engage on his own (with the same restrictions, etc.!) if the target isn't destroyed after the first attack? Do note that if the pilot is to re-engage on his own, he is expected to BDA himself for you after every run!

IP/BP: Initial Point Texas

Heading from IP/BP to the target: Heading 270°

Smoke Mark: Marked with red smoke

Pointer Mark: Marked with Laser Pointer direction 250°

Designator Mark: Marked with Laser on Code 1112 direction 250°

Friendlies: Friendlies DANGER CLOSE North 200 m

Egress: Egress North, climb to 3000 m and return to Kalae Noowi Airfield


(6) Timing

The timing designates when the attack is supposed to happen.

Timing Meaning
PUSH WHEN READY The pilot is supposed to start his attack as soon as possible
TIME ON TARGET (TOT) The ordnance is supposed to impact on the target at this given time. To achieve this, the aircraft calculates the time he needs for his way in, so he knows when he is to start PUSHING. This is very useful in coordinated assaults on entrenched or fortified locations, where the advancing infantry benefits from the CAS supression. Further it is imperative for when artillery is used to supress enemy air defenses to enable the CAS to perform his attack.



TIME ON TARGET 0900 hours

This concludes the third and last transmission, which will be read back to you by the Aircraft.

Do note that the brief doesn’t constitute any weapons release in itself!

UNITAF Standard Operating procedures (SOP)
are adapted primarly from US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). Our written and audio procedures are a combination of the following primary source materials, as well as our own learnings, modifications and adaptations:
- US Army Techniques Publication, Infantry Platoon and Squad (ATP 3-21.8)
- Soldier’s Manual of Common Tasks Warrior Leader Skills Level 2, 3, and 4 (STP 21-24-SMCT)
- The Warrior Ethos and Soldier Combat Skills (FM 3-21.75 / FM 21-75)
- Leadership Development (FM 6-22)
- Dyslexi's Tactics, Techniques, & Procedures for Arma 3 (TTP3)

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