Air Control: Target Designation - Communication - United Task Force (UNITAF) Arma 3

P10-52 Air Control: Target Designation

UNITAF / Arma 3 / Communication Procedures

Version 3 / 3min read / Updated Mon 20 Mar 2023 / 1283 views / of verified

Table of Contents

    Designating Targets for aircrafts

    Target Designation with Lasers

    Lasing a target is by far the best method for CAS strikes. There are a few guidelines to keep in mind when utilizing this method.

    Lasing a column of BTR-K Kamyshs

    • Do not turn on the laser until the CAS aircraft calls for it.
      This will typically be when the aircraft is ten seconds out from the target. Turning it on early only increases the chance that the enemy will detect it and attempt to evade.
    • The laser spot is visible to the enemy if they're looking for it.
      If necessary, lase something near the target, out of view of the enemy. Once the aircraft acquires the laser and is moments away from dropping their ordnance, shift the laser directly onto the enemy position. This will give them much less time to react in the event that they spot the dot. Ensure that the distance shifted is not so high that it causes trouble for the strike aircraft. The laser dot is hardest to see during the daytime, but can stand out brightly when viewed at night or when under night vision.
    • Ensure that your laser is splashing on the target, and is not obstructed by something closer to you (i.e. a bush, tree, wall, etc.)
      If you don't see the laser shining on the target in conditions where it should be visible, shift around until you do, or until you're absolutely positive that you are not accidentally lasing your own position.


    Target Designation WITHOUT Lasers

    CAS without laser designation is a bit trickier. Follow these guidelines.

    A "dumb" bomb on the way to inflict serious pain

    Guiding with CTAB/Map Marks

    Map markers are as accurate as the player placing them, and with good players, they can be pin-point precise. The main problem with map marks is that it requires the pilot to spend time looking at the map, which can be problematic.


    Guiding with Landmarks

    Depending on the type of landmark and distance of the target from it, landmarks can be either excellent or merely acceptable guides. The key thing to keep in mind is that the landmark must be something that can be easily seen from the air. The type of air asset (fixed wing is naturally moving much faster than rotary wing) will dictate what type of landmark is suitable. Landmarks can be natural parts of the terrain (i.e. boulders, a prominent cluster of trees, the bend of a river) or man-made (buildings, destroyed vehicles, smoke columns).


    Guiding with Munitions or Smoke

    This is the least desirable way to orient aircraft on a target, since it typically alerts the target and gives them a bearing on friendly forces. In a pinch, infantry can utilize smoke (preferably launched via a UGL) to designate a target for aircraft. Tracers can also be used to designate targets. Guiding a CAS strike with munitions can be very difficult, and should be avoided when possible. Efforts should be made to accomplish the guidance in another fashion before resorting to this, particularly when stealth is a concern. Another alternative is to utilize an IR Laser attached to the rifle. However, when employing this, it is crucial to communicate in which direction the laser is being pointed to avoid friendly fire by the aircraft!

    This SOP has been contributed to by 1 editors:
    Major James
    Sergeant Jochem

    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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