Version 1 / 3min read / Updated Tue 25 Feb 2020 / 510 views
The Forward Air Controller ("FAC") or Joint Terminal Attack Controller ("JTAC") is a player who is tasked with coordinating air elements in the support of ground forces and frequently is assigned to the company headquarters element.
The FAC is expected to be knowledgeable in the employment of any CAS elements, be they fixed-wing (jets) or rotary-wing (helicopters). The more familiar the FAC is with the aircraft, the better they will be able to direct its employment. The best FACs have extensive experience as a CAS aircraft pilot.
The primary job of the FAC is to locate enemy targets and call in air strikes on them. They act as the "eyes on the ground" for the CAS aircraft and increases the effectiveness of the air support with the information they are able to relay to the aircraft, acting as the liaison between the CoyHQ and any supporting aircraft.
- It is of great importance that a FAC is used when player-controlled aircraft are operating in a close air support role.
- Without their support, the CAS aircraft cannot reach the same level of responsiveness and effectiveness.
A JTAC laser designates a target for an F-35
Considerations for the Forward Air Controller
- Ensure that friendly forces are clear of the target being attacked. 300 meters worth of distance is usually sufficient.
- If the strike is going to land within 300 meters of friendly forces, ensure that you inform the CAS Aircraft of this. This is known as a "Danger Close" strike and requires extra coordination and finesse to ensure that friendlies are not struck.
- Ensure that the CAS Aircraft makes his run parallel to friendly positions when employing bombs, rockets, or guns. This lessens the likelihood for a 'short' round to impact friendly forces and cause casualties.
Give the CAS aircraft an approach/egress direction if necessary. For instance, if you suspect that there are anti-aircraft guns positioned in one direction, give the aircraft an egress direction that will keep them from flying into that danger area.
Give a battle damage assessment (BDA) after each run
- This lets the aircraft know the effects of his munitions.
- Tell the pilot what he hit, how much damage he did, and let him know how accurate his attack was.
- "Good bombs"/"Good hits"/etc can be used to quickly and concisely tell the pilot that the strike was on-target without having to wait to determine the precise results of the attack (assuming that visibility even allows for precise BDA).
An example of a more in-depth BDA is as follows:
FAC: Hawg, good bombs. One APC knocked out, the other is currently running north by north-west along the canal. Repeat your attack and take out the fleeing APC. Advise you approach from the south south-east if possible
An F-35 returns to base after a successful run
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)