ARC LINE FACs for "ARC LIGHTS" = code name for B-52 strikes in Vietnam
*Army Aviation AH-64 Apache officer pilot, enlisted driver and RTO ARC LINE Team moves in concert with supported Army mobile forces to establish a clear FLOT and AGI for precise CAS
*Uses (eventually stealthy, hybrid-electric, uparmored) amphibious, C-130 parachute airdrop/airland capable M113A3 Gavin light track tanks supplied from Infantry Brigade being supported to act as ground markers for AH-64 Apache CAS air strikes
*Electronic, physical, electro-optical, FLIR and pyrotechnic means to present clear marks for 100+ mph CAS aircraft to differentiate enemies from friendlies
*Can terminally guide munitions to insure accuracy
*Can survive near misses by CAS ordnance via vehicle armor
Cressada's FACs for P-47s in ETO WWWII
Current fire markers at JRTC, Ft Polk, LA that replicate artillery effects using ground vehicles, ARC LINES would do this in reverse, move to where we don't want the fires to land!
IDF tank/infantry teams
*Has C4I digital means to execute commander's battleplan and provide a moving "FLOT" for CAS
The U.S. Army's Center for Lessons Learned High-Altitude Operations by George J. Mordica II, Senior Analyst, CALL states
OBSERVATION: Army forward observers (FO) used Air Force (AF) close air support (CAS) as the primary means of fire support, using indirect positive control of emergency close air support (ECAS) during Operation Anaconda.
DISCUSSION: No artillery fire support was available during the first few months in Afghanistan. Units relied on company and battalion mortars. The only other fire support available was AF CAS. Normally, FOs do not use CAS, but the techniques used by the FO and ETAC was indirect positive control. FO communicates with ETAC; the ETAC communicates to the aircraft. ECAS is when the fire support officer (FSO) or FO speaks directly to the aircraft and identifies himself as an untrained observer.
It is extremely important that fire support officers (FSO) and forward observers (FO) are trained as an untrained observer to provide redundancy to the ETACs.
Indirect positive control is necessary for the FOs to accurately identify the target with a 10-digit grid. Since CAS cannot bracket, FO accuracy is a must for a first round hit.
A Senior Army Combat experienced Aviator writes about whether we should have Army FACs to control Army attack helicopters better:
"Like everyone else in the Army there are not enough people to go around, at least not down to battalion level. I spent almost a year in Germany as the LNO to any brigade in 3AD that went to the field. During a REFORGER the brigade commander put me and another CPT out as LNO to the two forward brigades. Worked great. The Army is trying to figure out how to have enough aviators to build up the staffs so that we can really function for 24 hours. Doubtful we will see an increase in the number of slots for enough LNO's at battalion, but there is an appreciation that it is good to have LNOs at the ground maneuver brigades. A job for a senior (post-command) CPT. One could make the argument that it would be a great pre-command assignment, but better to have a CPT who understands how to fight an attack unit down with the ground troops, even if at brigade. If the brigade wants to push the LNO to a battalion I suppose that could happen to.
An alternate idea would be to introduce a FAC school that trains NCO's and junior officers how to coord with Apaches. Would send apache drivers to go through the school too, with a ground portion so that they can get an idea who they are working for. Also make them mo glad they are aviators :) Oh well another stupid 'lets make everyone a little more combined-arms oriented' idea................
School should be at Benning or Knox."
An Army Aviation Captain writes:
"A few of the guys from my unit just got back from Riley.
The AF FAC's came rolling into the planning conferences, IPR's, and AAR's via "legacy" M113's. They were modified with all kinds of techno goodies. They had SIMPLE but technologically advanced commo while maneuvering with reliable and simple to fix TRACKED vehicles. And they could DEFEND themselves with mounted machine guns, while maneuvering.
I wish that I could have gotten some pictures. I will try to find out the unit ID. I believe they were Air Guard."