Joint terminal attack controller

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U.S. Air Force Joint Terminal Attack Controllers from the 21st Special Tactics Squadron call for close air support during training with an A-10 Thunderbolt II
USAF TACP JTACs providing over watch and call in air support at Contingency Operating Post Jaghato, Afghanistan, May 1, 2010.

A Joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) is the term used in the United States Armed Forces for a qualified military service member who, from a forward position, directs the action of combat aircraft engaged in close air support and other offensive air operations.

The term used in other countries, previously in the US and in the relevant NATO standard[1] is Forward Air Controller.[2] The term became effective in the US on 3 September 2003 with the publishing of Joint Publication (JP) 3-09.3 Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTP) for Close Air Support.[3]


The Royal Australian Air Force in 2006, became the first foreign air force to receive Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) accreditation from the United States Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM).[4] No. 4 Squadron RAAF runs JTAC training, and provides trained controllers to other units, with its main role in supporting the units of the Special Operations Command.

United States[edit]

In the United States Armed Forces a qualified and current joint terminal attack controller will be recognized across the U.S. Department of Defense as capable and authorized to perform terminal attack control.

United States Marine students are trained at Expeditionary Warfare Training Group, Pacific (EWTGPAC), and Atlantic (EWTGLANT). United States Air Force students are taught at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. United States Navy students at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center (NSAWC) at Naval Air Station Fallon in Nevada by SEALs assigned to NSAWC. Members of special operations units attend the Special Operations Terminal Attack Control Course (SOTACC) at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. Air Force JTACS are now also trained at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany through the Joint Firepower Center Of Excellence (JFCOE).[5]

See also[edit]


  2. ^ "Training the RAF's eyes and ears". BBC. 14 February 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2010. "I ask if Prince Harry's deployment as a forward air controller, or what the Americans term a "JTAC" (joint tactical air controller or joint terminal attack controller), has boosted the number of volunteers for the job." 
  3. ^ Lieutenant Colonel Steven P. Milliron, Army Aviation. "Army JTAC training--the way ahead.". U.S. Field Artillery Association. "Effective 3 September 2003 with the publishing of Joint Publication (JP) 309.3 Tactics. Techniques and Procedures (TTP) for Close Air Support, the joint community codified the requirements for an individual to direct the actions of combat aircraft engaged in CAS and other air operations. This position, called a "joint terminal attack controller was created to standardize the certification and qualification process for terminal attack controllers to ensure a common capability across the services. The Army needs to develop Soldiers who, from a forward position, can deliver joint indirect fires and direct the actions of joint combat aircraft The Joint Combat Aircraft (JCA) is the official designation of the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence used for the F-35 Lightning II, formerly the Joint Strike Fighter, and the result of the Joint Strike Fighter competition." 
  4. ^ Defense Magazine, June 2006[dead link]
  5. ^ "Joint Multinational Warriors". 7th U.S. Army Joint Multinational Training Command. Winter 2007. "The Joint Fires Center of Excellence exists to train Army and Air Force forward observers and Joint Terminal Attack Controllers." [dead link]

External links[edit]

  • Well in control[dead link], Australian Army News, 21 September 2006.
  • [1][dead link] - Joint Publication 3-09.3 Joint Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Close Air Support (CAS)