Forward air control

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RAF Regiment Forward Air Controllers from the Air Land Integration Cell, based at RAF Honington, guide a Typhoon from 6 Squadron onto their target at the Cape Wrath practice range in Scotland.

A primary Forward Air Control function is ensuring the safety of friendly troops during close air support. Enemy targets in the Front line ("Forward Edge of the Battle Area" in US terminology) are often close to friendly forces and therefore friendly forces are at risk of friendly fire through proximity during air attack. The danger is twofold: the bombing pilot cannot identify the target clearly, and is not aware of the locations of friendly forces. Camouflage, constantly changing situation and the fog of war all increase the risk. Present day doctrine holds that Forward Air Controllers (FACs) are not needed for air interdiction, although there has been such use of FACs in the past.

Early air ground support efforts[edit]

Even as close air support began during World War I, there were pioneer attempts to direct the trench strafing by the ground troops marking their positions by laying out signal panels on the ground, firing flares, or lighting smoke signals. Aircrews had difficulty communicating with the ground troops; they would drop messages or use messenger pigeons.[1] Benno Fiala von Fernbrugg, an Austro-Hungarian pilot, pioneered the use of radio for fire control; at the Battle of Gorlice he used a radio transmitter in his airplane to send changes via morse code to an artillery battery on the ground.[2] Colonel Billy Mitchell also equipped his Spad XVI command airplane with a radio, and the Germans experimented with radios in their Junkers J.I all-metal-structure, armored-fuselage sesquiplanes.[3]

The Marines in the so-called Banana Republic wars of the 1920s and 1930s used Curtiss Falcons and Vought Corsairs that were equipped with radios powered by airstream-driven generators, with a range of up to 50 miles. Another method of communication was for the pilot to drop messages in a weighted container, and to swoop in and pick up messages hung out by ground troops on a "clothesline" between poles. The objective was aerial reconnaissance and air attack. Using these various methods, the Marine pilots combined the functions of both FAC and strike aircraft, as they carried out their own air attacks on the Sandinistas in Nicaragua in 1927. The commonality of pilots and ground troops belonging to the same service led to a close air support role similar to that sought by use of FACs, without the actual use of a FAC.[4] On 27 October 1927, a Marine patrol used cloth panels to direct an air strike—arguably the first forward air control mission.[5] This distinctive U.S. Marine doctrine of interaction between Marine infantry and aviation would persist, recurring in the Korean War and the Vietnam War.[6]

French colonial operations in the Rif War from 1920–1926 used air power similarly to the Marines in Nicaragua against the Sandinistas but in a different environment, the desert. The French Mobile Groups of combined arms not only used aircraft for scouting and air attack; the airplanes carried trained artillery officers as observers. These aerial observers called in artillery fire via radio.[7]

When the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) was founded on 20 June 1941, it included provisions for Air Ground Control Parties to serve with the United States Army at the division, corps, and Army headquarters. The Air Ground Control Parties functions were to regulate bombing and artillery in close conjunction with the ground troops, as well as assess bomb damage. They were thus the first of similar units to try to fulfill the functions of the FAC without being airborne.[8] However, these units were often plagued by turf wars and cumbersome communications between the respective armies and air forces involved. As a result, it could take hours for an air strike requested by ground troops to actually show up.[9]

World War II[edit]

However, forward air control during World War II came into existence as a result of exigency, and was used in several theaters of World War II. Its reincarnation in action was a result of field expedience rather than planned operations.[10]

British Mobile Fighter Controllers operating in North Africa during World War II

In the Pacific Theater, 4 Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force began forward air control at the Battle of Buna-Gona, New Guinea in November 1942. The RAAF continued forward air control in the Pacific for the rest of the war.[11][dead link][citation needed] By November 1943, the U.S. Marines were using forward air control during the Battle of Bougainville.[citation needed]

On the Allied side in the European Theater, British forces in North Africa began using the Forward Air Support Links, a "tentacle" system that used radio links from front line units to the rear requesting close air support from the next "cab rank" of on-call airborne fighter-bombers. The requesting unit would direct the air strikes. The U.S. Army would not copy the British system until the invasion of Italy, but adapted it for use there and in France after the D-Day Invasion of 6 June 1944.[12]

The United States would end World War II still without an air control doctrine. When the U.S. Air Force split from the U.S. Army in 1947, neither took on the responsibility for forward air control; the U.S. military thus had no functional forward air control when the Korean War broke out.[12]

Post World War II[edit]

U.S. doctrine in dispute[edit]

Despite its success in battle, the role of the American FAC was not codified into doctrine until after the war's end. By that time no FACs remained in service in the US. In 1946, Army Field Manual 31-35 became the written repository of the lessons learned by experience in battle. However, in 1947, the United States Air Force became a separate service, intent on strategic bombing. U.S. Air Force Forward Air Control expertise existed only on paper.[12] Their doctrine ranked air operations importance as being primarily concentrated on strategic bombing, with interdiction operations secondary, and close air support last. The Air Force believed in central control of close air support originated by FACs within Tactical Air Control Parties (TACP) assigned to the Army at regimental and divisional level.[13] It also believed that electronic navigational aids would replace FACs.[citation needed]

Having founded a temporary pathfinder squadron for Combat Controllers transferring into the USAF from the U.S. Army, the air force received only 11 transferees. These were formed into a single Combat Control Party instead of the six desired by the army.[citation needed] The first time a USAF Combat Control Team was utilized was during the 1958 Lebanon crisis to combat communist expansion and bolster the pro-Western Lebanese government.[citation needed]

By contrast, the U.S. Marine Corps placed its TACPs down to battalion level; air strike requests for naval air originated with the commanding officer. However, the greatest practical difference between the two systems lay in their very definition of close air support. The Air Force considered air strikes anywhere within artillery range of friendly units to be close air support. The Marines defined it as air strikes within 50 to 200 yards of friendly troops, delivered within fifteen minutes of request.[13]

British Commonwealth operations[edit]

The United Kingdom and Commonwealth continued to build on its experience in the Second World War in various campaigns around the world in the second half of the twentieth century, including the Malayan Emergency,[citation needed] the Suez Crisis,[14] the Indonesian Confrontation[15] and operations in Aden and Oman.[16]With the re-formation of the Army Air Corps in 1957 this new corps's functions included airborne forward air control.[17][dead link][citation needed][18]

Korean War[edit]

War of movement[edit]

Two USAF LT-6G of the 6147th TCG over Korea, 1952.

The first comprehensive airborne forward air controller program was developed in Korea.[19] Two weeks into the Korean War, the need for forward air control was starkly apparent, a powerful North Korean offensive was advancing so rapidly that the locations of the invaders could literally change hourly. US F-80 Shooting Stars flying from Japan had barely enough range to dump their bombs and turn back to base. Tactical Air Control Parties struggled to direct the air effort, but found their powers of observation limited by rugged terrain, near horizons, and an ever shifting tactical situation.[citation needed]

Once again, there are dual and non-contradictory tales of the FAC startup effort. Lieutenant Colonel Stanley P. Latiolas, operations officer of the Fifth Air Force that was operating in Korea, suggested having a slower airplane spot targets for the fuel-hog jets. Colonel John R. Murphy, who knew of the success of the Horseflies, asked the Commanding General of the Fifth Air Force, Earle E. Partridge for five pilots to fly reconnaissance.[citation needed]

On 9 July 1950, Lieutenants James A. Bryant and Frank G. Mitchell flew the first FAC missions of the Korean War from K-5 Taejon Air Base. They flew into K-5 with two L-5G Sentinels modified with VHF radios but were unable to get the radio to work. Borrowing two 24th Division L-17s, the lieutenants—working under call signs "Angelo Fox" and "Angelo George" (the Joint Operations Center being called "Angelo")—called down about 10 flights of F-80s resulting in what Lt. Col. John R. Murphy called "the best day in Fifth Air Force history."[20]

The following day saw the first use of a T-6 Texan for a FAC plane. During the direction of RAAF P-51 Mustangs, the T-6 radio became unserviceable. The FAC continued indicating targets by flying over them and rocking his wings. The resulting strikes were the first of many successful attacks made without radio contact, as United Nations bombers operated on many non-compatible radio frequencies. The T-6 became the standard FAC aircraft for Korean use; several of the smaller, slower liaison planes were shot down by North Korean Yaks (including 6 L-17s lost to enemy air action) and they were retired.[21] Fifth Air Force also turned to higher performance aircraft for the FAC mission. P-51 Mustangs and F4U Corsairs were used to penetrate enemy air space after it had become too hazardous for T-6s.[22]

The two original FACs had switched to a T-6 and promptly flew a sortie directing air strikes by P-80s that knocked out 17 North Korean tanks near Chonui. The T-6 Texan was such an obvious success for directing air strikes that an ad hoc forward air control unit began to coalesce; it would become the 6147th Tactical Control Group nicknamed the Mosquitoes. More T-6s and more pilots were acquired.[23] The 6147th TCG became one squadron working as three man Tactical Air Control Parties in radio jeeps, and two squadrons of aerial forward air controllers. C-47s were also used by the group as Airborne Command and Control Centers.[24][dead link][citation needed]

A USAF ground FAC conferring with the commander of a US Army M46 tank.

Although the T-6 entered the FAC role as a "hot" aircraft, it was soon encumbered with numerous adaptations that degraded its performance. A belly tank was added to extend its range. Both members of the crew wore complete survival gear, and the plane was loaded up with smoke grenades. Eventually, a dozen smoke rockets were added under each wing for marking targets. With half a ton of added weight, the T-6 was limited to a top speed of 100 mph (160 km/h), and its service ceiling was considerably reduced. The lower performance was not the only detriment to the T-6's role in forward air control. It is a low-wing monoplane; consequently, the plane often had to be flown tilted to one side for visibility.[23] However, the Texan's ruggedness, easy maintenance, and ability to operate from small rough airfields outweighed the disadvantages.[25] The 6147th tested the L-19, later known as the O-1 Bird Dog. The L-19 offered no better performance than the Texan and was unarmored. It was rejected because of its vulnerability to ground fire.[23] There was also an abortive attempt to use the L-17 Navion as a FAC aircraft. The Navion's low wing design precluded any success in observation.[26]

During 1950, the 6147th Tactical Control Group operated as far as 50 miles into enemy territory, using relay aircraft to remain in radio contact.[22] The Mosquitoes proved their worth by directing the limited number of air strikes against the most important enemy targets, optimizing the United Nations firepower.[25][dead link][citation needed]

Positional warfare[edit]

By July 1951, the war had ground to a stalemate. As a consequence, North Korean and Chinese ground fire had become such a threat that Mosquitoes penetrated only a couple of miles into enemy lines. The enemy had also noted that the T-6s operated at low altitude, and often flew below cloud cover to navigate. Being adaptable and ingenious, the communists took to stringing wire cables from ridgetop to ridgetop to catch Mosquitoes. They even infiltrated the United Nations lines to string up cables on the friendly side.[citation needed]

In mid-November 1952, the Mosquito T-6s were called upon to direct the battlefield interdiction strikes being flown for Operation Cherokee. Unlike the Close Air Support missions usually improvised by the FACs, the Cherokee strikes were preplanned raids of about 50 aircraft. Although planned interdiction raids would not seem to need guidance, the size of the attacking force tended to overwhelm TACPs. Mosquitoes marking the targets with smoke rockets helped lighten the load. The Cherokee strikes were successful in destroying enough supplies to hamper the Communist effort.[27]

By war's end, the United Nations air campaign had become so dependent on airborne FAC's directing strikes on targets invisible to ground FACs that the latter could go three months without directing a strike.[28]

The Mosquitoes flew through war's end, amassing 40,354 sorties, two Presidential Unit Citations, and a Korean Presidential Unit Citation.[23] The Mosquitoes lost 33 men and 42 aircraft during the course of the war.[24][dead link][citation needed] The Mosquitoes were disbanded in 1956, as they were considered a wartime expedient. After they were disbanded, the United States once again had no Forward Air Control capabilities.[23]

Vietnam War[edit]

L-19/O-1 Bird Dog, used by Forward Air Controllers during the Vietnam War.

Forward air controllers played a major part in the largest bombing campaign in history during the Vietnam War. While World War II had featured indiscriminate mass air raids on major cities worldwide, bombing during the Vietnam War was aimed at smaller targets in a country the size of New Mexico. Unless bombs were dropped in a free fire zone, or on a pre-briefed target, the bombing in Vietnam was directed by FACs. Also unlike World War II, serious efforts were made to avoid hitting the civilian populace, which also called for FAC intervention.[29][30]

Reinvention of forward air control[edit]

In 1961, when forward air control was revived, it promptly ran into the recurring problems of unreliable radios, a shortage of supplies, lack of suitable aircraft, differing concepts of close air support,[31] and unfavorable terrain.[32][33]

The first manning requirement for FACs, levied in 1962, amounted to 32 slots in Vietnam. Even as the slots slowly filled, the requirement proved inadequate.[34] The 19th Tactical Air Support Squadron was then assigned in-country in mid-1963 to augment the FAC force.[35] By January 1965, there were still only 144 USAF FACs in Southeast Asia.[36] While the U.S. Air Force would continue to add more FACs, projecting a need for 831 FACs, and stationing four more Tactical Air Support Squadrons in Southeast Asia by April 1965, the manning levels of assigned FACs would run about 70% of need until December 1969.[37][38] Other branches of the U.S. military also had FACs; the U.S. Army had at least two aviation companies of FACs,[39][40] the U.S. Marine Corps had an organic FAC squadron within their forces, and the U.S. Navy established its own FAC squadron in the Mekong Delta.[41] U.S. involvement had begun with a South Vietnamese FAC training program;[42][43] later in the war, Laotians and Hmong were also trained as FACs.[44]

Technological developments[edit]

There was a great deal of technical innovation in forward air control operations during the course of the Vietnam War. The United States came up with a number of ways to make their forward air control system more effective. As early as 1962, Douglas C-47 flareship FACs began the forward air control mission in South Vietnam, mostly on night missions.[45] In September 1965, another C-47 went into action as the first Airborne Command and Control Center. As additional ABCCC aircraft were added, they would constantly govern the air war in Southeast Asia.[46]

By early 1966, a rising level of communist anti-aircraft fire against propeller-driven FAC aircraft necessitated the use of jet aircraft for FACs in high-risk areas in North Vietnam. The Fast FAC mission would supplement the FAC mission in Southeast Asia until war's end.[47]

In July 1966, night FAC operations began against the Ho Chi Minh Trail; A-26 Invaders began a dual FAC/strike mission under call sign "Nimrod".[48] The U.S. Air Force began Operation Shed Light as a test of night time battlefield illumination.[49] In response to increasing pressure from air strikes, the communists turned entirely to night operations in Vietnam by 1968.[50] C-123 Provider cargo aircraft were used as flareships to light up the Trail and direct air strikes, under the call sign "Candlestick", until late 1969. Withdrawn in the face of mounting opposition, the flareships would still serve elsewhere in theater until 30 June 1971.[51] In a similar role, Lockheed AC-130 gunships, call sign "Blindbat", not only lit the Trail and directed air strikes, but used its own copious firepower on enemy trucks.[52] The gunships carried both electronic sensors tied into Operation Igloo White and night observation devices for spotting enemy trucks, as well as a computerized fire control system.[53]

On 1 November 1968, President Lyndon Baines Johnson declared a halt to the bombing of North Vietnam. With that act, the focus of the contending forces became the Ho Chi Minh Trail. As the U.S. more than quadrupled the number of airstrikes aimed at interdiction, North Vietnamese anti-aircraft guns and gunners transferred south to the Trail to match this new onslaught. Both sides realized that the supply of military necessities being moved south to insurgents would be crucial to a communist victory.[54]

At about this time, the Raven FACs began supporting Vang Pao's Central Intelligence Agency-supported guerrilla army on the Plain of Jars in northern Laos with air strikes serving as aerial artillery blasting the way clear for offensive sweeps by the partisans.[55][56]

In early 1970, in an attempt to improve bombing accuracy, the USAF began using laser guided ordnance.[57][58]


By May 1971, U.S. Air Force intelligence concluded that air strikes had wiped out all the North Vietnamese trucks on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. This was a demonstrably untrue conclusion, as trucks still traversed the Trail until the communist victory in 1975.[59][60]

After war's end, the U.S. Air Force ended the forward air control mission, just they had following World War II and Korea.[61][62][63]

Indo-Pakistani War[edit]

Main article: Battle of Longewala

Major Atma Singh, of the Indian Army, flying a HAL Krishak, played a crucial part in a close air support defense against steep odds. The Pakistani loss of armor in December 1971 was one of the most severe since the great armored clashes of World War II. Major Singh won the Maha Vir Chakra for his performance under heavy ground fire.[64][65]

Portuguese Overseas War[edit]

During the Portuguese Overseas War, the Portuguese Air Force used mainly Dornier Do 27 and OGMA/Auster D.5 light aircraft in the forward air control role, in the several theatres of operation: Angola, Portuguese Guinea and Mozambique.[citation needed]


During the Rhodesian Bush War the Rhodesian Air Force mounted Airborne FACs in Aeromachi AL60 B Trojans and Lynx aircraft.


South Africa[edit]

South Africa deployed both Airborne ACs (in AM.3CM Bosboks[69][citation needed] and ground based FACs[70] during the Border War including the Battle of Cassinga.[71][dead link][citation needed]

Present day doctrines[edit]


For NATO forces the qualifications and experience required to be a FAC are set out in a NATO Standard (STANAG). FACs may form part of a Fire Support Team or Tactical Air Control Party, they may be ground based, airborne FACs in fixed-wing aircraft (FAC-A) or in helicopters (ABFAC).[72][dead link][citation needed] Since 2003 the United States Armed Forces have used the term joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) for some of their ground based FACs.[73] [74]

NATO is making efforts to increase the safety and reduce the risk of fratricide in air to ground operations. Co-operation between different NATO agencies such as the NATO Standardization Agency and the JAPCC resulted in the development of common standards for Forward Air Controllers and these are now set out in STANAG 3797 (Minimum Qualifications for Forward Air Controllers).[75] NATO FACs are trained to request, plan, brief and execute CAS operations both for Low Level and Medium/High Level operations and their training NATO FACs includes electronic warfare, suppression of enemy air defences, enemy air defence, air command and control, attack methods and tactics and weaponeering.[76]

United Kingdom Armed Forces today[edit]

FACs in the United Kingdom are trained at the Joint Forward Air Controller Training Standards Unit (JFACTSU).[77] In light of operational experience British FACs now form part of Fire Support Teams as well as TACPs able to direct a wide range of fires[78] FACs are also provided by the Royal Marines (and Royal Marines Reserve)[79] and some from the RAF Regiment[80] Tactical Air Control Parties. The Army Air Corps also provides Airborne Forward Air Contollers.[81][82] Cornet Prince Harry, the fourth in line to the British throne, served as a FAC on Operation Herrick during 2007 and 2008.[83]

United States Marine Corps[edit]

The United States Marine Corps is the only United States service to refer to its JTACs as FACs.[84][85]

When deployed on operations each USMC infantry company is allocated a FAC or JTAC. It is proposed that standard squad leaders will be trained as Joint Fires Observers.[86]

Afghanistan National Army[edit]

The Afghan National Army (ANA) currently relies on coalition partners to raise and sustain its FAC/JFO capability.[87] The ANA capability, known as the Afghan Tactical Air Coordinator (ATAC) maintains a skill equivalency to that of a JFO. Australian JFOs have pioneered this capability within the ANA.[88]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hallion, pp. 20 - 21, 38 - 40.
  2. ^ Chant, p. 86.
  3. ^ Hallion, p. 21.
  4. ^ Hallion, pp. 70 - 74.
  5. ^ Churchill, p. 2.
  6. ^ Lester, p. 7.
  7. ^ Hallion, pp. 69 - 70.
  8. ^ Churchill, pp. 1 - 2.
  9. ^ Hallion, pp. 149 - 150.
  10. ^ Churchill, p. 5.
  11. ^ Post, Carl A. (2006). "Forward air control: a Royal Australian Air Force innovation". Air Power History. 
  12. ^ a b c Gooderson, p. 26.
  13. ^ a b Lester, pp. 15 - 19.
  14. ^ Cossey, page not given.
  15. ^ "Supporting Forces Pioneering Utilities". [dead link][citation needed]
  16. ^ [1], Colin Richardson, Mapping the coast of Mahra, The British-Yemeni Society, The British-Yemeni Society, 2005. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  17. ^ "1946 to". MoD. 
  18. ^ "8 Squadron History". 
  19. ^ Lester, page unknown.
  20. ^ Futrell, p. 78.
  21. ^ Churchill, pp. 6 - 7.
  22. ^ a b Churchill, p. 8.
  23. ^ a b c d e Churchill, pp. 6 - 9.
  24. ^ a b "The Leading N Book Site on the Net". Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  25. ^ a b "Factsheets : North American T-6D Mosquito". Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  26. ^ Futrell, p. 22.
  27. ^ Futrell, p. 237.
  28. ^ Lester, p. 75.
  29. ^ Dunnigan, Nofi, pp. 106 - 107.
  30. ^ CIA World Factbook [2] Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  31. ^ Rowley (1972), pp. 37 - 50, 62, 64, 66, 72 - 84.
  32. ^ Churchill, pp. 15 - 16, 24.
  33. ^ Walton, p. 31.
  34. ^ Rowley (1972), pp. 25 - 26.
  35. ^ Rowley (1972), p. 30.
  36. ^ Walton, p. 36.
  37. ^ Churchill, p. 36.
  38. ^ Rowley (1975), p. 10.
  39. ^ Hooper, p. 2.
  40. ^ Rowley (1972), pp. 45 - 46.
  41. ^ Walton, pp. 44 - 47.
  42. ^ Rowley (1972), pp. 21 - 27.
  43. ^ Walton, pp. 27 - 28.
  44. ^ Churchill, p. 12.
  45. ^ Anthony, p. 6.
  46. ^ Project CHECO ABCCC Report, pp. 2, 11. [3] Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  47. ^ Churchill, pp. 134 - 135.
  48. ^ Anthony, p. 100.
  49. ^ Anthony, pp. 115 - 118.
  50. ^ Churchill, pp. 15 - 16, 70.
  51. ^ Anthony, pp. 134 - 139.
  52. ^ Churchill, pp. 80 - 83.
  53. ^ Nalty, pp. 54 - 56.
  54. ^ Nalty, pp. 6, 98 - 99.
  55. ^ Anthony, Sexton, p. 271, 298, 301.
  56. ^ Robbins, entirety.
  57. ^ Anthony, pp. 147 - 148.
  58. ^ Nalty, pp. 57 - 58, 236.
  59. ^ Zeybel, October 1995, "Night Spectre Haunts the Ho Chi Minh Trail", Vietnam, pp. 38 - 45.
  60. ^ Nalty, pp. 300 - 304.
  61. ^ Robbins, p. 411.
  62. ^ Lester, p. 194.
  63. ^ Gooderson, p. 26.
  64. ^ "Battle of Longewala by Wing Commander Kukke Suresh". Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  65. ^ "The Tribune - Windows - Featured story". 2000-12-16. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  66. ^ [4], Anonymous, "Rhodesian Air Force No 4 Squadron", Rhodesian Air Force. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  67. ^ Stringer, p. 125.
  68. ^ Anonymous, [5] Rhodesian Air Force gets Bell 205s. Flightglobal website, 30 December 1978, p. 2302.
  69. ^ Fly Africa forum"Instalment 9 - The Bosbok".  Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  70. ^ Norval, page unknown.
  71. ^ Edward Alexander. "The Cassanga Raid" (PDF). University of South Africa. 
  72. ^ "Joint Air Operations Interim Joint warfare Publication 3-30" (PDF). MoD. pp. 4–5. 
  73. ^ Caroline Wyatt, 14 February 2009, "Training the RAF's eyes and ears", BBC NEWS [6] Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  74. ^ Maj J Stallings (Jan 1968). "Close air Support and the Forward Observer" (PDF). Tactics Combined Arms Dep USAAMS. 
  76. ^ "Forward Air Controllers (FAC)". Royal Air Force. Outline Of Syllabus The students will be taught how to request, plan, brief and execute CAS operations both for Low Level and Medium/High Level operations. The student will have an introduction into night CAS techniques, Fire Support Co-ordination and Airspace Co-ordination. Subject to cat 2 Medicals, students will have the opportunity to experience CAS operations from the rear seat of a JFACTSU Hawk Aircraft. The syllabus includes EW, SEAD, Air C2 Attack methods and tactics, and weaponeering. On successful completion of the course the students will be qualified in Laser Target Marker Operators (LTMOs) and FAC Limited Combat Ready (LCR). 
  77. ^ "Training the RAF's eyes and ears". BBC News. 14 February 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2010. In the bitter cold and wind of the North Yorkshire Moors, a group of soldiers, Royal Marines and others are learning how to call in air-strikes and become 'forward air controllers' on the front lines in Afghanistan. 
  78. ^ "Join as a Soldier". MoD. GUNNER Obs Post as part of a Fire Support Team. Part of a tight knit six man team, working on the front line embedded in a manoeuvre unit. Trained to plan and coordinate fire from artillery, naval guns and mortars as well as control attack helicopters and fast jets. Kit includes image intensifiers, thermal sights, MSTAR man portable radar and UHF/VHF/HF radios. There are FSTs in all AS90 and Lt Gun Regts (inc Para and Cdo). 
  79. ^ "Specialist Qualifications". MoD. 608 Tactical Air Control Party, or 608 TACP as it is known in the Corps, is part of RMR Merseyside. Every TACP has four members, including one officer, whose role is described in the Forward Air Controller section. RMR Merseyside trains personnel at both the Manchester and Liverpool Detachments to be part of the TACP. The role of this very professional small team is to provide accurate descriptions and locations of targets, and indicate those targets using sophisticated LASER technology, to fast jets and other attack aircraft carrying a wide variety of weaponry. 
  80. ^ "The RAF Regiment - Experiences of a Forward Air Controller". 2007-08-07. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  81. ^ "REVIEW OF UNITED KINGDOM MILITARY HELICOPTER LOW FLYING IN RESPONSE TO A RULE 43 LETTER FROM THE LOUTH AND SPILSBY CORONER" (PDF). MoD. It is a vital component of anti-tank helicopter operations and is also used in a wide variety of supporting roles - Air Observation Post to direct Artillery fire, Airborne Forward Air Controller to direct ground-attack aircraft, casualty evacuation, liaison, and command and control, and communications relay. 
  82. ^ "British Army Vehicles and Equipment" (PDF). It is a vital component of anti-tank helicopter operations and is also used in a wide variety of supporting roles: Air Observation Post (AOP) – to direct artillery fire; Airborne Forward Air Controller (ABFAC) – to direct ground-attack aircraft; casualty evacuation; liaison; command and control; and communications relay. It is equipped with a Ferranti AF 532 stabilised, magnifying observation aid. 
  83. ^ Gillan, Audrey (29 February 2008). "'I think this is as normal as I'm ever going to get'". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2 May 2010. The prince had retrained as an FAC after being refused permission to fight in Iraq alongside the men he had led in his regiment as troop leader. 
  84. ^ Maj Brian T Koch (February 2007). "Evolution of ANGLICO". Marine Corps Gazette. 
  85. ^ "United States Marine Corps (USMC) Officer Job Descriptions". Forward air controller/air officers direct and control close air support missions and advise commanders of ground units on matters pertaining to air support. 
  86. ^ Rupert Pengelley (November 2008). "USMC proposes to train more squad leaders to act as FACs". International Defence Digest: 4. 
  87. ^
  88. ^


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  • Hooper, Jim (2009). A Hundred Feet Over Hell: Flying With the Men of the 220th Recon Airplane Company Over I Corps and the DMZ, Vietnam 1968-1969. Jim Hooper. Zenith Imprint. ISBNs 0-7603-3633-4, 978-0-7603-3633-5.
  • Lester, Gary Robert (1987).Mosquitoes to Wolves: The Evolution of the Airborne Forward Air Controller. Air University Press. ISBNs 1-58566-033-7, 978-1-58566-033-9.
  • Nalty, Bernard C. (2005). War Against Trucks: Aerial Interdiction in Southern Laos 1968- 1972. Air Force History and Museums Program, United States Air Force. ISBN 9781477550076.
  • Norval, Morgan (1990). Death in the Desert: The Namibian Tragedy. Selous Foundation Press. ISBNs: 0944273033, 978-0944273036.
  • Shepperd, Don (2002). Misty, First Person Stories of the F-100 Misty Fast FAC in the Vietnam War. 1st Books Library. ISBN 0-7596-5254-6.
  • Stringer, Kevin Douglas and John Adams Wickham (2006). Military Organizations for Homeland Defense and Smaller-scale Contingencies: A Comparative Approach. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBNs 0275993086, 9780275993085.

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