Infantry Drills

C-63: Employment Considerations

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C-63. Mission success in attack aviation call for fire employment depends on leaders conducting detailed planning and coordination between the aerial attack team and ground unit already engaged in close combat. Once execution begins, there must be integration of the fires and movement of both maneuver and aerial elements. (See table C-4 for attack aviation call for fire capabilities.)

Table C-4. Attack aviation call for fire capabilities

C-64. Planning for attack reconnaissance helicopter support usually begins at battalion level or above. The battalion provides the aviation brigade or Infantry battalion with information on locations, routes, and communications before the attack team’s departure from its AA. As part of this effort, the Infantry platoons usually provide information for attack aviation call for fire employment. All platoon Soldiers should familiarize themselves with the procedures used to call for attack reconnaissance helicopter support. If attack reconnaissance helicopter assets are working for their battalion, the platoon and company provides suppressive fires on any known or suspected threat air defense artillery locations.

C-65. Critical elements of the planning process are the procedures and resources used in marking and identifying targets and friendly positions. Leaders consider these factors thoroughly, regardless of the time available to the ground and air commanders.

C-66. The aerial attack team coordinates directly with the lowest-level unit in contact on the Infantry platoon and company radio command net. Whenever practicable, before the attack team launches the attack aviation call for fire operation, the leader or commander conducts final coordination with the attack reconnaissance helicopters in a concealed position known as the aerial holding area. The holding area is a point in space within the supported unit’s area of operation oriented toward the threat; it allows the attack team to receive requests for immediate attack aviation call for fire and expedite the attack. The aerial holding area could be an alternate battle position positioned out of range of the threat’s direct fire and indirect fire weapons ranges.

C-67. Final coordination between the ground and helicopter units must include agreement on methods of identifying and marking friendly and threat positions. This should take advantage of the equipment and capabilities of the attack team, including the forward-looking infrared system, the thermal imaging system, and night vision devices.

C-68. Coordination also should cover the battle position, and assault by fire, or support-by-fire positions used by the attack reconnaissance helicopters. The leader should offset these positions from the ground maneuver unit to maximize the effects of the attack team’s weapons and to minimize the risk of fratricide and friendly fire. To prevent indirect fires within the area of operation or zone from posing a danger to the helicopters, the commander informs direct support artillery and organic mortars of the aerial positions. (Refer to ATP 3-09.32 for more information.)

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Go Back To: U.S. Army FM 3-21.8: The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad