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About calling in CAS

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Eagle-Eye
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About calling in CAS

Post by Eagle-Eye » Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:57 pm

Hey guys,


Wall of text incoming. :?

Yesterday, during the S2 GN, I was piloting an MI-24V Hind and I'm fairly certain we wiped out half of Alpha with one or two of our rocket runs. :oops:
Due to some weird issues with TS (not related to ACRE, I think), I missed the debrief entirely, so I don't know what was said, nor was I able to give my input about it. (would've been too long for a TS debrief anyway)

I want to focus mainly on the "How can we improve?", in particular I want to discuss if and how we could change the way we call in CAS. This is not specific to S2, hence why I write this in General.


First, let me run you through a particular situation that occurred yesterday which triggered this thread, to show what's going on to everyone that doesn't fly.
Unfortunately, I forgot to record, or take a screenshot from the actual mission, but the following image should be a representative recreation of what the map looked like yesterday. Note that almost none of these marks were prebriefed, but added as the mission progressed.

So, what happens quite often, in my experience as a pilot in this community:
We're hovering somewhere or circling / scanning the AO, when we get the call from FAC / JTAC:
"Svernyatka 1, FAC, check map, TRP Urgent, request immediate CAS, rockets."

In this situation, I had several concerns:
1) There are 3 items that make it really dangerous for a pilot to open the map:
- Full screen map, obviously obstructing your view (TAO Map is an option, but has its own drawbacks unfortunately, or I'm not familiar enough with it)
- Zooms in on your current position quite a lot, regardless of speed
- In the background, everything just goes on. Spend too long in the map, and you may find yourself engaged, damaged, nose down with terra firma in close proximity, ... upon exit.

2) Urgency. Didn't know why, though. High threat or overwhelming force inbound but still unaware? Active contact in unknown or unreachable position? Heavy contact? All I could make out by the tone and designation of the TRP, is they wanted that CAS 5 minutes ago, instead of 5 seconds from now.

3) Friendly units in proximity? Supposedly so, given the urgency, but where? Do I need to come in from a specific angle to minimise risk?

4) I have both HE and AP rockets. Am I looking for infantry or armour?

5) Where the hell is TRP Urgent? When you (the reader) first checked the map, did you notice there was a TRP Urgent? How long did it take you to eventually find it?
Basically, I try to avoid using the map as much as possible when flying, because of the reasons mentioned above. When I do need to check the map, I do so in bursts of generally no more than 5 to 10 seconds, depending on altitude, flight path and threat activity. In some situations, I cannot look at the map at all.

In the situation described above, what I need to do in 5 - 10 seconds (or rinse and repeat until completion):
- Open the map
- Zoom out from my own position
- Zoom back in on the AO to make out the overlapping markings (a lot of which weren't there yet the last time I checked)
- Find the mentioned reference marker
- Check the surrounding area (roads, fields, elevation or other recognisable landmarks) and attempt to visualize what the target area would look like from where I'm sitting
- Make sure I know where friendlies are (especially important in Danger Close calls, which happens with similar calls unfortunately)

So, eventually, I did all that, found TRP Urgent (between Y6 and Y8, just northwest of Charlie, for those still looking), checked friendly positons about 200m south and 150m east, and shift my view out the window.

At this point, I'm stumped ... I can't see any of the roads or fields from here, other than the causeway, and there's no discernable elevation change, so I have no clue where each reference marker is supposed to be.
Ask the gunner, as he can see what I'm seeing. The white warehouse on our 1 o'clock... Is that Y5 or Y6? The blue warehouse... Y4 or Y5? Or maybe W1?
Pretty sure the construction site far north is W4. Right?

Of course, the gunner also needs to check the map and get his bearings straight before he can confirm or correct, but remember, urgency, so all the above happens over the course of 30 seconds. In general for this community, I've noticed that FAC will ask why it's taking so long if CAS isn't raining down on target within the minute, so as soon as my gunner seems somewhat certain, I decide to go in, assuming the white warehouse is indeed Y6. Fire a salvo of HE into the trees to the west, and return to BP East. On the way out, my gunner tells me he thinks we may have hit the wrong target after all.

"Svernyatka 1, FAC, good effect on target. Thanks."
* SIGH OF RELIEF *


The friendly fire incident mentioned at the start, where I (nearly) decimated Alpha, was caused mainly by an unfortunate mis-identification between Y5 and Y4, due to lack of situational awareness about marker positions, and in lesser part, a lack of upstream about friendly positions and movement.

_______________________________________________________________________________________


Now,
How can we improve upon that?

What I would suggest:
- First and foremost, don't drop the map markers, but use them as a backup rather than the primary reference.
- Be aware that a pilot can not take cover and take a moment to check the map like ground units can.
- Be aware that what you see on the ground is not what the pilot sees.
- Provide visual reference points that stand out from a distance.
- Whenever possible, deploy smoke, flares, laser designators, laser aimpoint, IR strobes, ... to clarify the target or friendly area.
- When relying solely on map markers, provide at least a grid or other known reference point, and use a colour that's easily distinguishable from other markers or map background.
- Declutter the map as much as possible. Mark in the correct channels. Remove obsolete markers as soon as possible. (general advice, not just for CAS)
- Give a pilot as much actionable intel as possible on what's going on and what he's targeting. Always inform a pilot if friendly units are close-by. (for ArmA, I'd use <250m in most cases)

So, instead of "Svernyatka 1, FAC, check map, TRP Urgent, request immediate CAS, rockets."
Say: "Svernyatka 1, FAC, request immediate CAS, danger close, rockets, target BMP, 100m north of blue building west of causeway, friendlies 50m south of white smoke, TRP Urgent on map if necessary"

It may take a bit longer to transmit, but it takes away every need for the pilot to check the map. He can look outside and scan for either the causeway, the blue building or the white smoke and immediately know where he's expected. He knows what his target is, select the proper weapon, and could be delivering arms within 30 seconds.


Those are my two cents, wide open for remarks, questions, additions, changes, ... :)

Cheers,
Eagle-Eye
Last edited by Eagle-Eye on Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

StRiKeR
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Re: About calling in CAS

Post by StRiKeR » Thu Aug 23, 2018 6:32 pm

+1 on all.

There is real room to improve here.
We tend to do shortcuts cause its faster and easier but every once in a while a squad gets blown up.

A while ago I was toying with the thought of formalizing a "Zeus-Line" in replacement of the formal 9-Line that cuts out all the crap you don't need for ArmA and gets to the point. That would be pretty close to what your suggested line already contains. I would maybe augment it with known or assumed threats in target vicinity. Then it's decent. One could spin this further by requiring different items of information for different types of CAS (Type1,Type2,...).

What I do right now to maintain better SA in a pilot slot is to always monitor both nets. It can get loud and garbled but the additional information you get by listening in is priceless. In a community where maybe half of the people's native language is not English and stuff gets lost in translation or diluted in a game of chinese whispers, this helps. I'm already half-way lined up and looking for the target when a FAC gets through to me and formalizes the call.

Another thing I would recommend is to use the tools given to you in a mission. Shift-click and third person may be immersion breaking for some but both offer a real help to accuracy, efficiency and safety. We perceive this game through a monitor, your senses will be impaired compared to RL, use the assistance given to you. Especially if you risk blowing the good guys up by not doing so.

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Wombat
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Re: About calling in CAS

Post by Wombat » Thu Aug 23, 2018 9:54 pm

There's definitely room for improvement, not just with how FAC/JTAC operates but also the missions themselves often lack useful equipment such as coloured smoke and useful scripts such as Dmitry's "anti-flubber" script which makes using 40mm GL smoke far more effective for marking. I don't think the mission you used as an example suffered from this but other missions sometimes do.

When it comes to checking the map while airborne, using the "Tao folding map" (left shift + M) can be safer since it doesn't cover your entire screen. It acts similar to a pilot's kneeboard in this way. However, you can't move it around unlike the standard map, only zoom in and out (left shift + left ctrl + keypad +/-) so it isn't always ideal. It would be great if someone (Dmitry *cough*) developed a mod which provided similar functionality as the Tao folding map but allows you to move the map around like the standard map. Then pilots are able to check the map and fly at the same time to avoid accidents.
StRiKeR wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 6:32 pm
What I do right now to maintain better SA in a pilot slot is to always monitor both nets. It can get loud and garbled but the additional information you get by listening in is priceless.
^I do this as well and recommend you do it when possible. Even if you spawn with only one long range radio on your person, you'll more often than not be able to activate and use the in-vehicle rack radio so you can listen to both air and ground nets. What I do is I assign air net to my right ear and ground net to my left, and then I reduce the volume of the ground net radio to around 50% while leaving air net (and intercomm) at its default 100%.

By customising the radio volume and ear assignment in this way, I find I'm able to parse the relevant info from the ground net comms for improved situational awareness while still being able to easily ignore any non-relevant ground comms and hear air net and intercomm clearly even when ground net gets over busy.

Eagle-Eye
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Re: About calling in CAS

Post by Eagle-Eye » Thu Aug 23, 2018 10:23 pm

Wombat wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 9:54 pm
useful scripts such as Dmitry's "anti-flubber" script which makes using 40mm GL smoke far more effective for marking. I don't think the mission you used as an example suffered from this but other missions sometimes do.
Actually, it did on that part... :)

Image
When it comes to checking the map while airborne, using the "Tao folding map" (left shift + M) can be safer since it doesn't cover your entire screen. It acts similar to a pilot's kneeboard in this way. However, you can't move it around unlike the standard map, only zoom in and out (left shift + left ctrl + keypad +/-) so it isn't always ideal. It would be great if someone (Dmitry *cough*) developed a mod which provided similar functionality as the Tao folding map but allows you to move the map around like the standard map. Then pilots are able to check the map and fly at the same time to avoid accidents.
I know, but as said, it has its own drawbacks you mentioned which is why I hardly, if ever, use it.
AFAIK, you can not move the map around, so you're stuck with seeing what's immediately around you. That means you first have to overfly the target area, pinpoint the target location, flow out and then come back in for your actual attack run... :?

Would be very useful if there was some way to regain some kind of direct input control, but it's ArmA, so I'm not holding my breath. :P
Or if we could get a decent GPS (ACE does provide a few alternatives to the default one, iirc), that might work as well.
StRiKeR wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 6:32 pm
What I do right now to maintain better SA in a pilot slot is to always monitor both nets. It can get loud and garbled but the additional information you get by listening in is priceless.
^I do this as well and recommend you do it when possible. Even if you spawn with only one long range radio on your person, you'll more often than not be able to activate and use the in-vehicle rack radio so you can listen to both air and ground nets. What I do is I assign air net to my right ear and ground net to my left, and then I reduce the volume of the ground net radio to around 50% while leaving air net (and intercomm) at its default 100%.

By customising the radio volume and ear assignment in this way, I find I'm able to parse the relevant info from the ground net comms for improved situational awareness while still being able to easily ignore any non-relevant ground comms and hear air net and intercomm clearly even when ground net gets over busy.
Oh, yeah, I always do the same. Generally, own LR right, own SR left, monitoring channel low volume (30 - 50%, depending on ambient) on both. Does provide some SA, but generally not enough to provide CAS as fast as is often requested, especially in areas with a lot of foliage (e.g. PKL). We don't do "procedural" position reports (passing pre-planned reporting points, entering / leaving urban environment, moving from OP 1 to OP 2, ...) either, because we can rely on the map markers, and do so instinctively, because it works as ground units...

mathers
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Re: About calling in CAS

Post by mathers » Sat Sep 01, 2018 2:24 pm

Having been the FAC in that scenario, I support the motion of streamlining the communications to some sort of zeus-line as striker suggested. At the same time we should then also streamline the way squad leaders call their support requests in to FAC. I remember this situation vividly and the reason why I used the map marker wasn't placed by me, it was placed by the squad that called the air support in. Myself, I was about 300 meters away from them, on the other flank - meaning I had no way of improving target designation for you, because I wasn't actually eyes-on, I was working with what was given to me over LR, and frankly, it wasn't a lot. I'm not judging that, because the squad was obviously in distress, hence the 'TRP Urgent', which kind of gives that away.

So improving FAC/AIR comms is great, but if FAC receives hectic or incomplete information and isn't physically able to check up on given information then the relayed intel will suffer as well. On that note, I think wombat makes a great point. Any mission with air support needs to have the basic kit for target designation available.

While I agree with all points made, I'd also like to point out that it's beyond FACs capabilities to know what buildings the pilots identified as what TRPs, if there's uncertainty about TRPs, then it's on the pilot to say that.

"was caused mainly by an unfortunate mis-identification between Y5 and Y4, due to lack of situational awareness about marker positions" - that is not on FAC or ground, that's pilot error. If a chopper crew hovers over the battlefield for long times, like in that mission (the airstrike in question was called in a good 30-45 minutes after mission start, if I recall correctly, we had just passed the first crate) and still hasn't correctly identified which buildings are which TRPs, then frankly, zeus-line won't help. Better target indication with smoke will obviously ease the burden a little, but being able to correctly read a map and make the mental connection between what you see on the map and what you see on the ground is an essential skill for any air crew - and as you said, it's the primary reason why this went bad. And having better smoke isn't treating the sickness, it's just covering the symptoms. Moral of the story: FACs need to improve, but so do the air crews and squad leaders.

Striker, if you've already worked some sort of template out, would you mind sharing that? Some guidelines would certainly be appreciated by me and other regular FACs.

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Folau
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Re: About calling in CAS

Post by Folau » Sun Sep 02, 2018 12:08 am

I appreciate a lot of this discussion is S2-specific, but having flown CAS Jets (Helos very infrequently) on S1 a number of times recently I've had some real problems with ineffective CAS for a variety of reasons:
  • FACs have ranged from extremely well-organised and disciplined (holding patterns, ingress/egress, updating markers, etc) to being someone who just says "yeah go hit that area please" occasionally;
  • In one case the comms broke down to the point where infantry SLs were coming on AIRNet to try and task me directly, which added more confusion;
  • COs and FACs stepping on each others toes overruling each other;
  • Missions not having the correct support in place (smokes, laser designators, appropriately armed aircraft);
  • My own lack of experience of the whole system - I can fly a plane quite merrily but a lot of the "processes" are self-taught/unknown;

Whilst I've not yet had and blue-on-blue it's only a matter of time in my opinion. Last flight I came close to hitting a friendly squad with a Mk 82 because people were trying to bypass the FAC to save time, there was no process for deconflicting requests, and I didn't hit the TRP accurately enough which was actually (unknown to me) very close to friendly infantry. There seems to be a great deal of inconsistency across the board (myself included).

If there were actually some guidelines on what is expected from FACs, Pilots, SLs, etc I would be really interested in learning what is required from people who know what they are doing. Sharing what is good practise beyond debriefs, even if it's just a thread somewhere, and teaching what the roles entail. I'm certainly no expert in any aspect of it, and I think it follows our general pattern of being fine with infantry but assets throwing people more than they really should.

Oh, and I would like to take FAC roles but I feel it's not one I can just get through on the day; or that is my perception of it at least.

(S2 will have a different dynamic I am sure, as S1 is far more casual, but I've not been a regular on that to-date)

Eagle-Eye
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Re: About calling in CAS

Post by Eagle-Eye » Sun Sep 02, 2018 1:06 am

Just for the record: I wasn't aiming at or blaming anyone for this. It's a general issue that occurs quite regularly on both servers. As Folau says, there's no real consistency in (comms) discipline and skill level, both on ground and in the air. It was mainly the cluttered map in this specific situation that made me think about creating this topic. :)

I hear what you're saying, Mathers. The main issue here is communication and relaying the proper information in a clear and concise manner. (using appropriate brevity, preferably, but that may be my utopia :lol: )
It goes all ways that you can only work with the info that is provided to you. In a situation like the one you describe, where FAC gets limited intel from the squad leaders, I think it might be useful if FAC (global name for any dedicated role handling air assets or fire support assets) asks the initial requester for a grid and / or checks the map first, so he can then say something like "check map, grid XXX YYY, TRP Urgent" or "check map, [distance and cardinal direction] of [known or clear map feature]", so that a pilot at least knows which sector to look at on the map.


As for TRP identification, this is pilot's responsibility indeed. I failed that in that situation, and blame nobody but myself. :)
I don't agree when you say that the TRP should have been known, just because the mission had been going on for 30+ minutes already, however, as (almost) all of the markers were added mid-game. From the air, a pilot can distinguish several landmarks (which I refer to as Visual Reference Points, or VRPs), but unless there is a pre-defined naming convention, he has no clue if ground forces will call "a tall guard tower on the hill" (a clear VRP) TRP Alpha, TRP 25 or TRP Whatchamacallit.

What could help IMO is sticking to KISS ("Keep It Simple, Stupid") a bit more, improve communication, provide pro-active information uplink as much as possible, and designate "logical TRPs". When able or necessary, verify with all players involved that you're talking about the same thing.
A prime example of all the above:
First time we tried the PKL Sierra Station defence mission, Mathers was FAC, and his TRPs were clock dials around the station, with 12 being north, 3 east, etc. Simple, but clear and effective. Even though those TRPs were somewhere in the woods, with no discernible VRP of their own, they are easy to find as they are based off a central VRP. Good comms and pro-active information uplink happened when defence troops were falling back to their inner perimeter, and everything not on the top of the hill (= a clear VRP) was declared hostile.

During an attack mission, where things are less static, I believe it's better to stick to a limited amount of TRPs (max 5 or so?) that you know or suspect are easily recognisable on map and / or from the air, and shift from that point, rather than create TRP's where you need them on the go. (should work pretty well on S2, I believe. S1 may be harder when there are a lot of fresh guys)
E.g. there's a distinguishable landmark in the AO, and during briefing already, FAC designates that TRP Alpha. Later during the mission, FAC could use that as a reference, saying "Request Close Air, 400m east of TRP Alpha". This on its own should be enough, but if known, more information or description could still be added.
Or during the mission, FAC spots a construction site, designates it as TRP Bravo, and transmits: "Pilot, FAC, construction site at grid XXX YYY marked TRP Bravo." No need for an immediate CAS request, just a friendly call to enhance pilot's SA, and if necessary, there's time to confirm everyone is actually looking at the same construction site.



Striker, like Mathers, if you've already worked out something, I'd be very interested. If not yet, I'd be up for putting our heads together or even setting up some sort of work-group to get things sorted.

StRiKeR
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Re: About calling in CAS

Post by StRiKeR » Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:58 pm

Ok let's start putting something together...

First of all, here is a great public central ressource if you want to dive into it in more detail: Link

Now the RL CAS 9-line has lots of little items and bits, as well as read back procedures that we dont really need in all its detail. It's still a game and I think all we want to improve here is efficiency and virtual safety for all involved.

Now to understand the RL CAS 9-Line, here is the basic layout (those who happen to know better correct me if I am wrong):
1. IP/BP:
(For fixed wing aircraft, the starting point for the run to the target. For rotary wing aircraft, the area from which targets will be engaged.)
2. HEADING:
(Heading from IP/BP to target)
+ OFFSET (If needed)
3. DISTANCE
(From IP to TGT, in nm)
4. TARGET ELEVATION
(In meters ASL)
5. TARGET DESCRIPTION
(i.e.: "target is a single BMP-2")
6. TARGET LOCATION
(Note: There is a shit ton of navigational methods available in order to reference a position - I am not gonna list em all)
7. MARK TYPE
(Type of mark to be employed: white phosphorous, illumination, IR pointer, laser, etc. If a
laser designator is being employed, the four digit laser code and the laser to target line are stated.
8. FRIENDLIES
(The location of friendly forces nearest the target is given. This position is referenced from the target to the position
and is expressed in a cardinal or semi cardinal direction and a distance in meters. If the friendly position is marked, identify the
type of mark.)
9. EGRESS
The cardinal or semi cardinal direction to be used when departing the target and control points to use when exiting the terminal control arena

+

REMARKS: (This is where some important items are covered!)
If applicable:
Troops in contact or danger close
Airspace coordination: final attack heading (FAH) or altitude restrictions
Threat(s)
SEAD support in effect
Active gun target lines
Ordnance requested
Hazards (i.e. a mountain or a windmill, powerline)
Weather

For an actual comms example consult the doc.


Then the aircrew reads back at minimum Lines 4, 6, 8 and restrictions as well as headings. There are multiple types of control. yadayada... It's jut too long for this game. To walk through all this including a readback by the aircrew would take you upwards of two minutes.

Now what do we have and what do we need for Arma?

A. We have a large fluctuation of skill levels in CAS roles. This means we can not expect those roles to have all these items memorised. 50 percent of the time people are more occupied with struggling for control than being observant to the situation around them. The FAC should have these items memorized however. It's easier to control capability in one slot than in several.

B. We have a game which is very compressed for air assets. Fixed wing assets can cross an entire AO in seconds, threats are usually very dense, the view distance usually is rather low and maintaining any formation as fixed wing is near impossible.

C. We usually have very quickly changing situations (i.e. a spawning QRF) and contact can sometimes develop out of nowhere in close proximity to friendly forces. Due to B. it is very hard for air assets (especially fixed wing) to maintain a good situational awareness (SA) and constantly be aware of the situation friendlies are in, as well as their surroundings.

So, this means to me we need an abbreviated, to-the-point version that contains only the necessary points and takes as much load as possible from the pilot.

So let's analyse the OG procedure and Frankenstein this bitch:
(">" For comments)
1. IP/BP:
> Omittable if time is critical. Use if time allows for better line-up and target effect.
> For fixed wing IPs should be changed to IAs (Initial Areas). It is impossible to overfly points in Arma accurately.
2. HEADING:
> Omittable if Shift-click navigation is enabled. Otherwise give rough heading using "West", "North-West". Please no compass bearings. Too many numbers freak people out.
+ OFFSET
> Cut this, not needed
3. DISTANCE
> Not needed. Cut this.
4. TARGET ELEVATION
> Not needed. Cut this.
5. TARGET DESCRIPTION
> Absolutely necessary. Always be accurate and learn your warsaw pact arsenal fellas!
6. TARGET LOCATION
> Absolutely necessary. Always use and give ample information. Avoid ambiguous information.
> Never use map grids. Takes too long.
> Always use an easy reference point and then work with an offset. Example: "Target is positioned in treeline 500m west of XYZ village. Target is taking cover behind wooden shack."
> If shift-click navigation available always use markers. It's the Arma equivalent of the JTAC feeding a GPS coordinate to the aircraft. Not unrealistic and shortens this a lot.
7. MARK TYPE
> Perhaps omittable if shift-click is enabled. You have already passed this information in the last line.
> However, use whenever possible anyway for safety.
> If no shift-click, always use at least one method of designation
> This is the most crucial point: Most accidents happen because the pilot is struggling to find his target and is being left alone with it. Less experienced people then pick the next best thing that looks like a target.
8. FRIENDLIES
> Absolutely necessary. Always give and mark (not just map-mark) friendly positions whenever possible.
> If friendly positions can not be determined, the attack is a No-Go. The JTAC/Plt CO needs to always know where his own dudes are!
9. EGRESS
> Omittable if no critical threats in the area. Should be used to help the pilot dodge threats on his way out.

+

REMARKS:

Troops in contact or danger close
> Both required.
Airspace coordination: final attack heading (FAH) or altitude restrictions
> Omittable if no other aircraft present. If other aircraft are attacking in the same area, give brief picture of where they are going to be during the attack.
> If needed, mix this with the Friendlies bit.
Threat(s)
> Absolutely necessary. Always be precise and communicate even assumed threats. Also communicate the (assumed) location of the threat.
SEAD support in effect
> Not needed. In Arma, threat is either alive or dead. Everything else is irrelevant.
Active gun target lines
> Not needed. See Airspace coordination.
Ordnance requested
> Absolutely necessary.
Hazards (i.e. a mountain, windmill, powerline)
> Combine this with threats if hazards exist.
Weather
> Not needed.


Okay, that leaves us with the following:
(I am going to go ahead and merge a few points and change their order)

Final product:
1. IP/BP (IPs need changing to IAs (Initial Areas) for Arma)
2. HEADING
3. TARGET DESCRIPTION
4. TARGET LOCATION (Use shift-click (map marker) if able, otherwise use reference point)
5. MARK TYPE (Omittable only if time is critical and shift-click is available)
6. ORDNANCE REQUESTED (What and how much?)
7. THREATS (What and where?)
8. FRIENDLIES (Where? In contact? Is attack Danger Close?)
9. EGRESS (Only If threats exist)

Preferably keep it in this order, but it's more important that the information listed gets across.

So let's give two examples. One with shift-click navigation enabled and one without.

For reference:
CONTACT: Acknowledges sighting of a specified reference point (either visually or via sensor).
CAPTURED: Specified surface target or object has been acquired and is being tracked with an onboard sensor (or HUD/Mk1 Eyeball).

If the JTAC does not like anything he sees during the attack, the call "ABORT!" immediately orders the aircraft to break off and return to station.

With shift-click and comms after weapon release (and abbreviated as much as possible)

JTAC: "BIG KAHUNA 1-1, this is JTAC, CAS-Line, IP Ford, column of four BTRs moving slowly on MSR Moe, reference marker TP 1, target marked with tracers, use 1x CBU-87, possible MANPADs threat in target vicinity, friendlies 500m WEST of target in contact, egress left turn heading S.

BIG KAHUNA 1-1: "JTAC, BIG KAHUNA 1-1, read back, marker TP 1, friendlies 500m WEST of target.

(Read back only of lines 4 & 8, or target location and friendly location)

JTAC: "Good readback."

(BIG KAHUNA 1-1 proceeds until he sees what he thinks is the marked location/target)

BIG KAHUNA 1-1: "Marker location captured, target is column of four BTRs, BIG KAHUNA 1-1 in from SE".

JTAC: "Cleared Hot."

(Death rains)

BIG KAHUNA 1-1: "BIG KAHUNA 1-1, off hot, time of fall 5 seconds".

JTAC: "BIG KAHUNA 1-1, JTAC, target destroyed, say when ready next CAS-Line."

BIG KAHUNA 1-1: "BIG KAHUNA 1-1, ready CAS-Line".




Without shift-click and shortened talk-on (and abbreviated as much as possible)


JTAC: "BIG KAHUNA 1-1, this is JTAC, CAS-Line, IP Ford, heading West, platoon of infantry in treeline, 200m EAST of intersection MSR Moe/ASR Larry, target marked with red smoke, use rockets, assumed enemy ZU-23 threat 900m east of target, friendlies 200m WEST of target in contact, marked with green smoke, danger close, egress left turn heading S.

BIG KAHUNA 1-1: "JTAC, BIG KAHUNA 1-1, read back, 200m EAST of intersection MSR Moe/ASR Larry on red smoke, friendlies 200m WEST of target on green smoke, danger close.

(Read back only of lines 4 & 8, or target location and friendly location)

JTAC: "Good readback."

(BIG KAHUNA 1-1 proceeds until he can see the area)

BIG KAHUNA 1-1: "JTAC, BIG KAHUNA 1-1, ready talk on, I see the intersection and green smoke, I do not see red smoke".

JTAC: "BIG KAHUNA 1-1 , JTAC, call contact on the treeline 200m EAST of the intersection"

BIG KAHUNA 1-1: "Contact, captured, target is dispersed infantry in treeline, BIG KAHUNA 1-1 in from SE".

JTAC: "Cleared Hot."

(Death rains)

BIG KAHUNA 1-1: "BIG KAHUNA 1-1, off hot".

JTAC: "BIG KAHUNA 1-1, JTAC, target destroyed, say when ready next CAS-Line."

BIG KAHUNA 1-1: "BIG KAHUNA 1-1, ready CAS-Line".




Discuss.


PS: We should also formalize a Check-In that happens everytime an aircraft comes on station, with information for the JTAC considering aircraft capabilities and information for the aircraft considering situation in AO.

We should also redefine types of control for our purposes and define and allow more autonomous missions types for aircraft such as movement to contact for helicopters.

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Folau
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Re: About calling in CAS

Post by Folau » Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:21 pm

See that sort of thing is ideal Striker. I did have a look to see if this is in the Central Repository somewhere but the page about JTAC/CAS is empty.

It might be an "S1 more casual" phenomenom, but often voice procedure varies massively. Well, actually lots of the Infantry/CO comms are fine, but more specific ones such as CAS are where it gets more inconsistent. CAS is just one aspect where the comms I get as a pilot can be just an SL yelling at me to hit somewhere asap (then yelling when the Mk82 falls short) to a detailed walk-on by a FAC. Is there anywhere we have actually said "this is how we call CAS/mortars/etc" similar to FMTs teaching certain procedure, or has it just been based on individuals' understanding and that propagating through the community?

Also I want my air callsign to be Big Kahuna more often now...

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Wombat
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Re: About calling in CAS

Post by Wombat » Wed Sep 05, 2018 5:36 pm

StRiKeR wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:58 pm
Final product:
1. IP/BP (IPs need changing to IAs (Initial Areas) for Arma)
2. HEADING
3. TARGET DESCRIPTION
4. TARGET LOCATION (Use shift-click (map marker) if able, otherwise use reference point)
5. MARK TYPE (Omittable only if time is critical and shift-click is available)
6. ORDNANCE REQUESTED (What and how much?)
7. THREATS (What and where?)
8. FRIENDLIES (Where? In contact? Is attack Danger Close?)
9. EGRESS (Only If threats exist)

Preferably keep it in this order, but it's more important that the information listed gets across.
^ I can get behind introducing this revised CAS 9-line as an official community SOP.

However, I think we should be lenient on some other aspects shown in your example radio traffic.
StRiKeR wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:58 pm
For reference:
CONTACT: Acknowledges sighting of a specified reference point (either visually or via sensor).
CAPTURED: Specified surface target or object has been acquired and is being tracked with an onboard sensor (or HUD/Mk1 Eyeball).
^ These brevity code words should perhaps be given the same leniency as we give other brevity code words such as OVER/OUT, i.e. in our community, usage of OVER/OUT is optional rather than mandatory. It's really good if you do use these brevity code words (as long as you use them correctly), but you are not expected to.
StRiKeR wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:58 pm
If the JTAC does not like anything he sees during the attack, the call "ABORT!" immediately orders the aircraft to break off and return to station.
^ ABORT is fine though since it's easy to remember and it's unlikely for people to misunderstand what it means.

For sake of reference:
StRiKeR wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:58 pm
With shift-click and comms after weapon release (and abbreviated as much as possible)

JTAC: "BIG KAHUNA 1-1, this is JTAC, CAS-Line, IP Ford, column of four BTRs moving slowly on MSR Moe, reference marker TP 1, target marked with tracers, use 1x CBU-87, possible MANPADs threat in target vicinity, friendlies 500m WEST of target in contact, egress left turn heading S.

BIG KAHUNA 1-1: "JTAC, BIG KAHUNA 1-1, read back, marker TP 1, friendlies 500m WEST of target.

(Read back only of lines 4 & 8, or target location and friendly location)

JTAC: "Good readback."

(BIG KAHUNA 1-1 proceeds until he sees what he thinks is the marked location/target)

BIG KAHUNA 1-1: "Marker location captured, target is column of four BTRs, BIG KAHUNA 1-1 in from SE".

JTAC: "Cleared Hot."

(Death rains)

BIG KAHUNA 1-1: "BIG KAHUNA 1-1, off hot, time of fall 5 seconds".

JTAC: "BIG KAHUNA 1-1, JTAC, target destroyed, say when ready next CAS-Line."

BIG KAHUNA 1-1: "BIG KAHUNA 1-1, ready CAS-Line".
StRiKeR wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:58 pm

BIG KAHUNA 1-1: "JTAC, BIG KAHUNA 1-1, read back, marker TP 1, friendlies 500m WEST of target.

(Read back only of lines 4 & 8, or target location and friendly location)

JTAC: "Good readback."
^ I think this read back could perhaps be left as optional rather than mandatory to help keep the process more brief. If the pilot wants to be doubly sure, he can go ahead and give a read back but if he's confident he's understood the CAS 9-line, he can just say "BIG KAHUNA 1-1, WILCO" or some such.
StRiKeR wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:58 pm
(BIG KAHUNA 1-1 proceeds until he sees what he thinks is the marked location/target)

BIG KAHUNA 1-1: "Marker location captured, target is column of four BTRs, BIG KAHUNA 1-1 in from SE".

JTAC: "Cleared Hot."

(Death rains)
^ I'm a little dubious about this part. As you mentioned before, in Arma, a fixed-wing pilot often doesn't have much time between flying towards the IP, flying towards the target location, and then reaching the ideal weapons release point. Trying to send a message to the FAC/JTAC to confirm you have spotted the target and then waiting for a reply, JTAC: "Cleared Hot.", before you commit will likely result in a botched run due to missing the ideal weapon release point and overflying the target location.

Again, I think it would best to leave that part as optional rather than mandatory. Maybe the pilot should still say something like "BIG KAHUNA 1-1, running in SE". when he has reached the IP but then, if he fails to spot the target by the time he reaches what would be the ideal weapons release point, he simply aborts and informs FAC/JTAC afterwards.
StRiKeR wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:58 pm
BIG KAHUNA 1-1: "BIG KAHUNA 1-1, off hot, time of fall 5 seconds".
^ I would just say "BIG KAHUNA 1-1, PICKLE". since we rarely get a TTI indicator in Arma aircraft and the TTI is rarely significantly long anyway due to the relatively shorter ranges and lower altitudes we fire or release weapons at in Arma.

So, to summarise my preferred example:

JTAC: "BIG KAHUNA 1-1, this is JTAC, CAS-Line, IP Ford, column of four BTRs moving slowly on MSR Moe, reference marker TP 1, target marked with tracers, use 1x CBU-87, possible MANPADs threat in target vicinity, friendlies 500m WEST of target in contact, egress left turn heading S.

(In this instance, the pilot is confident he understood the CAS-line so he simply acknowledges he understood and will comply)
BIG KAHUNA 1-1: "BIG KAHUNA 1-1, WILCO"

(In this instance, BIG KAHUNA 1-1 is under time constraint so he immediately flys towards the IP while trying to spot the target/target location)

(BIG KAHUNA 1-1 reaches the IP and is on heading for attack run)
BIG KAHUNA 1-1: "BIG KAHUNA 1-1, running in SE".
(JTAC informs friendly ground troops of incoming air strike)

(BIG KAHUNA 1-1 spots the target/target location as he gets closer)

BIG KAHUNA 1-1: "PICKLE".
(Bomb released)

JTAC: "BIG KAHUNA 1-1, JTAC, target destroyed, say when ready next CAS-Line."

BIG KAHUNA 1-1: "BIG KAHUNA 1-1, ready CAS-Line".

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Re: About calling in CAS

Post by StRiKeR » Wed Sep 05, 2018 6:42 pm

Wombat wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 5:36 pm
So, to summarise my preferred example:

JTAC: "BIG KAHUNA 1-1, this is JTAC, CAS-Line, IP Ford, column of four BTRs moving slowly on MSR Moe, reference marker TP 1, target marked with tracers, use 1x CBU-87, possible MANPADs threat in target vicinity, friendlies 500m WEST of target in contact, egress left turn heading S.

(In this instance, the pilot is confident he understood the CAS-line so he simply acknowledges he understood and will comply)
BIG KAHUNA 1-1: "BIG KAHUNA 1-1, WILCO"

(In this instance, BIG KAHUNA 1-1 is under time constraint so he immediately flys towards the IP while trying to spot the target/target location)

(BIG KAHUNA 1-1 reaches the IP and is on heading for attack run)
BIG KAHUNA 1-1: "BIG KAHUNA 1-1, running in SE".
(JTAC informs friendly ground troops of incoming air strike)

(BIG KAHUNA 1-1 spots the target/target location as he gets closer)

BIG KAHUNA 1-1: "PICKLE".
(Bomb released)

JTAC: "BIG KAHUNA 1-1, JTAC, target destroyed, say when ready next CAS-Line."

BIG KAHUNA 1-1: "BIG KAHUNA 1-1, ready CAS-Line".
Yea if you really wanted to shear off a few more seconds, one could do it that way.

The only thing I am worried about is the omitting the "Cleared Hot." The point of this call is that when the plane employs dumb ordnance (guns, rockets, bombs) and in 95% of cases has to visually acquire the target for that, the JTAC will have eyes on the aircraft at this point and should be able to see if the aircrafts line-up is correct. This is to ensure safe operations when friendlies are close to hostiles. If the aircraft is not lined up right or seems to running in on the wrong thing, the JTAC can refuse clearance. Of course, and particularly for Arma, this is not really needed when using guided weapons of any kind. There it is much more relevant to give that quick feedback on what the sensor has actually "captured", as in the past we had occasions were a quick press on toggle target suddenly locked up a friendly vehicle which then got blasted.

IRL the different types of CAS calls (Type1,Type2,Type3) actually deal with procedures and rulesets for situations in which for instance the JTAC can not see the target area.

I would also not ommit the "Off hot" call as that is given past weapons employment, and is not critical for saving time. It also contributes to airspace deconfliction as it clearly indicates the aircraft is leaving the airspace over the target and is on its way to returning to the wheel. "Off dry" would indicate that the drop or employment of weapons did not occur on the attack run. Either because of an "Abort" call or hung stores (not a thing in Arma) or failure to acquire a good solution.

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