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The JTAC, Who is he? What does he do? And What does JTAC stand for anyways?

Who is he?

The link between the ground forces and air assets providing the big guns.

What does he do?
  • Know the enemy situation and location of friendly units.
  • Know the Commanders target priority and desired effects on targets.
  • Validate targets of opportunity
  • Know the commanders intent and ROE.
  • Submit immediate requests for CAS.
  • Control CAS with commanders approval
  • Provide initial BDA report.
Well JTAC stands for?

Joint Terminal Attack Controller

also known as

Forward Air Controller,


CAS Preparation

1  -  CAS PLAN

2  -  Movement

  • Execute maneuver plan
  • Establish OP’s

3  -  Observation

  • Observer targets
  • Observe places of interest



A JTAC acts as a liaison between the ground forces and there air assets providing the big guns.

The JTAC increases the effectiveness of both groups by providing the ground troops with fast, reliable access to on the mark air support.

The JTAC Reduces the chance for “collateral damage” and friendly fire accidents. It also allows air assets to engage enemies in ways they are not capable of doing any other way.


For example an A-10 would not fire rounds into a house under any conditions except if a JTAC ordered a strike on the structure because his ground forces were receiving enemy fire from that building.




JTAC Essentials

When filling the role as a JTAC you MUST have the right equipment.
However a JTAC should be able to cobble a 9-line together with less than ideal equipment in an emergency situation.
if you don’t have to, why risk it?

The ideal JTAC load out consists of:
  • MAP

Well this is self explanatory why you need this.


You need some way of telling accurate directions on the map.


Excellent for getting the range and grid of location within line of sight.

Grids can be stored in DAGR for future reference.

Remember to pack some batteries.


Preferably of several different colors.

Avoid using green because it blends in to the pilot’s HUD.

I like to use Blue, and Red but white shows up best of all.

Forget IR markers or strobes they don’t work, they do not show up in IR cameras which is the most likely camera helo gunners would use, and they don’t show up until a pilot using night vision is almost on top of you.


Essential if you have CAS on station.

How do you expect to guide a Bomb or hellfire onto target, you would simply be an idiot to not bring one of these along.


If you have to give your left arm to get these, do it, you”l be glad you did.


Without this you are useless.

You will want to carry a PRC-117 so you can communicate and transmit a 9-lines to waiting CAS aircraft.



9 Line

A 9-line is the standard method JTAC’s use to call in a CAS strike.

Some information simply isn’t possible to get in ArmA, such as elevation and LAT/LONG, so an ArmA modified version goes as follows.

A 9 line for ArmA should read like this

JTAC: “Showtime, this is Shadow, prepare for 9-line”

Pilot: “Shadow, this is Showtime, ready to copy”



JTAC: “2-7-0”

JTAC: “2-8-0-0”


JTAC: “LASER, 2-7-0”

JTAC: “HILL 2-6-0-0, at 2-7-0, RED SMOKE”




Pilot: “Shadow, Showtime, Copy”

Pilot: “UMINA”

Pilot: “2-7-0, 2-8-0-0, ROAD”

Pilot: “HILL 1-0-0-0 at 2-7-0, RED SMOKE”

Pilot: “GBU”


JTAC: “Showtime, Shadow, Roger Good Copy”


The JTAC should give enough time between each line for the pilot to write it down.

The Pilot should give enough time for the JTAC to double check the instructions.

A mistake here will make for a total failure.



Now to explain what the above 9 line actual means!




 This tells you that the target is 2800 meters directly west (270) of IP-UMINA.



“LASER, 270”

 This tells us that the target is a T72 on the main road and the target is being marked by a laser pointing at the target on a bearing of 270.

The lasers bearing or laser-to-target-line is important because if the pilot can’t see the laser he cannot lock onto it.

It is always best to approach a laser target from as parallel a course of the laser beam as possible to provide the best chance for success.

So for this attack you would want to fly over the target on a heading of between 300 and 240 for the best chance of success.


“HILL 1000 at 270, RED SMOKE”

This is the location of friendly forces, they are on a hill 2600m west of IP UMINA and they are

marking their position via red smoke.



 This is the IP point to which you should egress meaning after this attack you should make a 180

degree turn and return to the IP point from which you came.



 This is the line used for other remarks such as any local threats, whether the CAS run will be

DANGER CLOSE, whether the attack run will be in a canyon things like that. In this particular

example the JTAC has requested the pilot deploy a GBU-12 on the target.