The 1970's Tactical Air Control System (TACS)
Control and Reporting Post (CRP). The control and reporting post was an operational Air Force element directly under the CRC. The CRP would augment the radar coverage of the CRC's area of responsibility and would also have weapon control capability. One or more CRPs would be used to augment the CRC's radar coverage. The CRP was the link between the CRC and the forward air control posts (FACPs) and would pass pertinent information to the FACPs. With the exception of the identification and weapons assignment and ATRC functions, which are centralized at the CRC, the CRP would accomplish everything the CRC does. Because of the similarities in equipment and operational responsibilities between the CRC and the CRP, if tactically necessary, the CRP could assume the duties and functions of the CRC by adding a movements and identification section and an air traffic regulation section. Either a Squadron or a Flight.
Forward Air Control Post (FACP). The forward air control post was a radar element normally under the CRP. Its primary functions were to augment the CRC and CRP surveillance coverage within the forward combat areas and to provide control of tactical missions during all weather conditions. Handoff of aircraft to forward air controllers (FACs) for support missions was also an essential function of this element. When tactically required, the FACP had the capability for limited intercept and airspace control. Usually a Flight.
Mission. When deployed in the initial wave of an air assault operation, the FACP provided a minimum air control and surveillance capability pending follow-on deployment of a CRC/CRP. This means that the FACP could be deployed with the mobile radar and power plant only, and with a minimum number of personnel to man the location. In this configuration, the control of aircraft was accomplished by using only the equipment in the radar shelter. As the situation became stabilized, the communication equipment would be deployed to the site.
As part of a more complete air control and warning subsystem deployment, the FACP was deployed to provide low altitude or gap-filler coverage and to provide increased control and navigational assistance to aircraft on offensive or defensive missions.
Equipment. The FACP was designed for rapid deployment and mobility to meet various tactical situations in forward battle zones. All the basic equipment of the FACP was housed in transportable shelters or on equipment pallets, which (excluding the AN/TRC-97A equipment shelter) are designed specifically for dolly-wheel M-720 mobilizer attachment. Both shelters and pallets were also designed for transportation on M35A or M54 truck beds and could have been sited and operated:
- With all equipment on trucks.
- With some equipment on trucks and some on mobilizers.
- With all equipment on the ground.
- With some equipment on the ground and others on trucks or mobilizers.
Seven equipment pallets were included with the FACP. Each pallet had two eyes on each end for towing or lifting. The radar set antenna was mounted on one pallet and remained on the pallet in both the operating and the transport mode. Two of the pallets contained cable reels for equipment shelter interconnection, radio antennas and masts, and other ancillary components required for deployment. These pallets were stacked, in all configurations other than helilift, to reduce transport requirements. Each of the stacked pallets consisted of an AN/TSC-53 communications set equipment pallet and a combined radar set and AN/TSQ-61 operations central equipment pallet. The remaining pallets held the A/E24U-8 power plants with cables, reels, and power distribution and control boxes.
The FACP also used the AN/TSQ-61 operations central and the AN/TSC-53 communications set.
AN/TSQ-61 Operations Central
The AN/TSQ-61 operations central equipment shelter contained the radar PPI indicators, plotting facilities, and communications access equipment required for operational control of the FACP tactical mission. The radar indicators were supplied with video signals and trigger pulses from the radar set. Voice communication between control operators was provided within the operations central and from the operations central to the AN/TSC-53 communications set equipment shelter. Radio-telephone voice communication access and remote keying control was also provided from the control operator positions in the operations central to the HF, VHF, and UHF radio equipment in the AN/TSC-53 communications set equipment shelter, and radio-telephone voice communication access was provided to the AN/TRC-97A radio set equipment shelter.
AN/TSC-53 Communications Set
The AN/TSC-53 communications set equipment shelter house the VHF, UHF, and HF radio equipment, a telephone switchboard, teletype equipment, and cryptographic equipment required for the FACP communications.
Note: Early FACP's used the AN/TPS-44 radar set, and occasionally the AN/TPS-43 (Basic). The 43 basic was used when a CRP, or higher, unit was tasked to perform the mission of an FACP.
Tactical air base (TAB)
Terminal air traffic control facility (TATCF)
Direct air support center (DASC)
Tactical air control party (TACP)