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A new aspect of the ANSF is the newly-trained
Afghan Tactical Air Coordinators or ATACs. These are members on the ground
who are trained "to work with air and ground assets to deconflict
issues with airspace by ensuring that operators of artillery, mortars, and
other ground-based weapons are aware of aircraft in the area and that the
aircraft know where ground forces are". 1.
Afghan Mi-17 Helicopter
Photo: USAF MSgt
The establishment of a Terminal Air Controller
program for the Afghans was recognized by some in the Coalition Air Forces
as a needed development early on in the Afghan War
2.; but the formation of a school to train
the Afghans in calling in air support would not take place until 2013.
Some high-ranking Coalition officers felt that the Afghans were not
capable of directing air strikes but they would later be proved wrong once
the ATACs were fielded at brigade and kandak level.
Numbers of ATACs. It was reported
in March 2015 by U.S. Central Command that there were more than 200 ATACs
spread across the ANA corps. 3.
Videos about Afghan Tactical Air Coordinators
April 11, 2016. "Afghan Tactical Air Controllers
train with MD530 attack helicopters", posted by Resolute Support on
August 29, 2015. "Advising the Afghan National
Army". An Airspace Management advisor, Ellyn Grosz, provides advice and
assistance to members of the 201st ANA Corps and ATACs during Operation
News Articles about the Afghan
Tactical Air Coordinators (ATAC)
April 22, 2016.
"Australia Assists in Training Afghan Pilots and JTACS", Special
Operations International. The GCPSU now has training opportunities
with Afghan JTACS and can incorporate the JTACS into operational planning.
September 26, 2014.
"Afghan soldiers graduate from ATAC school". DVIDS. ANA soldiers
complete the Afghan Tactical Air Coordinator's course in Laghman province.
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1. For more on ATACs see "ANA, AAF coordinate
clearing operation in dangerous Wardak Valley", DVIDS, October
18, 2013 availble
2. For more on advocates who supported a forward air controller program
for the Afghans see Afghanistan Needs Our Air Power not Our
'Boots on the Ground', by Squadron Leader David Stubbs,
RAFCAPS Discussion Paper No. 3, Royal Air Force Centre for Air Power
Studies, 2010, page 7.
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