Figure 7-5. Vertical LOS.
Air defense target acquisition and weapons systems require LOS from their positions
to the air target's primary avenue of approach. Aircraft require electronic or
visual LOS to acquire and attack their targets. Aircraft carrying airborne and air
assault forces require LOS to ground reference points and to their drop zones (DZs)
or landing zone (LZ) to safely and accurately deliver these forces. Areas that
provide LOS observation and FofF in excess of 4,000 meters should be considered
primary operating areas for helicopter-launched wire, radio frequency, and command-
guided antitank guided missile (ATGMs), and for threat antitank systems capable of
being employed in an anti-helicopter role.
Observation plays a key role in the selection of air assault LZs, airborne DZs, and
forward area refueling and rearming point (FARPs). LZs and DZs require good air
LOS access for the accurate placement of forces. However, as the zones themselves
are open and provide excellent FofF, the areas selected should be obscured from
observation and from the effects of direct fire weapons by terrain features, smoke
and obscurants, vertical obstacles such as vegetation, or by built-up areas. This
is especially critical if a time is required for consolidation on the LZ or DZ
before the force moves against its objective.
FARPs for fixed and rotary-wing aircraft present a similar problem. They must be
large enough to support FARP operations, have good LOS access to allow aircraft to
enter and leave the area rapidly, and be situated to provide protection for
aircraft during approaches and while on the ground. Finally, FARPs should be
situated to provide as much protection as possible from detection by R&S assets and
from engagement by indirect fire.
Both attack aircraft and air defense assets want as much protection as possible
from enemy observation, and both require direct LOS to the target. It is,
therefore, necessary to analyze battlefield airspace regarding the routes which
provide the best protection for aircraft