There seems to be some interest amongst the readers about the nitty gritty of air land warfare.   Without going deep into the theories and practices of the art I think a small diagram would clarify the concept.   In any given theatre of war the over-all ground battle is controlled by an Army Command which controls a number of Corps.   Each Corps is composed of a number of Divisions of various natures.   Each Division in turn is composed of a number of Brigades.   Each Brigade is composed of Battalions which are the smallest fighting units.   Of course even battalions have smaller units called Companies and Companies are composed of platoons which in turn are composed of sections.        

Air Land Warfare (Old System)


In a similar manner, the concerned theatre of war will be under the jurisdiction of an Air Command HQ.   The Air Command HQ will control a number of bases.  In each base a number of strike squadrons will be positioned. 

 The Air Command will embed an air element with the Army Command HQ.   This embedded HQ will in its turn locate air elements with each Corps HQ.   From the  total air effort available with the Air Command, effort for close air support is allotted to the Army Command HQ.   The Army Command in its wisdom sub-allocates the available effort to the Corps HQ. 

 Each Corps HQ embeds a GL section with each airbase nominated to provide support to its operations.   The air element at the Army Command informs the air element at the Corps HQ the bases where air effort is available on a day to day or even an hour to hour basis.   Based on this up-to-date information of availability, the Corps HQ places demand on air bases for specific missions through the embedded GL Sections at the air base.    The aircraft are armed according to the type of target being attacked.   The GL section briefs the pilots on current ground situation and provides contact information for the controlling FAC on the ground situated with the Brigade in contact.   The base considers the need for air defence escorts in consultation with the local air defence commander and adds on the air defence element to the strike effort where necessary and available. 

 The bare bones outline I have provided here refers to the OLD system prevalent in 1971 and is not very accurate in detail.    With the revolutionary development in communication that has come about, a new concept called net-centric warfare is now being talked about.   The total interchange of data and information in net-centric warfare is far higher and takes place in seconds rather than in tens of minutes as was the case in the OLD system. It is worthy of note that a corps HQ may receive support from multiple air bases and an air base may have to support multiple Corps sectors at the same time.    The air base therefore may have to house multiple GL sections as a GL section will connect to only one Corps HQ.


5 responses »

  1. Sir,
    a minor nitpick, companies are composed of platoons which in turn are composed of sections. Anyway, for an armchair general like me it’s nice to hear about the real theory from an actual practitioner.

  2. Hi Tikku,
    I just started reading your articles very interesting.
    How to contact you .? Your Email address ??

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