Lance Cpl. Joshua Ratzlaff, a chart operator serving with 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, and a native of Spokane, Wash., helps members of the fire direction center convert target data into firing commands for the gunline during Exercise Desert Scimitar, a combined-arms, live-fire training exercise here, May 2, 2013. The FDC’s job is to take the information given to them by forward observers and compute how wind, air pressure, temperature, humidity and other weather conditions will affect an artillery round while airborne.
The AN/GYK-60 AFATDS is an automated fire support Command and Control (C2) system that provides the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) the ability to rapidly integrate all fire support assets into maneuver plans via digital data communications links. AFATDS supports the timely exchange of fire-support information and target processing essential to survival on the modern battlefield through the integration of all fire support assets, including artillery, rockets, mortars, naval surface fire support, and close air support. Additionally, Back-Up Computer System (BUCS) and Mobile Tactical Shelter (MTS) are subsystems of the AFATDS program that fulfill requirements identified in the USMC AFATDS Operational and Organizational Concept. The BUCS is a handheld computer system that resides on a Ruggedized Personal Digital Assistant (RPDA) designed to provide a back-up capability for computing ballistic firing solutions, as well as survey and meteorological functions, in support of field artillery cannon and mortar systems.
The BUCS hosts the following three software applications:
- Centaur, the Light-Weight Technical Fire Direction System application for computing safety parameters and artillery technical firing solutions
- Field Artillery Survey Program software to compute artillery survey data
- The meteorological software application to convert raw meteorological Plot Balloon readings into ballistic and computer meteorological messages
The AN/TSQ-17 MTS is a modified U.S. Army procured shelter mounted on a High-Mobility Multiple Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) employed by the battery Fire Direction Center (FDC), Battery Operations Center, and Fire Support Teams. It provides environmental protection for the AFATDS, its associated peripherals, and the AFATDS operators. The MTS is designed to protect against wind driven sand, dust, and rain. It will also permit FDC and liaison sections to perform required tasks at night without compromising light discipline. The MTS provides environmental protection at the battery level, while the Combat Operations Center (COC) provides environmental protection for AFATDS at the battalion and above.
AFATDS is the Commander’s primary Fire Support Coordination System employed from Marine Expeditionary Force to battery-level operations. AFATDS is used to provide the commander with the ability to rapidly employ all fire-support assets at his disposal. This allows him the flexibility to determine what weapon systems to employ in shaping and dominating his battle space. AFATDS greatly enhances the interchange of tactical data between all MAGTF tactical command and control systems through the use of graphics, common operating applications, and communications.
The AFATDS program is an Evolutionary Acquisition program, designated an Acquisition Category II for the Army. The AFATDS is a multiple service program and the Army is the Executive Service. The AFATDS program is in Sustainment. The AFATDS achieved Full Operational Capability (FOC) on 17 December 2015.
AFATDS: Raytheon, Fort Wayne, Indiana
BUCS: Fire Support Equipment Division, Army
MTS: Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command
(SPAWAR), Charleston, South Carolina