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The Foward Observer Artillery (FOA) module allows the mission commander/the artillery observer to request fire support from artillery guns that are either virtual, controlled by the AI or manned by players.

Types of artillery

The FOA module control interface.

The commander can request fire support from different types of artillery. They can use virtual cannons, AI controlled guns, and finally player controlled guns. 

Virtual cannons

The number of virtual cannons is set by the mission maker when adding the "HW_Arti_CannonNumber = 1;" (1-99) line to the init.sqf file of the mission.

Virtual cannons can fire any type of shell and can have any ammount of ammunition. The type and number of ammunition is set by the GM using the "add" button in the MCC artillery menu.

Virtual cannons are located off map and therefore fire shells that have very long ETA. Virtual cannons are used similarly to AI controlled or player controlled guns. The only notable difference being that virtual cannons will play a short audio sequence when given the order to execute a fire mission. 

AI controlled guns

The number and type of AI controlled guns is defined by the GM. The GM places artillery guns on the map and then decides which guns the commander will be able to control by selecting them and clicking on the "give to player" button. 

Player controlled guns

Any artillery gun manned by a player will appear on the list of available guns located on the bottom left hand corner of the FOA module screen.  

Using the interface

The user interface (UI) of the FOA module has many fields and buttons. Here follows an explanation of their proper usage. 

Choosing the gun(s)

The first thing to define is the type and number of guns which will execute the fire mission. On the bottom left hand corner is a list of all guns (virtual, AI, or player controlled) available to the observer. Click on one or shift + click on several of them to highlight them.

Note that by default, an empty virtual cannon named "Cannon 1" is available. 

The minimap

The minimap is used to locate the observer on the map and calculate the direction and distance to the target with the help of the click and drag ruler. 

In order to hit a target with accuracy, the commander must enter the coordinates of the target, and direction and distance to the target. The direction and distance and entered in the following way:

  • Click on the ruler button
  • Click on the minimap on the location of the observer and drag the ruler to the location of the target. Release.
  • Direction (azimuth) and distance to the target appear in the bottom right hand corner of the screen, under the minimap
  • Enter direction and distance to the target in the appropriate fields on the top right hand corner of the screen   

Coordinates of the observer

The other two parameters necessary to hit a target accurately are the x-ray (longitude) and yankee (latitude) coordinates of the observer.

Here is an example of x-ray and yankee coordinates:

100x100m grid location. Coordinates x-ray 03550 yankee 01950.

  • X-ray     (0)3245
  • Yankee  (0)2982

Here is how to read them: the target is located in the 100x100m grid 032029. Starting from the bottom left corner of the grid, the target is located 45m east and 82m north. This gives a precision of 1m.

The coordinates of the observer are always visible under "your current position" at the top of the screen. Next to them is a very useful "copy position" button that automatically enters the coordinates of the observer in the field to the right.

The last parameter to set up is the height of the target. If the target is located above the observer, they can use the sliding cursor to adjust the height of the target (0-50m). 

Keep in mind, that the target location is calculated from the coordinates you have punched in and the direction and distance you have given. Thereforefor if your aim is to call fire support for another player which is not around you and you get his direction and distance to the target you should provide his exact coordinates and not your own.  

For example: 

The forward observer (FO) is calling the commander for fire support on targets that the commander doesn't have eye contacts with.  

Forward Observer: "Steel Rain, this is Eagle 1, adjust fire, over." - Steel rain is the callsign for the commander, Eagle 1 - is the callsign for the FO, adjust fire is normal callsign for calling fire support.  

Commander: "Eagle 1, this is Steel Rain, adjust fire, over" - The commander repeat the broadcast to confirm.  

Forward Observer: "Grid 324 298, Over" - The FO sending his location to the commander in a 6 digit method the first 3 digits are the longitude (X) and the next 3 digits are the latitude(Y) this will give a 10m accuracy. 

Commander: "Grid 324 298, Out" - The commander repeat and confirm the location.  

Forward Observer: "Direction 097 distance 470, Over" - The FO sending his direction and distance to the target.  

Commander: "Direction 097 distance 470, Out" - The commander confirm.  

Forward Observer: "Two BMPs and 20 enemy dismounted infantry in the open, Danger Close, over." - The FO can describe the target and their fortifications and let the commander choose the right ordnance to fit the fire support request. If the FO or any other friendly forces are under 600 meters from the target he will call "Danger Close" so that the commander will choose less harmful ordnance and tighter spread so he won't hit friendly forces.  

Commander: "Two BMPs and 20 enemy dismounted infantry in the open, Danger Close, Out." - The commander confirm. 

Commander: "3 Guns, 5 Rounds, DPICM in effect, Over" - The commander describe his fire solution the amounts of guns that are going to fire, the amount of rounds each gun will fire and the ordnance type. In this example a total of 15 DPICM rounds will be fired from 3 guns.  

Forward Observer: "3 Guns, 5 Rounds, DPICM in effect, Out" - The FO confirms - if it is danger close distance that will be a good time to dig in.  

Commander: "Shot, Over" - The commander is calling this after the guns have started firing.  

Forward Observer: "Shot, Out" - The FO confirms.  

Commander: "Splash, Over" - The commander will be calling this a few seconds before the rounds should reach the targets so the FO can observe the hits.  

Forward Observer: "Splash, Out" - The FO confirms. 

At this point is the rounds hit the target and the target have been neutralized the FO will call "Fire for effect, over" and the Commander will repeat "Fire for effect, out" to confirm that the fire mission is completed. 

If the rounds didn't neutralized the target the FO will call "Repeat" and the commander will repeat the fire mission until it completed. 

If the rounds missed the target then the FO will call for "Adjust fire" and give the commander the adjustment (left, right, up, down) in mils (equals to 10 meters in game) to the target.    

Delay and correction

The observer can enter a delay in seconds in order to request a delay between shots, starting after the first shot. In other words, a twenty second delay means that after clicking on the "execute" button, one shot will be fired and the next one will be shot after a 20 second delay. If the previous fire mission resulted in a miss, the observer can enter a distance and/or direction correction. These buttons work in increment of 50m, meaning that a correction of +1 distance and +1 left-right will move the target 50m further and 50m to the right of the original fire mission target. These corrections are done with regards to the position of the observer, not that of the gun. 

Ordnance parameters

The last setting to modify is the type, number and spread of shells the observer wants to use for the fire mission.

"Type" gives a list of all available ordances for the highlighted guns.

"Nr. Shells" gives a list of the number of shells to be fired by the selected guns for the fire mission.

"Spread" gives a list of the types of grouping the observer can select for the fire mission.

  • "Laser" is less than a 50m spread
  • "Precise" is a 50m spread
  • "Tight" is a 100m spread
  • "Scattered" is a 150m spread
  • "Wide" is a 200m spread

"Fire" gives a choice between "Adjustment" and "Fire for effect". "Adjustment" is only relevant when using a virtual cannon. When choosing this option, the virtual cannon will fire a smoke round. "Fire for effect" will always be a live fire shell corresponding to that which the observer selected in the "type" list. 

Executing the fire mission

Once all the parameters have been set, click on the "confirm" button to send the fire mission data to the selected gun(s). A summary of the fire mission settings appears on the top left hand corner of the screen.

Then, the observer can either execute the fire mission right away, click on the "reset" button to erase the settings from the memory of the selected gun(s), or click on the "close" button to close the commander console and execute the fire mission later.

Note that as long as the observer doesn't click on the "cancel" button, the coordinates of the current fire mission will be saved in the memory of the commander console for further use. 

Alternate method of using the FOA

To increase the accuracy of fire missions, the artillery observer can use another method than that which is described above. This alternate method uses a combination of devices on top of the FOA module of the commander console. 

The Vector IV Rangefinder displaying the direction to the target.

Using the Vector IV rangefinder and the AN PNC/212

Using the advanced features of the Vector IV rangefinder (available in the CBA3 mod) in combination with the PNC/212 GPS AN PNC/212 GPS navigation system, a foward observer is able to determine the precise x-ray and yankee coordinates of the intended target without using the MCC console ruler. Here follows a step by step procedure:

  • Through the MCC squad dialog, get into the commander slot to gain access to the commander console
  • Equip a Vector IV rangefinder and AN PNC/212 GPS
  • Find a valid target

    The Vector IV Rangefinder displaying the horizontal distance and height difference to the target.

  • Aim at the target with the Vector IV rangefinder
  • Display the direction to the target (Click here to get the Vector IV user manual).
  • Display the horizontal distance + height difference to the target
  • Keep track of both numbers

Open the AN PNC/212 

  • Go the NAV menu
  • Click on "MOD" to update your coordinates once
  • Go back to the main menu

    The AN PNC/212 GPS waypoint menu.

  • Go to the WP List menu
  • Click on "NEW"
  • Enter the horizontal distance and direction numbers in the appropriate fields. Do not enter any number in the "Pos n/a" field.
  • Save your waypoint
  • Go back the the NAV menu
  • The 10 digit GPS coordinates of the target are now displayed on the bottom part of the NAV menu 

Open the FOA control interface in the commander console

  • Select the gun(s) which will execute the fire mission
  • Enter the x-ray and yankee coordinates of the target in the field where you would usually put you coordinates. Do not use the "Copy position" button.
  • In the direction and distance field enter 0
  • Set up the other parameters of the fire mission (delay, height, type, fire, spread)
  • Confirm the parameters
  • Execute the fire mission