Tactical Air Control Party
|Go on love... and now your knickers...|
A Tactical Air Control Party (or TACP) is something of a Cold War anachronism that is being superseded by operational events.
This is not to say that what they do is irrelevant: quite the opposite. However, the entity itself - i.e. four blokes pretending to be some sort of SF organisation in Brigade that does whatever it wants is coming to an end. More of this later. There are 3 kinds of TACP:
- TACP (FAC)
- TACP (MAOT)
- TACP (ALO)
The TACTICAL AIR CONTROL PARTY (TACP) are the guys that square your air support away at BG level. It consists of An officer FAC, a SNCO FAC and usually a pair of signallers/drivers , the later two have generally been a pair of mongs that no unit wants , so they send them to a TACP . This is slowly changing.In the pre-Herrick days the TACP was basically a gentlemans club that would speak in air chat and cruise around in civvie 4x4s all day. Now after several years of Herrick and the command finally excepting that Air is king the TACP has been busy shaking off this un-professional image.
The traditional enemy of the TACP has been the officer corp of the Royal Artillery, as more BC's are completeing Herrick tyours and the cold war Gunner officers are leaving the RA/TACP relationship is slowly improving.As soon as the RA understand that controlling AC is not a drill and that arty for show CAS for a pro is true then the relationship will never be perfect. Its was on the cards that TACP/FAC business was yet another victim of RA empire building, however now that the RAF regiment are digging its heels in and FR regiments realise that NTISR provided by CAS AC actually provide tip top ISTAR . It looks like the pollution of TACP/FAC by Larkhill has halted. Also due to the ROE constraints on Herrick where precision strike is the watch word, CAS rules as guns are crap.
JFACTSU at RAF Leeming has recently switched from a 5 week basic FAC course to an 8 week CQ course, on completion of, the young FAC will be able top proceed with MST/PDT for Herrick and after some training will only require a CR check from a member of the FAC standards team. The TACP is now getting the recognition its capability deserves, this is through the hard work put in by a small community of staff at JFACTSU, and the experienced FAC's based around defence.
Hopefully the gunners will work with the TACP world in future instead of trying to take over this capability it claims to understand, yet unless they have completed the course and deployed as a FAC, they know sod all about.Saying that, many excellent FAC's currently serving in the TACP world are Gunners hopefully as these timed served FACs proceed up the ranks of the RA , everyone will benefit.
TACP (MAOT) does Mobile Air Operations which in the main means teaching Rigger/Marshalling courses, Helicopter Handling accreditation and such like. Another good bunch of chaps from the RAF. In theory you can't let a helicopter land somewhere until these hoods have OK'd it, but this is clearly bollocks. It's a top job if you want to swan for the rest of your life.
The TACP (ALO) (Air Liaison Officer) is never seen by normal humans in green and it is hotly debated where they all lurk.