Battlefield Airman

Battlefield air support is directed from the ground by an Air Force enlisted man who travels and fights in a platoon of Army grunts. Under hostile conditions, a Tactical Air Controller makes complex ordinance and navigation decisions and then must “talk in” the pilot to make the airstrike.

The ground-based controller must visualize the terrain as it will be seen by the pilot approaching fast overhead. Many differences separate the point of view of the embedded controller from that of an elite fighter pilot.

In mini-games, trainees exercise part-task skills, such as Nine Line communication and the GPS rangefinder. But the core innovation is a two-player battlefield game design in which players swap perspective between airborne pilot and ground based controller.

The Air Force adopted this innovative perspective-swap approach in its Joint Terminal Control Training and Rehearsal System.  Separately, the voice-driven Nine Line automated trainer tested well in field trials at the Eglin Field JTAC schoolhouse.

Trainees direct air strikes from the ground.