FORWARD AIR CONTROLLERS

#1
Can any one help me , i am trying to find out about being an FAC in the army .I know SF do most of it but
i have heard that some other units have them .I have been on an exercise with FAC's but none of them wore
any rank badges or unit insignia except for some RAF . I am in the infantry so nobody in my unit knows much
about them . Any help would be great , looks the way ahead on the battle field but i know FAC's are high
value targets .
 
#2
You'd be looking at being a Forward Observation Officer with the Royal Artillery.Someone on the forum will have experience of the job,any 73/148s out there?
 
#3
Duty rumour floating around was that FACs/FOOs etc were being combined, at least thats what is happening in 3 Cdo Bde - FOOs moved to Poole so are now in larger teams alongside the old TACPs and NGS observers to create a new "FIST" team. Not sure about army Bde structure but in the brief we were told there will be an expansion for you all too, so Inf guys may get in on the act....?
 
#4
I was a FOO for a few years and getting onto a FAC course was impossible. No courses had spaces for 'normal' people like a FOO of an AS90 regt. The Commandos get courses as do some of the more exotic RA batteries, but even then spaces are hard to get. A FAC course is even more expensive than the FOOs course; one of the most expensive going at a couple of hundred thousand pounds per student thanks to ammunition, manpower (all the lads on the Guns etc), simulator time, vehicles and equipment, etc. The FAC course is all this plus cost of fast jet (not cheap, and neither are the bombs - if they can afford to use real ones anymore).

When I bumped my gums about not being able to get on a course my Ack wisely pointed out "Boss, do we seriously want to carry another effing radio and different batteries etc?".

The only ways I can see you getting FAC trained is if you:

a. Go SF or SF(lite).
b. Go Commando (not just the underwear).
c. Go Gunner and go 29, 7 or Spec Ops.
d. Get a mate who is OC the course and you buy him a beer and he puts you on.

Options a-c require that your soldiering skills be absolutely first rate. Mental and physical robustness are required in spades: it may look fun being in a 4 man team running around on your own (it is actually!) but the kit weighs even more than the standard infantry load with 50-60kg bergans being the norm. A lot of hard mental work is also required: soldiers tend to be unhappy if you call fire in a bit too close. While Arty can come in very close (a few hundred metres) without killing your mates, screw up with some of the munitions the light blue can drop and you are looking at a danger radius of a 1,000 metres.

Good luck.

Edited due to post above. Seriously hope that 3Cdo does not go the Yank 'FIST' route. It does NOT work. You are putting your entire indirect fire asset control into a single c/s. If that c/s is destroyed then the supported unit looses everything. It is a case of putting all your eggs in one basket. I saw this with the Yanks and their teams were crap with too much to do, so instead of being good at one thing, they became mediocre in everything. I just wanted to get FAC trained to gain experience and an insight into how Air works, but did not seriously want to control a Regt of Guns as well as Air and Aviation. I think my brain would explode and my radios melt.
 
#5
Come to think about it the guys i saw on that FAC exercise in scotland did have some wicked sidies and longish hair .Seems a top job
. Many thanks for the comments.
 
#6
Just been pm'ed . Is it true that recce regiments have FAC's that way i wouldnt have to carry my radio.
If any one can help please pm me i am dead keen , you guys have been great but your answers and pm,s condradict each other
 
#9
Continue Hot . . .

I'm one of them AbFAC thingies and know several chaps in the arty/recce who are also FAC. Recce Cpl should be able to help you out but failing that, PM me and I'll help out where I can.
 
#10
Continue hot that should read cleared hot , no such thing as continue hot in the FAC world . FAC course is open to SF , TACP'S,and Recce units . There are a few arty units that have them as well . Course is 4 weeks long at RAF Leeming and it is very expensive so they have to send the right guys on it . You dont have to be an Officer at all i am not . They prefer NCO's to be honest .if you have any ????? pm me .
 
#11
Recce Cpl . . .

Didn't see you in Scotland - presume you were East coast first then West coast for 2nd week?

Bummer . . .

Wycombe Warrior was good - for one day! The second day got weathered out (most of it). Have come to conclusion that the Apache boys need more FAC practice, but that's understandable - I think they only did the course recently!!!
 
#12
Hi pongo-pilot , yep we were east whilst you lot were west, we did make a movie , did you hear about it ?. Heard the 2 JFACTSU pilots would only re attack for the female abFAC .... usual story .
 
#13
Now is a good time to push to be an FAC. Each Bde is having its establishment enlarged to allow for more and, to be honest, the jobs are not overly popular as they extremely busy. RAF Regt have 16 AA bde slots all tied up for about the next thousand years but elsewhere there is plenty of scope for employment. If you have time consider working as a GLO for a while to get some corporate knowledge of the RAF and then apply to be OC TACP...
 
#14
continue_hot said:
Just been pm'ed . Is it true that recce regiments have FAC's that way i wouldnt have to carry my radio.
If any one can help please pm me i am dead keen , you guys have been great but your answers and pm,s condradict each other
The light Baboons definatly have guys FAC trained. RMR also have Tacp's as do the TA.
 
#15
try 29 Commando Gunners...they're looking at developing FIST-concept also

4/73 and 148 bty (RA) have FAC's ...but its a rare-as rocking-horse course.

Few people get on it and only the very best at that...heard many good things myself.....especially the Hawk flight...but take a sick bag!
 
#16
Good to see that FAC is being taken seriously at long last.

My recollection was a really old (54 and three quarters) Flight Lieutenant who used to take a plastic water pistol on exercise because he didn't want to lose a real one - he also used to stick one of these yellow post-it notes with 'notional NBC suit' written on it and then go a-kip while the rest of us sweated our nadgers off on high.

His oppo was generally a R Signals Cpl who got posted in to the job.

They had all the gucci kit (own budget) and swanned about in Spartans. Now if ever a job required some really committed soldiers, this was the one.
 
M

Mr_Logic

Guest
#17
continue_hot

Forward Air Controllers serve under the Joint Air Staff Organisation (JASO). This is an Army lead branch whose HQ is based at Strike Command. If my memory serves me correctly there are about 10 FAC jobs of which some are tied RM or RAF. 3 Cdo Bde and 16 AA Bde each have three and the other UK based Bdes have one each. The UKSC(G) units do not have them.

JASO publish a DCI each year giving details of GLOs, FACs courses and qualifications. This presumably is now a DIN. A couple of years ago JASO couldn't fill these posts. Furthermore, a load of GLO posts are currently being advertised for FTRS so clearly they are having trouble filing them. FAC posts themselves are seemingly a good tick in the box if you want to spend half of you time on a hillside controlling RAF and NATO fast jets doing Close Air Support (CAS). There used to be lots of travel opportunities to go away with RAF fast air Sqns when they exercise in Oman, Norway, Canada, Alasksa, etc... I am not sure if being a FAC gets you a Bde staff tick but who cares if foreign travel and destroying shit is your thing.

My info is a couple of years out of date but hopefully this should point you in the right direction.
 

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