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The Tactical Air Control Party, commonly abbreviated TACP, is a small team of Marine or Air Force personnel who provide airspace deconfliction and terminal control of close air support at battle group level or below. It usually consists of an officer Forward Air Controller (FAC), a SNCO FAC and usually a pair of signallers/drivers.
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In the United Kingdom Armed Forces TACP personnel may come from the Royal Marines, Army or RAF Regiment Every TACP has four members, one officer and one SNCO who are trainned Forward Air Controllers. Two signallers (JNCOs) who are responsible for communication equipment and assist in tasking aircraft to FACs in forward positions. The FAC's role is to guide attack aircraft and fast jets to the correct target by providing descriptions and locations to the pilots via a range of telecommunications equipment.
FACs and TACPs in the United Kingdom are trained at the Joint Forward Air Controller Training Standards Unit (JFACTSU).
A USAF TACP, is usually a team of two or more United States Air Force TACP journeyman or craftsman (AFSC 1C4X1) aligned with a conventional or special operational United States Army combat maneuver unit to advise ground commanders on the best use of air power, establish and maintain command and control communications, and provide precision terminal attack guidance of U.S. and coalition fixed- and rotary-wing close air support aircraft, artillery, and naval gunfire. A TACP always includes at least one Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) qualified to control attack aircraft. It can also include an Air Liaison Officer, who is often JTAC qualified and serves in a senior advisor capacity. JTAC teams are primarily stationed with and support army combat units.
Traditional Marine Corps infantry battalions each have a Forward Air Controller (FAC), who is a Marine Corps Pilot acting liaison between their fighter jets and the infantry battalion. A Marine Corps FAC (7502 MOS) is commonly referred to as the Air Officer. Underneath him, he has two other FACs and three Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs - 8002 MOS). Ideally the three FACs (including the Air Officer) come from three different aviation backgrounds: one tactical jet pilot (F/A-18 or AV-8B), one tactical helicopter pilot (AH-1W or UH-1Y), and one assault support pilot (CH-46, CH-53, KC-130 or MV-22). Ideally, the three JTACs come from an artillery background (Forward Observer - 0861 MOS).
In addition to the three FACs and three JTACs, the infantry battalion also has eight Joint Fires Observers (JFOs) distributed among the rifle companies.