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Air Support Request (AIRSUPREQ)


An Air Support Request (AIRSUPREQ) is a formal communication used by ground forces to request air support from the appropriate air mission commander. This request outlines the specific details of the support needed, such as target information, force protection, and timing requirements. AIRSUPREQ streamlines coordination and prioritizes air resources to effectively support ground operations.

Key Takeaways

  1. Air Support Request (AIRSUPREQ) is a formal request submitted by ground forces to request and coordinate the provision of air support during military operations.
  2. AIRSUPREQ is crucial for successful communication and collaboration between ground, air, and naval forces and is used to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of military and tactical operations.
  3. The request must include critical information such as the supported unit, mission details, target information, and desired effects on the target to ensure accurate and timely air support deployment.


The military operations term Air Support Request (AIRSUPREQ) is crucial because it facilitates the timely and effective coordination of air assets in support of ground forces during military operations.

AIRSUPREQ enables ground commanders to promptly request and obtain aerial support, such as reconnaissance, close air support, or transportation, in order to ensure mission success, save lives, and minimize collateral damage.

By streamlining communication between ground and air units, AIRSUPREQ allows for efficient deployment and utilization of air resources, enhancing the overall effectiveness and strategic value of military operations while increasing the potential for a positive outcome.


Air Support Request (AIRSUPREQ) serves a critical purpose in military operations by enabling quick, efficient, and coordinated actions between ground and air forces across the combative landscape. As a vital communication and planning tool, AIRSUPREQ allows ground troops to request aerial engagement and enhancement to strengthen their position, and ensure the overall success of the mission.

This collaboration hinges on the effective transmission of timely and accurate information, detailing necessary data which includes target location, description, desired effects, and even the priority level it demands in the context of the entire battle plan. The utilization of AIRSUPREQ enables military leaders to more comprehensively assess the battlefield and make strategic decisions with foresight and precision.

With the capability of rapidly providing necessary firepower, surveillance, or reconnaissance, air support plays a significant role not only in the initiation of an operation but also in adapting to changing scenarios on the field. The versatility of air assets ensures that support can be customized to fit the requirements of a particular situation, further emphasizing the importance of AIRSUPREQ as an integral component in modern warfare.

Examples of Air Support Request (AIRSUPREQ)

Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003) – During the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003 by the coalition forces, the ground troops requested air support through AIRSUPREQs. These requests facilitated numerous airstrikes against strategic targets such as command and control centers, air defense systems, and enemy troop positions. Through successful air-ground integration, coalition forces were able to achieve quick progress and ultimately topple the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Battle of Takur Ghar (2002) – As part of Operation Anaconda during the early stages of the war in Afghanistan, US special forces encountered enemy combatants in a mountaintop engagement known as the Battle of Takur Ghar. An AIRSUPREQ was issued for close air support from fighter aircraft and gunships in a joint-force effort to protect the surrounded servicemembers and enable extraction. While the battle resulted in multiple casualties on both sides, the air support was instrumental in minimizing further losses and enabling the eventual control of the high ground.

Vietnam War (1965-1973) – During the Vietnam War, US forces relied heavily on air support to counter the challenges posed by the dense jungle and challenging terrain. Troops on patrol often called in helicopters for medical evacuations, resupplies, or to provide close air support in firefights. AIRSUPREQs were regularly used in battles such as the Battle of Ia Drang and during the Tet Offensive, where US forces routinely requested air support for bombing runs, artillery support, or aerial reconnaissance to gain situational awareness in the chaotic battlefield environment.

Air Support Request (AIRSUPREQ) FAQ

What is an Air Support Request (AIRSUPREQ)?

An Air Support Request (AIRSUPREQ) is a formal request made by ground forces to request air support during military operations. This request is used to coordinate air assets and ensure their effective use in providing assistance to ground units in need of air support.

How is an AIRSUPREQ initiated?

An AIRSUPREQ is usually initiated by a ground commander or their authorized representative, such as a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) or a Forward Air Controller (FAC). The request is then forwarded through the appropriate channels, such as the Tactical Air Control Party (TACP), to ensure proper coordination and approval.

What information is typically included in an AIRSUPREQ?

The key elements of an AIRSUPREQ typically include, but are not limited to, the following: requestor’s details, support request message format, target location, desired effects, any applicable restrictions or considerations, and other relevant details that may aid aircrews and decision-makers in fulfilling the request.

How are aircraft assigned to fulfill an AIRSUPREQ?

Once an AIRSUPREQ is processed and approved, it will be directed to the appropriate Air Operations Center (AOC) who will then assign the appropriate aircraft and personnel to fulfill the request. The AOC will consider factors such as aircraft availability, proximity, capability, and mission priorities when assigning air assets.

What types of aircraft can be used to fulfill an AIRSUPREQ?

Various types of aircraft can be used to fulfill an AIRSUPREQ, depending on the specific mission requirements and available resources. These may include fighter jets, attack helicopters, remotely piloted aircraft, and even large transport aircraft configured for close air support roles.

Can an AIRSUPREQ be canceled or modified?

Yes, an AIRSUPREQ can be canceled or modified if circumstances change or new information becomes available. It is the responsibility of the requesting unit to communicate any updates or cancellations through the appropriate channels, ensuring that all relevant parties are informed and updated.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Airborne Operations
  • Close Air Support (CAS)
  • Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC)
  • Combat Air Patrol (CAP)
  • Forward Air Controller (FAC)

Sources for More Information