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wardialer
Topic Author
Posts: 1243
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2001 1:08 pm

LAT/LONG - The most preferred unit used by USAF aviation?

Sun Nov 14, 2021 7:40 pm

For military type missions, what is the most accurate LAT/LONG units used by the USAF?
DD MM.M'
or
DD MM'SS"
or
MGRS
 
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flyingturtle
Posts: 6202
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:39 pm

Re: LAT/LONG - The most preferred unit used by USAF aviation?

Sun Nov 14, 2021 9:18 pm

DD MM.M gives you 185 meters of precision at the equator.

DD MM'SS" will give you 31 meters

And the rusty, crusty Wikipedia gives you for MGRS:

4Q .....................GZD only, precision level 6° × 8° (in most cases)
4QFJ ...................GZD and 100 km Grid Square ID, precision level 100 km
4QFJ 1 6 ...............precision level 10 km
4QFJ 12 67 .............precision level 1 km
4QFJ 123 678 ...........precision level 100 m
4QFJ 1234 6789 .........precision level 10 m
4QFJ 12345 67890 .......precision level 1 m
 
wardialer
Topic Author
Posts: 1243
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2001 1:08 pm

Re: LAT/LONG - The most preferred unit used by USAF aviation?

Sun Nov 14, 2021 10:35 pm

As for USAF aircraft like drones, and fighter aircraft that go on air strikes, they would mostly use the MGRS coordinates format?
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: LAT/LONG - The most preferred unit used by USAF aviation?

Sun Nov 14, 2021 11:06 pm

Targeting is whole world of its own. It’s three dimensional for starters, not just last-long but height above the ellipsoid. If you’re attacking a building and the strike has to be aimed at the 6 th floor, for example. Then, there’s time on target.

The A-10 NAV system could use either coordinate system, tactically MGRS. The C-5 only used last-long but could specify the coordinate system if something other than WGS-84 was desired. Never did it.
 
wardialer
Topic Author
Posts: 1243
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2001 1:08 pm

Re: LAT/LONG - The most preferred unit used by USAF aviation?

Sun Nov 14, 2021 11:31 pm

What would the target position format be as an example of targeting a building on the 6th floor. Would that be MGRS? Or is it a very independent format system? In other words, it would not be either LAT/LONG or MGRS.

As for fighter jets, DD.MM is used instead as opposed to DMS when entering waypoints?
 
Woodreau
Posts: 2214
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2001 6:44 am

Re: LAT/LONG - The most preferred unit used by USAF aviation?

Sat Dec 04, 2021 3:13 pm

The other posts have mentioned precision which both MGRS and Lat/Long provide and accuracy which depends

For targeting the target location is determined using a mensurated target coordinate which is a Lat/long which can be converted to MGRS retaining the same precision. It depends on what the weapon systems need

When using lat/long or MGRS the thing to check is which datum you’re using. For a given lat long, a particular lat/long in one datum is not the same location as the same lat/long in a different datum

Most of civilian aviation has standardized on WGS-84 as agreed upon by ICAO convention. But for other purposes you don’t know what datum is specified unless you check.

Most of western world has been converting everything to WGS-84 to conform to the position reported by GPS satellites.

The US has standardized on NAD-83 which is equivalent to WGS-84 without correction. Europe was using the European datum. Japan used the Tokyo datum.

The Tokyo datum is an extreme case where a given lat/long given using WGS-84 is about 800-1000 meters off from the same lat/long using the Tokyo datum.

So once you know which datum you’re using there are conversion formulas to convert location coordinates from one datum to another.

Tacair when providing CAS to ground forces uses MGRS because that is what ground forces use with the target location provided by the TACP in the nine-line briefing to the pilots when checking in.


Accuracy required depends on the weapons system employed and the desired effects on the target. If your aiming for target destruction then you need to be more accurate as it’s very resource intensive to destroy a target

If you’re just suppressing a target or harrassing a target for a limited period of time. Then less accuracy is needed.

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