Long Range Surveillance

Long Range Surveillance

Long Range Surveillance, or LRS (pronounced "lurse") units (LRSU'S), are specially employed elite surveillance units of the United States Army that are utilized by Military Intelligence (Example: 313th Military Intelligence Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division) for intelligence gathering deep into hostile territories.


They fall under a Military Intelligence battalion (strictly, an MI Tactical Exploitation Battalion, or TEB) but are themselves Airborne Infantry units. LRS Units (LRSU) are formulated as either larger LRS Companies (LRSC), comprising 3 line LRS platoons, or smaller LRS Detachments (LRSD), comprising 1 line LRS platoon. A given line LRS platoon is organized as 6 unsupported LRS teams. LRSU operate up to 150 kilometers (90 for LRSD) from the Forward Line Of Troops (FLOT) a maximum of 8 days. Their 5 primary missions are reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition, battle damage assessment, and force protection. Beyond these, they also have many secondary missions to provide general battlefield information to military intelligence sources, such as weather and light data, map data, etc. Today's LRS units trace their origin to the US Army's Long Range Reconnaissance Units LRRPs of the Vietnam War and to Army Rangers. Like other elite units, LRS are Airborne, and most leadership positions are filled by Ranger qualified officers and NCOs. Typically, LRS soldiers undergo the Reconnaissance Surveillance Leadership Course (RSLC) at Fort Benning, similarly developing long range land navigation, communications, intelligence, vehicle identification, survival, and operational techniques. LRS team members usually carry the M4 carbine, M203 grenade launcher, and M9 9mm pistol, as well as the typical complement of specialized optics and communications gear.

LRS units (Infantry) are not to be confused with the new Army concept of RSTA units (Cavalry). As part of the Army-wide transfer to Brigade Units of Action, all combat divisions and separate brigades are transitioning to the RSTA format. LRS units are being transferred to the Army's new Battlefield Surveillance Brigade (BfSB) format. The brigade contains a Brigade HHC, a Military Intelligence Battalion and a Reconnaissance and Surveillance Squadron (R&S). The R&S squadron has an HHT, One Long Range Surveillance Company (LRSC) with 15 teams and two Cavalry Troops, each with two platoons. The RSTA capabilities are broader to encompass all aspects of basic reconnaissance and surveillance . The LRS units conduct the same reconnaissance and surveillance missions as a RSTA but they also have the more specialized capability of being able to conduct surveillance mission deep behind enemy line. Airborne reconnaissance missions are conducted by only three types of units in the Army. These units are the various LRS units, the Regimental Recon Company of the 75th Ranger Regiment, and various Special Forces (SF) units. RSTA units also have added light vehicle support in the form of HMMWVs and M3 Bradleys, (due to being commissioned as cavalry), whereas the LRS units do not utilize a larger vehicle support element. RSTA units are not airborne capable as are all LRS units (an exception being four RSTA squadrons of the 82nd Airborne). A primary method of inserting behind enemy lines to conduct surveillance (for a 6 man LRS team) is by night Airborne operation. In addition, By doctrine, RSTA units do not require their leadership positions to be filled by Ranger qualified officers and NCOs as LRSU units do. LRS unit's reconnaissance capability is more comprehensive than RSTA's, which may have to make and maintain contact with the opposition, thus failing to avoid detection.

LRS troopers are often graduates of the army's elite schools including the U.S. Army Sniper School, Special Operations Target Interdiction Course or SOTIC, Ranger School, Special Forces Combat Diver Qualification Course, HALO, RSLC, Pathfinder, Sabalauski Air Assault School, Jumpmaster, SERE, and other schools befitting a reconnaissance scout troop.

US LRSUs conduct training exercises and exchange programs with various US allies. In recent years these exercises have included deployments to England, Germany, and Italy. Joint training exercises have involved units from British TA SAS, France's 13 RDP, Belgium's ESR, Italy's 9 Para Assault Regiment and Germany's Long Range Scout Companies.

LRS team

Each US Army LRS (Long Range Surveillance) team is comprised of 6 soldiers:

*Team Leader (TL) which is currently slotted as a Staff Sergeant (E-6) position but is transforming into a Sergeant First Class (E-7) Position
*Assistant Team Leader (ATL) which is currently slotted as a Sergeant (E-5) position but is transforming into a Staff Sergeant (E-6) Position
*Radio Telephone Operator (RATELO) which is currently slotted as a Corporal (E-4) position but is transforming into a Sergeant (E-5) position.
*Senior Scout Observer (SSO) which is currently slotted as a Specialist (E-4) position but is transforming into a Sergeant (E-5) position.
*Assistant Scout Observer (ASO) which is currently slotted as a Specialist (E-4) position but is transforming into a Sergeant (E-5) position.
*Assistant Radio Telephone Operator (ARATELO) which is currently slotted as a Specialist (E-4) position but is transforming into a Sergeant (E-5) position.

LRS team operations are characterized by the following:

#Clandestine operations require OPSEC procedures before, during, and after mission employment.
#Team members depend on stealth, cover and concealment, and infantry and ranger skills.
#Team members avoid contact with enemy forces and local population.
#Teams are employed to obtain timely information.
#Teams have restricted mobility in the area of operations.
#Team members depend on communications, knowing the enemy's order of battle, and equipment identification skills.
#The surveillance or reconnaissance area is small, has a specified route, or is a specific location or installation.
#Team equipment and supplies are limited to what can be man packed or cached.
#Teams require detailed intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) from the G2 for employment.

ee also

*Patruljekompagniet - The only LRS unit of the Danish Armed Forces
*Jegerkompaniet (eng: Ranger Company (infantry)) LRS unit of the Norwegian Armed Forces
*Fjernoppklaringseskadron (eng: Long Range Reconnaissance Squadron (cavalry)) LRS unit of the Norwegian Armed Forces
*Honourable Artillery Company - LRS Unit of the British Army
*Platun Risik Gempur - The LRS unit of Malaysian Army
*Fernspähkompanie - Special unit of the german bundeswehr similar to LRS


* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/army/fm/7-93/index.htmlUS Army Field Manual 7-93 Long Ranger Surveillance Unit Operations. (FM 7-93)]
* [http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/army/tradoc/usaic/mipb/1999-3/dick-lydon.htm LRSU: EYES OF THE COMMANDER by Staff Sergeants Brent W. Dick and Kevin M. Lydon]
* [http://www.military.com/opinion/0,15202,78876,00.html "Riding With the Posse Part I" By Mike Gifford]

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