Calling in the Big Guns - JTAC/FTL Guide

So, you think your flimsy M41A’s and M37’s are just not good enough at killing the Xenos? Do you think there aren’t enough explosions and friendly fire?
Well, this guide is for you! You will learn how to call in CAS, Mortar, or the OB.


There are a couple of pieces of equipment you might want to grab, these are;

  • JTAC Key - Unless your job already comes with one, you will need to grab one of these either via your Vendor in exchange for a couple of points, or get one from Requisitions.
    Without it, you can’t contact the CAS pilot, which would make calling in fire missions fairly difficult. You can talk into the JTAC channel with :j.

  • JTAC Pamphlet - If your job doesn’t come with the JTAC skill, like riflemen, you will need to use this to be able to use the laser designator.

  • Laser Designator - One way of calling fire missions, this will allow you to do two things, either get coordinates of a specified location, which is needed to call in mortar strikes or orbital bombardments. The lasing function lets you call in CAS Fire Missions. This has some limitations, namely, you cannot lase locations that are under a roof, and the lase will be interrupted if you move while doing it.
    These functions can be changed by Alt-Clicking the laser designator, and to use it, Ctrl+Click on the location you want to laze. You need to be zoomed in with the laser designator for it to work (pressing Z).
    These also have a specific ID tied to them, which you can get by examining the laser designator. The whole ID would be your squad, followed by the ID on the laser designator.
    For example, Delta-13.

  • Marking Flares - An alternative to lasing with the laser designator. While you cannot get coordinates with these, you can call fire missions with marking flares.
    Simply activate them and throw them where you want for the fire mission to take place. Each flare also has its own ID, which you can examine to get. These flares also can be used under thin roofing, in contrast to laser designators.
    The trade-off is that they are limited to how much of the flares you bring. Also, the range is much shorter, as you either have to throw them by hand or shoot them with a flare gun (which will be covered below).
    Even with this, I would strongly recommend using these, as there is a good chance you will have to call fire missions in roofed areas, and you do not have to stand still to use them.

  • Flare Gun - A flare gun fitted with a scope, allows you to send marking flares further. Also, these have built IFF, which means you can fire past marines.
    This is very helpful, as you do not have to risk going close to the line to throw a flare down.

  • USCM Radio Telephone Pack - While not used to call CAS directly, these allow you to contact anyone with their own telephone, even when communications are not working.
    While just a somewhat better backpack while communications are working, these are pretty much mandatory if you want to communicate with anyone while comms are down.

CAS Firemissions

Calling CAS Fire missions

So, you are in a choke with your fellow marines, and you need some close air support.
First, make sure that the CAS pilot is flying, either by paying attention to when they say that they are going up, or just asking them directly via the JTAC channel or telephone.
Next thing, you need to make sure that you are not under some thick roofing. You can Shift-Click any tile next to you, and it will tell you if the roof above can stop the ordinance.
If there is no roof, then make sure that the marines are not pushing. The last thing you want is to wipe out your marine push with friendly fire.
Next, either use your laser designator or marking flare to set the location of the fire mission.
You can offset the fire mission in any direction to 12 tiles max, so it doesn’t need to be on the exact spot.
Next, you contact the JTAC pilot and call in these three things:

ID - Your first letter of the squad and the ID of the flare/laser designator. For example; D-15, A-12, B-52.
Direction - The direction you want the CAS to fire in, north, west east, or south. Make sure to get this right, you don’t want to fire a mission towards you!
Offset - The offset from the flare/lase to the fire mission. The maximum offset is 12, it’s usually the safest option if you are lasing close to the front line.

So, your message would be something like “CAS Fire D-15 North 12”.
After a few seconds, the pilot should call in “Fired” if they selected your fire mission.
Then, (hopefully) watch the fireworks as the two lesser drones and a face hugger get torn to shreds with whatever weaponry the pilot decided to use.
If there is something wrong with the mission, such as the flare being underground, the pilot will let you know.

CAS Directs

Calling CAS Directs

You can also call in direct missions, which just fire a weapon once at the exact spot of your flare/lase.
This is usually reserved for missiles, as some of them cannot be used in standard fire missions.
You flare and lase the same way, but when calling in you would just say “CAS Fire Direct D-15”

Mortar Strikes

Calling Mortar Strikes

An alternative to CAS, the M402 Mortar can fire a variety of shells to specific coordinates. Like fire missions, these can be offset in any direction you want, even diagonally.
There are three main types of shells, High Explosive, which causes a big boom that decimates T1’s. Incendiaries, which leave a large coverage of napalm in the area.
Last, the camera flares shells, which light up the surrounding area and let the mortar operator see where the shell has landed.

To call in the mortar, you want to get the coordinates of the position you want to fire at with the laser designator. You will get longitude and latitude.
Next, assuming that there is a mortar operator, you will probably want to first fire a flare at the coordinates.
Mortar has some inaccuracy when firing at locations far away from the mortar. Because the mortar usually stays at the FOB, there will always be some inaccuracy.
Usually, it’s not too big and can be fixed with an offset. But if you are firing close to the marine line, it can make a huge difference between killing xenos and killing marines.
Also, because of the camera, the mortar operator will be able to fire on the location themselves safely, without having to call in the strikes.
To call in mortar, you will need to call in the JTAC channel something along the lines of;

“Mortar fire [Shell Type] at [Longitude] [Latitude].”

So, “Mortar fire HE at -251 36”.

If you don’t want the mortar to fire right away, only call in “Mortar dial [Longitude] [Latitude] hold fire.”
This will get the mortar ready to fire the shells as fast as possible while making sure a marine doesn’t wander right into the spot while the mortar is busy dialing in the coordinates.
Also, the explosion radius on the mortar shells is big, (8 tiles radius I believe). You want to fire it far from marines, or else someone will be caught in the crossfire.
The advantage of mortars over CAS is that as long as mortar has shells and an operator, you can always call it in. In contrast, the CAS pilot has to be actively in a flyby, or else they cannot do anything.
Also, the mortar can fire more frequently, which makes it more effective at closing down areas.


Orbital Bombardment

The biggest weaponry at your disposal, the OB is a big gun with a big reputation for wiping entire marine fronts.
There are three types of OBs;
Cluster - Releases multiple cluster explosives over a 12-tile radius for 30 seconds.
Incendiary - Covers the 18-tile radius area in a fire.
High Explosive - A single large explosion covering 18 tile radius.

Because of the huge area these OBs cover, you need to get coordinates that are AS FAR as possible from the front. If you think it’s gonna be close, it probably will be too close.
Get as close to the front, and get coordinates as far as you can,
especially if the OB isn’t of the cluster type.
Then, if an OB is loaded, call in the JTAC radio the coordinates for the OB,
and make sure to call in if it’s fine or not to fire upon.
OBs are heavily limited, usually you only want to use them to wipe out big stalemates on the lines.

This concludes this guide, hopefully, after this, you will be calling in masterful strikes, which surely will wipe out the marines xenomorph force.

Godspeed, and make sure to get the direction right!


It’s also important to know CASs’ loadout to know what it’s effective against, or at least before the Gau buff, and how many times they can fire before having to reload / how many times you can ask them to fuck shit up.

*do they have Medivac / Fulton / Rappel / DropTurrets ? Frontline omni turrets are funny.


Thanks for the great guide. I will now study it to ensure more less friendly fire. :slight_smile:

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It is very important that you know your CAS’s loadouts when you are lazing for a direct.
If your CAS has a harpoon loaded, then you are not using that against a full health boiler that is well behind the front lines.

With fire missions they are a bit less important but still are of significance.

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