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Emergency Warning Signals

Air attacks will be swift and often unexpected. Therefore, early warning of a probable attack is necessary to give troops a chance to take cover. This warning may be passed through normal command channels, given by local observation posts (OP), MANPAD teams, or air sentries. All OPs should have air watch included in their duties, and alertness for enemy aircraft required as part of normal observation. They will not always have a good view of the air around them, in which case a special air guard must be detailed. All vehicles should have an air guard detailed. High-speed, low-flying aircraft are difficult to detect. Hostile, low-flying aircraft may appear suddenly from behind low hills, belts of trees, or haze. To gain surprise, they will try to attack you with the sun behind them.


The warning alarm must be given immediately if troops working in the open are to have any chance of taking cover. This warning is the responsibility of every man in the area and will be passed by whistle, voice, radio, or any other method. The whistle signal is a series of long blasts. When the alarm is given, all troops except those in close contact with the enemy must immediately take cover, if possible, below ground level, and remain there until the all clear is given.


Evasive maneuver is the initial reaction of mounted units under air attack. Each vehicle turns away from an airplane's axis of attack and seeks cover and concealment. They then fire at the attacking aircraft, as appropriate.


To provide a standard method of disseminating emergency warnings within NATO forces operating on land, the United States Armed Forces have concurred in the provisions of STANAG 2047 (Emergency Alarms of Hazard or Attack). Pertinent extracts from STANAG 2047 suitable for use by MANPAD team personnel are listed in the following illustration.


Warning Alarm

Evasive Action

Emergency Warnings

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