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Successful construction of an airfield or heliport requires careful planning accomplished as early as possible. Planning includes-

  • Mission assignment.
  • Collection of planning data.
  • Designation of controlling aircraft categories.
  • Establishment of airfield or heliport construction standards.
  • Estimation of the required construction effort.


Before actual airfield or heliport planning can begin, a thorough analysis of the proposed mission is necessary. The planner must know what the primary mission will be and what organizations and types of aircraft will be assigned (fighter, fighter-bomber, reconnaissance, tactical airlift, strategic airlift, or a combination of these). Also as important is how long they plan to stay, how many people will be deployed, what level of aircraft maintenance will be required, and whether an aerial port will be needed. Normally, the deploying command will have precise information available to answer these questions.


As with any TO installation, the threat to the airfield is of prime concern. This should be one of the first items of information that you, the planner, should obtain to determine what type of survivability and vulnerability reduction measures will be required. In any environment, aircraft on the ground must be protected, airfield systems must always be kept operational, and logistics support must survive to ensure continual aircraft operations.

The threat also will determine--

  • How individual facilities and facility groups should be configured, dispersed, or nondispersed.
  • Whether utility plants can be centralized or dispersed.
  • How much and what kind of protection will be required for parked aircraft.
  • Whether vulnerability reduction measures (such as facility protection, camouflage, or concealment) will be needed.

The threat also will drive the size of the airfield. An airfield in a more forward area, employing dispersed measures, will require much more land area than one located in the staging and logistics area, where the threat is little to none. Topographic, climatologic, and hydrologic planning data is used to determine the prevailing wind direction and its expected velocity, temperature and humidity conditions, annual rainfall, terrain conditions, soil characteristics, and location of the site (latitude anti longitude). Personnel use the data to orient the runway, locate sewage lagoons, and locate facilities to make them blend in with natural surroundings. Available drawings, survey maps, and aerial photographs are essential to verify the presence of existing facilities. They are also used to determine the type and amount of vegetation and forested areas so the amount of grubbing and clearing can be determined. These documents also may help determine what kinds of water sources are available (whether it is fresh, brine, or salt water; whether it comes from a well, river, lake, or ocean; what its temperature is; and what its distance is from the site). There are many more questions that could and should be asked. The more answers the planner obtains, the easier the planning job becomes.


An estimate of area requirements should involve not only space for immediate development but also space for contemplated expansion. Entering into consideration of area requirements are--

  • Mission.
  • Number of aircraft.
  • Type of aircraft.
  • Length of stay.
  • Size of airfield.
  • Degree of passive defense measures.

- Operational.

- Maintenance.

- Servicing.

- Housing.

- Administrative.

  • Supply.
  • Transportation.
  • Security.


The size and type of the required airfield and the possible need for dispersion measures in spacing individual facilities and facility groups should be considered when determining area requirements. Figures 10-1 and 10-2, reflect the general relationship between various aircraft operations and major military fighting and support areas in a TO. It is logical to assume that airfields in the close battle area will require more dispersion and protective measures than those in the support and rear areas. However, missiles and long-range enemy interdiction air forces, if they exist, may be employed against these latter airfields, subjecting them to similar or even greater degrees of dispersion and protection. The major military areas are--

Close battle area. Sector of the battlefield where the commander chooses to conduct decisive operations. Normally under military control of a brigade, division, or armored cavalry regiment. Airfields that fall within the close battle area are also called small austere airfields (SAAFs) because airfield construction, geometrics, and marking requirements are austere compared with support and rear area airfields.

Support area. Sector of the TO in front of the communications zone (COMMZ) area. Normally within the Army corps service areas or areas under military control of the fighter or security command.

Rear area. Sector in the TO. Normally within the Army service area or the COMMZ.


The aircraft airfield classification system in this manual includes all known air missions for fixed-wing aircraft in the TO. The airfield types are derived by combining the appropriate military area with the controlling minimum runway lengths. Examples are close battle area 2,000-foot airfield, support area 3,500-foot airfield, and rear area 10,000-foot airfield. Where airfields are to serve as mission facilities for support of primarily Army aircraft, the second term in the airfield type designation is Army liaison and Army surveillance rather than the appropriate minimum runway length. An example is support area, Army liaison 2,000-foot airfield.

The heliport classification system developed in this manual is derived by combining selected helicopters with the appropriate military area. An example is medium lift, rear area heliport.


A controlling aircraft is designated for each airfield type to establish limiting geometric and surface strength requirements. This ensures the airfield is adequate for all other possible using aircraft listed for that particular airfield. For example, in a close battle area 3,000-foot airfield, the controlling aircraft is the C-17. However, other possible using aircraft include C-130s and C-12As. Designing the airfield for C-17s ensures that all three aircraft can use the same airfield.


Based on different mission requirements, the following helicopters are the controlling aircraft to establish the limiting geometric and surface strength requirements for heliports:

  • Observation (light) helicopter (OH-58, Kiowa).
  • Utility helicopter (UH-60, Blackhawk).
  • Cargo helicopter (CH-47, Chinook).
  • Attack helicopter (AH-64, Apache).


The airfield, as discussed in this manual, is that part of the air base devoted to the operation of aircraft. A typical airfield consists of runways, taxiways, hardstands, aprons, and other airfield pavements, shoulders, overruns, navigational aids (NAVAIDs), aircraft arresting barriers, aircraft revetments or shelters, airfield lighting and marking, and approach and clear zones.

Initial Airfields

In an initial airfield, development might begin with a drop zone (DZ), then be expanded into an extraction zone (EZ), and eventually be expanded into an expedient airfield using an unsurfaced landing area or an area surfaced with landing matting or membrane. For detailed planning and geometric data on DXs and EZs, refer to Air Mobility Command (AMC) regulations.

  • Drop zone. This area is used for delivering supplies by various methods of low-level parachute drop. The DZ should be roughly rectangular, as level as possible, and clear of objects that could damage dropped material and personnel.
  • Extraction zone. This zone is another example of an area used for delivering supplies and equipment by aircraft without actually landing. At an EZ, the load is removed from the aircraft by a deployed parachute. As the aircraft flies by, a pilot parachute is released. This action deploys a large parachute that, when fully deployed, pulls the load from the aircraft. This is called a Low-Altitude Parachute Extraction System (LAPES).
  • Expedient airfields. These are unsurfaced and surfaced airfields intended for short-term use. They are divided into several classes based on their location in the TO.

- Close battle area airfields, which include SAAFs, are normally unsurfaced airfields located in the close battle area and are designed for C17s and smaller assault-type transports such as C-130s. They are designed for up to four weeks of use. These airfields are built to the lowest standards of construction, which may not meet all desired safety criteria. Therefore, operations on this type airfield will be hazardous, inefficient, and limited to good weather and visibility conditions. Operating gross weights may be limited by runway length, runway surface, and weather conditions.

- Support area airfields are normally surfaced (various types of matting and membranes) airfields located in the rear area. They are designed for C-141s, C-17s, and smaller assault transports as well as tactical aircraft (surfaced air fields only). They have a life expectancy of one to six months. These airfields are designed to permit full efficiency of operations and support and provide a still greater margin of safety than close battle area airfields. Operations on this type airfield are practical under most weather conditions.

Temporary Airfields

These airfields arc for more sustained use (6 to 24 months), include a higher standard of design and construction, and allow operations under nearly all weather conditions. Rear area airfields are normally surfaced with various types of matting and membranes as well as bituminous asphalt and concrete. They are designed for heavy lift and smaller transports (C-141s, C-135s, C17s, and C-130s) as well as tactical aircraft.

Semipermanent Airfields

These airfields are for sustained use and are the highest standard of design and construction for TO air bases. They are only located in the rear area and are used by all mission aircraft. They are constructed of concrete (rigid pavement) or bituminous asphalt (flexible pavement).


The heliport, as discussed in this manual, is that part of the air base devoted to the operation of helicopters. A typical heliport consists of parking pads, taxiways, runways, shoulders, clear areas, overruns, a lateral safety zone, a clear zone, and an approach zone.

Initial Heliports

The development of an initial heliport might begin with an insertion of engineers to clear landing zones (LZs) for individual aircraft or with the use of LZs of opportunity. LZs are then expanded into unsurfaced and surfaced helipads and heliports as required.

  • LZs of opportunity are unsurfaced helipads located anywhere in the TO, but they are predominantly in the close battle area. LZs of opportunity require little or no construction effort and may not meet all desired safety criteria. Therefore, operations on this helipad are hazardous, inefficient, and limited to good weather and visibility conditions.
  • Close battle area heliports are normally unsurfaced and designed for observation, utility, and attack aircraft. They have a life expectancy of one to four weeks.
  • Support area heliports are surfaced (various types of matting and membranes) and unsurfaced (with expedient treatment for dust control) heliports designed for observation, utility, cargo, and attack aircraft. They have a life expectancy of one to six months. These heliports are designed to permit full efficiency of operations. They support and provide a greater margin of safety than shaping area heliports. Operations on this heliport are practical under most weather conditions.

Temporary Heliports

These are for more sustained use (6 to 24 months). They include a higher standard of design and construction and allow operations under most weather conditions. Rear area heliports are normally surfaced with various types of matting and membranes as well as bituminous asphalt and concrete. They are designed for use by all mission helicopters.

Semipermanent Heliports

These are for sustained use and are the highest standard of design and construction for TO heliports. They are only located in the rear area and are used by all mission helicopters. Semipermanent heliports are constructed of concrete (rigid pavement) or bituminous asphalt (flexible pavement).


A bare base, by definition, is a site with a usable runway, a taxiway, parking areas, and a source of water that can be made potable. It must be capable of supporting assigned aircraft and providing other mission-essential resources, such as a logistical support and services infrastructure composed of people, facilities, equipment, and supplies. This concept requires mobile facilities, utilities, and support equipment that can be rapidly deployed and installed. Undeveloped real estate must be transformed into an operational air base virtually overnight.

In today's world, the concept of the bare base is more important than ever before. While many foreign countries resist development of major fixed installations on their soil, they are subject to internal and external aggression. As a rule, these underdeveloped nations have runways, taxiways, and air terminal facilities that could be offered to our forces during contingency situations. Even though many bare bases are limited and inadequate, there are roughly 1,200 in the free world that could support air operations. Since most of these underdeveloped nations are subject to aggression, the military must be able to deploy and operate from their facilities.

Today's mobility concept is to rapidly deploy a force, complete with shelters and support facilities, that is capable of independently supporting and launching sustained combat operations with the same independence as fixed theater installations. The assumption is that tactical forces will continue to have a bare-base requirement to conduct sustained air operations on a worldwide basis in support of national policy.

The nucleus to today's United States Air Force (USAF) bare-base infrastructure centers is the enhanced version of earlier Harvest Eagle and Harvest Falcon equipment. This equipment has undergone several generations of modernization.

Conversely, the concept of employing this equipment remains unchanged. Harvest Eagle, for example, consists mainly of softwall shelters and support equipment generally used to bed down people on deployments of short duration. One complete package provides enough tents and housekeeping items to bed down a force of 1,100 people. Harvest Falcon equipment is also based on 1,100-man increments of equipment divided into four basic package sets--housekeeping set, industrial operations set, initial flightline support set, and follow-on flight-line support set. The Harvest Falcon package includes vehicular support, general aircraft maintenance and weapons system support facilities, and a broad base of logistics to support an operational squadron.

It is important in the preliminary planning stage to know the location of existing facilities and utilities. As a result, any layouts, drawings, or aerial photographs are vitally needed. As equally important are the lengths and widths of the runway, taxiways, ramps, and aprons. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does runway lighting exist? If so, is it adequate?
  • Is there a requirement for aircraft arresting barriers?
  • What kinds of water sources are available? Does the water come from a well, river, lake, or ocean? What is the water temperature? How far away is the water source?
  • Is the site being developed using hard-wall or soft-wall shelters? (If the answer is soft-wall shelters, latrines will be field-expedient.)

    There are any many more questions, but the more answers that are provided, the easier the job.

Although this manual focuses on initial construction of TO facilities, bare bases require the same geometric and construction standards requirements outlined in Chapters 11, 12, and 13. In addition, specific evaluative techniques to determine pavement adequacy to meet mission requirements are outlined in Chapter 12. Because of these facts, specific references to bare-base facilities will not occur later in this manual. However, specific details regarding bare-base operations are in Air Force Pamphlet (AFP) 93-12, Volume (Vol) III.


Engineer construction units, under the appropriate Army command, are responsible for Air Force/Army construction on a general and direct support basis. The execution of large construction projects is usually based on the general support of missions as defined by project directives. Units assigned in general support of a specific Army or Air Force element also may be assigned in direct support of that element for restoration of the Air Force air base or Army airfield.


When units are executing either general or direct support missions, they remain under Army command and operational control. When executing emergency restoration (close support) plans, units receive and accept detailed operational requirements from the supported commander, either Army or Air Force. As stated in Army Regulation (AR) 415-30/Air Force Regulation (AFR) 93-10, normal maintenance of Air Force air bases is done by the Air Force civil engineering squadron.

The engineer commander is concerned with site reconnaissance, location and alignment recommendations, design of the airfield and support facilities, and actual construction of the airfield. The engineer is usually furnished standard designs for the type and capacity of the airfield required. However, these designs must often be altered to meet time and material limitations or the limitations imposed by local topography, area, or obstructions. The engineer in charge of construction may alter designs within the limits prescribed by the headquarters directing the construction, but major changes must be approved by that headquarters before the work begins. The following are standard design requirements for most airfield constructions mission:

  • Design of drainage system structures.
  • Geometric design of runway, taxiways, and hardstands (including overruns, blast areas, and turnarounds).
  • Selection of soils found in cuts and use of soil to improve subgrade.
  • Compaction or stabilization requirements of the subgrade.
  • Determination of type and thickness of the base and surface courses.
  • Selection of grade to minimize earthwork while still meeting specifications.
  • Design of access and service roads; ammunition and petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) storage areas; NAVAIDs; hardstands; maintenance aprons; warmup aprons; corrosion control facilities; control towers; airfield lighting; and other facilities.


For planning purposes, the Air Force commander will furnish and define aircraft characteristics, broad design layout, and construction criteria. The Air Force commander also may furnish existing plans and specifications to the Army.

Engineer brigades and groups usually do the site reconnaissance, make location recommendations, and complete detailed design work. Engineer battalions usually construct the airfield and adapt the design to local conditions.


To ensure a proper design, the engineer planner must completely understand the purpose, scope, and estimated duration of the particular mission. (See Field Manual (FM) 5-430-1/AFPAM 32-8013, Vol 1, Chapter 2, for site selection criteria.)

Airfield Location and Requirements

The engineer planner's first consideration is directed toward selecting the site. The operational plan establishes tactical and logistical requirements that, in turn, influence the type of aircraft and number of aircraft missions required. The operational plan allows the planner to determine the number, type, service life, and construction time limitations for airfields required in each military area. The planner then establishes reasonable site requirements for each type of airfield.

Within the established site requirements, as dictated by the tactical situation, the geographic location of airfields is based on topographic conditions (grading, drainage, and hydrology), soil conditions, vegetation, and climatic conditions.

All existing transport facilities (including ports, rail lines, roadnets, and other nearby airfields) that may be used in the assembly and movement of construction equipment and materials to the construction site must be evaluated to determine the best methods and routes.

Construction Capabilities

The planner must evaluate the availability and type of engineer construction forces to determine if construction capability is sufficient to accomplish the required airfield construction.

The type and availability of local construction materials must be evaluated against the total needs of the proposed construction. Examine both the naturally occurring, in-place materials that are to be graded and possible sources of select materials for subgrade strengthening. Requirements for importing special materials for surfacing, drainage, and dust control must be consistent with available construction time and resources.

Tactical Situation

Prepare a plan to keep the construction troops, equipment, and materials safe from harassment and sabotage during construction of the airfield or heliport.


If an engineer unit is building a new airfield for the Air Force, the engineer unit uses Army channels to obtain necessary Class I, Class III, and Class IV materials. If an engineer unit is in general or direct support of an existing Air Force airfield, the Army engineer unit may coordinate with the base civil engineer to use Air Force Class IV materials on site. Also, the engineer unit in direct or general support of an existing airfield may coordinate for Class I and Class III supplies from the Air Force on a mission-by-mission basis.


A completed air base is a major construction project. By planning properly and limiting construction to essentials according to operational requirements, the base can support air operations soon after construction starts. Improvements are made later during use by additional construction as required. Using a final plan as a general guide ensures that the work completed in each step is applicable to further improvements and extensions.

Several development combinations may be selected for planning a new installation or extending an existing installation. Within each development combination, construction will proceed according to the following priorities:

  • The first priority of construction provides the most essential facilities for air operations at the earliest possible time. This construction consists of those minimal facilities required at the initial deployment of forces. Primarily soft-wall tent structures, Harvest Eagle kits, innovative and expedient designs, locally available materials and equipment, and any existing, usable airfield and support facilities are used to complete construction. New airfield facilities could begin with a simple DZ, then be upgraded to an EZ, and eventually be expanded to an unsurfaced or surfaced airfield using membrane or landing matting. This construction consists of airfield operational facilities such as runways, taxiways, approaches, and aircraft parking areas of minimum dimensions as well as minimum storage for bombs, ammunition, and aviation fuel. Essential sanitary, electric, and water facilities are also provided.
  • The second priority of construction increases the capacity, safety, and efficiency of all operations on the air base. Indirect-support operational facilities; building access and service roads; and essential operational, maintenance, and supply buildings are provided.
  • The third priority of construction improves operational facilities and provides facilities for administration and special housing.
  • The fourth priority of construction provides general housing.


Airfields are generally constructed to final quality standards and are developed by adding increments of pavement areas. Support facilities, however, may be constructed to varying standards depending on the duration of the mission and construction effort available. Therefore, airfield and support facilities have separate construction standards. The TM 5-301-series includes standard design drawing for TO construction.

Construction Standards for Airfields

The standards for airfields are designated as Stages I, II, and III (Figure 10-3). The construction stages establish the sequence of constructing the airfield. They provide for building the airfield in parts so that minimum operational facilities may be constructed in minimum time.

  • In Stage I, a loop permitting landing, takeoff, circulation, and limited apron parking is provided. Runway lengths and widths are the minimum required for the critical aircraft. Care must be taken to avoid placing temporary facilities, materials, and other resources in areas that will conflict with later stages.
  • In Stage II, a new runway is provided. Stage I runways become a taxiway in stage II: aprons, hardstands, and additional taxiways are provided.
  • In Stage III, facilities are further expanded and provision is made to accommodate additional aircraft if necessary. Expedient surfacing is normally used at all airfields. When an existing surface in the staging anti logistics area is not adequate for all-weather operations in support of heavy transport aircraft or high-performance fighter aircraft, an appropriate pavement structure is designed and constructed.

The layout of each field is based on the assumption that the field is constructed on a previously unoccupied site. These layouts are coordinated so that, within terrain limitations, development of a larger field from a smaller one is practicable and is accomplished with minimum construction effort. Existing airfields will be used if they meet the minimum requirements specified in this manual or if they can be economically developed to meet requirements.

Facilities Construction Standards

Regardless of priority or sequence of construction, each facility may be constructed to either of two construction standards. These standards are based on life-cycle costs and the expected duration of facility use. The standards consider the time required to provide the facilities in relation to their expected duration use. Detailed guidance regarding construction standards is in Joint Chiefs of Staff Publication (JCS PUB) 3-01.1.

Initial. The expected use period is up to six months. This is the lowest standard of construction used in the TO. Shelter and utilities are provided by organic equipment.

Temporary. The expected use period is up to 24 months. This construction standard applies to those units whose mission orientation is fixed or has continual use through unit rotation. Shelters are simple, wooden-frame structures, or their equivalent, constructed by using local materials. Utilities and water are provided by using organic means with limited distribution to high-volume users. The nature of materials used and the structural aspects of the designs are such that the life of the facilities will normally exceed five years when appropriate maintenance is performed.


For purposes of classification and easier reference, air-base facilities are grouped in the following categories:

Airfield, Category 1. Includes runways, taxiways, handstands, aprons, and other pavements; shoulders; overruns; approach zones; NAVAIDs; and airfield marking and lighting.

Sanitary Facilities, Category 2. Includes kitchens, dining areas, showers, and latrines.

Direct operational support facilities, Category 3. Includes ammunition storage and storage and distribution of aviation fuels and lubricants.

Maintenance, operation, and supply facilities, Category 4. Includes aircraft maintenance, base shops, operations buildings, base communications, photo labs, fire stations, weather facilities, general storage, and medical facilities.

Indirect operational support facilities, Category 5. Includes roads and exterior utilities such as water supply and electric power.

Administration and special housing, Category 6. Includes headquarters, personnel services, and recreation and welfare facilities.

General housing, Category 7. Includes general housing and troop quarters.


When constructing an airfield, the different categories of support facilities may be built to varying standards. A construction combination refers to the support facilities selected and their associated design standards.

The construction combination followed in any construction program is generally established by the theater commander. It is desirable to construct an air base to its final design in a single construction program. Initially, it is often necessary to assign a lower standard construction combination to get the base in operation within available time and construction constraints. In such cases, make every effort to proceed from this to the highest combination selected in one operation. Avoid repeated modifications to any one facility. A schedule of construction for the entire air base, including the construction combinations, is shown in Table 10-1.


As soon as a construction combination is designated, recommended plans and specifications for each facility may be obtained from the Army Facilities Components System (AFCS) under the facility name and design standard chosen. Refer to TMs 5-301-series, 5-303, and 5-304 for AFCS designs.


Staff construction schedules are prepared as shown in Figure 10-4. Such a schedule is usually accompanied by a map overlay (Figure 10-5) to show the location of each airfield construction project in the construction schedule. The construction schedules in Figures 10-4 and 10-5 are summaries of several airfield projects. Completion dates for the various construction priorities on each project and the total number of committed engineer battalions are also shown.


Estimation of the construction effort and time required to complete specific airfields and heliports are based upon several factors:

  • Volume of earthwork.
  • Difficulties of grading and constructing.
  • Adequate drainage.
  • Site clearance.
  • Previous construction experience.
  • Capability of the engineer unit assigned.

Developing an accurate estimate is very difficult, as each project must be considered on a case-by-case basis. Often there are many other factors that can have a major effect on construction operations. For example, weather can cause significant delays because extreme temperatures and wet seasons can adversely affect the productivity of both men and equipment. In addition, engineer units often have their own specific modified table of organization and equipment (MTOE), and production comparisons between units can be difficult to quantify.

A reasonable estimate of required construction effort and time required are only made after very thorough research and planning. Therefore, the following section outlines several sources of information to help in the planning and estimating process.


A site visit and ground reconnaissance can prove to be the best source of information. It is here that a good picture of what needs to be done can be developed. An opportunity to meet with civilians of the local populace, who are familiar with working in the particular location and environment, can prove invaluable. In addition, there may already be military units that have been operating in the area for extended periods. They should be able to comment on weather, location of raw materials, and transportation assets. If a site visit and ground reconnaissance are not feasible, a considerable amount of essential data can be gathered from the following sources:

Flight information publication, en route supplement. Carried by aircrews, these publications give nominal runway lengths and load capacities and are normally available at Air Force base operations.

Operational navigation charts (ONCs). ONCs provide detailed information for airfields (longer than 4,000 feet) for all countries in the world. Published by the Defense Mapping Agency (DMA). these charts are described in the DMA catalog that should be available at base operations. DMA publications can be requisitioned on Standard Form (SF) 344 and submitted to DMA, Combat Support Center, ATTN: DDCP, Washington, DC 20315. Orders should include the DMA account number (available from base operations). The Defense Switched Network (DSN) number for DMA is 287-2495.

Topographic data.

  • DMA, Combat Support Center, Washington, DC 20315. Part 3 of the DMA catalog (Topographic Products) has six volumes, each dealing with a portion of the world. These tactical maps provide topographic information for a detailed terrain analysis of a proposed site and its environment United States Geological National Survey Center, Military Geology Branch, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA 22092.

Climatic data.

  • Air Weather Service. (AWS), Environmental Technical Applications Center (ETAC), USAF/ETAC, Scott Air Force Base (AFB), IL 62225. You should furnish ETAC with a concise statement of your requirements in terms of either the environmental factor involved or of the climatological information desired.
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), US Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20330.

Automated Airfield Information File [AAFIF). The AAFIF is compiled in a classified and unclassified version and contains airfield information useful to the bare-base planner. The source of this document is Mapping and Charting Program Branch (MCPB), St. Louis, MO 63118 (DSN 693-8372).

Pavement evaluation reports. Pavement data for many worldwide allied bases has been compiled in these reports by Headquarters (HQ), Air Force Civil Engineering Support Agency (AFCESA), ATTN: DMP, Tyndall AFB, FL 32403 (DSN 523-6330), or US Army Waterways Experiment Station, Engineer, ATTN: CEWES-6P-T, 3909 Halls Ferry Road, Vicksburg, MS 39180.

Foreign maps. Nearly all foreign governments also maintain mapping agencies. Although DMA maps cover all parts of the world, you may be able to get more up-to-date maps through local sources. The Library of Congress maintains a list of these sources, "Published Sources of Information About Maps," and "Selected List of Map Publishers and Sellers," which you may obtain from the Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20540.

Threat analysis.

  • Central Intelligence Agency, "National Intelligence Survey" (Secret), Washington, DC 20505.
  • US Air Force Intelligence Service, Assistant Chief of Staff Intelligence, Department of the Air Force, The Pentagon, Washington, DC 20330.
  • US Department of State, 2207 C Street, NW, Washington, DC 20520.

Other informational sources are encyclopedia, atlases, road maps, tourist literature, aerial surveys, photographs, the local base intelligence shop, and pocket guides to various countries.


Since its inception in 1951, the AFCS has grown to a mature military engineering construction support system that includes planning guidance, detailed design and construction drawings, computer-updated bills of materials (BOMs), and labor estimates for roughly 2,800 pre-engineered facilities. Some facilities included in the system are administrative, troop camps, hospitals, vehicle maintenance, munitions storage, POL storage and distribution, and general supply storage. The system consists of four Department of the Army (DA) technical manuals.

TM 5-301-series. These manuals, which are generally used by military planner, contain installation, facility, and prepackaged expendable contingency supply (PECS) summaries. The TM 5-301-series is published in four volumes (TM 5-301-1, TM 5-301-2, TM 5-301-3, and TM 5-301-4). Each volume addresses a separate climactic zone: (1) temperate, (2) tropical, (3) frigid, and (4) desert. The summaries appearing in the four volumes include cost; shipping weight and volume of material; estimated man hours and equipment hours to construct each facility and installation: and cost, weight, and volume of the PECS kits. These manuals can be used by planners at all levels without referring to the details contained in TMs 5-302-series and 5-303.

TM 5-302-series. This multivolume manual contains design drawings for installations (groups of facilities and individual facilities) and is of primary interest to the unit charged with the actual construction of the AFCS in a TO. The drawings in TM 5-302-series are keyed to the four climactic zones and the two construction standards of initial and temporary. (See Chapter 3, FM 5-430-1, for definitions and application of stanards of construction.)

TM 5-303. This manual is generally used by planners, builders, and supply personnel to-

  • Identify and order the material items contained in BOMs.
  • Identify the cube and weight of these materials to determine the best method of transportation.
  • Identify the estimated construction effort in man-hours.
  • Calculate the amount of troop or contract labor required to construct the facility or groups of facilities.

Each item in a facility or PECS kit is identified by a national stock number (NSN) and abbreviated description.

TM 5-304. This manual provides the user with a single source of reference and information about the operation of the system. It provides the background and direction to use the following information in the AFCS:

  • Planning tables.
  • Design criteria.
  • Construction standards/use of construction.
  • Drawings.
  • Building structure types.
  • Material wattage and loss.
  • Climatic zones.
  • Construction effort/network analysis and the critical path method (CPM).
  • Engineer unit capabilities.
  • Logistical and cost information.
  • Operational conditions.
  • Storage and transit conditions.
  • Camouflage.

AFCS designs. AFCS designs are categorized as either vertical or horizontal construction. Vertical construction consists of buildings and facilities, generally everything above ground. Horizontal construction consists of roads, runways, site development and site utilities, generally everything at, below, or having to do with establishing grade. TM 5-302-series contains installation drawings providing concepts and details for installations such as the following:

  • TO heliports (various size and usage).

- Site preparation.

- Surface preparation.

- Surface markings.

- Lighting.

  • TO airfields.

- Site preparation.

- Surface preparation.

- Surface markings.

- Lighting.

- Protective revetments.

- Classification and identification of soils.

- Flexible pavement designs.

- Drainage designs.

- Ammunition storage.

- Dry cargo storage.

- Sewage disposal.

- Port facilities.

- Railroad terminals.

- Medical unit installations.

- Hospital installations.

- Maintenance installations.

- Military prison stockades/enemy prisoner of war (EPW) camps.

- Troop camp installations.

- POL installations.

The data for the manuals is maintained by the Office of the Chief of Engineers, US Army. The data in TM 5-301-series and TM 5-303 is available in printouts, magnetic tape, microfiche, or digitized (floppy disk, automated computer-aided drafting and design (AUTOCADD)) format. The drawings in TM 5-302-series are half-sized (14 by 20 inches), reproducible drawings. They are also available upon request, in full-sized (28 by 40 inches), reproducible blueprints. All correspondence and requests for technical assistance, copies of technical manuals, drawings, and information regarding the AFCS should be forwarded to either:

  • Commander, US Army Engineer Division, Huntsville, ATTN: CEHND-ED-SY, Post Office (PO) Box 1600, Huntsville, AL 35807.


  • Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA) (DAEN-2CM), Washington, DC 20310.


A TO air base is not developed overnight. It takes many hours, clays, and weeks of advanced planning to (1) gather all the information needed, (2) translate this information into specific requirements to meet mission needs, and (3) develop the base development plan. The base development plan will then be used as part of the basis to determine and ensure that the required manpower, equipment, and materials will be available at the right place and at the right time. It takes the combined talents of the planner, the designer, the constructor, the operator, the supplier, the transporter, and the maintainer to ensure that the best and most effective plan of action to meet mission requirements is developed and implemented.

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