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Sample Annex to Infantry
Battalion SOP for Air Assault
Task Force Operations

With enclosures:

1. Air Assault Formations and Battle Drill.

2. Air Assault Task Force Commander's Checklist.

3. Air Mission Commander's, or Air Liaison Officer's, Checklist.

NOTE: This is an annex to a standing operating procedure for combat operations; it is not a complete SOP.




Copy__of__ Copies
1st Battalion, 66th Infantry
Fort Benning, Georgia
25 December 19__

Annex E (Air Assault Operations) to _____ Infantry

Battalion, _____ Infantry Division Field Standing

Operating Procedures


a. Purpose. This annex prescribes the organization and procedures to be followed in preparing for and executing air assault task force operations. Only procedures peculiar to air assault operations are included; otherwise, basic standing operating procedures apply.

b. Application. Applies to all organic and supporting units under control of 1st Battalion, 66th Infantry. Company SOPs will conform.


a. Strength, Records, and Reports.

(1) Companies will be organized into assault and rear echelons. Upon receipt of warning order, submit unit strength to S1 and equipment availability status to S4. S1 and S4 will forward to S3 who will determine sortie requirements.

(2) Upon closing into landing zone, companies will report personnel and equipment status to AATF forward command post on AATF command net using report format in CEOI.

b. Discipline, Law, and Order.

(1) S1 will establish a straggler control point on each pickup zone in vicinity of pickup zone control officer in coordination with S3 and the PZCO. All units will have a representative (from rear echelon) located at the straggler control point on their PZ(s). "Bumped" personnel will be reported to S1 and/or PZCO by company straggler control personnel for consolidation and rescheduling into appropriate LZ(s).

(2) Straggler control is company responsibility upon landing.

(3) Personnel landed in other than an assigned LZ are to report to the on-site unit commander (representative) immediately. Personnel are attached to that unit until ordered to return to parent unit by this headquarters. Gaining unit will report personnel so attached to S1 by number and parent unit. (Do not include these personnel in unit strength reports.)

c. Enemy Prisoners of War (EPW). EPWs are to be reported immediately to the S3, who will issue evacuation instructions. Indicate available PZ location for pickup by air in initial report. S2 will determine whether to evacuate through battalion or direct to brigade PW collection point.

d. Medical Evacuation. Report all casualties for medevac by priority code.

(1) Medevac requests follow standard format for casualties and are classified as routine, priority, or urgent. Radio frequency of supporting medevac unit will be included in each operation order. When medevac aircraft are not available and immediate medevac is required, make maximum use of empty lift helicopters departing LZ. Do not interrupt airlanding operations - use last helicopters in the flight.

(2) S1 is responsible for providing CEOI, LZs, and flight route overlay to supporting medevac unit.


a. Weather.

(1) Battalion S2 will obtain and disseminate the following:

(a) Long-range forecast immediately after receipt of mission.

(b) Short-range forecasts up to H-2 hours.

(2) Command weather reconnaissance 1 hour prior to lift-off will be coordinated among task force commander, S2, and air mission commander.

(3) Operations are executed only on order of this headquarters when weather is below 1/2-mile visibility and 100-foot ceiling.

b. Terrain.

(1) Maximum utilization will be made of command aerial reconnaissance down to platoon leaders, consistent with aviation resources, available time, and tactical situation.

(2) Use sandtable briefing techniques when possible in conjunction with maps and aerial photographs.

(3) Maps will be issued immediately after receipt of warning order, if available. If not available, they will be issued on receipt from higher headquarters.

(4) Aerial photographs will be made available upon receipt. S2 will automatically process all requests (conserving assets, as appropriate). Priority to answering essential elements of information (EEI). Priority of issue to assault echelon.

c. Evasion and Escape.

(1) Personnel in aircraft forced to land behind enemy lines en route to the objective will:

(a) Establish immediate security in vicinity of downed aircraft.

(b) Remain in that location utilizing aircraft radios to contact recovery aircraft.

(c) Mark and clear suitable landing points for recovery and withdrawal helicopters.

(2) The senior ground force individual assumes responsibility for organization and conduct of security until recovery is executed.

(3) If the above is not possible due to enemy pressure, evade capture and attempt to join friendly units by infiltration. Personnel will attempt to evade and escape back along flight route. Maximum rescue effort will be directed along flight routes, with particular emphasis at checkpoints. Continuous attempts will be made to locate suitable landing points for withdrawal by helicopter(s). The wounded will be evacuated with infiltrating personnel. The dead will be concealed and stripped of weapons, ammunition, and items of intelligence value. Locations of dead left behind will be recorded,

(4) If enemy pressure becomes a threat to downed aircraft personnel, senior ground force individual will take steps to secure or destroy classified or sensitive items. Aircraft destruction will be on order of this headquarters if capture is not imminent. If contact with this headquarters cannot be made, the senior individual on the ground will make decision on aircraft destruction in order to prevent capture by enemy.


a. Planning Phase.

(1) Except when accomplished by higher headquarters, this headquarters will prepare plans in coordination with the supporting AMC.

(2) Plans will continue to be refined until executed. All operational information will be given to subordinate commanders as soon as determined, particularly as follows:

(a) The size and composition of the force required to execute the mission.

(b) Allocation of assault and logistical aircraft, based on allowable cargo load provided by the AMC.

(c) Designated PZs and helicopter PZ formation. Designated flight routes, LZs, and LZ helicopter formation.

(d) Current communications-electronics operation instructions in effect to include frequencies and call signs of all participating units.

(3) Coordination between the supported and supporting commanders must include, as a minimum:

(a) Enemy and friendly situation.

(b) Mission.

(c) Fire support plan.

(d) Abort and alternate plans.

(e) Weather to include minimums and delays.

(f) Type, number, and ACL of helicopters.

(g) Helicopter formations in PZ and LZ.

(h) Air movement data and timing for the operations.

(i) Communication (primary and alternate frequencies and plans).

(j) Location and call sign of second in command.

(k) Required command reconnaissance by the air assault TF and supporting aviation commanders.

(l) Time synchronization.

(m) Downed aircraft procedures.

(4) Operations security. This will be emphasized in each phase of an air assault operation. The object will be to conceal the capabilities and intentions of the AATF. The four general OPSEC measures will be considered for every operation: deception, signal security, physical security, information security. The S2 will provide intelligence collection of Threat data. The S3 will ensure that the staff and subordinate commanders are aware of OPSEC measures to be employed to counter the Threat. Emphasis must be placed on maintaining the elements of surprise and security. Additionally, all supporting elements must be aware of the necessity of maintaining a high degree of operational security. As a minimum, the AATF commander, supporting commanders, and subordinate commanders should employ the following techniques:

(a) Deception.

  • Camouflage vehicles, equipment, and personnel.
  • Overflights of other LZs (if aircraft are available and enemy situation does not preclude).
  • Insertion at night or during other periods of reduced visibility.
  • Noise and light discipline.
  • Dummy laager sites for aircraft.
  • Recon overflights of several objectives.

(b) Signal security (SIGSEC).

  • Radio Communications security techniques.
  • listening silence.
  • Use of arm-and-hand signals (on the ground).
  • Use of low power and secure mode on radios.

(c) Physical security.

  • Use of security forces at LZ and PZ.
  • Use of wire, mines, barriers, and security troops at aircraft laager sites and troop assembly areas.
  • Use of pathfinder to secure LZ, if possible.

(d) Information security.

  • Counterintelligence.
  • Strict control of all operational information.
  • Release information only to those with a need to know.
  • Last-minute release of attack time (objective) and force composition.

b. Landing Phase.

(1) The aircraft commander will notify each aircraft troop commander of any changes to the order, any change in LZ(s) and/or direction of landing, and when the helicopter is over the release point. The troop commander then informs his personnel of any changes and alerts them to prepare to unload.

(2) Passengers may not move in the aircraft until clearance has been obtained from the aircraft commander. After the aircraft commander gives the clearance signal, troops and equipment are unloaded as rapidly as possible.

(3) After all troops and cargo have been unloaded from the aircraft, the crew chief will check the helicopter and signal the aircraft commander that the cabin is empty. Personnel will not depart helicopters to the rear. Departure from aircraft will be executed rapidly in the direction prescribed by battle drill (see battle drill, enclosure 1).

(4) The troop commander ensures that members of his aircraft clear the LZ in a safe, expeditious manner. This prevents exposing personnel to unnecessary danger and prevents any delay in lift-off and landing of subsequent helicopters.

(5) Individual weapons will be fired only on order upon offloading unless enemy contact is made or if planned as part of the overall fire plan.

(6) Actions when there is no enemy contact on the LZ include:

(a) Move each helicopter load to the nearest covered and concealed position in direction of assembly area.

(b) Establish LZ security for succeeding lifts (if applicable).

(c) Assemble, organize, and account for all personnel.

(d) Report.

(7) Actions when enemy contact is made on the LZ include:

(a) Return fire immediately, upon offloading, with all available firepower to gain fire superiority.

(b) Fight by helicopter loads, using fire and movement, until platoon or company can be formed (see battle drill, enclosure 1).

(c) Request and coordinate fire support.

(d) Secure the LZ for succeeding lifts.

(e) Report.

(8) Keep the AATF commander informed during all actions.

c. Air Movement Phase.

(1) Lift-off time; passing start points, RP(s), communication checkpoints, and LZ clearance time; and situation on LZ are reported to command and control helicopter by each aviation serial commander. (This may be omitted if operation order specifies radio silence.) Inability to comply with specific control times will also be reported as prescribed in OPORD.

(2) Troop leader remains oriented by continuous map-terrain comparisons.

d. Loading Plan.

(1) PZ is designated by this headquarters.

(2) Aviation serial commander or aviation liaison officer will arrive prior to the helicopter flight and report to PZCO for last-minute briefing and coordination. He will notify the AMC of any changes and (along with pathfinders) will control aircraft operations.

(3) Serials organized to support the ground tactical plan.

(4) Helicopters will land in the PZ(s) in the specified formation (see enclosure 1). Unit leaders will brief troops on the helicopter formation prior to arrival of helicopters at PZ. PZs will be designated and marked using standard North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) colors (PZ Green marked with green smoke or helmet liner during the day, and green lights at night unless this will compromise security).

(5) Helicopters should arrive at the latest possible time to reduce time-on-ground before loading.

(6) During a battalion move, the battalion executive officer, or designated representative, will act as PZCO. Company XO will act as PZCO during company-size operations and as unit PZCO during battalion-size operations with separate company PZ. Platoon sergeants will act as PZCO during platoon-size operations. PZCOs are responsible for developing and disseminating the PZ control plan. The PZCO will maintain contact with the AMC on a designated radio frequency personally or through assigned pathfinders. Each unit to be moved will have radio contact with the PZCO on a designated frequency. These personnel will establish radio contact with the PZCO 15 minutes prior to aircraft arrival. Units must be prepared to alter loads based on change of helicopter availability or change in allowable cargo load. Within each company, platoon, and squad, a priority of loading must be established. Priority of aircraft loads and personnel on each aircraft to be bumped will be designated. Personnel bumped report to the straggler control point.

(7) Supporting aviation unit assists in planning for the execution of loading by providing technical advice, supervision, and pathfinder support.

(8) Aircraft commander supervises aircraft loading.

(9) Cargo or equipment to be transported externally is secured in cargo nets or on pallets for slingloading under helicopters. Hookup of these loads will be accomplished by the PZ control group. Unit code panels will be placed on each load.

(10) The following individual preparation will be accomplished:

(a) Fasten helmet chinstraps.

(b) Collapse bipods on M60s and M16s.

(c) Tie down loose equipment.

(d) Unload all weapons and place them on SAFE.

(e) Unfix bayonets (if fixed).

(f) Wear identification tags.

(g) Radiotelephone operators (RATELO) will use short whip antennas only. They will depress antennas to avoid breakage and to reduce the safety hazard. When directed, they will check communications with the tactical operations center, ensuring that the radio remains "on" during flight. They will have a minimum of two extra batteries for each radio.

(h) An accurate list for each aircraft load by name, grade, and unit will be furnished to the battalion SI, through the unit officer in charge of loading, for airloading table data.

(11) This sequence should be followed during the loading phase:

(a) Secure PZ.

(b) Approach aircraft only after it has landed.

(c) Do not load until station time.

(d) Load at double time.

(e) The aircraft troop commander establishes and maintains communication with parent headquarters, using his radio and unit net, upon landing and while in flight for changes in mission, LZs, or last-minute intelligence dissemination. If a unit radio is not available, he should receive this information from the crew through the helicopter radio.

(12) When loading personnel or cargo into a helicopter, the aircraft troop commander ensures that the following is accomplished:

(a) All safety measures prescribed for movement in and about the helicopter are observed.

(b) All personnel approach the helicopter in the prescribed manner.

(c) Personnel will not go near the tail rotor.

(d) All personnel and equipment will stay below the are of the main rotor. Personnel should be especially watchful when loading on the slope of a hill; approach and depart helicopter on downslope side. However, entering and exiting the helicopter should be made on the uphill side so the pilot can better control the helicopter. Personnel with backpacked radios will hold antennas down during any movement around aircraft.

(13) Briefing on emergencies will be conducted by an aviation representative prior to loading, as appropriate.

(14) After all equipment and personnel have been loaded, the air craft troop commander determines the following:

(a) Equipment and cargo are in the proper places.

(b) Cargo or equipment is properly secured.

(c) Each soldier is seated and his safety belt fastened.

(d) Weapons are placed between legs; muzzle up in utility aircraft muzzle down in cargo helicopters.

(15) When the aircraft troop commander has checked to ensure that all cargo and personnel are secured, he will notify the aircraft commander.

(16) During flight, the pilot commands the aircraft. The aircraft troop commander ensures that the following is accomplished:

(a) Cargo lashings (if applicable) are checked frequently to determine that cargo is properly secured.

(b) Troops keep safety belts secured and do not smoke unless authorized. (c) Troops stay seated and do not move around in the cabin without authorization.

(17) In the event more than one lift is required, the PZCO will remain until the last lift to ensure control and continuous communications.

(18) General aircraft load planning.

(a) All units will develop general load plans to facilitate movement on short notice.

(b) Necessary equipment, for aircraft loading and movement (nets, slings, and clevises), will be kept on hand.

(c) Personnel will be organized and trained in loading equipment to include slingloads.

(d) Battalion S3 Air will prepare airloading tables for movement by US Air Force aircraft. Companies will maintain airloading tables for air assault operations (Appendix B).

(e) Vehicles and major equipment will be prepared at all times to facilitate airlift operations. Chalk numbers will be predetermined for vehicles and trailers. Vehicles and major equipment to be transported into objective area will be reported with strength figures.

(f) A-22 containers: maximum height (max ht) 40 meters; max weight (wt) 1,200 pounds (lb) (for all helicopter operations). This will allow one container lift by UH-60s. If CH-47s are available, two or more A-22s may be rigged together.

e. Subsequent Operations.

(1) Withdrawal by air. Withdrawal from an area of operation requires thorough planning, close coordination, and controlled execution. The following are considered important for any withdrawal by air:

(a) Primary and alternate PZs and flight routes must be planned.

(b) Defensive concentrations must be planned around the PZ. The security force will protect the loading force and return fire if engaged. When the last elements are ready to load, the security force will call in required fires to cover withdrawal and use their own fire to cover their loading.

(c) Maintain all-round security until the first helicopter is on the ground (never assemble too early).

(d) Plan the loads so that a force capable of defending itself constitutes the last lift (never leave less than a platoon-size force). A platoon leader or sergeant, or squad leader, with radio, will be the last man out of a PZ. He will report to his commander that the PZ is clear of all personnel and equipment and immediately notify the pilot of the helicopter he boards. Plan for at least two extra helicopters to go into the PZ to lift out the last unit, when possible.

(e) The attack helicopter unit will be in direct communication with the ground force commander.

(2) Displacement of command post.

(a) Quartering party.

  • Composed of Sl or headquarters commandant, communications officer or representative and communications personnel, security element, and other necessary personnel.
  • Selects location.

(b) Command and control helicopter will be utilized as main CP during movement.

(c) Quartering party duties upon landing include:

  • Laying out new CP.
  • Notifying old CP when new CP is ready for operation.
  • Ensuring timely and orderly arrival and positioning of other CP elements.
  • Opening new CP. Officer in charge notifies commander or S3 when old CP has closed and when staff is operational in the new location.
  • Controlling responsibilities. Command and control helicopter will be used as tactical CP to control and direct subordinate elements during air movement. The old CP is responsible for the dissemination of information and reports to higher and adjacent headquarters until that function is formally passed to the new CP.

(3) Security of aircraft in unit areas.

(a) Passive measures.

  • Laagers (occupancy, 1-36 hours):
    • Select proper terrain for laagers where access by enemy ground forces is difficult (for example, laagers surrounded by water or swamps).
    • Site aircraft to blend with terrain and vegetation (locate parking areas in shadows, near trees).
    • Park aircraft in laagers so that attack helicopters can provide security along avenues of approach. Lift-off of aircraft, if attacked by enemy, is the responsibility of the aviation commander.
    • Utilize troops in or near the laagers to provide perimeter security. Aviation unit will augment security.

  • Semipermanent facilities (occupancy, one to several weeks).
    • Use camouflage nets and natural materials to provide concealment.
    • Provide perimeter troop security around airfields and heliports.
    • Construct individual and helicopter bunkers and continue progressive improvement as time permits.

(b) Security of supporting aviation is the responsibility of the unit commander in whose area they are laagered or as designated by this headquarters.


a. Supply.

(1) Accompanying supplies - all classes. Prescribed supplies will be established by this headquarters for each air assault operation.

(a) Class I. Each soldier will carry three combat ration meals to be eaten on order.

(b) Class II and IV. Units take on one-day supply of required combat essential expendables.

(c) Class III.

  • Vehicle fuel tank, three-fourths full; gas cans, filled to the weld.
  • Units take one-day supply of oil and lubricants on vehicles.

(d) Class V.

  • Units maintain basic load at all times.
  • Available supply rates and priority of delivery specified in OPORD.

(e) Class IX. Units take combat essential prescribed load list.

(f) Water. Soldiers carry two full canteens and one bottle of water purification tablets.

(2) All classes of supply delivered using unit distribution.

(3) Routine, planned supplies will be prepackaged to maximum extent possible by S4.

(4) Emergency resupply containing ammunition, water, rations, and medical supplies will be prepackaged by the S4 and will be ready for delivery as required.

b. Salvage.

(1) Expedite recovery of aerial delivery containers, parachutes, cargo nets, and pallets; commanders guard against damage, destruction, or loss.

(2) Units in objective area establish salvage collecting points when appropriate and practical.

(3) Salvage will be reported to this headquarters for disposition instructions.

c. Captured Materiel. Captured materiel may be used on approval of this headquarters. Evacuation of captured material is accomplished, as the situation allows, through S4 channels.

d. Health Service Support.

(1) Medevac of patients, until linkup or withdrawal, will be by air.

(2) Aid station location will normally be in battalion rear.

(3) Units report capture of medical supplies to battalion medical platoonpersonnel.

(4) Requests for medical evacuation within the AATF operations area will be to the medical organization on the medical evacuation frequency or the admin-log net. Requests for medical evacuation to division medical facilities will be submitted to the AATF S1.

(5) PW casualties needing medical treatment will be evacuated through medical channels.

(6) Hospital locations will be announced for each operation.

e. Transportation and Troop Movement.

(1) Vehicular.

(a) Allocation of accompanying organic transport will be made by this headquarters.

(b) Captured vehicles will be used to the maximum to meet transportation requirements.

(2) Aircraft. Allocation of supporting aircraft will be made by this headquarters.


a. Use as required and prescribed by CEOI and unit SOP and as modified by battalion OPORD.

b. Subordinate units employ only those pyrotechnics specifically authorized by OPORD or CEOI.


a. Radio stations will not attempt to enter, jam, or otherwise interfere with unknown radio nets without prior approval of this headquarters.

b. Report (by a secure means) jamming or attempts to enter nets by unknown stations to the communications officer without delay. Give time, radio frequency, type of jamming, signal strength, readability, and identity (if obtainable) of interfering station.





Distribution: A


1 - Air Assault Formations and Battle Drill.
2 - Air Assault Task Force Commander's Checklist
3 - Air Mission Commander's, or Air Liaison Officer's, Checklist.







This enclosure prescribes the PZ and LZ aircraft formations used when conducting air assault operations. It further prescribes the immediate action to be followed when personnel dismount at the LZ.


This enclosure applies to all organic and supporting units under the control of this battalion. All subordinate SOPs conform, and all personnel will be thoroughly familiar with these procedures.


Aircraft supporting this battalion may use any of the following PZ, LZ configurations, as prescribed by the AATF commander working in conjunction with the AMC.

Requires a relatively long, wide landing area; presents difficulty in pre-positioning loads; restricts suppressive fire by inboard gunners; provides firepower to front and flank.

Allows rapid deployment for all-round security; requires relatively small landing area; presents some difficulty in pre-positioning loads; restricts suppressive fire of inboard gunners.

Requires a relatively small landing area; allows rapid deployment of forces to the front; restricts suppressive fire of inboard gunners; presents some difficulty in prepositioning loads.

Requires a relatively long, wide landing area; presents some difficulty in prepositioning loads; allows rapid deployment of forces to the flank; allows unrestricted suppressive fire by gunners.

Requires a relatively small landing area; allows rapid deployment of forces to the flank; simplifies pre-positioning loads; allows unrestricted suppressive fire by gunners.

Requires a relatively long, wide landing area; simplifies pre-positioning loads; allows rapid deployment for all-round security; gunners' suppressive fire restricted somewhat.

The first step in successful execution of air assault battle drill is to ensure that the aircraft is loaded so that dismounting soldiers react promptly and contribute to mission accomplishment. Regardless of the formation used, individual aircraft are always loaded as follows:

Dismounting in the LZ is the reverse of loading.

This method of loading and unloading is altered when aircraft are landing on a moderate slope.

In so doing, all-round security is attained in both the PZ and LZ, and the need for complicated procedures is reduced by keeping the positions for men and equipment the same. On the LZ, this facilitates use of the bounding overmatch method of movement. Bounding overmatch may be initiated in any direction.

From the initial bounding overwatch formation, transition to traveling overmatch is simple.

Broken lines indicate movement by bounding overmatch after departure of aircraft.

Dismounting into bounding overmatch.

Squad organizes to fit eight-man ACL. (If the CH-60 Black Hawk is used, the remaining squad members can be included in formation.)

If enemy contact is not expected, the squad can be assembled for traveling overmatch.

Dismounting and changing to traveling overmatch.

Movement to a line or assault formation can be executed. (Additional squad members can be carried on Black Hawk.)

Broken lines indicate movement after aircraft departure.

Broken lines indicate movement after aircraft departure.





This list is designed to summarize the essential items that should be included in the planning phase of an air assault operation by AATF commanders. The list should be referred to throughout the planning process to ensure that major planning steps are not omitted. If there is doubt as to how to accomplish a particular task or item, refer to the unit SOPs (or FM 90-4).


a. Analyze mission(s).

b. Determine specified and implied task(s) and objectives).

c. Develop time schedule.

d. Obtain aircraft ACL from AMC and/or air liaison officer.

e. Issue warning order.


a. Choose, as appropriate, assault objectives.

b. Designate LZ(s) available for use. Consider distances from LZ(s) to objective.

c. Establish D-day and H-hour (time of assault).

d. Identify special tasks required to accomplish mission.

e. Means available to accomplish mission include:

(1) Organic troops (consider distance from present location to PZ),

(2) Aviation resources to include attack helicopter, and Air Force support (establish liaison with AMC and/or ALO) (initial information, support requirements from ground unit to include forward arming and refueling point).

(3) Engineers.

(4) Signal to include aerial radio relay.

(5) Medical.

(6) Fire support.

(a) Close tactical air support.

(b) Field artillery within range.

(c) Other indirect fire weapons (mortar and naval gunfire).

(d) Preparation fires for LZs (signals for lifting and/or shifting).

(e) Flight corridors.

(f) Air defense suppression.

(7) Control measures needed.

(8) Subsequent operations (for example, defense linkup, withdrawal) that may be conducted.

NOTE: Announceconcepttostailandsubordinatounitsassoonaspossibletofaciliteteplanning.


a. Enemy locations to include air defense positions.

b. Commander's aerial recon of objective area (if practical).

c. Aerial reconnaissance (side-looking airborne radar [SLARI aerial photos).

d. Sensor reports.

e. Terrain study.

f. Weather forecast.

g. Latest intelligence summary (INTSUM).

h. EPW handling procedures.

i. Civilian control procedures.


a. Selection of primary and alternate LZs (capacity).

b. LZ identification procedures for landing sites include:

(1) Colored smoke.

(2) Panels.

(3) Flares.

(4) Lights.

c. Use of pathfinders.

d. Landing formations).

e. Approach and departure directions.

f. LZ preparation fires to support landing plan and ground tactical plan include:

(1) Use of TACAIR (close air support, air defense suppression, and air cover).

(2) Use of indirect fire weapons.

(3) Use of attack helicopters and units.

(4) Use of EW.

g. Other fire support considerations include:

(1) Shifting of fires.

(2) Lifting of fires.

(3) Suppression of enemy air defenses.


a. Flight routes (primary-alternate-return) require the following data:

(1) RPs; direction and distance to LZs.

(2) SP; air control points, CCP, and RPs.

(3) Phase lines (if used).

(4) Estimate time en route.

(5) Maneuver areas for attack helicopter.

(6) Laagers, to include location, mission, and security.

(7) Friendly air defense considerations.

(8) Enemy air defense intelligence.

b. Air movement table to implement air movement includes:

(1) Units to be lifted.

(2) Number and type of lift helicopters allocated to each unit.

(3) Aviation units that will support unit.

(4) Lift-off times.

(5) Routes.

(6) Unit LZs.

(7) H-hour (landing time of initial serial).

c. Alternate communications plan includes:

(1) FM.

(2) UHF.

(3) VHF.

(4) Visual/audio signals.

(5) Aerial radio relay.


a. PZ assignment by unit (primary-alternate) (bump and/or straggler contingency plan).

b. Holding areas.

c. Routes from assembly areas to holding area to PZ(s).

d. Attack helicopter utilization (overmatch and security) includes:

(1) En route to PZ.

(2) While lift aircraft are in PZ.

(3) En route to LZ.

(4) Recon of LZ; marking of LZ.


a. Alternate plans and procedures due to weather (H-hour increment to delay operation).

b. Downed helicopter procedures to include:

(1) Crew and passenger duties.

(2) Aircraft disposition instruction.

c. Rally points.

d. Escape and evasion instructions.

e. Laager sites.

f. Rules of engagement.

g. Deception plans that will be used.

h. Spare aircraft available.

i. Reconnaissance (air-ground) that will be conducted.

j. Straggler control procedures.

k. Reporting (en route, lift-off, touchdown, intelligence, and contact).

l. Aircraft disposition after assault.

m. Health service support and evacuation procedures.


a. Warning orders.

b. Liaison officer (receive and dispatch).

c. Attachments and detachments.

d. Issue commander's concept (time and place).

e. Briefings (time and place).

f. Preparation of OPORD.

g. Issue OPORD (time and place).


a. Class V resupply.

b. Feeding plan.

c. Water.

d. Medevac (call sign, frequency, location, and procedures).

e. Refueling (location of FARP, ammunition available).


a. Lessons learned:

(1) Ground units.

(2) Aviation units.

b. Actions taken for correction.






This list is designed to summarize the essential items included in the planning phase of an air assault operation by the AMC. The list is referred to throughout the planning process to ensure that major planning steps are not omitted. If there is doubt as to how to accomplish a particular task or item, refer to the unit SOPs (or FM 90-4).


Meet attack helicopter and pathfinder representatives at prearranged site. Obtain briefing from operation's officer to include:

a. Support unit.

(1) Mission.

(2) Location.

(3) Contact officer.

(4) FM frequency.

(5) Call sign.

b. Mission.

(1) Requirements for aerial reconnaissance.

(a) Utility helicopters.

(b) Attack helicopters.

(c) Observation helicopters.

(2) Special mission requests.

(3) Number of aircraft, by type, that are available for the operation (status of assets).

(4) Utility, observation, cargo, or scout helicopters.

(5) Attack helicopters.

c. ACL for each type of aircraft.

(1) Number of troops ______; pounds of cargo ______ .

(2) Number of pathfinders available and time available.

(3) Pathfinder equipment available.

(4) Specific problem areas or requirements that may affect support of ground unit (FARP location and time of operation). (Estimated refueling time, and refuel-rearm plan.)

(5) Obtain necessary equipment that will be required at or by supported unit.

(a) Aircraft or vehicle.

(b) Maps, overlays, photographs.

(c) Radios, CEOI for exchange.

(d) Personal gear

(e) Additional headsets for reconnaissance, if required.

(6) Check with AATF commander for special instructions.

NOTE: Confirm if supported unit is prepared to receive LO.


a. Establish and maintain communications.

b. Obtain status of fires and permission to enter area of operations.


a. Report to supported commander, S3, or LO.

b. Brief supported unit on number and type of aircraft available, ACL, and other essential information.

c. Obtain initial briefing on the following:

(1) Enemy situation.

(2) Friendly situation.

(3) Ground tactical plan (make map overlays).

(4) Supported participating aviation units. Coordinate and integrate plans as necessary.

d. Assist supported unit in planning the following:

(1) Movement to PZ for ground and aviation unit and control facilities.

(2) Loading.

(a) Location and selection of PZ.

(b) Special PZ marking procedures.

(c) Aircraft marking procedures.

(d) Landing formation and direction.

(e) Loads:

  • Troops.
  • Cargo.

(f) Communication control procedures.

(g) PZ control (obtain call sign and frequency).

(h) Manifesting (completion of airloading table)

(i) Priorities of bump by aircraft.

(j) PZ and lift-off times.

e. Air movement.

(1) Flight route. Provide guidance and give technical approval oon selection of the following

(a) SP.

(b) ACPS.

(c) CCPS.

(d) RP.

(2) Alternate and return flight routes.

(3) Formation: select en route formation that gives the most control and is least vulnerable to enemy interference; provide guidance for selection of PZ and LZ formations.

(4) Altitude and speed.

(5) Overwatch and security plan for attack and scout helicopters.

(6) Fire support plan en route.

(7) Air movement table (assist in completing).

(8) Pathfinder support (finalize)

f. Landing.

(1) Touchdown time(s) (in terms of H-hour).

(2) LZ designations and locations.

(3) Size and description.

(4) LZ marking and procedures.

(5) Landing directions.

(6) Landing formation.

(7) Traffic pattern for subsequent lifts.

(8) Communications, control procedures, and use of pathfinders.

g. LZ preparatory and suppressive fires.

(1) CAS (start time, duration, target and type of ordnance, and attack direction).

(2) Indirect fires (start time, duration, target and type of fuze, special instructions).

(3) Plan for attack helicopter unit's scheme of maneuver and plan for overmatch and security (start time, duration, special instruction, attack direction).

(4) Firing of lift helicopter weapons (provide suppressive fires upon landing).

(5) Fire plan of debarking troops.

(6) Call signs and/or frequency signals for lifting and/or shifting support fires.

h. Refueling requirements.

(1) Location of FARP(s).

(2) Time required.

i. Aircraft maintenance.

(1) Downed aircraft procedures.

(2) Spare aircraft procedures.


a. Obtain copies of OPORD with overlays and annexes.

b. Confirm all times.

c. Last-minute weather check.

(1) Mission procedures (delay increments).

(2) Alert procedures.

d. Debriefing the commander.


a. Inform unit commander.

b. Brief personnel, as appropriate, on all above information.

c. Maintain close liaison with support unit.






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