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Operations Planning

Section I


3-1. General.

a. Successful air assault execution is based on a careful analysis of METT-T and detailed, precise reverse planning. Five basic plans that comprise the reverse planning sequence are developed for each air assault operation. They are:

  • The ground tactical plan.
  • The landing plan.
  • The air movement plan.
  • The loading plan.
  • The staging plan.

These plans should not be developed independently. They are coordinated and developed concurrently by the AATF staff to make best use of available time. The ground tactical plan is normally developed first and is the basis from which the other plans are derived.

b. Planning for air assault operations requires time - time to plan, time to prepare, and time to brief. The AATF uses the sequence of command and staff actions and troop leading procedures common to other combat operations.

c. Planning for air assault operations is as detailed as time permits and should include completion of written orders and plans. Within time constraints, the AATFC must carefully evaluate capabilities and limitations of the total force and develop a plan that ensures a high probability of success.

d. Often, however, the fleeting nature of tactical opportunities does not permit adequate planning time and the development of detailed written plans and orders. If time is limited, planning steps may be compressed or conducted concurrently; detailed written plans and orders may be supplanted by standing operating procedure or lessons learned in previous training. Previous training and the development of SOPs cannot be overemphasized. Units cannot expect to successfully conduct air assault operations, particularly with compressed planning time, without the benefit of previous training.

e. Many routine tasks related to air assault operations are accomplished above the AATF level. The division is the lowest echelon that can allocate assets, assign appropriate missions, gather required data, and analyze capabilities. For this reason, when an air assault mission is assigned by division, or higher level command, that headquarters begins the planning process. The division uses its resources to gather data and provides planning information to lower echelons, or division may complete the planning tasks itself. When the division does these tasks, subordinate commanders can expend their limited time to accomplish other key planning tasks.

f. When an infantry unit is given an air assault mission, the assigning echelon provides the latest extended weather forecast, up-to-date intelligence (with emphasis on known or suspected enemy air defense systems), initial fire planning, and many of the terrain considerations relevant to the operation. Additional information that is not provided may be requested and/or completed by the AATF. All echelons attempt to reduce the planning burden of subordinate units.

g. The battalion is the lowest level that has sufficient personnel to plan, coordinate, and control an air assault operation. When company-size operations are conducted, the bulk of the planning takes place at battalion and higher headquarters.

h. All tactical estimates used in troop leading procedures employ the factors of METT-T. The METT-T provides data that is analyzed using the estimate process and from which a decision is made. Applying the factors helps the commander isolate and address significant considerations that affect the mission. The factors of METT-T are considered in each phase of the estimate.

3-2. Mission.

Mission analysis is conducted early-on in the estimate process. The mission involves the critical tasks that must be performed. The tasks are either specified tasks stated by the order or implied tasks that the commander must deduce. Mission analysis determines not only what must be accomplished, the intent of the commander ordering the mission (the why of the operation), and the limitations (when, where, how) placed by the higher headquarters, but is the basis for deciding on task organization. Once the mission is analyzed and deductions are made, all other factors are considered in terms of their impact on the mission. It is therefore imperative that the mission be understood before continuing the estimate.

3-3. Enemy.

The examination of enemy factors should be as detailed as possible depending on the time available.

a. General factors to consider are:

(1) Identification - who is he? Size and type of unit.

(2) Location - where is he and where is he going?

(3) Disposition - how is he organized; what are his formations?

(4) Strength - his versus friendly forces.

(5) Morale - esprit, experience, state of training, regular or reserve.

(6) Capabilities - electronic warfare, NBC, air defense, airborne, airmobile, attack helicopters, mobility (in comparison to the air assault unit).

(7) Composition - armor, infantry (motorized or light), artillery, combat support.

(8) Probable courses of action - what is his likely mission or objective, and how will he probably achieve it?

b. When planning an air assault operation, the following factors about the enemy must be considered:

(1) His air defense weapons and capability.

(2) His mobility; particularly his ability to react to an air assault insertion.

(3) His NBC capability; particularly his ability to influence potential flight routes and landing zones.

(4) His capability to interdict or interrupt air assault operations with his helicopters or fixed-wing aircraft.

(5) His EW capability.

3-4. Terrain.

In all military operations, terrain analysis is conducted by the criteria described in the term OCOKA:

  • Observation and fields of fire.
  • Cover and concealment.
  • Obstacles and movement.
  • Key terrain.
  • Avenues of approach.

In air assault operations, these factors must be analyzed in terms of their effect on the air assault force during pick up, air movement, insertion, and movement to the final objective, and in terms of OCOKA's overall influence on aviation operations.

a. Observation and fields of fire. These considerations relate to both enemy and friendly forces and, for air assault operations, include:

(1) Enemy visual observation and/or electronic surveillance of PZS, flight routes, and LZs.

(2) Enhanced friendly observation provided by scout and aerial field artillery observation helicopters.

(3) Ease of navigation along flight routes particularly for night or adverse weather operations.

b. Cover and concealment.

(1) Terrain masking for nap-of-the-earth (NOE) flight routes and insertions.

(2) Covered firing positions for attack helicopters.

(3) Landing zones which offer infantry cover and concealment following insertion.

c. Obstacles and movement. While most obstacles can be bypassed by air assault forces, obstacles which affect the ground tactical plan must be considered.

d. Key terrain. Key terrain is mission-dependent; however, in air assault operations key terrain is not limited to that which influences the ground tactical plan. It must also be analyzed in terms of.

(1) Pickup zones and/or landing zones.

(2) Flight routes.

(3) Attack helicopter battle positions.

(4) Occupation by enemy ADA assets.

(5) Potential forward area rearming and refueling points (FARP).

e. Avenues of approach. Air and ground avenues of approach are considered in both offensive and defensive operations from friendly and enemy viewpoints. A good avenue of approach for air assault forces offers:

(1) A reasonable degree of mobility and few if any natural obstacles to the aircraft.

(2) Little or no canalization.

(3) Terrain masking that decreases effectiveness of enemy air defense weapons.

(4) Cover.

(5) Concealment.

(6) Good lines of communication and logistics.

(7) Ease of linkup with other forces when appropriate.

f. Weather and visibility. Weather information is analyzed for trends (Figure 3-1). If the operation begins in marginal weather, the commander must consider the possibility that it will deteriorate below acceptable limits during the operation. This may result in an interruption of helicopter support and require changes in planned operations. Considerations include:

(1) Fog, low clouds, heavy rain, and other factors that limit visibility for aviators.

(2) Illumination and moon angle during night vision goggle (NVG) operations.

(3) Ice, sleet, and freezing rain that degrades aerodynamic efficiency.

(4) High temperatures and/or density altitudes that degrade aircraft engine performance and lift capability.

(5) Darkness, normally an advantage to well-trained aviators and soldiers.

(6) High winds (large gust spreads)

(7) Weather conditions that create hazards on PZs and LZs, such as blowing dust, sand, or snow.


Weather forecasts are received in the
following format:



Weather (e.g., clear, fog, rain, snow).

Additional information as requested by the

Maximum winds

Observation helicopter (OH) — 30 knots.

Utility helicopter (UH) — 40 knots.

Cargo helicopter (CH) — 60 knots.

NOTE: Gusting winds, in excess of 15 knots over the lull wind, may preclude UH usage. Significant weather patterns (which limit operations) are moderate turbulance and icing.

Extremes Limiting Tactical Air (TACAIR)

Ceiling — 1,000 feet.*

Visibility — 2 miles.*

*NOTE: Operational design of a A-10, close air support (CAS) aircraft. Other type aircraft require better weather conditions.


Allowable Weather Limits

(Applicable to combat operations and
tactical training at a military airfield.)

Visibility — 1/2 mile.

Ceilings — Clear of clouds.

Figure 3-1. Weather data.

3-5. Troops available.

a. The AATF should have enough combat power to seize initial objectives and protect the LZs until follow-on echelons arrive in the objective area.

b. Assault (lift) helicopter capability is the single most important variable in determining how much combat power can be introduced into the objective area.

c. Aircrew endurance must be considered. For planning purposes, the AATFC should consider eight hours a day and four hours of night flying to be a safe limit for aircrews. If those limits are exceeded during a single period, then degraded aircrew performance can be expected on the following days.

3-6. Time available.

The following items are critical to the operations:

a. The time available for preparation, planning, and rehearsals is crucial. Air assault planning must be centralized and precise, and normally takes more time than that for other operations.

b. Normally, additional planning time must be allotted for night operations and those involving multiple PZs and/or multiple LZs.

c. The AATFC must allow adequate time to ensure that all subordinates, particularly aircrews, are thoroughly briefed. Briefing time is significantly reduced by viable SOPs and previous training.

d. The AMC must be provided time to brief and totally integrate all aviation units.


Section II


3-7. General.

Operational security (OPSEC) is the protection of military operations and activities from enemy exploitation. It includes those actions taken to deny the enemy information about planned, ongoing, and completed operations. Effective OPSEC helps maintain surprise in air assault operations and is a tactical imperative because of the density of helicopters involved, the reliance on radio communications, and the potential for catastrophic losses if plans and operations are compromised. An air assault task force makes a lucrative target for enemy air defense, air, and artillery systems. Every reasonable effort must be made to avoid disclosing intended locations and time(s) of air assault operations and thus losing the element of surprise. A "telegraphed punch" can be catastrophic to air assault operations.

3-8. Countermeasures.

The AATF is vulnerable to enemy intelligence gathering methods and must counter the Threat with OPSEC measures including:

a. Signal security. This includes:

(1) Radio listening silence when possible.

(2) Use of low power transmission,

(3) Use of directional antennas.

(4) Proper use of brevity codes and radio procedures.

(5) Secure communications equipment.

b. Information security. Plans and orders must be safeguarded; information must be limited to those with a need to know.

c. Deception operations. It is often appropriate and necessary for the AATFC to employ deception operations to ensure the success of his mission. They may include:

(1) Firing false artillery preparation.

(2) Making false insertions.

(3) Maneuvering forces to other areas away from the objective.

(4) All other infantry deception techniques.

d. Passive security. This includes camouflage, countersurveillance, noise and light discipline, warning devices, and rapid troop insertions, plus:

(1) Tactical dispersion of helicopters and units; PZs and LZs must not be congested.

(2) Keeping helicopter FARPs well to the rear and displacing them frequently.

(3) Marking PZs and LZs to avoid compromise.

(4) Careful planning of flight routes and altitudes, using terrain masking to deny the enemy direct observation.

(5) Using multiple PZs, LZs, and routes.

(6) Using the speed and maneuverability of helicopters to gain surprise.

e. Active security. These measures include employment of patrols, observation post, and reconnaissance. In air assault operations, active security measures include:

(1) Employment of air reconnaissance units to provide early warning around LZs and objective areas.

(2) Suppression of enemy intelligence gathering capability.

(3) Air force reconnaissance capability.

(4) Employment of long-range surveillance units (LRSU) of the division's military intelligence battalion.

3-9. Army airspace command and control.

Army airspace command and control (A2C2) are considered early in the planning stage to resolve conflicts and provide for the safe movement of friendly aircraft. Controlling conflict of airspace use should be executed by SOP, directives, and other passive measures because radio communications and positive control of all aircraft may not be possible during actual operations. (See Appendix G for a discussion of A2C2).


Section III


3-10. General.

The foundation of a successful air assault operation is the commander's ground tactical plan, around which subsequent planning is based. The ground tactical plan specifies actions in the objective area to ultimately accomplish the mission and address subsequent operations.

3-11. Elements of the ground tactical plan.

a. The ground tactical plan for an air assault operation contains essentially the same elements as any other infantry attack but differs in that it is prepared to capitalize on speed and mobility in order to achieve surprise. Assault echelons are placed on or near the objective and organized so as to be capable of immediate seizure of objectives and rapid consolidation for subsequent operations. If adequate combat power cannot be introduced quickly into the objective area, then the air assault force must land away from the objective and build up combat power. The air assault force then assaults like any other infantry unit and the effectiveness of the air assault operation is diminished.

b. The scheme of maneuver may assume a variety of possibilities depending on the commander's evaluation of METT-T including, in particular, the availability of LZs in the area. The plan should include:

(1) Missions of all task force elements and methods for employment.

(2) Zones of attack, sectors, or areas of operations with graphic control measures.

(3) Task organization to include command relationships.

(4) Location and size of reserves.

(5) Fire support to include graphic control measures.

(6) Combat service support.

NOTE: This plan is prepared by thE AATF staff with input from all task force elements and is in sufficiEnt detail to facilitate understanding by subordinate commanders. It is imperative that all aircrews know this ground tactical plan and the ground commander's intent.


Section IV


3-12. General.

a. The landing plan must support the ground tactical plan. This plan sequences elements into the area of operations, ensuring that units arrive at designated locations and times prepared to execute the ground tactical plan.

b. General considerations in developing the landing plan are:

(1) The availability, location, and size of potential LZs are overriding factors.

(2) The AATF is most vulnerable during landing.

(3) Elements must land with tactical integrity.

(4) Troops are easily disoriented if the briefed landing direction changes, and they are not kept informed.

(5) Initially, there may be no other friendly units in the area. The AATF must land prepared to fight in any direction.

(6) The landing plan should offer flexibility so that a variety of options are available in developing a scheme of maneuver.

(7) Supporting fires (artillery, naval gunfire, CAS, attack helicopters) must be planned in and around each LZ.

(8) Although the objective may be beyond the range of supporting artillery fire, artillery or mortars may be brought into the landing zone(s) early to provide fire support for subsequent lifts and on the objective.

(9) The plan should include provisions for resupply and medical evacuation by air.

3-13. Selection of landing zones.

a. Selection criteria. Landing zones are selected by the AATFC or his S3 with technical advice from the AMC or his liaison officer. They do so using the following criteria:

(1) Location. It can be located on, near, or away from the objective, depending on the factors of METT-T.

(2) Capacity. The size determines how much combat power can be landed at one time. This also determines the need for additional LZs or separation between serials.

(3) Alternates. An alternate LZ should be planned for each primary LZ selected to ensure flexibility.

(4) Enemy disposition and capabilities. Enemy troop concentrations, air defenses, and their capability to react to an AATF landing nearby are considered when selecting an LZ.

(5) Cover and concealment. Landing zones are selected that deny enemy observation and acquisition of friendly ground and air elements while they are en route to and/or from (and in) the LZ.

(6) Obstacles. If possible, the AATF should land on the enemy side of obstacles when attacking and use obstacles to protect LZs from the enemy at other times. Landing zones must be free of obstacles. Engineers must be organized for contingency breaching of obstacles.

(7) Identification from the air. Landing zones should be readily identifiable from the air. They should be marked with chemical lights, preferably infrared type, if the assault is conducted with personnel wearing night vision goggles.

NOTE: This assumes the presence of a friendly reconnaissance unit that has reconned and marked the LZs.

(8) Approach and departure routes. Approach and departure flight routes should avoid continued flank exposure of aircraft to the enemy.

(9) Weather. Reduced visibility or strong winds may preclude or limit the use of marginal LZs.

b. Options to consider. If there are options available in selecting LZS, the ones that best facilitate mission accomplishment are chosen. This choice involves whether to land on or near the objective, or to land away from it and maneuver forces on the ground to the objective. Factors considered in making that determination are:

(1) Combat power. This includes maneuver elements, firepower, and combat support assets that can be introduced into the area early in the operation (usually dependent upon the number of aircraft employed and availability of suitable LZs).

(2) Enemy. This includes enemy strength and disposition in and around the objective area, to include air defense systems.

(3) Surprise. This is a goal that may be attained by careful use of terrain, cover and concealment, darkness, or reduced visibility created by weather or smoke. Surprise is sometimes achieved by landing on the objective.

(4) Time. Time that is available for mission accomplishment. Limited time to complete the mission generally favors landing on or near the objective.

c. Landing zone characteristics. In addition to deciding where to land in relation to the objective, a decision is made on whether to use a single LZ or multiple LZs.

(1) Advantages of a single LZ.

(a) Allows concentration of combat power in one location (if the LZ is large enough).

(b) Facilitates control of the operation.

(c) Concentrates supporting fires in and around the LZ. Firepower is diffused if more than one LZ preparation is required.

(d) Provides better security for subsequent lifts.

(e) Requires fewer attack helicopters for security.

(f) Reduces the number of flight routes in the objective area, making it more difficult for enemy intelligence sources to detect the air assault operation.

(g) Centralizes any required resupply operations.

(h) Concentrates efforts of limited LZ control personnel and engineers on one LZ.

(i) Requires less planning and rehearsal time.

(2) Advantages of multiple LZs.

(a) Avoids grouping assets in one location and creating a lucrative target for enemy mortars, artillery, and CAS.

(b) Allows rapid dispersal of ground elements to accomplish tasks in separate areas.

(c) Reduces the enemy's ability to detect and react to the initial lift.

(d) Forces the enemy to fight in more than one direction.

(e) Reduces the possibility of troop congestion in one LZ.

(f) Eliminates aircraft congestion on one LZ.

(g) Makes it difficult for the enemy to determine the size of the air assault force and the exact location of supporting weapons.

NOTE: If the objective is designated by a number, the LZ should be designated by a letter or code word to avoid confusion and preclude mix-ups. This avoids having an objective (OBJ) and LZ with the same designator; for example, LZ 1 and OBJ 1.

3-14. Landing formations.

Aircraft formations on the LZ should facilitate off-loading and deployment for the assault. The number and type of aircraft, and the configuration and size of the LZ, may dictate the formation. Because contact is expected in the LZ, elements are landed ready to employ fire and movement. An LZ formation should not be a picture-perfect formation with standardized distances between aircraft. Landing aircraft rapidly select a SAFE landing area as close to concealment as possible to reduce troop exposures. (NOTE: If possible, the PZ formation is the same.) This provides troops a preview of the LZ and gives them an idea of where they will be located (upon landing) in relation to other elements. (For further discussion of air assault formations and drills, see Appendix C.)

3-15. Fires to support the landing plan.

a. Frequently, it is desirable to make the initial assault without preparatory fires in order to achieve tactical surprise. However, preparations are planned for each LZ so that they can be fired if needed.

b. Planned fires for air assault operations should be intense and short but with a high volume of fire to maximize surprise and shock effect. The fires should end just before the first assault element's landing.

c. When developing fire support plans, consideration is given to:

(1) Deception. False preparations are fired into areas other than the objective or LZ area.

(2) Loss of surprise. A preparation of long duration may reduce the possibility of surprise.

(3) Availability of fire support. The fire support officer (FSO) considers assets that can fire a preparation and coordinates with the artillery unit to arrange the preparation. Preparations by tactical aircraft or attack helicopters may be the only viable alternative in many cases.

(4) Significant targets. A known or suspected enemy force, regardless of size, warrants an LZ preparation.

(5) Obstacles to landing and maneuver. Some ordnance used in preparation (artillery, bombs, napalm) can cause craters, tree blowdown, fires, and LZ obscuration and therefore may not be desirable.

(6) Scheduling fires. Fires are scheduled to be lifted or shifted to coincide with the arrival times of aircraft formations.

(7) Positive control measures. Control measures must be established for lifting or shifting fires.


Section V


3-16. General.

a. The air movement plan is based on the ground tactical and landing plans. It specifies the schedule and provides instructions for air movement of troops, equipment, and supplies from PZs to LZs. It also provides coordinating instructions regarding air routes, air control points, and aircraft speeds, altitudes, and formations. The planned use of attack helicopters, to include security and linkup locations (if different from PZ), should also be included in the air movement plan. (When operations involve multiple lifts from the same PZ, a lift table is prepared to ensure lifts are properly organized.)

b. The air movement plan is normally developed in coordination with the AMC, or the aviation liaison officer, who provides technical assistance and recommendations.

3-17. Development of tentative flight routes.

Tentative flight routes are developed to control, protect, and sequence aircraft movement. Careful consideration is given to the terrain and enemy forces. The AATF S2, S3, and AMC assist the AATFC in developing flight routes. The basic methods of developing tentative flight routes is by map study or by photo review when time permits, considering the locations of friendly units, enemy dispositions and air defense systems, and PZs and/or LZs. A flight route consists of a start point (SP), release point (RP), and a flight path between the two. The fire support plan should include fire planning along the flight routes.

3-l8. Designation of start point and release point.

The first step is to identify tentative SPs and RPs (Figure 3-2). The distance from the PZ to the SP should be no less than three to five kilometers to allow aircraft to achieve the desired airspeed, altitude, and formation after lift-off. The distance from the RP to the LZ should allow the flight leader to reconfigure the formation and execute a tactical formation landing. In locating SPs and RPS, the following considerations apply:

a. Locate three to five kilometers from PZs and LZs respectively. This allows two to three minutes flying time for coordination of the flight's en route procedures.

b. Locate according to weather, obstacles, and enemy positions.

c. Locate to facilitate lift-off and landing into the wind by the best flight path.

3-19. Air movement table.

a. The air movement table:

(1) Contains aircraft allocations.

(2) Designates number and type of aircraft in each serial.

(3) Specifies departure point, route to and from loading area, and loading, lift-off, and landing times.

b. The table is prepared jointly by the AATF staff and aviation personnel and it is completed in detail since it serves as the primary movement document.

NOTE: The table controls AATF movement from PZ to LZ as air assault forces fly to the LZ utilizing radio listening silence, if possible.

c. The table ensures that all personnel, equipment, and supplies are accounted for in the movement, that each aircraft is fully loaded, correctly positioned in the flight, and directed to the right LZ (Figure 3-3). The table must also include the refuel schedule for all lifts, if required.

Figure 3-2. Start and release points.

Figure 3-3. Expediant movement table.

3-20. Development of flight routes.

a. Flight routes are developed based on tactical and technical factors. It may be necessary for a route to pass through an adjacent unit's sector. When that is the case, approval from that unit is obtained and coordination is made. Regardless of route direction or location, certain criteria are considered.

b. Seldom are all characteristics present in any one situation; one or more may have to be omitted. Flight routes:

(1) Are as short as possible, consistent with other considerations.

(2) Avoid turns in excess of 45 degrees, when formation flying is required, to facilitate control of the aircraft formation.

(3) Provide terrain masking to deny exposure to enemy observation, direct fire weapons, and radar acquisition, if possible.

(4) Provide cover when terrain permits, placing terrain mass and/or vegetation between the enemy and the aircraft.

(5) Provide for ease of navigation (day or night).

(6) Avoid masking friendly fires, particularly supporting artillery.

(7) Avoid known enemy units and air defense positions.

(8) Avoid overflight of built-up areas.

3-21. Flight corridor.

a. When there is competition for airspace, it may be necessary to modify the flight route(s) and designate a flight corridors). The corridor reserves airspace around a flight route for AATF use, and prevents artillery, tactical air (TACAIR), and other elements from firing or flying through when it is in use.

b. Authority to establish a flight corridor is obtained from the brigade and/or division commanders). Designated flight corridors are coordinated through airspace management channels. This ensures that airspace within corridors is not violated.

c. The corridor begins as a flight route and is then modified as required. The size of corridors varies. Normally, they extend 200 to 300 meters on either side of the designated flight route, and 500 feet above and below the route flight altitude.

d. Helicopter formations operating at terrain flight (low) altitudes do not require minimum altitude corridor designations. The upper air limit of the corridor may vary and would be specified by the headquarters establishing it.

e. If it is necessary to restrict the operational area to only those aircraft directly involved in the air assault operation, a restricted area can be established by the airspace management element.

3-22. Flight axis.

a. The flight axis is another variation of the flight route. It is a flight route that has width (like the corridor) but does not have airspace reserved to a specific altitude (as does the corridor).

b. The flight axis permits deviation laterally along the flight route but does not restrict the employment of other assets. It gives the AMC a choice in selecting en route formations and freedom to alter direction without coordinating a new flight route.

3-23. Expedient flight routes.

These routes are established with checkpoints. If time is not available to develop and disseminate PZs, LZs, and flight route information, the commander can define an expedient route by reference to checkpoints (Figure 3-4).

Figure 3-4. Expedient flight route.

3-24. Flight route control measures.

a. Control measures assist in navigation and provide control to ensure the AATF arrives in the LZ on time and in sequence.

b. Air control points (ACP) designate each point where the flight route changes direction (Figure 3-5). They include readily identifiable topographic features or points marked by electronic navigational aids. A route may have as many ACPs as necessary to control the air movement. The SPs and RPs are also air control points.

Figure 3-5. En route reporting.

c. An ACP may be further designated as a communication checkpoint (CCP). A CCP is a point along the flight route that serial commanders report to the AMC. Radio transmissions are made only when necessary. If a report is required, the transmission is short. This is possible by using codes. For example, the short radio transmission, "One, One King," could mean that the first serial of lift I is crossing CCP King.

3-25. Designation of routes.

a. Once tentative flight routes are identified, they are designated for use by each unit. When large groups of aircraft are employed, dispersion is achieved by using multiple routes. However, with large serials it is often necessary to use fewer routes, or even a single route, in order to concentrate available supporting fires. Also, the number of alternate and return routes may be limited.

b. Primary, alternate, and return routes to be used by each subordinate unit are designated. When selecting routes, the following factors are considered:

(1) Interference with ground action. Overflying ground elements may interfere with their supporting fire. Flight routes should be clear of the gun-target line when possible.

(2) Support of landing plan. To reduce vulnerability of the air assault force, flight routes should facilitate rapid approach, landing, and departure from selected LZs.

(3) Enemy ground and air capabilities. Selected flight routes make maximum use of terrain, cover, and concealment to minimize enemy observation and target acquisition.

(4) Available fire support. Flight routes allow support from all available resources.

(5) Available air cover. Flight routes are identified in order to provide air cover for friendly forces en route.

(6) Weather conditions. Flight routes remain usable based on prevailing weather during execution of the air assault operation.

(7) Terrain. Flight routes use terrain to maximum advantage to reduce vulnerability of the aircraft formations.

(8) Time (distance) from PZ to LZ. Flight routes are as short as possible to reduce flying time.

3-26. Dissemination of route information.

Maps or overlays containing flight route information are prepared at AATF headquarters and disseminated to subordinate and support units. (Overlays are often used.) Flight routes and corridors are designated by a letter, number, or word (Figure 3-6).

Figure 3-6. Depicting flight routes on overlay.

3-27. En route formations.

The flight's formation is dictated by the terrain, enemy situation, and the degree of control required. Regardless of the specific formation, aircraft are staggered and the distance between them varies according to the terrain being crossed. The AMC and/or flight leader selects the en route formation. The aircraft land in the formation specified by the air movement table (Figure 3-7).

Figure 3-7. Flight routes and lifted units.

3-28. Terrain flight modes.

A specific en route flight altitude is not designated. Pilots may use one of three terrain-flight modes as dictated by the mission and the Threat (Figure 3-8).

a. Nap-of-the-earth flight. This is flown at varying airspeeds and altitudes as close to the earth's surface as possible while following the contours of the earth. It is a weaving flight path that remains oriented along the general axis of movement and takes advantage of terrain masking.

b. Contour flight. This is flown at low altitude conforming generally to the contours of the terrain. The flight is characterized by varying altitudes and varying airspeed.

c. Low level flight. This is flown at low altitude, with constant heading, airspeed, and altitude to facilitate speed and ease of movement while minimizing detection. This mode of flight is normally used only in rear areas.

d. Factors affecting flight attitude. These include:

(1) Enemy. The greater the enemy air defense threat, the lower the flight altitude.

(2) Terrain. Aircraft must clear all terrain obstacles and still reduce exposure to enemy air defense weapons and observation.

(3) Navigation. It is usually easier to navigate at higher altitudes, but the risk of detection by the enemy is greater.

(4) Weather. Ground fog, or haze, requires higher altitudes whereas a low ceiling requires lower altitudes.

(5) Flight distance. If the distance is short, the flight does not take time to climb to a high altitude.

(6) Need for surprise. Surprise is more likely when using low altitude.

(7) Pilot fatigue. Terrain flying is more fatiguing for aircrews.

Figure 3-8. Terrain flying.

3-29. Supporting fires along the flight route.

a. Fires along the flight route are planned to suppress known or suspected enemy positions. These fires should be intense and of short duration. Multiple target engagement techniques should be utilized (groups, series).

b. Fire plans cover the PZs, flight routes, and LZs. Fire support plans include suppression of enemy air defense systems and smoke to protect formations from enemy detection. This requires aggressive fire planning by the fire support officer and direct coordination with FA and mortar fire direction centers and other fire support elements.

c. All available fire support is used to suppress and/or destroy enemy weapons including TACAIR, artillery, and attack helicopters.

d. Support may consist of smoke, chaff (air-dropped, shredded aluminum foil to foul radar), or other countermeasures for suppressing or confusing enemy air defense systems.

e. On-call fires are planned along the flight route to ensure rapid adjustment on targets of opportunity.

f. During night operations, the use of illumination fire requires detailed planning. Illumination can interfere with night vision goggles and cause unsafe conditions.

3-30. Air movement timing.

a. A successful air assault operation is a sequence of actions carefully planned and precisely executed.

b. The basis for timing is the time when the first aircraft in the first lift of the operation is to touch down on the LZ. It is referred to as H-hour. All times in air assault operations are referenced from H-hour (landing time column, air movement table). The H-hour in air assault operations is equivalent to the attack time in a mission order. If delays are encountered due to weather or aircraft delays, the commander announces a new H-hour (Figure 3-9).

Figure 3-9. Landing time.

c. Normal distance from RP to LZ is three to five kilometers. Planning time for navigating this distance is approximately two minutes, depending upon air speed (Figure 3-10). In order for the first aircraft to land in the LZ at H-hour, it must reach the RP at H-2 minutes (RP time column, air movement table).

Figure 3-10. Release point time.

d. The air movement table requires time for detailed planning. For large operations, an LO from the supporting aviation element is required.

e. The importance of an air movement table should not be underemphasized. As stated previously, C2 procedures should be planned to allow continued execution despite loss of radio communications. If the AMC and lift flight leaders have air movement tables in their possession, they can continue the mission without radio communications.

(1) Flight time. The following example explains how to compute the time required to cover the distance from the SP to the RP. These times are computed for the entire length of the flight route from the SP to the RP. The length of each of the flight routes is measured so that en route times can be computed.

(2) Round up to next higher whole number. Figure 3-11 is an example of how the formula is to be used:

Figure 3-11. Flight time computed.

3-31. Lift-off time, start point time.

a. Lift-off time must be determined first in order to meet the LZ time. The total flight route time is determined by adding the time to fly from the SP to the RP to the LZ. In the preceding example, flight route time was determined to be eight minutes. The flight time from the RP to the LZ is two minutes. In this case, SP time would be H-10 arrived at as follows:

RP time = H-2 (two minutes for RP to LZ).

SP time = H-10 (eight minutes flight route time plus two minutes from RP to LZ).

b. To determine the lift-off time, add the time between PZ and SP. Continuing the example, if time between PZ and SP is two minutes, the -

RP time = H2.

SP time = H-10.

Lift-off time = H-12 (this includes the two minutes from PZ to SP).

c. All times (lift-off, SP, and landing) are recorded in the proper columns of theair movement table (Figure 3-12).

Figure 3-12. Lift-off time and SP time.

3-32. Loading time.

a. Loading time is the time required, before lift-off, to load the aircraft. Time to load is normally dependent on prior training, equipment to be carried, and light conditions. Night operations require more loading time. Once loading time is determined, it is added to the previously computed times (Figure 3-13).

Figure 3-13. Loading time.

b. If a unit requires four minutes to load, in order to meet the lift-off time of H-12, it begins loading no later than H-16 minutes (loading time and lift-off time columns, air movement table).

c. Slingloading also requires additional time that must be calculated into this plan. The use of slingloads may also reduce the en route airspeed.

d. The aviation and ground elements each begin movement to the PZ to start loading at the prescribed time.

e. With the air movement time schedule completed for the initial elements, the air movement table is completed by building on the initial times.

3-33. Loading time, second lift.

The first lift is planned working back from H-hour. Planning for the second lift is forward from H-hour since the en route times are established (Figure 3-14). However, before annotating the air movement time for the second element, the time required for the aircraft to return from the LZ to the PZ (along the return route) is computed. This is done employing the same method used in computing initial flight time. For example, if it is two minutes flight time from the PZ to the SP, two minutes from the RP to the LZ, and eight minutes en route, then once the aircraft have unloaded, it takes 12 minutes to return to the PZ (lift, serial, loads, and loading time columns, air movement table).

Figure 3-14. Load time, second lift.

3-34. Second lift.

If it takes four minutes to load the second lift, then the lift-off time is recorded as H+16 minutes. Subsequently, if it takes two minutes to get from PZ to SP, SP time is H+18 minutes. If the flight requires 10 minutes to get from SP to RP, RP time is H+28 minutes. Once again, allow two minutes for transition from RP to the LZ; the landing time for the second element on its LZ is H+30 minutes. Subsequent times are all computed in the same manner (landing time column, air movement table) (Figure 3-15).

Figure 3-15. Second lift.

3-35. Planning for refueling.

a. An accurate table must also contain the times involved in aircraft refueling.

b. Refueling is planned so that a flight completes refueling before the serial that is scheduled to be refueled last gets critically low on fuel. If only a portion of the flight can be refueled at the FARP, the first serial might have to refuel as much as an hour before it needs refueling. The other serials continue the lift operation until it is their turn to refuel. The plan should allow a smooth, continuous rotation of aircraft into and out of the FARP (Figure 3-16).

Figure 3-16. Sequencing serials into the FARP.

e. The number of aircraft that can refuel at one time is divided into the number of aircraft in the lift. The result is the number of separate trips to the FARP to refuel the entire lift one time.

d. The result is multiplied by the time required for the aircraft to refuel. The answer gives the total time required to refuel one time. For example, if four serials require 15 minutes each to refuel, it takes one hour to refuel the entire lift. (This time includes time for repositioning to the PZ.)

e. This figure is subtracted from the available flying time to determine at what point in the mission the refueling process must begin.

f. The physical planning for refueling begins when the aircraft arrive in the PZ for loading. Once the plans are developed, refueling becomes a part of the table (Figure 3-17).


Section VI


3-36. General.

The loading plan is based on the air movement plan. It ensures that troops, equipment, and supplies are loaded on the correct aircraft. Unit integrity is maintained when aircraft loads are planned. However, assault forces and equipment may be cross-loaded so that command and control assets, all types of combat power, and a mix of weapons arrive at the LZ ready to fight. Aircraft loads are also placed in priority to establish a bump plan. A bump plan ensures that essential troops and equipment are loaded ahead of less critical loads in case of aircraft breakdown or other problems. Below brigade level, loading plans are established by SOPS. In any case, planning must cover the organization and operation of the PZ including load positions, day and night markings, and communications. 'he loading plan is most important when mixing internal and external loads and/or when mixing aircraft types (lift and medium helicopters).

3-37. Coordination with air mission control.

a. Loading plans are carefully coordinated with the AMC or the aviation LO. Copies of the loading plan should be distributed to the aviation LO, command and control elements, AMC, and the PZ control officer.

b. For battalion or larger air assault operations, a written plan may be required to:

(1) Control movement of troops, supplies, and equipment to and about the PZ.

(2) Designate unit loading sites.

(3) Control timing for arrival, loading, and departing of aircraft.

c. The requirement for detailed, written plans can be reduced by having adequate unit SOPs covering PZ operations and loading plans. Regardless of SOP adequacy, the loading phase should receive command attention to ensure that it goes smoothly. A well-planned and properly executed loading operation is imperative to mission success.

Figure 3-17. Refueling.

3-38. Pickup zone selection.

a. Pickup zone identification is the first step in the loading plan development.


1. Alternate PZs are identified at the same time. The goal of PZ identification is to locate suitable areas to accommodate the lift aircraft.

2. The specifications (such as degree of slope, wind speeds, and distance between aircraft) used in this chapter to identify and select PZs, LZs, and flight routes, are planning guides for the ground unit. They may be adjusted by the AMC based on his evaluation of his unit's level of training.

b. Extraction under pressure is also a function of successful PZ selection. Selected PZs must facilitate delivery of suppressive fires and continuous security of elements to be extracted and the helicopters.

c. Figure 3-18 shows the technical factors that must be considered in selecting Pzs.

Figure 3-18. Technical factors in PZ and LZ selections.

Figure 3-18 — Continued.

d. Once available PZs are identified, the AATFC and his S3 select and assign PZs to be used by each unit. Pickup zone criteria include:

(1) Number. Multiple PZs avoid concentrating forces in one area.

(2) Size. Each PZ should accommodate all supporting aircraft at once, if possible.

(3) Proximity to troops. Where possible, the selected PZs should not require extensive ground movement (to the PZ) by troops.

(4) Accessibility. Pickup zones should be accessible to vehicles to move support assets and infantry.

(5) Vulnerability to attack. Selected PZs should be masked by terrain from enemy observation.

(6) Preparation. It is better to select PZs that are usable as they are, or require only limited clearing (Figure 3-19).

Figure 3-19. Pick-up and landing zones.

3-39. Pickup zone control officer.

a. The pickup zone control officer organizes, controls, and coordinates operationsin PZs selected by the AATFC. (The S4 selects and controls logistical PZs.)

b. The PZCO accomplishes the following:

(1) Forms control group. To manage operations, the PZCO forms a control group to assist him. It may include air traffic control, subordinate units, and support personnel (manpower to clear the PZ; security). The PZCO selects a central location to position the group. The PZCO is designated by the AATFC, usually the S3 Air. For battalion air assault operations, each company commander appoints a PZCO who operates a company PZ for the battalion.

(2) Establishes communications. The PZCO should communicate on two primary radio frequencies: one to control movement and loading of units, and one to control aviation elements (combat aviation net). Alternate frequencies are provided as necessary.

(3) Plans and initiates fire support. He plans fires near PZs to provide all-round protection (from available support) without endangering arrival and departure of troops or aircraft.

(4) Plans and initiates security. The PZCO ensures that adequate security is provided. Security protects the main body as it assembles, moves to the PZ, and is lifted out. Security elements should be provided by other forces if the PZ is within a friendly area. Security elements should be provided by other forces if the PZ is within a friendly area. Security comes from AATF resources if it is to be extracted from the objective area.

(5) Clears PZ of obstacles.

(6) Marks the PZ.

3-40. Pickup zone marking.

a. The PZCO directs the marking of PZs. An effective method is to name the PZ by color and mark it accordingly (by that color) to direct where aircraft will land.

b. Red is never used to mark an aircraft landing position. It is used to mark landing obstacles such as trees or stumps in the landing area.

c. Regardless of the type of markers, the PZ is marked to indicate where aircraft are to land and coincides with the selected PZ aircraft formation.

d. An effective method is to have several individuals in each unit paint (and carry) an extra camouflage cover or a modified (cut to size) VS-17 panel. The colored covers, when displayed, indicate where the lead aircraft lands.

3-41. Movement to pickup zone.

a. Ground and aviation unit movement to the PZ is scheduled so that only the troops to load, and the helicopter to be loaded, arrive at the PZ at the same time. This prevents congestion, preserves security, and reduces vulnerability to enemy actions on the PZ (Figure 3-20).

Figure 3-20. Pickup zone and landing sone formations.

b. To coordinate the movement of units to the PZ, the PZCO:

(1) Selects troop assembly areas, holding areas, and routes of movement. A holding area is located close to the PZ. It is used only when the assembly area is some distance away and does not allow timely movement to the PZ.

(2) Determines movement time of ground units to PZ.

(3) Specifies arrival time(s) and sees that movement of units remains on schedule.

3-42. Airloading table.

a. At company and lower levels, the airloading table assigns each man and major items of equipment or supplies to a specific aircraft (chalk).

b. The airloading table is an accountability tool, a loading manifest for each aircraft.

c. When time is limited, the table can be put on a sheet of paper from a squad leader's notebook. It should list soldiers (by name) and equipment to be loaded on each chalk. These lists are left with a specified representative in the area for consolidation or exchange between aircraft troop commanders (senior person in each aircraft load). This procedure ensures that if an aircraft is lost, a list of personnel and equipment on board is available.

3-43. Load planning.

a. During preparation of the loading tables, unit leaders at all levels attempt to maintain the following:

(1) Tactical integrity of units. When planning loads for air assault operations, fire teams and squads are loaded intact on the same aircraft, and platoons in the same serial. This ensures integrity as a fighting unit upon landing. The commander's goal is to load his unit so that unit integrity is maintained at every level.

(2) Self-sufficiency of loads. Each unit load should be functional by itself (whenever possible).

(a) Every towed item is accompanied by its prime mover.

(b) Crews are loaded with their vehicle or weapon.

(c) Component parts accompany the major items of equipment.

(d) Ammunition is carried with the weapon.

(e) Sufficient personnel are on board to unload cargo carried.

(f) Communication between chalks, if possible, without using the aircraft radios.

(3) Tactical cross-loading. Loads should be planned so that all leaders, or all crew-served weapons, are not loaded on the same aircraft. Thus, if an aircraft is lost, the mission is not seriously hampered. For example, loading the platoon leader, platoon sergeant, and all the squad leaders on the same helicopter, or loading more than one machine gun team on the same aircraft, are violations of cross-loading principles.

b. Another consideration is to determine whether internal or external loading is the best delivery method for equipment and supplies. Helicopters loaded internally can fly faster and are more maneuverable. Externally (sling) loaded helicopters fly slower and are less maneuverable; however, they can be loaded and unloaded more rapidly than internally loaded helicopters. The method used depends largely on availability of sling and rigging equipment.

NOTE: Supplies loaded externally (although loaded rapidly) can present problems if the supplies are destined for more than one location or unit.

3-44. Aircraft bump plan.

a. Each aircraft load has a bump sequence designated on its airloading table. Bump priority ensures that the most essential personnel and equipment arrive at the objective area first. It specifies personnel and equipment that may be bumped and delivered later.

b. If all personnel within the load cannot be lifted, individuals must know who is to offload and in what sequence. This ensures that key personnel are not bumped arbitrarily. Also, bump sequence is designated for aircraft within each serial or flight. This sequence is listed on the air movement table.

c. This also ensures that key aircraft loads are not left in the PZ. When an aircraft within a serial or flight cannot lift off, and key personnel are on board, they offload and reboard another aircraft that has priority.

3-45. Aircraft bump-and-straggler control.

A PZ bump-and-straggler collection point is specified by company or larger units. Personnel not moved as planned report to this location, are accounted for, regrouped, and rescheduled by the PZCO for later delivery to appropriate LZs.

3-46. Lifts, serials, and loads.

To maximize operational control, aviation assets are designed into lifts, serials, and loads (Figure 3-21).

Figure 3-21. Lifts, serials, and loads.

a. Lifts. A lift is one sortie of all utility and cargo aircraft assigned to a mission. That is, each time all assigned aircraft pick up troops and/or equipment and set them down on the LZ, one lift is completed. The second lift is completed when all lift aircraft place their second load on the LZ.

b. Serials.

(1) There may be times when a lift is too large to fly in one formation. In such cases, the lift is organized into a number of serials. A serial is a tactical grouping of two or more aircraft under the control of a serial commander (aviator), and separated from other tactical groupings within the lift by time or space. The use of serials may be necessary to maintain effective control of aviation assets. For example, if NOE flight is used, it would be difficult to control 16 aircraft as a single increment; however, a 16-aircraft lift with four serials of four aircraft each could be more easily controlled.

(2) Serials may also be required when the capacity of available PZs or LZs is limited. If there is a lift of 16 aircraft and available PZs and/or LZs will accommodate only four aircraft, it is best to organize into four serials of four aircraft each.

(3) Serials are employed to take advantage of available flight routes. If there are several acceptable flight routes, the AATFC may choose to employ serials to avoid concentrating his force along one flight route. If the commander wants all his forces to land simultaneously in a single LZ, he does so by having the serials converge at a common RP before landing. With a lift of 16 aircraft and four available flight routes, the AATFC could use four serials of four aircraft each. Each serial would use a different flight route. Each time there is a new lift, a new serial begins. For example, in lift one, there are serials one through four; in lift two, serials again start with one.

c. Loads.

(1) Within each lift, there is also a specific number of loads. A load is personnel and/or equipment designated to be moved by a specific aircraft. When planning the air movement, each aircraft within the lift is termed a load. For example, within a lift of 10, there are aircraft loads one through 10. For each lift thereafter, there will also be loads one through 10. Each aircraft is accounted for within each lift.

(2) An aircraft load may also be referred to as a chalk load," "chalk number," or a "chalk." Loads also must be designated within serials just as they are within lifts. Counting within the serials is continuous up to the total number of aircraft in the lift. For example, in a lift of 16 aircraft in lift one, serial one, there may be loads one through four. In lift one, serial two, there may be loads five through eight. In lift one, serial three, there may be loads nine through 12. Finally, in lift one, serial four, there may be loads 13 through 16 (Figure 3-22).

Figure 3-22. Aircraft load information.

3-47. Sequence of departure.

The sequence of departure from PZs is based on the mission to be accomplished by each subordinate unit upon landing. Unit priorities are based on the sequence of arrival at their LZs. Units are scheduled to depart (in order) based on en route time to the LZ. For example, if Company A is to land first (at H-hour), and Company B second (at H+5), and Company B is 15 minutes farther (in flight time) from the LZ, it may depart the PZ before Company A.


Section VII


3-48. General.

The staging plan is based on the loading plan and prescribes the arrival time of ground units (troops, equipment, and supplies) at the PZ in the proper order for movement.

3-49. Procedures.

Loads must be ready before aircraft arrive at the PZ; usually, ground units are expected to be in PZ posture 15 minutes before aircraft arrive. The staging plan also restates the PZ organization, defines flight routes to the PZ, and provides instructions for linkup of all aviation elements. Air-to-air linkup of aviation units should be avoided, especially at night when night vision goggles are being used.


Section VIII


3-50. General.

The air mission briefing (AMB) is the last coordination meeting of key participants in an air assault mission and ensures that key aviation personnel are briefed and that the details of each plan are finalized.

3-51. Content.

The briefing covers the details of all planning and preparation. It covers the operation from beginning to end, which includes the five plans explained previously, and the completed air movement table (Figure 3-23).

3-52. Participants.

The AMB should include, as a minimum, the S2, S3, fire support officer, aviation liaison officer (LO), ADA liaisons, aviation unit operations officer, AMC, battle team captains (BTC) from air reconnaissance and attack helicopter units, and the ground tactical commander of the unit being inserted. It may also include the S3 Air, communication-electronics officer (CEO), and the S4.

Figure 3-23. Completed air movement table.

3-53. Location.

The briefing is conducted at a location specified by the AATFC and is dependent upon the amount of time available before execution of the mission. In determining the location, factors to consider are:

  • Time required to assemble key personnel.
  • Availability of information (intelligence and status of the aviation assets). Availability of planners.
  • Operations security (multiple aircraft in forward battalion locations).
  • Vulnerability to enemy observation and fires.

3-54. Time.

The AMB should be held as soon as possible after the reverse planning sequence is completed. Applying the one-third, two-thirds rule should allow enough time for all element leaders to brief their subordinate units. For example, with a 12-hour warning, the briefing should be conducted eight hours before the first aircraft arrives at the PZ. This allows four hours to plan the operation. When air assault forces are required to conduct hasty assaults, there is little time for planning. Establishing habitual relationships and SOPs reduces planning and preparation time. Aircrew endurance must be considered when establishing a time for the AMB. If the operation will be of long duration, an early AMB may not be advisable.

3-55. Air mission briefing format.

The following format is a guide. Its use will help ensure that essential information is included in air assault mission briefings.




1 . Situation.

a. Enemy forces (especially troop concentrations and locations and types of ADA assets).

b. Friendly forces.

c. Weather (ceiling, visibility, wind, temperature, pressure and density altitude, sunrise and sunset, moonrise and moonset, percent of moon illumination, end evening nautical twilight, beginning morning nautical twilight, PZ and LZ altitudes, and weather outlook).

2. Mission. Clear, concise statement of the task that is to be accomplished (who, what, and when, and, as appropriate, why and where).

3. Execution.

a. Ground tactical plan.

b. Fire support plan to include suppression of enemy air defenses.

c. Air defense artillery plans.

d. Engineer support plan.

e. Tactical air support.

f. Aviation unit tasks.

g. Staging plan (both primary and alternate PZs).

(1) Pickup zone location.

(2) Pickup zone time.

(3) Pickup zone security.

(4) Flight route to PZ.

(5) Pickup zone marking and control.

(6) Landing formation and direction.

(7) Attack and air reconnaissance helicopter linkup with lift elements.

(8) Troop and equipment load.

h. Air movement plan.

(1) Primary and alternate flight routes (SPs, ACPS, and RPs).

(2) Penetration points.

(3) Flight formations) and airspeeds.

(4) Deception measures.

(5) Air reconnaissance and attack helicopter missions.

(6) Abort criteria.

(7) Air movement table.

i. Landing plan (both primary and alternate LZs).

(1) Landing zone location.

(2) Landing zone time.

(3) Landing formation and direction.

(4) Landing zone marking and control.

(5) Air reconnaissance and attack helicopter missions.

(6) Abort criteria.

j. Laager plan (both primary and alternate laager sites).

(1) Laager location.

(2) Laager type (air or ground, shut down or running).

(3) Laager time.

(4) Laager security plan.

(5) Call forward procedure.

k. Extraction plan (both primary and alternate PZs).

(1) Pickup location.

(2) Pickup time.

(3) Air reconnaissance and attack helicopter missions.

(4) Supporting plans.

l. Return air movement plan.

(1) Primary and alternate flight routes (SPs, ACPS, and RPs).

(2) Penetration points.

(3) Flight formations and airspeed.

(4) Air reconnaissance and attack helicopter missions.

(5) Landing zone locations.

(6) Landing zone landing formation and direction.

(7) Landing zone marking and control.

m. Coordinating instructions.

(1) Mission abort.

(2) Downed aircraft procedures.

(3) Vertical helicopter instrument flight recovery procedures.

(4) Weather decision by one-hour increments and weather abort time.

(5) Passenger briefing.

4. Service Support.

a. FARP locations (primary and alternate).

b. Ammunition and fuel requirements.

c. Backup aircraft.

d. Aircraft special equipment requirements, such as cargo hooks and command consoles with headsets.

e. Health service support.

5. Command Signal.

a. Signal.

(1) Radio nets, frequencies, and call signs.

(2) Communications-electronics operation instructions in effect and time of change.

(3) Challenge and password.

(4) Authentication table in effect.

(5) Visual signals.

(6) Navigational aids (frequencies, locations, and operational times).

(7) Identification friend or foe (radar) codes.

(8) Code words for PZ secure, hot, and clean; abort missions; go to alternatePZ and LZ; fire preparation; request extraction; and use alternate route.

b. Command.

(1) Location of air assault task force commander.

(2) Point where air reconnaissance and attack helicopters come under OPCONas aerial maneuver elements.

6. Time Hack. All watches are synchronized.




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