Operational Navigation Flight Training Instruction
The combat spread formation utilized in road recce flights is much closer than in tactical formation. It is
still flown at 300 KIAS with the wingman stepped up 1,000 ft, but the abeam distance is reduced to
4,000 ft, roughly 2/3 that used in the TACF/ACM stage (Figure 5). The reason for this closer position is to
enable each member of the flight to maintain or regain sight during the attack phase of the flight. A
crosscheck for abeam distance is to be able to read NAVY on the side of your wingman's jet. The bearing
is the first variable in the formation that should be solved, followed by abeam distance, and finally altitude.
Figure 5: COMBAT SPREAD
The lead has the responsibility to: 1. Navigate and maneuver the flight to facilitate mutual support. 2.
Identify and direct target attacks through effective communication. 3. Provide a good lookout doctrine
scanning for bandits and surface threats. The lead is expected to be a stable platform for the formation,
so strive to be at 300 KIAS and position yourself so that the linear feature can be seen through the
intersection of the canopy rail and the canopy bow. The lead must be proactive to maneuver and fix an
out of position section. If the section is out of position, shackle to regain good combat spread before
calling another target.
The wingman of the formation has the responsibility of: 1. Maintaining position to enable effective lookout
doctrine for both players. 2. Backup the lead's navigation. 3. Execute target attacks based on the lead's
directive communication. A wingman's situational awareness can make up for mistakes by lead and is
part of mutual support; don't hesitate to make a recommendation to the lead to help the section regain
mutual support. Abeam distance is the wingman's responsibility. If assigned a heading vice bracketing a
ground feature, the wingman may cross the road/feature to maintain good position. If the lead is flying
wide on the road from his side, the abeam distance expected from the wingman will be difficult to maintain.
If the wingman is out of position, lead cannot initiate successful target attacks.
Lookout doctrine is the cornerstone of mutual support. Both the wingman and lead need to utilize a
coordinated scan pattern to ensure maximum visual coverage and allow sufficient reaction time to engage
a bandit. The majority (75%) of the scan time should be spent looking toward the other aircraft from the
aft visibility limit to 30 degrees off the nose outside the section. The remainder of the scan time (25%)
should be spent looking outside the section from 30 degrees off the nose to the aft visibility limit (Figure 6).
If the wingman begins to fly too wide, it will degrade the lookout because of the difficulty in acquiring a
threat outside the section in time to react. If the wingman flies too close, the mutual blind cone moves