Operational Navigation Flight Training Instruction
Preflight planning is the most important factor in the performance of a successful mission, especially for
the pilot of a fast tactical aircraft. As a Naval aviator, you will need to spend much time planning and
studying your low-level missions. An experienced attack pilot will spend twice as much time in planning
and study as in the actual mission. You will spend more than that in the training command, but probably
not as much as the fifty hours of planning required for one nuclear mission. Route selection for attack
routes and route selection in the training command cover the same items, but the requirements are
Weather does not affect attack missions to the extent it once did. All-weather aircraft may launch day or
night and in all weather; their navigation and radar systems will get them through inclement weather to a
target. On the other hand, weather may well be a factor to single-piloted aircraft or to support planes.
Weather minima for training command low-level missions will be given later in this FTI.
When planning airspeed, you must take many factors into account. Among these are: flight composition
(the slowest airplane will control planned airspeed to a great extent); fuel, (a higher airspeed burns more
fuel at low altitude); exposure to enemy defenses, maneuverability and ordnance on board (g restrictions);
reconnaissance requirements (you have to go slower if you spend time looking for targets); target time
versus time enroute; and type of attack.
Altitude selection is more important for getting to the beginning of the low-level than with the route itself. If
there is any threat from electronic detection, attack altitudes should be as low as possible, varying to
accommodate terrain. Altitudes will be selected according to fuel required (cruising at high altitude takes
less fuel than at low altitude) and weather (an all-weather attack aircraft can go above a ceiling and
penetrate it, but another might have to stay below). You will also want to consider radar avoidance and
type and intensity of enemy defenses (high altitudes to avoid small-arms fire and AAA; low to avoid
SAMs). Finally, consider aircraft capabilities if more than one type of aircraft is involved (an aircraft with
farther, you have to fly higher); and type of attack (a steep dive angle requires a higher altitude and
consequently more time in a climb from low altitude).
AREAS OF AVOIDANCE
Avoid enemy defenses whenever you can. Intelligence personnel can tell you locations of radar
installations, surface-to-air missile sites and other threats, so you can plan to avoid them. It is also helpful
to avoid towns and lines of communication (roads, railroads, rivers) in enemy territory; you are attempting
to get to a target undetected.