Loose deuce is the Navys tactical doctrine for air-to-air warfare in which a section of fighters can coordinate
sequential attacks against a single adversary as a free and an engaged fighter in offensive and defensive
situations. Loose deuce consists of a section in combat spread utilizing proper lookout, precise execution of
maneuvers, mutual support by presence, and clear, concise communications.
3/4 to 1 nm
Figure 1: COMBAT SPREAD
Combat spread is a section tactical formation maximizing mutual support. It is based on the concept that
two aircraft are separated so they cannot be attacked as a single unit, but close enough to support each
other. The wingman is positioned 3/4 to 1 nm abeam the lead with a step-up of 1000 feet (Figure 1). The
lateral and vertical separation is based on visual detectability of the enemy, threat weapon system
envelopes, fighter turn radius, and threat environment. Proper aircraft positioning in combat spread
maximizes maneuverability against air-to-air or surface-to-air threats and forces early commitment by the
The lead must ensure mutual support through a successful lookout doctrine, communications, and flight
safety. Flying tactical formation in training, the lead must ensure that the specific training objectives for the
flight are met, keep the section in the training area, and adhere to all other training rules.