Now that you’ve done your homework and are convinced that you know just as much (or more) about the situation as that guy with the star on his wings, I’ll deflate you (just a little). You still have specific responsibilities, as does the leader.
Here they are:
Mutual Support Responsibilities
2. Navigate — find the target
3. Maneuver the formation
4. Plan and execute the attack and egress
5. Mutual support for the wingie
6. Communications — talk to FAC, keep wingie advised
2. Formation integrity — be where you should be all the time
3. Monitor navigation and situational awareness
4. Mutual support for the leader
The critics in our midst are now saying, “Ahh, this clown’s forgotten about RWR indications, checking 6, etc, etc.” maybe, maybe not. These aren’t all the responsibilities, but they are the basics. If you’ve got some we’ve missed, don’t keep it a secret. I won’t be hurt — promise.
Let’s sum it all up: you know you’re a tactical partner when lead never has to worry about where you are or what you’re doing.
If the bad guys have their jammers up in force, this section may not do you any good. If not, there are a few little catch words that can make your mission a lot easier. To be effective, these terms must mean the same thing to everyone. Most are familiar, but some might not be. If we use them when flying training missions, we’ll use them also when the balloon goes up.
Line. Line abreast formation or attack. The direction is usually specified: ”Cobra…line left.”
Wedge. Wedge formation or attack. Direction is specified again: ”Cobra…wedge left.”
Visual. I see my leader or wingman.
Blind. I do not see my leader or wingman.
Tally. I see the degenerate commie who wants to ruin our day.
No joy. I do not see the threat.
Padlock. I see something important and don’t want to take my eyes off of it.
Point. A mutual hard turn to point at each other… a way of clearing each other’s six. After passing each other, we turn back to the original heading.
Cross. A hard turn into each other of 180 degrees. Wingie always goes to the outside.
Circle. Circle the Hogs… one way to hold over a specific point. Let’s talk about this for a moment. A Hog circle isn’t just a leader and a straggler… if you’re not on opposite sides of the circle, you don’t have mutual support. Entering the circle is relatively easy. Lead calls “circle” and turns hard into the wingman for about 135 degrees. The wingman waits until the lead’s nose passes him and then begins an easy turn into lead. Once the wingie starts his turn, the lead reverses back into the wingie, and the circle is formed.
Bone. Another way to hold (also known as “racetrack”). Begun with a cross turn. The lead rolls out of the cross turn and establishes the bone. Another cross turn is used to complete the bone. The straight legs are used for referencing the map, switch changes, etc.
Circle Bone (or Racetrack)
Passing The Word
Use of these terms assumes you have some communications available to you. If you have the
good fortune to be able to chat at length, fine. But you may find your comm to be partially jammed
or the frequency being used by others. When in a limited comm situation, you need to keep things
short and sweet. The “five point brief” is designed to pass the critical items for an attack.
Here it is:
1. IP location. The initial point (IP) is the geographical point that the attack starts from. It may be preplanned or assigned on the spot.
2. Attack formation, type, and roles.
3. Number of attacks. (only given if more than one).
4. Egress formation. (only given if different from attack formation).
5. Egress direction or point. (only given if different from IP).
The brief would sound like this:
“Cobra, Bravo 601, wedge, shooter-cover, one shooter, Bravo 602”.
This tells the wingman that the flight will depart from IP B601 in wedge formation and that the wingman will fly the cover role for lead. The flight will egress in wedge to IP B602.
One final word of preparation from the lead will be his call for the “fence check”. This is a cockpit switches check done prior to entering the target area. Each pilot checks that his armament panel is set up correctly for the weapon to be used. In addition, he also checks that his ECM pod is programmed correctly, his exterior lights are turned off or down, the RWR settings are adjusted for the anticipated threat, and that he has sufficient fuel to complete the mission. The A-10 version of the fence check looks like this:
1. F – Fire control systems. Make sure EO, TISL, and weapons panel are set up.
2. E – EW systems. Set up ALE-40 (chaff/flare), ALE-69 (RWR), and ECM pod.
3. N – Navigation systems. INS programmed, map open to correct location, TACAN set.
4. C – Communications. Have Quick (secure radio) and authenticator ready.
5. E – Emitters. IFF, TACAN, exterior lights set.