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The  number  (which  may  consist  of  one,  two, or  three  digits)  indicates  the  design  number  of  the type  of  aircraft.  The  designator  A-7  shows  an aircraft  to  be  the  seventh  attack  design.  If  a particular  design  is  modified,  another  letter  (A, B, C, etc.) follows the design number; this letter identifies  the  number  of  the  modification.  For example, the second A in A-6A tells us that the original  design  of  this  attack  plane  has  been modified  one  time. When  the  original  mission  of  an  aircraft changes,  a  mission-modification  letter  precedes the  basic  mission  symbol.  These  are  as  follows: A  —Attack C    —Cargo/transport D  —Director  (for control  of  drones) E  —Special  electronic installation H —Search and rescue K —Tanker L  —Cold  weather M—Missile  carrier Q   –Drone R   —Reconnaissance S   —Antisubmarine T  —Trainer U  —Utility V  —Staff W —Weather Thus,  if  the  A-4  is  modified  to  be  used  as  a training  aircraft,  its  alphanumeric  identification becomes   TA-4. Other letters that frequently appear before a basic   mission   symbol   or   mission-modification letter are “special-use” symbols that indicate the special status of an aircraft. Currently, six special- use  symbols  are  used: G—Permanently   grounded   (for   ground training) J  —Special  test,  temporary  (when  tests  are complete, the craft will be restored to its original  design) N—Special  test,  permanent X—Experimental  stage  of  development Y—Prototype  (for  design  testing) Z —Early stages of planning or development STRIKING FORCE A strike is an attack that is intended to inflict damage   to,   seize,   or  destroy  an  objective.  A striking force is a force composed of appropriate units needed to conduct strike, attack, or assault operations. Because of their mobility and versatile power, naval  striking  forces  are  ideal  instruments  for enforcing  national  military  policy  and  settling outbreaks   of   hostilities.   In   peacetime,   the existence  of  a  naval  striking  force  may  serve  as a stabilizing influence to inhibit the outbreak of hostilities. If hostilities should occur in spite of attempts to  settle  international  disputes  by  other  means, the naval striking force is available immediately. It   will   take   prompt   and   decisive   action   to accomplish   national   objectives. Mobility is one of the greatest assets of naval striking forces. It makes surprise attacks possible from any point on the periphery of an enemy land area  bounded  by  navigable  waters.  The  versatility of a striking force permits the use of a wide variety of  weapons  systems  from  either  distant  or  close ranges. AIR STRIKES An  air  strike  is  an  attempt  by  a  group  of aircraft  to  inflict  damage  on  an  enemy  target. Before  an  air  strike  is  made  against  targets ashore,  the  strike  planners  will  formulate  and consider a plan of attack. First they meet in the carrier  intelligence  center  (CVIC)  to  view  all  of the information the air intelligence officer makes available to them. They use the latest technology available in the planning of their missions. One system they use is the tactical air mission planning system (TAMPS). It automatically performs most of  the  more  tedious  planning  steps  strike  planners previously  did  manually. Once the plan is complete, all pilots who will take  part  in  the  actual  strike  attend  a  detailed briefing. The briefing covers all known informa- tion  that  might  contribute  to  the  success  of  the mission.  It  includes  enemy  strength;  location  or probable   location   of   the   enemy;   recovery   of “safe”   areas;   weather   conditions;   location   of friendly forces; and, if possible, target priorities. The  method  of  delivering  the  attacks  and  the weapons  selected  depends  on  several  elements. They  include  the  construction  of  the  target, whether  the  tactical  situation  calls  for  a  day  or night  attack,  and  the  weather  conditions  at  the target. 12-9

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