|About the Book|
This manual is primarily a ready reference to assist the ground observer in aircraft recognition and identification. It provides information on current operational aircraft of the United States and foreign countries, which may be observed worldwideMoreThis manual is primarily a ready reference to assist the ground observer in aircraft recognition and identification. It provides information on current operational aircraft of the United States and foreign countries, which may be observed worldwide in the combat area. It can be used as source material for personnel conducting unit training in visual aircraft recognition.The procedures in this publication apply throughout the US Army. The data is based on the best information available at the time of publication- however, it is not all-inclusive because of some classification guidelines. This publication, by nature, has a built-in time lag, and some aircraft may still be under development or classified at the time of writing, but may be fielded or unclassified at, or after, publication.Need for Visual Aircraft RecognitionThis chapter provides the causes for the decline in recognition skills in the past, the reasons for visual aircraft recognition today, and anoverview of the potential threat. Aircraft are as much a part of the battlefield as tanks and artillery. These aircraft add a verticaldimension and their presence must be accepted and dealt with by every soldier in the field.On today’s battlefield, a soldier must recognize and identify both threat and friendly aircraft. Since there may be many of each type, aircraft recognition training is necessary for every soldier in the combat force.REASONS FOR VISUAL AIRCRAFT RECOGNITIONFollowing World War II, the emphasis on visual aircraft recognition declined as a required skill for ground-based weapons crewmembers. Causes of the decline were—• The substitution of guided missiles for large antiaircraft guns.• The assumption that US forces would continue to maintain air superiority.• The reliance on electronic equipment for aircraft identification as hostile or friendly.The need for visual aircraft recognition skills has become more critical since—• An analysis of past military actions shows aircraft losses to air defense guns and small arms. It has reestablished that the soldier on theground is capable of inflicting heavy losses on aircraft operating at low altitudes.• Continued air superiority over every battlefield is not possible.• Electronic identification has limitations and small units or individual soldiers do not always have access to these devices.• Visual recognition and identification of specific aircraft types and timely reporting provide the S2 and G2 additional information of apassive nature in the form of early warning, threat air capability, or information on a possible new tactical situation such as supplydrops, defoliation, or photographic reconnaissance.The provision of large numbers of AD weapon systems to all divisional and some nondivisional ground combat forces generates additional emphasis on the need for visual aircraft recognition. Crew and team members of these weapon systems depend on visual recognition and identification of aircraft when making engagement decisions.