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Thread: Illumination Flares

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    Retired pilot Ski's Avatar
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    Illumination Flares

    If all illumination flares are deployed in CCRP mode, is it common that they are dropped in the same pass as, say, gbu-38? Or are they usually dropped in separate passes? And if dropped in the same run, do all illum flares drop down the pbil fast enough to then switch over to be able to drop the bomb (gbu-38)?

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    PINKY


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    Sunshine is usually put on the target area prior to a hot run on the target.

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    GOMER 2 Noodle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ski View Post
    If all illumination flares are deployed in CCRP mode, is it common that they are dropped in the same pass as, say, gbu-38? Or are they usually dropped in separate passes? And if dropped in the same run, do all illum flares drop down the pbil fast enough to then switch over to be able to drop the bomb (gbu-38)?
    Hey Ski,

    No, multiple releases of dissimilar ordnance on a single pass is generally not a sound tactic. I say generally because in the A-10, it's not altogether uncommon to shoot folding-fin aerial rockets (FFAR) and the gun on the same pass while performing the forward air controller - airborne (FAC-A) role. But this is a special circumstance where the gun is more for suppression than for actual effect.

    There are a few reasons why this is the case:

    Assuming that you picked that specific combination of weapons on purpose (LUU-2 and GBU-38) there are a few factors you might want to consider. First, the joint direct attack munition (JDAM) is a precision guided munition (PGM) which does not require the pilot to acquire or maintain TALLY on the desired point of impact (DPI). Therefore, it's highly unlikely that you would have a tactical need to put an illumination flare over the target.

    Also, its standard practice to develop tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) that minimize switch actions during weapon delivery. This is why things as "simple" as self-lasing is not a common technique. While task saturated, it's far too easy to make one incorrect press of TMS/DMS/BOAT and end up fumbling the delivery because you accidentally dropped the sensor point of interest (SPI), boresighted the targeting pod (TGP) or Maverick, ceased lasing, changed the profile, etc. As such, delivering one weapon (a flare), then making multiple switch presses in order to change the weapon profile to JDAM and then pickle is...frowned upon. In the example I gave about the A-10 in the first paragraph, remember that the CCIP rocket pipper and the gun cross can be displayed at the same time, and the only two switch actions required are the pickle button and the gun trigger...

    There's also the 800lb gorilla in the room, which is, those two weapons have wildly differing ballistic characteristics and it would be unlikely to achieve a valid CCRP solution for both weapons in a single pass. For a flare delivery made into the wind, you would actually fly past the target before pickling. The JDAM launch acceptability region (LAR) might extend past the target, but dropping from there is a poor decision; considering the gymnastics you're asking the weapon to perform after being released in a low energy state from an A-10. Not sure if I illustrated that point sufficiently...does that kinda make sense?

    Anyway, perhaps a better scenario for a flare drop would be a CCIP delivery of LDGPs at night using a 2-ship. A tactically sound plan would probably involve one aircraft that delivers the flare, then arcs the target to provide cover for the other aircraft which delivers the bombs. The upcoming 476th "3-3" manual will discuss several types of delivery patterns that would work well in such a situation.

    Sorry that my answer kinda fizzled out at the end. I feel like there should be a good summary paragraph to tie up loose ends, but I'm sleepy. Hope this helps though.
    Last edited by Noodle; 27Jun15 at 05:26.

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    Retired pilot Ski's Avatar
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    Fantastic answer! I fully get what you're saying. Thanks for the reply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noodle View Post
    This is why things as "simple" as self-lasing is not a common technique.
    So if I understand this correcly it's common practice to let your WM lase the target while you only concentrate on the delivery itself?

    Quote Originally Posted by Noodle View Post
    The upcoming 476th "3-3" manual will discuss several types of delivery patterns that would work well in such a situation.
    Is this the TTP that is WIP and that may be released to the public?

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    GOMER 2 Noodle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hansolo View Post
    So if I understand this correcly it's common practice to let your WM lase the target while you only concentrate on the delivery itself?
    Yes; a SHOOTER/EYEBALL attack is one where the Eyeball marks the target while the Shooter employs then repositions and prepares to pick up a fumbled mark if necessary.


    Is this the TTP that is WIP and that may be released to the public?
    It is. Although I don't know whether a decision has been made with regard to releasability.

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