CHAPTER 3

RANGES FOR HELICOPTER GUNNERY TRAINING

A complete helicopter gunnery training program includes range firing and uses training areas or dry-fire ranges to run tactical courses. Tactical training should be integrated with gunnery training when possible, to provide a more realistic training environment. This chapter highlights procedures, duties, and responsibilities for establishing and operating helicopter gunnery ranges (see AR 385-63). It also includes administrative and logistic requirements necessary to support range firing.

Section I. Range Requirements

3-1. RANGE CONSIDERATIONS

Proper preparation is essential to conduct helicopter gunnery tables. This preparation includes everything from the normal preparations for field training (such as mess and individual equipment) to the basics (such as aircraft, weapons, range facilities, and ammunition).

a. Resources required for gunnery training, such as ammunition and range time, are expensive and limited. To ensure a successful training event, commanders must use these resources fully during every exercise.

b. Each unit should develop a range firing SOP or annex to the local range SOP. Range safety should be included in the unit safety SOP.

c. Effective range administration and operation are crucial to any firing exercise. Planning should be continuous throughout the training year. However, once the range training date is set, the S3 will examine the commander's objectives and work closely with the master gunner and staff to identify all requirements. The S3 will give particular attention to external requirements.

d. To maximize training, the unit should dry fire a table on the assigned range before live fire.

(1) Dry-fire training is most effective when conducted shortly before and during live-fire gunnery. Control measures peculiar to the range can be identified by dry firing an abbreviated crew table and by becoming familiar with the training scenario. Dry-fire training will improve the crews' concentration on the gunnery tasks during live qualification firing. It will also reduce their concerns about positioning, range orientation, and range fans. A thorough dry-fire practice will also help the crews acquire targets. The master gunner should conduct several dry runs in an aircraft to fine-tune the evaluation strategy and ensure targets are in place before live firing begins.

(2) Do not use the actual table VII and VIII target arrays for dry firing. If crews know exactly where targets are located, their proficiency in target acquisition cannot be evaluated.

3-2. REALISTIC TRAINING

a. Realism is the most important factor in gunnery training. Realistic gunnery training can be accomplished by training tough, realistic target acquisition and engagement situations.

b. Scenarios may be incorporated in all gunnery tables. Each scenario should be tailored to the table. For example, Tables III and IV may require only a general threat situation and the assignment of individual aircraft firing positions. Advanced tables may be executed by using a detailed battalion-level OPORD and tactical scenario. Company-level OPORDs may be developed to incorporate all aspects of tactical operations at the company level. The incorporation of tactical scenarios into all gunnery events also increases the value of training. This training may include crews sending spot reports and BDA after each task.

c. Administrative control measures should be kept to the absolute minimum required for safety. Tactical measures should be substituted for administrative measures, where appropriate. For example, a lateral boundary of a range facility could be briefed as a lateral divisional boundary that may not be crossed. The barrier to flight still exists, but some artificiality has been removed. The only necessary administrative control measures may be the verification of the firing aircraft's position and the orientation of weapons before firing.

d. The final step to ensure realistic training is the most important. With the training tables in this FM, the master gunner can design the target array and scenario for the course. The target handover and briefed threat situation provide the information required for crews to conduct a realistic attack.

(1) Firing tables fulfill minimum training requirements; safety regulations fulfill minimum safety requirements.

(2) NOE hover-fire routes can be established around the impact area. These routes may also be used as a target identification range. A target array based on the unit's MTP can assist the crew in target identification and detection. Friendly vehicles may be integrated into the target area during advanced table training to provide aircraft with realistic vehicle identification as part of fratricide prevention training.

(3) Targets to be engaged from the various firing points should vary in range and type. These targets facilitate training the crew in weapon and ammunition characteristics and ballistics. Silhouettes should be constructed to full size. Targets must have a thermal signature when they are engaged during night-firing exercises by attack helicopters with thermal sights/target acquisition systems and devices. Hard targets should be artificially heated. Plywood silhouettes mounted on target lifters should have the standard Army thermal signature devices.

3-3. OPERATIONAL REQUIREMENTS

Some operational requirements require advanced planning. They include--

· Training objectives. What is the desired training end state for the unit crews?

· Ammunition ordered and ammunition available. This ammunition includes rockets and cannon ammunition and return-fire simulators such as ATWESS and Hoffman charges.

· Combined arms integration. Integration of field artillery, armor, and CAS should be considered for advanced table training.

· Threat. Incorporation of TRTG equipment for advanced tables should be considered.

· Detailed manpower. Tasked labor force requirements internal and external to the unit must be identified.

· Briefings. Prerange briefings on range administration, ammunition handling, and range safety are needed.

· Aerial weapons scoring system. Is the system available during our scheduled range density? Has the range been surveyed for AWSS installation?

3-4. RANGE SCHEDULING

a. Most installations hold a G3 range conference annually to schedule range time. Representatives from all units using the range facilities will attend and compete for range time. Based on the long range calendar the units use (division, corps, or National Guard Training Center), the G3 personnel in charge of the conference provide information such as when units will be deployed and in the field. These conferences schedule range time for the installation range and unit representatives can meet range schedulers from the different units using the range. Maintaining a point of contact in the range scheduler's office may be important if a short-notice range requirement occurs, and your unit must trade with the occupying unit.

b. When scheduling a range, take into account the amount of time needed to conduct the required training. Table 3-1 shows an example time sequence for a range density. This example has dead-time built into it, and your unit may be able to make up time as the range progresses. Units should try to schedule extra days for maintenance and weather make-ups. Fourteen days is the minimum to run a gunnery density that includes advanced table training, not including AWSS set-up time. This example is based on a 24-helicopter AH-64 battalion.

Table 3-1. Example time sequence for a range density

DAY

TABLE

COMPANY

REMARKS

1,2

AWSS Set-up

3

VI

 

A Company

 

A Co. completes Table VI,

B Co. starts Table VI

4

VI

 

B Company

B Co. completes Table VI,

C Co. starts Table VI

5

VI

 

C Company

 

C Co. completes Table VI, Table VI complete

6

VI

VII DAY

Makeup

A Company

Table VI makeup,

A Co. ready for VII

7

VII DAY

VII NIGHT

B Company

A Company

B Co. first-up,

A Co. completes Table VII

8

VII DAY

VII NIGHT

C Company

B Company

C Co. first-up,

B Co. completes Table VII

9

VIII DAY

VII NIGHT

A Company

C Company

A Co. first-up,

C Co. finishes Table VII

10

VIII DAY

VIII NIGHT

B Company

A Company

B Co. first-up,

A Co. completes Table VIII

11

 

VIII DAY

VIII NIGHT

C Company

B Company

C Co. first-up,

B Co. completes Table VIII

12

 

X (2X)

VIII NIGHT

A Company

C Company

A Company Table X,

C Co. completes Table VIII

13

X (2X)

XII

B Company

A Company

B Co. X in A.M.

A Co. XII in P.M.

14

X (2X)

XII

C Company

B Company

C Co. X in A.M.

B Co. XII in P.M.

15

XII

Make-up/WX

C Company

 

16

AWSS Tear-down and range turn-in



b. Maneuver Area. A maneuver area is required to conduct dry-fire crew and team or company tables. Its purpose is two-fold. Without tying up valuable range space, it allows the firing elements to practice tactics, techniques, and procedures, short of actual live firing, required for gunnery training. Many impact areas will not accommodate firing lanes and surface danger zones large enough for large scale advanced table training. Companies waiting for their turn to fire on the range can conduct dry-fire training tables away from the range complex.

c. Facilities Requirements.

(1) Preplanning. A list of range facility requirements includes all of the permanent and semipermanent fixtures required in the range areas. To avoid last minute problems, consider facil-ities requirements early, at least 6 months before the projected training. Give primary attention to--

(a) Alternate emergency airstrips.

(b) Rearm points.

(c) Ammunition holding and storage areas.

(d) Control towers.

(e) Target arrays.

(f) Boresight and harmonization pads and targets.

(g) Emergency safing areas for weapons.

(h) Jettison areas.

(i) Maintenance areas.

(j) Refuel points.

(2) Construction. Some facilities may be constructed by engineers, and some may be prepared or improved by the unit. For example, engineers may be able to install concrete rearm pads for use by helicopter units. In addition, range control may install target arrays tailored specifically for helicopter gunnery.

d. Equipment Requirements.

(1) Preparation. Consider equipment requirements during the planning and preparation stage. Things to consider include--

(a) Number of firing aircraft.

(b) Number of crews to qualify.

(c) Command and control radio nets.

(d) Range control communication nets.

(e) Crash rescue equipment.

(f) Medical evacuation.

(2) Adaptation. This list may be expanded. Depending on the installation, available fixed facilities will vary. Some equipment must come from outside unit resources. Plan early to avoid problems.

e. Personnel Requirements.

(1) Initial requirements. Filling personnel requirements is as important as filling facilities and equipment requirements. The gunnery training program must be integrated with the rest of the unit training calendar to ensure a coordinated effort by the unit. The following are key personnel required to conduct the live-fire range that will require additional preparation:

(a) Range officer in charge.

(b) Range safety officer.

(c) Laser range safety officer.

(d) Master gunner, chief of scoring.

(e) III/V platoon personnel.

(f) AVUM company and attached maintenance personnel.

These preparations are in addition to normal unit functions. For example, the III/V platoon and the AVUM company conduct operations similar to those found on live-fire ranges during field exercises. However, the fast tempo of the live-fire range may require more command, control, and communications functions than these elements normally employ.

(2) Training. The positions listed above are important to the unit's ability to perform the range mission. These personnel may require specialized training prior to the range. This training may include a rehearsal of the conduct of the tables at the range. In addition, all unit personnel should be briefed in detail on their specific responsibilities.

f. Logistic Requirements. Long-range forecasting and budgeting are required to ensure the availability of logistical support during the desired training period. Specifically, POL, ammunition, and armament repair parts require long-term planning and preparation. Special attention should be paid to budgeting for Class IX Air.

g. Range Operation. Effective range administration and operation is crucial to any firing exercise. To conduct effective gunnery ranges, the unit must make a coordinated effort to organize and operate a gunnery range efficiently.

(1) Range administration. Begin organizing a helicopter gunnery range by identifying an officer in charge. The commander will appoint the OIC. The OIC must be a knowledgeable, responsible officer who can implement safety and training guidance during the operation of the range. The OIC must be familiar with the local range SOP and safety requirements. Most ranges are governed by a range control agency, and appropriate range limitations and directives can usually be obtained from that element.

(2) Range logistics. An effective range requires a great deal of support. Most logistical support functions should be coordinated through the S4 in coordination with the Class III/V platoon leader. These functions must include medical support, mess support, ammunition, maintenance, and transportation for personnel around the range facility.

(3) Range communications. A minimum of three radio nets are required to operate a helicopter gunnery range: one net for range operation, one for air traffic control, and a range control net. Additionally, it is recommended that VHF and UHF radio nets be used in controlling and evaluating the firing exercise. Land lines can be used effectively at the ammunition points, maintenance points, and other facilities on the range. The S3 section, along with communications personnel, are responsible for communications on the range.

(4) Range organization. The final step in preparing a range for firing is to organize the assets already mentioned. Take care to ensure that all resources are placed so that each functions smoothly. NOTE: You cannot afford to have time on the range with no aircraft firing. You must have good communication with the rearm area and the assembly area. Rehearse the flow of aircraft prior to the range.

Section II. Personnel Responsibilities And Duties

3-5. OFFICER IN CHARGE

A range will not be operated without an OIC. The OIC is responsible for all range operations. He supervises range personnel and enforces range safety. Officers in charge should come from the firing unit's chain of command and operate according to AR 385-63. Most major range complexes dictate OIC responsibilities and operate under strict SOPs.

NOTE: The OIC is not the unit commander. He is the commander's representative. Units may appoint an alternate OIC to relieve the OIC during rest periods. This is especially important during heavy day and night firing schedules.

a. Before firing, the OIC--

(1) Obtains a range briefing from the installation range officer as required by local range regulations.

(2) Obtains clearance to fire from range headquarters and records the time and the name of the person giving the clearance.

(3) Ensures that medical support required by the range SOP is present; the range flag is up; and the range sweep is completed.

(4) Verifies that required personnel and equipment are present.

(5) Verifies with the FARP ammunition loading by type and amount.

(6) Checks communications and makes sure backup communications are available for live-fire.

b. During firing, the OIC--

(1) Enforces table standards.

(2) Maintains positive communications with ground elements and helicopters on the range.

(3) Supervises flight operations and safety procedures.

(4) Observes all range activities to ensure safety and efficiency.

(5) Observes and spot-checks ground operations.

(6) Maintains a duty log.

c. After firing, the OIC--

(1) Closes the range with headquarters.

(2) Verifies that the range is closed and completes reports as required.

(3) Ensures that the flag is removed, the buildings and tower are secure, and all operating areas are policed.

(4) Releases tasked labor details to supervisors when firing is completed, the last helicopter has departed the range, and work is complete.

3-6. RANGE SAFETY OFFICER

The RSO ensures safe operation of the range and assists the OIC. He is familiar with the range SOP and the aircraft and armament emergency plan. He is also aware of proper storing, handling, and loading of ammunition and fuel and knows the duties of all range personnel. RSO prerequisites are contained in AR 385-63. The RSO--

a. Observes range operation and reports unsafe conditions to the OIC.

b. Conducts the safety portion of the range briefing for all range personnel including aircrews, Class III/V personnel, and maintenance personnel, as specified in the unit lesson plan.

c. Inspects the firing line and parking and ammunition-loading areas.

d. Ensures that vehicles, equipment, and aircraft are properly positioned for safety.

e. Provides input on the vehicle parking area and the organization and operation of the refuel/rearm areas.

f. Observes safety procedures during firing and ground operations.

g. Inspects crash and rescue equipment and reports any deficiencies in equipment or personnel training.

h. Ensures that a preaccident plan is in effect and all affected personnel are aware of it. Ensures that range control has a copy of the preaccident plan.

i. Observes safety procedures of POL and armament personnel and checks for any deficiencies in equipment or personnel.

j. Maintains watch for foreign objects in the parking area or FARP.

k. Ensures that knowledgeable EOD personnel are available.

l. Ensures that a diagram is displayed at the central control point showing the location of all range facilities, range fan information and flight routes, minimum altitudes, other impact areas, low-level hazards to flight, and possible caution areas.

3-7. MASTER GUNNER

The master gunner is familiar with the unit range SOP, aircraft and armament emergency procedures, and the local accident reporting procedures. He ensures that assigned helicopter weapon systems are operated using the prescribed procedures and applicable safety precautions. He is familiar with the azimuth, range, and sector azimuth limits of the range. He knows the standards and is the commander's primary scorer for the gunnery tables. The master gunner--

a. Observes the operation of the range, reports unsafe conditions to the OIC or RSO. Captures observations on range operation for the after-action review.

b. Ensures along with the OIC that the helicopters fire the approved scenario within range limits.

c. Ensures that the range is conducted to FM 1-140 standards.

d. Coordinates an evaluation cell to score gunnery tables. Completes required reports and produces required documents.

3-8. LASER RANGE SAFETY OFFICER OR NCO

For all laser range operations, unit commanders must designate, train, and certify LRSOs or LRSNCOs. The LRSO or LRSNCO will--

a. Be familiar with Chapter 19 and Appendix B, AR 385-63, and the FM and TM applicable to the laser devices used.

b. Brief unit personnel who work with laser devices on laser-related hazards, safety devices, and malfunction procedures.

c. Know the range fans, including elevations, firing position, and target to be used.

d. Ensure that protective eye wear is used when required.

e. Ensure compliance with unit and range SOPs regarding laser operations and training.

f. Maintain continuous communications with personnel on the range and stop lasing immediately if communications are lost.

3-9. RADIO OPERATORS

The radio operators ensure that radios used in the conduct of the range are working properly. They must be familiar with the range SOP and aircraft and armament emergency plan.

3-10. CLASS III/V OIC OR NCOIC

Early in the planning process, the Class III/V OIC or NCOIC coordinates resource requirements to ensure that adequate fuel and ammunition are available for training. Fuel requirements are based on the estimate of OPTEMPO by the commander and S3. Ammunition requirements are from DA Pamphlet 350-38.

a. In addition, they conduct classes in coordination with the master gunner to educate the unit air and ground crews on identifying and properly loading ammunition. These classes can be held both before and during range operations.

b. The Class III/V platoon establishes the FARP and coordinates the drawing, transportation, storage, and dispersal of ammunition and explosive devices on the range. The platoon leader ensures that each aircraft receives the prescribed load of ammunition. The platoon leader also develops a plan for disposal of nonfunctional ammunition and ensures that restricted or suspended lots are not used in training. The Class III/V platoon leader or platoon sergeant reviews and enforces the following safety precautions:

(1) Personnel must approach and depart the vicinity of the helicopter from the side and only after visual approval from the pilot in the helicopter.

(2) The last person to leave the vicinity of the helicopter gives an "all clear" signal to the pilot.

(3) Personnel remain clear of loaded weapon danger areas at all times.

(4) The weapon system is secured before anyone enters or leaves the helicopter or as directed by the pilot.

(5) Personnel remain clear of weapon system areas during boresighting.

(6) The weapon systems are checked only when the master arm switch is in the SAFE position as directed in the appropriate TM.

(7) Smoking is not allowed within 50 feet of ammunition or the helicopter.

(8) Personnel use available protective devices such as hearing protectors.

(9) Loose equipment near the arming pads are secure before helicopter take-off or landing.

(10) Ammunition casings and dunnage are policed and turned in.

(11) Class III/V accounts are closed out, and the FARP is cleared as required.

NOTE: FARP operations are covered in FMs 1-104, 1-112, 1-114, 1-116, and 1-117.

Section III. Helicopter Gunnery Range Safety

3-11. GROUND SAFETY

Ground support personnel must be constantly aware of the dangers involved in live-fire training. The training of support personnel in ammunition care and handling is a continuous process at the unit level. All ammunition storage, handling, and basic safety procedures will follow guidelines found in ARs 385-62, 385-63, and 385-64; local regulations and/or the range SOP; and the unit SOP. Ammunition characteristics are described in Chapter 5. Ground personnel must also be trained in the procedures for working near operating helicopters. Ammunition loading areas may be separate from refueling areas. In addition, support personnel should be drilled on emergency situations related to their duties. The rules for ground safety are as follows:

a. Personnel must avoid main and tail rotors, turret weapon systems, and wing store fore and aft blast areas during aircraft operation.

b. Personnel will approach the helicopter from the 90-degree side position only after receiving visual approval from the aircrew.

c. The helicopter will not be moved until an armorer moves out of the main rotor arc at the 90-degree side position and signals "all clear."

d. Before departing the arming or dearming area for the home station, support personnel will remove all ammunition from the helicopter, and it will be checked by the aircraft pilot-in-command.

e. The helicopter must be grounded before any maintenance is performed and before the aircrew enters or exits the helicopter.

f. All personnel working on or near the helicopter will have their sleeves rolled down.

g. All personnel will use proper hearing protection.

h. During night operations, ground personnel will carry a flashlight or similar lighted device when working near the helicopter.

i. To maintain communications between the aircrew and armorers servicing the armament subsystems, personnel should use the intercom system and practice common hand signals. Figures 3-1 and 3-2 show ground hand signals.

3-12. FIRING SAFETY

Range safety requirements for firing helicopter weapon systems are contained in ARs 385-62 and 385-63.

a. Safety requirements for firing are as follows:

(1) Individual weapons are properly inspected.

(2) Clearance is received from the OIC or his representative before arming weapons.

(3) Weapons are pointed downrange and within range fan limits.

(4) Ground personnel are not in front of the weapons or in the backblast area.

(5) No other aircraft are within the surface danger area.

(6) Weapons are not fired closer than the minimum safe slant range.

(7) Laser range finders and designators are considered and controlled as weapons.

b. The rules for firing safety are as follows:

(1) During range operations, armament subsystems will be pointed downrange or away from populated areas, whenever possible.

(2) Armament subsystems are considered safe for range traffic pattern operations under safe or standby conditions. (See NOTE below.)

(3) Armament subsystems may be placed in the ARM position if the helicopter is pointed downrange at the firing point and no other aircraft are in the surface danger zone. (Laterally parked helicopters may be cleared for formation firing and team training.)

(4) Operating and positioning the arming switch is the PC's responsibility.

NOTE: Refer to the appropriate aircraft operator's manual for proper aircraft weapons safing techniques. Instances may occur when the master arm switch is in the safe position, but the weapon may still be functional and dangerous to ground crews.

Figure 3-1. Ground hand signals

Figure 3-2. Ground hand signals (continued)

3-13. AIRCRAFT EMERGENCY PLAN

The aircraft emergency plan prescribes the procedures to be followed if an aircraft emergency (accident, incident, or inadvertent firing) occurs during range firing. The aircraft emergency plan should provide for immediate accident notification to the OIC and RSO. The range OIC will ensure that mishaps are reported according to local policies.

Section IV. Range Layout

3-14. CONSIDERATIONS

a. Construct firing lanes so targets are clear of obstructions and clearly visible to aircrews. To facilitate boresighting and emergency situations, the first 500 meters of a firing lane should be clear and relatively flat.

b. The start-fire line must be clearly marked and visible from the air. For control purposes, the start-fire line should be visible from the range tower or control point. Landing pads on the firing line should be clearly marked for both day and night landings. In addition, range limits must be clearly visual to aircrews and controllers.

c. Specifications for suitable helicopter gunnery range targets are contained in TC 25-8. By referring to the gunnery tables, the proper target silhouettes for each engagement can be manufactured and placed on the range. Do not settle for targets that are not full scale. Reduced scale targets degrade target acquisition by the aircrew.

3-15. MULTIPURPOSE RANGE COMPLEX

Multipurpose ranges are fully automated and instrumented with state-of-the-art targets and controlling devices. MPRCs are primarily designed for armored and mechanized infantry, but they can accommodate helicopter gunnery. Commanders should plan their gunnery programs to integrate helicopter gunnery into combined arms training. TC 25-8 contains more information on training in a multipurpose range complex.

a. The MPRC consists of an area approximately 1,000 meters by 4,500 meters. It employs remote target systems and stationary and moving targets.

b. Helicopters are restricted to specific firing points, altitudes, and ranges.

c. If live-fire, non-dud-producing ammunition, and MILES/AGES laser engagements are used, the MPRC can support training as outlined in AR 350-1 and FM 25-100.

3-18. AERIAL WEAPONS SCORING SYSTEM

a. The aerial weapon scoring system is a system of computer controlled sensors that can accurately score cannon and rocket engagements. These systems are owned by the Army and are contractor operated.

b. The AWSS is controlled by the Army Training Support Center, Fort Eustis, Virginia. FORSCOM, USARPAC, USAR units request the AWSS through FORSCOM J3-Training Support, Ranges. ARNG units request the AWSS through the FORSCOM National Guard Liaison. Units in Germany do not have to request the AWSS. The AWSS in USAREUR is semipermanently based at Grafenwoehr Training Area.

c. If your unit has not used the AWSS before, ensure that the range has been surveyed. Conduct the survey at least 60 to 90 days before the training. Normally, the contractor surveys a range only once unless new targets are installed.

d. The AWSS consists of a ballistic scoring subsystem, rocket scoring subsystem, and control subsystem.

(1) Ballistic scoring subsystem. The BSS consists of doppler radar sensors located adjacent to the target. These sensors count 7.62-mm, 20-mm, 30-mm, and .50-caliber hits and transmit hit information to the control subsystem.

(2) Detonation (Rocket) scoring subsystem. The DSS consists of acoustical sensors located at surveyed points on or adjacent to the range. The sensors detect detonations of training rockets and rocket submunitions and locate their points of impact in the target effect area. This information is transmitted to the control subsystem for processing. The DSS come in two variations to score PD and MPSM rockets.

(3) Computer scoring subsystem. The CSS consists of a processor and monitor located in a mobile unit near the control tower. The scoring system receives information from the ballistics and rocket scoring subsystems, processes that information, and displays the results visually or as hard copy or both.

e. The crew must be aware of some characteristics of the AWSS. These characteristics include the following:

(1) The minimum range for scoring rocket engagements with the AWSS is 2,500 meters.

(2) Crews must allow rockets to impact in the target effect area before firing the next pair of rockets. Reports indicate that crews are shooting multiple pairs of rockets in rapid succession at AWSS targets. Not only does this have little training value (fewer trigger pulls), it confuses the AWSS and may cause the rocket score to be erroneous. Remember, crews have to observe the rocket's impact before an adjustment can be made.

(3) Do not fire PD and MPSM rockets at the same target effect area unless the target effect area is "dual augmented," or sensors are arrayed to score both types of rockets. The MPSM mode for the TEA plots the centroid of the submunitions. The PD mode plots single impacts.

(4) The AWSS is not compatible with high-explosive service ammunition. Only training munitions may be used with the AWSS.

3-19. ATTACK HELICOPTER GUNNERY RANGE

a. The AHGR is designed to allow an attack helicopter battalion or cavalry squadron to conduct company-level helicopter gunnery operations. While this range complex does not currently exist, it is being reviewed for possible future construction. An example attack helicopter gunnery range is shown in Figure 3-3.

Figure 3-3. Attack helicopter gunnery range

b. The proposed maneuver and firing box for the AHGR is 3,000 meters wide by 2,000 meters long. The adjacent target area is 3,000 meters wide by 10,000 meters long. The purpose of a firing area this size is to allow an entire attack company or air cavalry troop to navigate, maneuver, and conduct live-fire training. The AHGR will allow crews to shoot current munitions at maximum ranges.

c. The purpose of the AHGR is for units to deploy to the training area and be objectively evaluated on helicopter gunnery proficiency on the fully instrumented AHGR.

Section V. Successful Training

3-20. GUIDES TO SUCCESSFUL TRAINING

a. Brief Key Personnel. Before moving to the training site, the S3 and master gunner should brief key personnel in setting up the site and on how to react to problems that may occur during setup.

b. Start on Time. The training site should be ready and the communications set up early so that crews can begin firing on time. Plan operations for no interruptions of training for maintenance on the range until a prearranged time or normal shutdown time. Sufficient targets must be available to complete all scheduled training before the scheduled break. Short breaks to replace damaged targets are unavoidable. Try to minimize down-time. Range control must have plenty of backup targets ready for use.

c. Keep a Log. The OIC will maintain an accurate log or staff journal. A log will help keep the OIC better informed of dry- and live-firing times and other important events. As a minimum, the log should contain the following entries:

(1) When the unit occupied the range.

(2) When permission was received from range control for live-fire.

(3) The name of the person at range control granting permission to fire.

(4) When the range was in a cease-fire status and the reason for cease-fire.

(5) When the range was reopened.

(6) Locations and times of stray impacts.

(7) Crew identification and table fired--start and stop times. (It is critical that the OIC keep track of which crews have fired.)

(8) Reason for incomplete tables such as maintenance, unexploded ordnance, and weather.

(9) When the unit cleared and departed the range.

(10) Shift changes.

(11) VIPs or senior officers visiting the range.

d. Change Guards. Prepare plan to check and change guards frequently. Make sure that each guard is briefed on his job and its importance. Ensure the guard understands the instructions.

e. Control Fires. During the dry season, a danger of grass and brush fires exists. Be prepared to quickly control fires and have a plan to evacuate aircraft, if fires spread.

f. Police Continuously. Keep your range area clean at all times. Police the range area continuously to avoid lengthy cleanup during range turn-in.

g. Brief Visitors. Senior officers may arrive on the range unannounced. Have a plan for briefing visitors on the range operation. Designate a briefing officer or NCO.

(1) Build a professional, concise range briefing book. It should contain the following information:

(a) Names and ranks of the unit chain of command and key range personnel.

(b) Training objectives for the range.

(c) Schedule for range training.

(d) A short memo outlining the objectives and standards for the training.

(e) MOI for the range.

(f) Diagrams of the firing points.

(g) A copy of FM 1-140.

(2) Ensure the briefing officer or NCO knows what actions to take with the visitor.

h. Plan Aircraft Evacuation. The AVUM commander must have a plan to evacuate disabled or damaged aircraft from the range and the rearm/refuel area. A precautionary landing on the range or in the FARP can stop firing for a long time unless a plan is in place to remove the aircraft.