Mission planning

Air Power Association President Air Marshal (ret’d) Greg Bagwell CB CBE considers the fundamentals – a combat of battle/airspace management key concern for today’s pilot.

Commander’s Update Briefing

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Inside the cockpit of the US Air Force’s first newly upgraded operational B-1B to undergo the Integrated Battle Station modernisation. The threepart modification includes a fully integrated data link – nowadays a mission-critical component. USAF/Staff Sgt Richard Ebensberger

”Combat aviators will spend almost as much time planning and briefing (and sometimes more) as they will flying the mission.”

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A USAF instructor pilot captain (left) and a 2nd lieutenant Pilot Training Next (PTN) student, look over flight plans ahead of their training mission at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Austin, Texas. The PTN initiative integrates various new technologies, including virtual and augmented reality, advanced biometrics and artificial intelligence. USAF/Sean M Worrell
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Mission planning involving dissimilar assets from different air arms is one of the fundamental competencies trained in multinational arenas, such as the Flag series in the US. The Australian equivalent is Exercise Pitch Black, which this year included Indian Air Force Su-30MKIs and Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18Fs. Commonwealth of Australia
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Aircraft mission planning systems are fundamentally map-based. Here, an RAF Tornado GR4 pilot from No IX (Bomber) Squadron at RAF Marham, Norfolk, studies computer-generated and paper maps prior to a training sortie. Jamie Hunter
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A pilot from the USAF’s 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron refers to his personal computer tablet during pre-flight checks aboard a KC-135 bound for a refuelling mission supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The availability of the tablets provides a missionplanning boon to less sophisticated aircraft such as this. USAF/Master Sgt William Greer

These days, few people venture on a long car journey without consulting a map website or app to find the best route and estimated time to get to their destination. And, once on the road, a GPS or mobile phone app provides constant updates and re-routes, if needed.

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