Chapter Eighteen HOMING PROCEDURE
B. RECOGNITION OF LOST PLANES.
C. HOMING EQUIPMENT.
D. PROCEDURE FOR AIDING A LOST PLANE.
E. HOW TO RECOGNIZE A LOST PLANE.
F. COMMUNICATION PROCEDURES.
G. CONTROL PROCEDURES UNDER VARIOUS CONDITIONS.
H. DIRECTION FINDING EQUIPMENT.
I. NIGHT HOMING.
J. PILOT RESPONSIBILITY.
In air operations conducted over wide expanses of ocean it frequently happens that planes become completely lost. This is especially true in the case of planes operating from a mobile base such as an aircraft carrier. The reasons for this are. several: The plane may be damaged so that the navigation equipment is not working properly; the task group may change course and be unable to notify all planes of the new "point OBOE"; there may be a radical charge in winds; and, finally, there is always the possibility of pilot error.
B. RECOGNITION OF LOST PLANES
An important function of CIC is the homing of lost planes. CIC may become aware of the fact that planes are lost in a number of ways. The failure of a plane to return for a scheduled landing or the appearance of emergency IFF may indicate a lost plane. Sometimes a lost plane can be recognized by tracking with radar the course of an otherwise unidentified friendly. The commonest way to learn that a plane is lost is to be notified of the fact by the lost pilot or his wingman by radio. Before the pilot considers himself lost, however, he has certain aids which he may utilize. The most important of these are the YE/YG, YJ, and YM homing beacons.The first requires a radio receiver and a compass in the plane, the latter two require air-borne radar.
C. HOMING EQUIPMENT
YE/YG is a ship-borne CW transmitter, automatically keyed, which transmits via a rotating directional antenna. It is synchronized with a gyro compass so that each letter is beamed from the ship on a certain true bearing. The letters used are A, D, F, G, K, L, M, N, R, S, U, and W. At maximum range of equipment, one and only one of these letters can be heard in each of the twelve 30° sectors of azimuth. However, as range for the YE/YG decreases, the ZB equipment in the aircraft will begin to pick up letters in adjacent sectors, but they will be weaker than the correct sector letter. At close ranges as many as two letters on either side of the correct sector letter may be distinguished. The pilots carry the letter arrangement on their chart boards so that on hearing a letter they can determine the course to steer to reach their ship. For security
purpose the sector letters are changed daily or according to existing instructions. The YE/YG of the parent ship can be distinguished from others by the frequency and also by two letter identification signals which are transmitted automatically every 4½ minutes. The ZB, which is a special receiver for YE/YG, is installed in all carrier planes.
YJ is a radar beacon which is operated by certain types of air-borne radar. It is nondirectional, but the pilot or air-borne radar operator can determine both distance and hearing of his base and also distinguish between his base and other bases. Since both YE/YG and YJ operate in the VHF band, the range over which they are effective is in proportion to the altitude of the aircraft. YM is a similar beacon for airborne radar of higher frequency. It operates on the same principles as the YJ, but its response is coded in a different manner.
D. PROCEDURE FOR AIDING A LOST PLANE
Even though differences in procedure will arise, depending on whether the lost plane is alone or part of a formation or whether it is damaged and low on fuel, certain basic principles apply to the homing of all aircraft. A lost plane damaged and/or low on fuel demands quick action and accurate judgment. The CIC officer may be able to bring him all the way home, but if not, he may be in a position to direct him to the base closes to the plane. Even though the plane has ample fuel, quick and accurate judgment is still mandatory, to insure that the pilot receives a proper homing vector before communications fail. Regardless of the different situations, however, the CIC officer must immediately check on two factors:
1. Comunications with the lost plane.
2. The position of the lost plane, i.e., attempt to identify it on the radar scope.
Once the plane is thus located and communications are established, the CIC officers will utilize such homing procedure as the situation dictates.
A brief outline of procedures to follow is set out below:
E. HOW TO RECOGNIZE A LOST PLANE
1. Its pilot calls you or another ship for a vector home.
2. Appears to be lost on your plot.
Figure 144. 3. Strays out of his search sector.
4. Flies an expanding square. (As shown in USF 77.) May or may not show emergency IFF.
5. Appears to be passing base an return from mission.
6. Is off screen for longer time than your dead reckoning would estimate.
F. COMMUNICATIONS PROCEDURES
1. Notify OTC.
2. Establish communications with the plane. (Check your condition of radio silence.)
3. Call him on assigned frequency.
4. If this fails, he may be below the horizon. Call one of the highest air-borne planes and have him relay for you.
5. If you still cannot raise him, you can send a section of planes in his direction and try relaying again.
6. Calf on secondary or alternate frequency and go through same steps.
7. If communications cannot be established, the pilot may still be able to receive but not transmit.
If you have a good fix on him give your instructions and watch your plot.
G. CONTROL PROCEDURES UNDER VARIOUS CONDITIONS
1. You have the plane definitely located and are in communication with him.
Get a fuel report and find out if he is In any trouble. Then give him a steer. (If he has to get back in a hurry, keep a good plot, and notify the other ships of the formation if the plane is to ignore the assigned approach procedure.)
2. You are not sure which of several planes on your plot he is. Ask him his heading. This may identify him.
If not, have the plane turn on emergency IFF. Do this only long enough to get him straightened out.
Notify the other radar guardships as they may be able to help spot him.
If several planes are showing emergency (FF, the individual one can be picked out by having him switich his on and off at specific times. Clear the screen by taking care of the close ones first.
3. Plane does not show on the screen at all. Instruct him to climb, showing emergency IFF.
Note: The IFF will often show when the actual pip does not.
4. Depending upon the situation the ship may fire antiaircraft bursts or make smoke as described in USF-77A.
5. D/F can also be invaluable in finding your plane or in picking him out when several planes
are showing emergency IFF. D/F Is described later.
6. You have no communications but have a good plot on the plane. Here you may be able to vector other planes to bring him home. This might be done even with communications if the lost plane's compass were out of order.
H. DIRECTION FINDING EQUIPMENT
Direction-finding equipment consists of a radio receiver with a loop antenna. When the antenna is trained so that the plane of the loop is perpendicular to the direction from which a signal is being received, the strength of the signal is at a minimum. In this way the signal is ascertained to be coming from one of two reciprocal directions. "Sensing gear" on the D/F
equipment enables a trained operator to distinguish between the correct bearing and its reciprocal. It is generally safest to check the operator's decision by having the plane fly at right angles to the line of bearing and observing the bearing to see if it increases or decreases.
I. NIGHT HOMING
At night, or under conditions of very low visibility, the problem of homing is made more difficult by the fact that the planes cannot sight the base until they have closed to extremely short range. An exception might be found in radar equipped planes, but even they frequently must rely on instructions from the CIC officer until visual contact has been made. SeaJrchlights and flares may be used when the tactical situation permits.
J. PILOT RESPONSIBILITY
The responsibility for homing planes is not the CIC officer's alone. The pilot should be thoroughly briefed in the procedure outlined above. He should also be familiar with Lost Plane Procedure in USF-4.
The successful homing of a lost plane by radar, will do more to sell your pilots on CIC than anything you can do.
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