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AFTER ACTION REPORT: OPERATION PUNCHBOWL

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AFTER ACTION REPORT: OPERATION PUNCHBOWL

Post by (D/229) Molevich on Tue 15 May 2018, 11:56

After Action Report- Operation Punchbowl

Flights: Bandit and Preacher, 2 x 4 Mi-8s

Bandit Flight: FL B-1 Flubber, B-2 SIX, SC B-3(6) Mole, B-4 Blade
Preacher Flight: FL P-1 Groundhog, P-2 Cib, SC P-3(6) Crow, P-4 Freak

This AAR is drawn from the individual Debriefs submitted by members of Bandit and Preacher Flights who have submitted personal debrief statements.

In this report I have endeavoured to condense and collate a series of useful comments, criticisms and conclusions to identify areas of success and achievement, areas in need of focus in skill development and areas in need of serious attention in instruction and training. Conclusions will be general for the 8Mates Group as a whole, and not pilot nor flight specific.

Key Areas.
Planning. Mission Execution. Flight Performance. Communications. Threat Control. Navigation.
Situational Awareness & Performance by Chalks, FLs, SCs.


Planning.
Both flight SC’s had pre-flight planning meetings to discuss departure, communications, in flight procedure and formation, and approaches to LZ's. Meetings were had also between SCs and FL’s for familiarisation with the map and terrain. Flights were carried out by SC's and FL's in the region to the same end. These activities undoubtedly led to improved performance in the execution of the mission, achieving better results.

Recommendation. Pilots with particular mission roles and responsibilities should devote some time in advance of missions to meet with their counterparts and go over planning and details of the mission. Address issues like airfield departures, flight forming, approaches and landing plans for good results and confidence overall.

Mission Execution.
All mission goals were achieved with minimal losses. One or two airframes damaged or lost in execution of mission objectives, but overall a very acceptable level. No pilots KIA. Main tasks were delivery of troops to front line areas, often under fire. Despite this, all pilots had excellent results in achieving mission objectives.

Recommendation. Keep it up!

Flight Performance.
Overall good. Formation flying under duress proved challenging, with formations becoming loose and spread at times. Managing an 8 ship formation proved tricky, and given the nature of the mission, probably less effective, particularly once attempting ingress to hot LZ's. Flight at NOE height were executed with high success through occasionally difficult terrain and urban environments, and often at high speed, again without significant damage or loss of airframes. Landings were generally good, and were managed so that troop disembarking was neat, speedy and effective. Individual issues with airframe behaviour or performance issues, whether as a result of enemy fire or other factors were well managed despite the pressures of the environment.

Recommendation. More Formation Flying practice in squads of 4. Variation of speed, variations of height, variations of separation by RD, and in variations of level of challenging environment. Calling out of Blade Angle setting by FL during flight helps entire squad to manage speed effectively. Ensure appropriately skilled pilots are in correct positions, eg Chalk 2.

Communications.
Comms as usual proved challenging, with new factors and a greater number of channels and frequencies to be managed. A full network of channels in the background required the delegation of freq monitoring to specific Chalks in flights. This proved generally successful. However, switching between freqs, managing volumes, filtering channels with the wrong users, and knowing when speakers had finished communication needs to be tidied up. Overall communications inter-flight and inter- command and ex- flight were successful and effective.

Recommendation. Introduce the use of the word “Over” at ends of communication by individuals. Obvious but very effective. Work on Comms discipline and Brevity. Understand volume and headphone ear management by freq. Reinforce knowledge of appropriate channel for comms. Practice with more freqs, practice changing freqs.


Threat Control.
The mission environment contained significant threats to transport flights. SAMs a known and likely threat. Overall low-level flying and use of terrain as cover was well executed to good defensive effect. Use of flares and evasive tactics once SAM launch warnings received proved effective, with only one airframe lost to SAM strike. Loose formations and straggling formations more risky in high threat zones.

Recommendation. SC's to ensure that all Chalks have flares set up before initial departure and know how to dispense. All Chalks to test flare dispenser once before entering high threat areas. Restock on flares at FARP if there is time in mission. Keep tighter formations in SAM threat zones, for mutual benefit from flare dispensing. Use cover.


Navigation.
With a fully marked up Flight Plan in the Garmin, and familiarity with the terrain, navigation was relatively unchallenging. However, absence of a Route Card was a mistake, one aspect of planning which was overlooked. The Garmin was used extensively and with good understanding to good effect by all pilots whose airframes have the device fitted. Doppler was also used, as was the ARK-9 Radio Compass. We never got lost....

Recommendation. More in depth study of the Garmin device's capabilities will reap further benefits. Further understanding of Doppler use will do the same, but these are already well understood and used. Serial Commanders to ensure Route Cards are prepared and included in Kneeboard.


Situational Awareness and Performance by Chalks, FL's, SC's.
Most Flight members appeared to have a reasonable working knowledge of the mission objectives, expectations and tasks, with apparent knowledge of the briefing in advance of the mission execution. SC's and FL's demonstrated excellent knowledge of the mission goals and the Area of Operation. Flight Leads were generally acknowledged as being excellent, with good knowledge of the route and methods of navigation. Serial Commanders were overall commended on their management of their respective flights.

Recommendation. All participants to be encouraged to read and reread the briefings, study maps, be aware of routes etc before the main pre-flight briefing. The information is there, read it! Other pilots to be brought forward and encouraged as Flight Leads and Serial Commanders. It is challenging but rewarding!


CONCLUSION.
The 8Mates performance in Operation Punchbowl really showed off how far we have come. Our regular and frequent training and instruction sessions are starting to bed in some really strong skill sets, such that many routine tasks in cockpit and in the air have become reflex actions. Flying skills have seen measurable improvements to a very high standard. While there remains key areas for further training and up-skilling, these are well in hand overall individually and as a group. Short practice sessions to tackle discrete areas of skill improvement should be undertaken and assessed.




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Re: AFTER ACTION REPORT: OPERATION PUNCHBOWL

Post by (D/229) Molevich on Tue 15 May 2018, 11:57





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Re: AFTER ACTION REPORT: OPERATION PUNCHBOWL

Post by (A/229) Huckleberry on Tue 15 May 2018, 17:46

Thanks for doing this Mole. Great write-up!




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Re: AFTER ACTION REPORT: OPERATION PUNCHBOWL

Post by (D/229) groundhog on Tue 15 May 2018, 19:49

Thanks Mole. Not sure if this is the right spot to post it, but here's the footage from Preacher Flight:
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Re: AFTER ACTION REPORT: OPERATION PUNCHBOWL

Post by (B|D/229) Gizzy on Tue 15 May 2018, 20:37

Brilliant piece of videography GH, really puts it across well, makes me envious that I wasn't flying as I pontificating at a stupid F10 map.... I have to stop that lark.... Smile "Really Great Job" as the man says.... Smile




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Re: AFTER ACTION REPORT: OPERATION PUNCHBOWL

Post by (D/229) groundhog on Tue 15 May 2018, 20:42

Glad you like it. Look at it this way... it would not have been the same without the AMC. I liked the part where we were asking for RTB and when you told us to get some more troops ;-)
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Re: AFTER ACTION REPORT: OPERATION PUNCHBOWL

Post by (D/229) Molevich on Tue 15 May 2018, 21:32

Perfect video once again Groundhog!




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Re: AFTER ACTION REPORT: OPERATION PUNCHBOWL

Post by (HHC/229) flyer on Tue 15 May 2018, 21:35

Nice mission...well executed...




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Re: AFTER ACTION REPORT: OPERATION PUNCHBOWL

Post by (B/229) Cib on Tue 15 May 2018, 21:45

Great video Smile




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Re: AFTER ACTION REPORT: OPERATION PUNCHBOWL

Post by (D/229) gadget on Wed 16 May 2018, 12:38

(B/229) Molevich wrote:Individual reports collated from which this report was created.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1AtshwFqKi7CfpMw9vAMoveMkTmlPLOwqSTSA_mtzfek/edit?usp=sharing


some interesting points raised in this debrief
particularly the mission prep required by all participants
"7P's - prior preparation & planning, prevents piss poor performance"

is there's any chance that a small utility or interrogative web page can be produced for mission preparation, to ensure everyone has preliminary checks completed?

ie;
dcs beta version: 2.5.1.xyz
dcs stable version: 2.5.0.abc
simple radio version: 1.5.0
etc.

this data could be collated and/or sent to the mission commander,
with all participants required to login and submit mission prep info before mission date,
so a minimum benchmark is substantiated prior to roll call on mission day.

(i'm not a coder, so just floating the idea for the appropriately skilled to possibly run with)

any thoughts?

cheers
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Re: AFTER ACTION REPORT: OPERATION PUNCHBOWL

Post by (B|D/229) Gizzy on Wed 16 May 2018, 12:49

I'm sure we could come up with something....

For this one, a lot of effort was put into getting people to prepare with a pre brief to SC's a week in advance to cascade the info downwards as sometimes it takes 1.5 hours before some actually take off.... but still some people had difficulty or were ill prepared.

It's normal....

Thankfully the 229th in entirety were 100% pre-briefed and planned and it showed..... we've just got to get the others into that way of thinking... Early days yet with our partners though.... but hopefully this will improve.




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Re: AFTER ACTION REPORT: OPERATION PUNCHBOWL

Post by (B/229) Blade on Thu 17 May 2018, 06:13

Ill preparedness is an avoidable failure imho...

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Re: AFTER ACTION REPORT: OPERATION PUNCHBOWL

Post by (A/229) Chic on Thu 17 May 2018, 11:04

Pro's and Cons regarding Mole's After Action Report.

Pro; Succinct, Relevant, Constructive.
Con; He'll be expected to repeat his effort after each mission.

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Re: AFTER ACTION REPORT: OPERATION PUNCHBOWL

Post by (A/229) Toro 6 on Fri 01 Jun 2018, 14:18

nicely executed mission, great video
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Re: AFTER ACTION REPORT: OPERATION PUNCHBOWL

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