Figure 8-5.Mk 1 target leader.
The 3/32-inch cable comes in 10,000-foot spools,
has a minimum breaking strength of 920 pounds when
new, and is 7 by 7 in construction. It consists of seven
strands; each strand has seven wires, and is commonly
referred to as 7 by 7. This cable weighs 1.5 pounds per
The 1/8-inch cable is shipped in either 11,500-to
12,500-foot spools or 7,000-to 7,500-foot spools. It has
a minimum breaking strength of 2,000 pounds when
new. It is 7 by 19 in construction (7 strands, 19 wires
per strand) and weighs 2.9 pounds per 100 feet.
The 1/8-inch armored cable is shipped in spools. It
has a minimum breaking strength of 2,160 pounds. It is
constructed of one strand of 19 wires, with a flat
armoring wire swaged spirally around the strand with a
minimum of 6 turns per inch. The armored cable weighs
4 pounds per 100 feet. Cross-sectional views of these
three cables are shown in figure 8-4.
These cables are not lubricated. The use of grease,
oil, paraffin, or other lubricants on the cable is a fire
hazard. An explosive vapor is created in the towing
aircraft as the cable is reeled out at high speeds. Since
the cables are not lubricated, they must be stored
in a dry place, or cleaned and coated with
corrosion-preventive compound according to
Continual use of a cable reduces its strength. Target
towing subjects the cable to severe stress in addition to
the damage caused by gunfire. You need to inspect
The cable should be repaired or
replaced if there are indications of fraying (broken
wires), birdcaging (partial unwinding of the strands
along the cable), or snarling (unwinding of the strands
and wires at the end of the cable). Running a cloth along
the cable will help you locate broken wires, as they will
catch in the cloth. Never run your bare hand along the
cable because the broken wires will catch in the flesh.
Also, you should never use a knot to attach a target, since
the knot weakens the cable by 50 percent or more. An
eye splice is recommended for this purpose.
Mk 1 Target Leader
The Mk 1 target leader (fig. 8-5) is used to attach
targets and target-release messengers to the release ring.
In turn, the target ring is held by the Mk 7 Mod 4 target
release. When the target is dropped, the leader and ring
drop with it.
The leader is a 34-inch length of 5/32-inch diameter
7 by 19 steel cable swaged into a yoke at one end with
an eye at the other end. To use the leader, you attach the
bridle eye of the target to the yoke of the leader. Then,
secure the eye end of the leader with a shackle to the
release ring or snarl catcher that slides along the tow
Mk 8 Target Release Ring
The Mk 8 target release ring (fig. 8-6) is made of
case-hardened alloy steel and is about 3 inches long.
The smaller eye is 1/2 inch in diameter, while the larger
eye is 1 1/2 inches in diameter. You should attach the
target leader to the smaller eye (securing eye). The
larger loop (hole) slides along the cable, and is held by
the target release when the target is towed with a reel.
Figure 8-6.Mk 8 target release ring.