WEAPONS HANDLING PROCEDURES
(loading/unloading) introduce a degree of risk into
shore based and carrier based operations. They require
careful planning and preparation. The necessity to train
for and conduct combat operations creates risks that
cannot be avoided when explosive weapons are
Weapons Loading and Downloading
The flight deck of an aircraft carrier is the preferred
area to load or download an aircraft. Normally, the
rearming area is adjacent to and aft of the island
structure on the flight deck. When operationally
necessary, however, the ship's commanding officer
(CO) may authorize loading or downloading on the
ship's bow while cyclic flight operations are in
progress. Only a minimum quantity of weapons should
be moved toward the ship's bow.
The CO may authorize loading limited amounts of
weapons on the hangar deck when operationally
necessary. However, this adds an additional risk of fire
because there is both fuel and explosives in a confined
area. Only aircraft scheduled for the next launch or an
alert condition are authorized for loading on the hangar
deck. Authorization is also restricted to the particular
weapons shown in table 14-1.
According to the CV NATOPS Manual, fueling,
loading and downloading weapons, and installing fuzes
and arming wires simultaneously are authorized.
However, you can't load forward-firing ordnance that
connections for loading while aircraft fueling is in
progress. Don't make other electrical connections to
weapons or remove/install impulse cartridges while
aircraft are being fueled. Don't position the fuel hoses
under the weapons/stores being loaded/downloaded.
When required, you may apply electrical power to
the aircraft during a loading/downloading evolution.
However, it should be held to a minimum, and it should
be consistent with operational requirements. Don't
apply electrical power to the armament or weapon
release-and-control circuitry while weapons are being
weapons and oxygen servicing (other than the
converter replacement at the aircraft) as separate
Arming and Dearming
Arm airborne weapons in the designated rearming
area or the arming area. Generally, all weapons (except
for forward-firing ordnance) are armed in the rearming
area. This is done after engine turn up but before the
aircraft is taxied. Weapons that are armed in the
rearming area include retard/non-retard bombs, CBUs,
and fire bombs. These arming functions are normally
performed by the squadron's ordnance loading crew.
Aircraft loaded with forward-firing ordnance, such
as aircraft guns, rockets, and missiles, are positioned in
the arming area to arm the weapons. When the aircraft
is located in the arming area, optimum safety is
provided because the area directly in front of the
aircraft is unobstructed by structures or personnel.
Arming functions are normally performed by the
carrier air wing (CVW) arm and dearm crew (or MAG
personnel on LFORM class ships) in the arming area
under the supervision of the CVW ordnance officer.
The crew is composed of ordnancemen from each
squadron within the CVW. They are cross-trained and
certified to arm and dearm all types of aircraft aboard
the ship. The crewmembers work in their respective
squadrons except during actual aircraft launch and
Airborne weapons are dearmed in the designated
dearming area before or immediately after engine
shutdown. All forward-firing ordnance is dearmed by
the CVW arm and dearm crew before engine shutdown.
All other ordnance is safed or dearmed by squadron
ordnancemen in the dearming or rearming area after
When arming or dearming an aircraft, aircraft
arming and safing signals (tables 14-2 and 14-3) are
used when crewmembers perform the arm and dearm
procedures. These signals are used by both the
squadron and CVW arm and dearm crews. Arming or
dearming aircraft is conducted only when the aircraft is
at a complete stop and control of the aircraft has been
turned over to the arming crew supervisor.
Hung or Unexpended Weapons
The CVW aircraft-dearming supervisor is always
on the flight deck during recovery operations. By being
there, he makes sure that the aircraft directors and the
dearming crew coordinate their actions. The dearming
supervisor tells the aircraft director which aircraft
requires safing before it is taxied to the recovery spot.