Gunnery Officer



Information Sheet Number: 1.12



The Gunnery Officer is responsible for keeping the ship proficient in the gunnery warfare mission area by planning for required exercises. In order to accomplish this task, exercises have to be scheduled and planned and extensive training must take place to ensure successful completion of the exercises. This lesson discusses associated directives and support facilities available for gunnery exercises.


(a) FXP - 2

(b) FXP - 3

(c) AXP - 2

(d) COMNAVSURFLANT/PACINST 3502.2 Surface Force Training Manual

(e) COMNAVSURFLANT/PACINST 3502.3 Surface Force Training Manual Bulletins

(f) SW300-BC-ORD-010 Preparation, Analysis and Predicted Accuracy for Naval Gunnery

(g) FXP - 5



1. Train combat ship personnel in the delivery of accurate fire against targets and to allow an evaluation of the performance of the personnel and equipment.

2. Provide the ship the opportunity to evaluate the accuracy of the battery.

3. Determine competitive standing among units, to foster increased proficiency and reward outstanding performance.


1. Each exercise in the Fleet Exercise Publication (FXP) series is identified by a letter prefix - number - letter suffix designator, such as ASU-8-SF.

a. The prefix denotes the warfare area of the exercise.

b. The number numerically accounts for exercises within a warfare area.

c. The suffix signifies the principal participant:

(1) A - Aircraft

(2) S - Submarine

(3) SF - Surface ship

(4) I - Integrated


1. FXP 2 Anti-Air Warfare exercises (AAW) - contains AAW-1-SF through AAW-27-SF.

2. FXP 3 Anti-Surface ship exercises (ASUW) - contains ASU-1-SF through ASU-18-SF.

3. AXP 2 Allied Tactical Exercise Manual (chap. 3) - contains joint service and foreign allied exercises.


1. Surface Targets Range Users Manual will describe which targets are available locally.

a. Williams Sled is a catamaran type surface target, 26 feet long, towed by fleet tugs.

b. Septar MK 33 is an 18 foot, high speed, remotely controlled, foam filled, target boat used for inert surface gunnery exercises. Tracking is visual, limiting operations to sea states of 1 or less and distances from the control vessel of approximately 5 NM. It may be controlled from own vessel or from an assist ship or from shore.

(1) Speed:

(a) 40 kts in calm seas

(b) 30 kts sea state 1

(c) 0-20 kts sea state > 1

(2) Endurance: 4-6 hours

(3) Firing restrictions:

(a) Surface to surface gunnery must be 3 inch ammunition or larger.

(b) Minimum range is 3000 yds. The ship cannot fire unless the target is underway.

c. Septar MK 35 is a 56 foot target boat, filled with foam, configured to simulate a "KOMAR" class PGM and is normally used as a target for surface to surface missiles or as a tow craft for a spar. This boat is capable of full remote control out to approximately 40 NM from the control unit.

(1) Speed:

(a) 40 kts sea state < 1

(b) 20 kts sea state 1

(c) 10 kts sea states 1-3

(2) Endurance:

(a) 20 kts - 8 to 9 hours

(b) 10 to 12 kts - 15 hrs

(3) Limitations:

(a) Operations are restricted to sea state 4 or less. Surface gunnery requires a 10 mil offset. Specific permission is required to destroy or damage a Septar.

d. Hulks and barges can be arranged for by user.

e. Locally prepared targets

(1) Larne targets are built by tenders or squadrons. They are constructed of wood or metal. They are good for short range only and can be towed by the QST-35.

(2) Trimaran is a small towed gunnery target kit with a towline for short and medium range firing exercises. It is generally assigned to a ship by its squadron for deployments and rotated between units as needed.

(3) Balloon targets are large orange mylar balloons inflated with Red Devil Blowers or low pressure air. They are commonly called "Killer Tomatoes".

(4) 55 Gallon drums can be used. Add ballast (to keep it upright) and a radar reflector mast.

(5) Use your imagination to create a target. Anything is better than shooting at the water.

2. Air targets

a. Sleeve - a slow towed air target for basic AAW exercises (175 kts max)

b. TDU-22A/B

(1) High speed (mach .9) towed air target

(2) Towline to 40,000 ft

c. TDU-34

(1) Towed Radio Frequency (RF) target for missiles and gun systems

(2) Length - 112 inches

(3) Tow speed 275 - 350 kts

(4) Towline length 28,000 - 38,000 ft

(5) Endurance about 1 hour with a TA-4 tractor

d. BQM-34S (Firebee)

(1) Recoverable, jet propelled, subsonic drone target, launched by land or air for surface/air missile exercises.

(2) Length - 23 ft, wingspan - 13 ft

(3) Max altitude - 55,000 ft, min altitude - 500 ft, (50ft w/ ralac)

(4) Speed - 0.85 mach sea level to 55,000 ft

(5) Average endurance - 40 minutes

(6) Controlled via command control link range control


e. Locally prepared air targets

(1) Balloon

(2) Air burst from a mechanical time fuse round

(3) Star shells

f. Non-shooting air targets (for tracking only)

(1) A - 4

(2) Lear jet

(3) Commercial air liner

(4) Other targets of opportunity


1. Training exercises

a. Requirements - The matrix in the Surface Force Training Manual contains those exercises which are required to be conducted by each ship or unit. The matrices are arranged by primary mission areas and training phases. Exercise descriptions are contained in the Fleet Exercise Publications (FXP) series.

b. Periodicity - Only repetitive training exercises are assigned a periodic time slot which determines the M-rating for that exercise. If the training exercise is not repeated within the required period, the M-rating will sequentially degrade from M-1 to M-4.

c. Core exercises - Core training exercises are identified in the basic phase for each primary mission area. Completion of the designated number of repetitions permits a unit to attain M-3 in most primary mission areas.

d. Self observation and grading of training exercises - The determination of successful completion shall be made by the Commanding Officer. Exercises cannot be credited as completed unless performance was judged as satisfactory.


1. Routine checks and preparation

a. Successful exercises are "90% preparation and 10% execution."

b. Conduct transmission checks or Daily Systems Operability Tests (DSOTS) daily.

c. Exercise gun mounts daily or as often as possible.

d. Hold tracking drills for gun console operators and gun crews.

e. Hold loading or magazine drills.

f. Conduct sound powered phone drills for gun console operators and gun mounts (emphasize standard commands as found in the ship's combat system doctrine).

2. Long range preparation

a. Review Surface Force Training Manual for all gunnery-related exercises.

b. Ensure appropriate ammunition is onboard at least several weeks prior to the exercise. Identify and stow that ammunition to be used.

c. Review exercise procedures as outlined in the appropriate publication.

3. One week prior to the scheduled exercise

a. Notify key personnel of pending exercise. This should just be a reminder.

b. Hold alignment, benchmark, and tram checks to verify internal alignment.

c. Gunnery Officer will personally observe a loading drill and the exercising of the gun mount.

d. Submit a rough firing plan through the chain of command for approval and publication/distribution.

e. The ship will submit a pre-exercise message if the Commanding Officer is designated as the OCE and if the exercise is to be held in a Navy OPAREA. The Operations Officer or CIC Officer will normally assist the Gunnery Officer with the preparation of this message.

4. Two days prior to the scheduled exercise

a. The Gunnery Officer will personally review the transmission checks or Daily System Operability Tests (DSOTS).

5. One day prior to the scheduled exercise

a. A pre-fire conference should be held with the CO, XO, Combat Systems Officer, Gunnery Officer, Commo, DCA, leading Gunners Mate, and Fire Controlman in order to coordinate services and responsibilities and discuss the exercise procedures.

b. A pre-fire briefing should be held with all personnel involved with the firing exercise, i.e. gun mount crew, gun control console operators, CICWO, OOD, JOOD, and magazine crews.

c. Brief designated exercise observers and data recorders on recording and reporting procedures.

6. The day of the scheduled exercise

a. Conduct pre-fire checks utilizing the appropriate MRC and ship's pre-printed check-off sheet.

b. Compute initial ballistic corrections.

c. Man up weapons stations and conduct movement checks (the ship may go to GQ for the gunnery exercise at the CO's discretion).

d. Fire pre-action calibration if it applies to your ship.

e. Collect all data recorded during the exercise for correct scoring.

7. Post firing items

a. Hold a critique for all participating personnel.

b. Conduct post firing checks and maintenance.

c. Update the ammo ledger, submit the Ammunition Transaction Report (ATR) through the chain of command and ensure the Smooth Log is updated.

8. Mission area excellence awards

a. The gunnery "E" no longer exists.

b. Successful gunnery exercises are considered for the Maritime Warfare (Power Projection/Sea Control) Excellence Award.

c. To be eligible for the Battle Efficiency Award, and all other Command Excellence Awards, the following criteria must be met:

(1) Be nominated by ship's ISIC, after having met the minimum criteria listed in the Surface Force Training Manual.

(2) Have no major weapons mishaps during the competitive cycle.

(3) For NGFS, qualification must remain current and must be completed with an average numerical grade of 90% or above for MK 86 and MK 34 equipped ships.

(4) Fail no major qualification or tactical certification during the competitive period.

(5) Maintain currency of all qualifications and certifications unless expired due to a scheduled maintenance availability.

(6) Have demonstrated a high level of safety awareness in all phases of shipboard operations.

(7) Maintain a continued high state of operational readiness.


1. Strict adherence to safety standards is of paramount importance and is a command responsibility. Prevention of accidents and elimination of unsafe practices must be prosecuted aggressively at all levels of training. Many safety violations can be corrected on the spot; while others will require a modification of procedures and possibly intensive training in proper procedures.

2. A safety observer shall be designated for all drills and exercises wherein potential personnel or equipment hazards exist. The safety observer shall be an experienced officer or petty officer qualified in the evolution to be observed. The attention of the safety observer will be directed exclusively toward the prevention of accidents and the immediate identification of unsafe practices that may jeopardize personnel or equipment.

3. The number of safety observers for a given drill or exercise shall be consistent with the capability to observe all areas of possible safety hazards. Safety observers shall not be detached from their function by concerning themselves with scoring of, or participating in, the drill or exercise.

4. Safety observers for all exercises shall be designated from ship's company.

5. Safety observers have the authority to suspend the progress of a drill or exercise when conditions warrant. Before commencement of a drill exercise, a method of signaling shall be agreed upon by all. A whistle or the word "silence" should be appropriate in most cases.

6. Drills or exercises suspended by a safety observer may be resumed only upon direction of the Commanding Officer or an authorized representative.

7. Whether self observed or observed by another command, repeated minor violations of safety precautions is adequate reason to consider exercise performance unsatisfactory.


1. Per FXP-3, a checksight observer shall be assigned to a designated position where he can properly perform cehcksight duties for all gunnery exercises. He shall be familiar with all safety precautions and shall have no other duties other than to ensure that the requirements of U.S. Navy safety precautions are fulfilled. The following shall apply:

a. The ship shall cease firing of any gun whose Gun Target Line (GTL) is endangering any object other than the designated target. Those objects include friendly ships and aircraft, and own ships structure together with mounts and launchers, fixed and moving. This stipulation applies to objects in the vicinity of the firing, points throughout the trajectory, and in the vicinity of the target.

b. Checksight observers shall use the following reports:

(1) Checksight clear: Report given when the GTL is clear of all visual contacts. Example of this would be a PAC fire where the intended target is a manual surface track.

(2) Checksight foul: Report given when any contact other than the intended target is observed along the GTL.

(3) Checksight on target: Report given when only the intended target is visible along the GTL.

c. Due to weather conditions, target size or range to the target, the intended target may not be visible to the checksight observer. This should not be a basis for reporting checksight foul.

2. Ships equipped with the MK 86 or MK 34 GFCS have specific guidance for checksight observers.

a. Ships equipped with the MK 86 GFCS shall use the Remote Optical Sight to maintain constant visual contact with the target throughout the gunfire exercise with the checksight observer ensuring that no objects other than the intended target are visible along the GTL.

b. Checksight observers on ships equipped with the MK 34 GFCS shall perform a similar function using the Optical Sighting System (OSS).

c. The checksight observer shall monitor the Gun Training Line for abrupt changes while the gun is firing.

d. When conducting surface towed target exercises, the checksight observer shall verify that the angular separation maintained between the service craft (tug) and the target is at least 8 degrees.








1. AAW-11-SF Anti-Ship Missile Defense

2. AAW-12-SF AA Gunnery Firing



1. ASU-6-SF Surface Drone Unit Target

2. ASU-8-SF Alternate/Local Control, Long-Range Firing, High Speed Surface Target