Low Level Navigation

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Naval Aviation concentrated on the low level nuclear strike mission.  Navigation in the era before GPS was usually a matter of compass headings and stopwatch, backed up by visual orientation with local landmarks.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4B0ebJP_w4]

A couple of notes. First, back in 1960, there weren’t really any such things as “low level routes.” Pretty much all airspace was available for use. Note as well that the altitudes used were a good deal lower than allowed today. Next, do note that this is pretty much the best example of the Skyhawk paradigm around. Meticulous planning to the target, not one word about getting home.

6 thoughts on “Low Level Navigation”

  1. I would hate to see what doesn’t make the cut for selection as a post…(Although I admit I listened to the entire thing.)

  2. In SAC, they knew they weren’t coming home. Tankers were to keep enough fuel to safely pull away from the bombers, and the Bomber crews knew they weren’t coming home. Those of living around the bases knew we would not survive the bombs that were coming. That would include the ex-Milbrats here as well.

    1. Born in the McConnell AFB base hospital to a father who spent his ROTC obligation in a concrete hole in a Kansas cornfield.

  3. Xbrad,
    I’m pretty sure you remember the “low Level” training routes the A6s from Whidbey flew along the Cascades down to the Columbia Gorge and then West. They flew a few into the ground…

  4. Speaking of the “Nuclear Strike Mission”, how would you like to be flying escort for a Regulus missile (at any altitude).

    What the Regulus lacked in accuracy it made up for in warhead yield (10 Megaton). The subs would launch them and guide them by radar and hope for the best. The skimmer Navy would send two fighters to escort the missile to the target. The central question of course is: How close is close enough?

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