Pyrotechnic signals are designed to produce light of various intensities, duration and color; smoke of various colors and densities; sound of various degrees; or any combination of these. Signals may consist of a single parachute-supported star or a number of free-falling stars or clusters of various colors. Smoke signals are usually of the slow burning type designed to leave trails of smoke. For complete information on signals, see TM 9-1370-203-20&P For a guide to the employment of pyrotechnic illuminating devices, see pertinent field manual.
a. Tactical Aircraft Signals. Aircraft signals used directly in connection with combat operations were originally intended for air-to-air or air-to-ground signaling. However, since the introduction of pyrotechnic pistols and hand-held pyrotechnic projectors, aircraft signals have been used by ground troops for ground-to-ground and ground-to-air signaling. Single-star signals, double-star signals, and tracerdouble-star signals (fig. 9-9) contain green, red or yellow candles of pyrotechnic composition. Stars may be distinguished at distances of approximately 5 miles at night and 2 to 3 miles in daylight. Total burning time is 7 to 13 seconds for both single-star and double-star signals. The tracer in the tracer-double-star signals burns for 2 1/2 to 4 seconds; each star burns for 3 to 4 1/2 seconds.
b. Distress Signals. Marine signals, generally used for distress signaling, produce illumination (stars) for night use; a brilliant orange smoke for day use; or a combination of stars and smoke for either day or night use. Marine signals (fig. 9-10), generally small enough to be carried in the pocket of life vests, flight suits or life rafts, are designed for firing by hand or pistol.
Was this article helpful?