Infantry Drills

7-60: Aerial Sustainment

Previous: 7-57: Pre-Positioned Supplies

7-60. Aerial sustainment is an aviation mission consisting of moving personnel,
equipment, materiel, and supplies by utility, cargo, and fixed-wing assets for use in operations. Overland resupply might not work due to terrain, distance, or the existing enemy threat. The platoon must initiate a request for resupply and must push it through company to battalion. The platoon must prepare to receive the supplies at the specified time and location.

7-61. An aerial sustainment with speed balls is a technique with preconfigured loads to resupply Infantry platoons and squads in urban areas. Sustainment personnel prepackage supplies in aviation kit bags, duffle bags, or other suitable containers. Helicopters fly as close to the drop point as possible, reduce speed, drop supplies, and leave the area quickly. Supplies should be packaged in bubble wrap or other shock-absorbing material to minimize damage.

7-62. When employing aerial delivery, the following should be considered:

  • The use of aerial delivery requires the coordination of the Infantry battalion staff, BCT S-3, S-4, and air defense airspace management/brigade aviation element sections. Special focus must be placed on the enemy air defense capability.
  • The FSC must be prepared to both receive and package bulk supplies by sling-load operations or joint precision airdrop system. To conduct these operations, sling load trained personnel are required in the FSC’s distribution platoon.
  • Receiving unit must know how to select landing zone/drop zone to receive aerial resupply. The delivered supplies immediately are transported away from the landing zone/drop zone.
  • Units should return the sling or air delivery equipment to its owning unit.

Next: 7-63: Planning

Go Back To: U.S. Army FM 3-21.8: The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad