Gunnery Officer



Information Sheet Number: 1.18



Firing plan writing is a pivotal step in organizing a firing exercise. The plan must specifically task ship's personnel with responsibility. It should be promulgated well in advance as a great deal of planning is required. Firing plans are standardized, formatted notices and describe the exercise from pre-fire checks to finalized reporting procedures.



(a) COMNAVSURFLANT/PACINST 3502.2 Surface Force Training Manual

(b) COMNAVSURFLANT/PACINST 3502.2 Surface Force Training Manual Bulletins

(c) FXP-2/3



1. Gunnery exercises are "90% preparation and 10% action"

2. Definition of a firing plan: an outline of the procedures to be followed and duties to be assigned for the safe conduct of a gunnery exercise which is designed in such a way so as to maximize training, understanding, and safety

a. Thorough preparation is required for all gunnery exercises to ensure that they are conducted safely and achieve maximum training benefit.

b. IAW FXP-2/3, the preparation and promulgation of a firing plan is mandatory prior to all weapons firing exercises.



1. Research

a. Study and research all publications, instructions, directives, and messages concerning the upcoming gunnery exercise.

b. Review the appropriate FXPs, Surface Training Manual, or OCE's pre-ex message for modifications to the exercise.

c. Review safety related publications.

d. Review previous firing plans.

2. Prepare a firing plan using the format of a ship's notice as the guide for its construction.

a. Paragraph 1 - purpose. State the purpose of the notice.

b. Paragraph 2- objective. State the reason for conducting the gunnery exercise.

c. Paragraph 3 - responsibilities. Specify what each of the key participants, identified by name and rank, is required to do to support this gunnery exercise.

d. Paragraph 4 - description of the exercise. Describe the exercise. Include, as a minimum, the following information:

(1) Time of general quarters and its duration

(2) Number of runs

(3) Which guns fire on each run

(4) Which fire control system will be used

(5) Standby guns for each run

(6) Type of target

(7) Type of runs to be used

(8) Open fire ranges

(9) Ammo allowance per run

(10) Type of ammo to be used

(11) Description of tow aircraft or towing vessel as appropriate

e. Paragraph 5 - procedures. Expand paragraph 4 and describe, in detail, every fact of the exercise.

(1) Before you attempt to write paragraph 5, make sure that you thoroughly think through each step of the exercise and get a good mental picture of the exercise. Then spell out who does what and when.

(2) By doing this, you can save time and prevent procedural hang-ups from occurring in the middle of the exercise.

f. Paragraph 6 - safety.

(1) Spell out the more important general safety precautions and all the specific precautions which are unique to the gunnery exercise you are conducting. Be sure to include the following items:

(a) Safety bearings

(b) Safe position angles

(c) Misfire/hangfire procedures

(d) Checksight observer duties

(e) Cease fire procedures (Bore Report format)

(f) Applicable standard commands

g. Paragraph 7 - checksight.

(1) Describe detailed duties of the checksight observer only if these duties are particularly complicated or unusual.

h. Paragraph 8 - evaluation.

3. Describe those scoring procedures which might impact on the conduct of the exercise. For example, when planning a local control surface shoot, the relationship between time and hits should be emphasized.

4. Discuss the rough firing plan with the Combat Systems Officer and then the CO in order to complete the firing plan and make any changes as appropriate.

5. Smooth rough firing plan and have the CO sign it.

6. Reproduce and distribute enough copies of your firing plan so that concerned officers, chiefs, and other key players have their own copies. Make sure to pass these copies out before the prefire brief so that key players can read it and raise any questions that they may still have during your brief.

a. Be sure to provide copies for key spaces and personnel. Example:

(1) Bridge

(2) CIC

(3) Gun Control Consoles

(4) Central Control Station (CCS)

(5) CO

(6) XO



(9) DCA


1. Pre-printed firing plans are acceptable and may be utilized if desired.

2. The use of pre-printed firing plans has many advantages.

a. Saves time by having everything filled out ahead of time except for certain key pieces of information such as time, location, etc., which can simply be typed in as necessary.

b. Accuracy can also be maintained by preparing a good firing plan that can be pulled out of the file whenever it is needed.

3. Don't forget to get the CO's signature on pre-printed firing plans, with current date! (A pre-printed signature is not acceptable.)

4. When using pre-printed firing plans, always review the plan carefully with the current FXP procedures, etc. Changes in the procedure often occur before using the plan.