This U.S. Army manual, Training Circular TC 3-04.16 Airfield Operations February 2020, provides the primary aspects of airfield procedures throughout the range of military operations. While it contains guidelines for aviation unit commanders and aviators, the manual is intended primarily for use by airfield operations battalions (AOBs) and installation airfield operations personnel. It is applicable to division, corps, Theater Aviation Command, Theater and Area Sustainment Commands, and the Army Aviation community, including members of allied, coalition, and civil support forces. This manual outlines the organization and services of the theater airfield operations groups (TAOGs), AOBs, aviation unit plans and operations staff, and installation airfield management operations. It explains personnel qualifications, duties, and responsibilities critical to establishing and operating an airfield; it also provides information on airfield design and security and support requirements when planning and operating an airfield within a theater of operations (TOs) or during homeland security operations. Installation airfield management structure, responsibilities, services, safety, and National Airspace System (NAS) requirements are presented in part III of this manual.
The principal audience for TC 3-04.16 is all members of the profession of arms. Commanders and staffs of Army headquarters (HQ) serving as a joint task force or multinational HQ should also refer to applicable joint or multinational doctrine concerning the range of military operations and joint or multinational forces. Trainers and educators throughout the Army will also use this publication.
This publication focuses on Army Aviation airfield operations and management throughout the range of military operations. TC 3-04.16 covers fundamental airfield considerations and discusses the organizations responsible for airfield management. The TC also addresses critical airfield construction and design considerations when operating in a joint environment.
Army Aviation’s responsibility to manage and operate theater airfields has greatly increased over the last decade. Critical to opening a theater of operations and subsequent aviation expeditionary and fixed-base operations is the establishment of an expeditionary airfield to receive aviation organizations and their equipment and facilitate forward movement. Aviation organizations must be able to effectively operate assigned airfields to provide a safe and efficient area to conduct aviation operations.
To understand TC 3-04.16, the reader must understand the fundamentals contained in Army Regulation (AR) 95-2 and should also be familiar with the requirements contained in the applicable Unified Facilities Criteria manuals.
TC 3-04.16 provides instructions, standards, and guidance for operating and managing Army airfields and facilities. The use of the terms “shall” and “will” in this TC requires procedural compliance. Successful employment of Army Aviation is contingent upon establishing and maintaining secure airfields that enable the positioning of aviation assets within the range of ground forces.