Air operations include a wide variety of different measures and actions taken
by the commander-in-chief, general staff, high command of the air forces and
other commands during preparation and conduct of an air operation. Air
operations is one of the component types of strategic operations of the armed
forces. Air operations include mass strikes, major aerial combat actions and
successive actions correlated to each other and conducted simultaneously or
successively by large operational air formations, Front air forces and Long
Range Air force large units in coordination with other types of armed forces
and in accordance with a unified plan and concept under unified command.
In conventional war the strategic role played by the air forces in gaining air
superiority is critical. The air operation is a massive strike on targets and
an extensive air to air battle. Simultaneously and in sequence the large air
force units participate from the LRA, the Fronts, the navy and the PVO.
Depending on the aims, volume and tasks assigned, the missions of the air
operation can be accomplished to achieve the following goals:
-----1. destruction of enemy air force groups
-----2. destruction of rocket forces, especially nuclear forces
-----3. destruction of strategic reserves.
-----4. interdiction and destruction of reinforcements coming to the theater
from the United States.
-----5. destruction of military economic potential
These missions cannot be accomplished all at once, but are achieved over time,
starting with the most important.
2. The Aim, Volume and Major
Specifications of Air Operations
The creation of favorable air power conditions under which the ground forces
can initiate and rapidly develop their attack and the air forces can
continuously support them are the most important missions of the Fronts, air
forces and operational formations of other branches of the armed forces. This
is achieved by destroying enemy aircraft in the air and on the ground,
inflicting heavy damage on air force command and control posts, fuel and
ammunition depots, and destroying air fields. The destruction of enemy air
force capabilities in the theater of war means inflicting losses over the enemy
which deprive his tactical aircraft of their capability to produce organized
resistance against friendly forces. This enables friendly air forces to provide
air cover and protection of friendly ground forces to enable them to accomplish
their assigned missions in the strategic operation.
Destruction does not mean total annihilation of enemy air forces. The extent of
damage that constitutes effective destruction is determined by the time factor
and enemy capabilities to restore his combat capabilities and reorganize his
air power to counter the actions of friendly forces. In order to destroy enemy
air force capabilities to conduct organized resistance up to 50 - 60 percent
destruction of aircraft is required. Depending on the situation the enemy may
restore and reorganize his damaged air force assets by moving air units from
bases in other theaters of war, by employing his reserves and by exploiting
technical means and equipment from his industrial resources. In order to
prevent the restoration of enemy air force units it is necessary to observe and
reconnoiter his forces and deliver timely strikes at his airfields where there
are indications of newly-arrived aircraft. At the same time enemy aircraft in
adjacent theaters of war are also destroyed and the movement of air units from
bases in the country's interior is prevented.
Destruction of enemy air forces will ensure the seizure of the initiative by
friendly forces and enable them to retain sufficient striking power and freedom
of maneuver to accomplish strategic missions. The main enemy air forces are
those tactical and naval air units with nuclear capabilities whose destruction
will provide a favorable air situation for friendly armed forces.
The aim of air operations is destruction of enemy air in the following ways.
1. destruction of aircraft and crews at airfields
2. destruction of aircraft carriers
3. destruction of aircraft and crews in air to air combat
4. destruction of naval aircraft, at bases and in the air
5. destruction of control and warning systems
6. destruction of nuclear supplies, POL, ammunition and equipment
7. destruction and mining of runways at airfields
The most important tasks are the destruction of enemy aircraft on airfields and
aircraft carriers and the destruction of enemy aircraft in the air. Therefor
air forces are grouped and operations prepared to achieve this aim.
In terms of volume air operations are the coordinated actions of Front air
armies, long range air force major units, naval air forces, units and large
units of the Fronts, and operational large units of air defense forces all
conducted under the provisions of one general plan. Since air operations are
critical they are conducted in accordance with decisions of the
commander-in-chief under control of the general staff. Immediate control is
generally delegated to the commander of the air forces. Many tasks for the
preparation and conduct of air operations are accomplished by the staffs of
Fronts, naval fleets, and other branches of service.
Air operations aimed at the destruction of enemy air forces have the following
----- - Decisive aim
----- - Wide geographic area of action
----- - Mass employment of all types of aircraft and other combat arms
----- - Short duration
----- - Complex organization and command and control structure
It is assessed that NATO has 1400 combat aircraft and during war would receive
another 1100 reinforcements from the US. If the NATO air forces can be attrited
by 50 - 60 % that would be enough to accomplish the air force mission in
gaining air supremacy. In the Western theater the width of the air operation is
800 - 1000 km and the depth is 1000 - 1200 km. It lasts one, to one and a half
days. All aircraft available would participate. In the Far East theater air
operations can be conducted on one strategic axis 2000 to 3000 km in width and
1800 to 2000 km in depth.
The urgency and great vigor in conducting the air campaign is a result of the
need to destroy the enemy air forces in a short period of time on their
airfields and to deny the enemy the ability to restore his combat power. it is
essential to deny the enemy the chance to reestablish air bases at his rear
airfields, especially at the airfields out of range of the Frontal air
force.This necessitates the mass employment of the entire theater air forces in
order to inflict as heavy a blow to the enemy main air forces as possible in
the shortest possible time.
The duration of the air operations is determined by the volume of missions
assigned and the number of units available to accomplish them. The high
maneuverability of enemy aircraft and their capability to avoid the strikes of
friendly air forces by moving quickly to alternate bases requires the delivery
of a strong air strike on them in the shortest possible time. Thus, the basic
aims of air operations must be achieved in a brief campaign. In addition, the
Front air forces which participate in the air operation will have to support
the ground forces once they begin to attack. Therefore, the duration of the
strategic air operation in the Western theater of war in terms of time will be
24 to 36 hours, while it will be 36 to 48 hours in the Far East Theater of war.
During this time the main aim of the operation will be achieved and its main
tasks will be accomplished.
The reason command and control of air operations is so complicated and
coordination so important is that such a wide range of different forces
subordinate to different headquarters and arms of service are participating.
These forces must operate over an extremely wide area in a short time period in
a manner that their actions will be coordinated in terms of missions,
objectives, time, form of action and axes of approach. Therefore detailed
planning and coordination measures are essential. Constant communication among
the elements and the various headquarters is maintained and highly centralized
command and control is employed.
3. Preparation of the Strategic Air
Preparation of the strategic air operation is accomplished well in advance.
this includes a large number of actions taken by the commander in chief,
general staff and high command of the air forces. the main measures during
preparation are the following:
----- - Making the decision for the operation
----- - Determining the composition of the forces and means to be employed
----- - Planning the operation
----- - Grouping and deploying the forces
----- - Organizing command and control and coordination
----- - Preparing the airfields and supplying required munitions
----- - Organizing all types of combat and combat support elements
The large volume of measures required and their decisive impact on the outcome
of the operation necessitates concentration of command and staff efforts on
their rapid accomplishment. During the course of accomplishing these measures
special attention must be paid to keep everything secret.
Making the decision for the air operation precedes planning. The following
points are considered in the decision:
----- - the objective
----- - the concept of the operation
----- - the forces and means being employed
----- - the role of the operation in achieving air superiority and its impact
on the actions of the Fronts during the accomplishment of their missions.
The following are considered in determining the concept of the air operation:
----- - Enemy air forces which must be destroyed in first priority and the
degree of destruction required.
----- - Where, when and how the main attack will be launched.
----- - The composition of forces and means to be employed
----- - The forms for conducting the operation
----- - The composition and operational formation being used.
----- - The general concept for destroying enemy air forces in aerial combat.
----- - The method for exploiting the results of actions by ground forces,
airborne landings, air defense and naval forces
----- - The composition and mission of forces and means and the forms for
delivering strikes on other enemy air units.
----- - The starting and ending times and duration of the operation
----- - The forms and types of troop control and coordination during the course
of the operation and the method for supplying units.
The concept of operation must be worked out in such a way as to ensure surprise
and a very powerful initial strike on the strongest enemy air units. The air
forces must accomplish their mission of destroying the enemy air forces by two
or three massive strikes at the maximum, delivered on the airfields and other
Success for the strategic air operation is ensured by a surprise, mass initial
strike on the enemy airfields which contain his main aircraft units. First
priority is given to enemy nuclear armed aircraft. Surprise is achieved by
detailed assessment of the conditions for executing the operation and proper
selection of the time for its initiation. The air situation, as well as the
conditions for the entire strategic operation including the forms and times for
ground force deployment and occupation of attack staging areas are all
estimated thoroughly prior to the start of combat actions. The forms for
initiating and conducting the air operation might be different, depending on
many situational factors. An air operation conducted simultaneously with the
attack of Frontal ground forces is more advantageous, because in this case
greater surprise is insured at the beginning of combat actions, which by itself
has great importance in achieving strategic initiative in the theater.
Surprise massed strikes on enemy air force units create favorable conditions
for continued effective action by friendly air units, ensure better results for
action against enemy airfields, contain and limit enemy air force maneuvers,
neutralize enemy activity and deprive the enemy of initiative and the
capability to support his ground forces. All these factors lead to severely
weakened enemy resistance against friendly forces.
The composition of the air units assigned for the strategic air operation is
determined by the objective, concept of operation and situational conditions.
Such units must be capable of accomplishing the assigned missions at the
specified time. The following factors are considered:
----- - The composition of enemy air force units and enemy capabilities to
reinforce them by shifting aircraft from other theaters of war or from
----- - The number and disposition of enemy nuclear delivery means.
----- - The nature and specifications of enemy air defense and the capabilities
of its means to repel air strikes.
----- - Operational and combat capabilities of the participating units.
----- - The likely forms for conducting the air operation.
The composition of forces assigned to the air operation depends also on the
general and the air situation. Great importance is placed on the operational
capability of friendly and enemy air units, especially to the enemy capability
to avoid air strikes and to mount strong airborne air defense resistance. The
following factors are considered in this assessment.
----- - Quantitative and qualitative specifications of the aircraft involved
including their flight speed, altitude capability, range of action, capacity
for carrying bombs, rockets and cannons, and all-weather avionic capability.
----- - Operational capabilities and training of flight personnel including
their ability to operate at day and night, deliver mass strikes, and perform in
----- - The conditions of airfields and their facilities
----- - The morale and psychological status of flight personnel.
Based on these factors, the air force organization for conducting the strategic
air operation can be as follows:
----- - In the Western Theater of war: Three to four Front air armies, one to
two long-range air forces corps and independent divisions, naval fleet air
forces, as well as the air forces of the Warsaw Pact countries, the forces and
means organic to the Fronts, operational large units and large air defense
----- - In the Far Eastern Theater of war: Two to three Frontal air armies,
long-range air force corps and independent divisions, naval fleet air forces,
forces and means organic to the Fronts and air defense forces.
The creation of the appropriate air force units in the proper time is one of
the critical tasks in the operational deployment of the armed forces. Its
achievement provides the required conditions for a successful execution of the
strategic air operation to gain air superiority. A special task that must be
accomplished at this stage is the relocation of air units to their operational
bases. This relocation must be conducted at specified times, secretly, normally
at night, by small groups flying at low altitude, and while measures are taken
to avoid enemy air observation.
The correlation of forces in the air forces is of vital importance, both in the
execution of the air operation and in subsequent actions of the ground forces
of the Fronts. The reason for this is that satisfactory retention of the
initiative once gained and creation of favorable conditions for the completion
of the Front's assigned missions are possible only by having air superiority
over the enemy.
The action of large air force units to change the correlation of forces in the
air fundamentally in its own favor can succeed only when the forces and means
taking part in the air operation (the Fronts air armies, long range air forces
units, naval fleet large air units, Frontal air defense units and national air
defense units) coordinate their missions on the basis of time, place,
operational axes and operational echelons.
The operational formation for the air units assigned to conduct the strategic
air operation is determined by the objective, missions, forms of actions,
potential enemy air defense resistance, enemy air bases, meteorological
conditions, and other related factors. In general the operational formation is
organized in a few echelons. Analysis and experience of field exercises
indicate that the best operational formation is three echelons, a main force
strike echelon, a support echelon and a developing echelon. The distribution of
forces and means to the echelons is as follows:
The main echelon, (the strike echelon), is the most important echelon in the
operational formation and is assigned the following missions: destruction of
enemy aircraft and its personnel on the airfields and in aerial combat,
destruction of airfield runways, neutralization of command posts, etc. The
composition of the strike echelon includes bomber, fighter bomber and a portion
of the fighter aircraft as well as long range air force large units. The number
of aircraft includes 60 percent of Frontal air forces and 75 percent of long
range air forces taking part in the operation. The percentages of Frontal
forces allocated to the strike echelon are as follows: 85 to 90 percent of
bombers, 65 to 70 percent of fighter bombers, 15 to 20 percent of fighters and
10 to 15 percent of reconnaissance aircraft.
The support echelon is first in the attack, and its mission is reconnaissance,
blockade of airports, mining of airfields, counter air and jamming. It supports
the flight of the LRA by destruction of enemy air defense. It also produces
deceptive and imitation actions to confuse the enemy defenses. It includes 25
to 30 percent of Frontal aircraft and 5 percent of long range aircraft. The
following percentages of Front aircraft are included: 25 to 30 percent of
fighters, 30 percent of fighter bombers, 10 percent of bombers and 55 to 60
percent of reconnaissance aircraft.
The third echelon is for exploitation and reserve. For destruction of new
targets and targets not well hit the first time, the third echelon provides
resources. It contains 10 percent of Front air forces and 15 to 20 percent of
long range air forces. The reserve must be established by each air army and by
the high command of the air forces. The reserve is also needed to meet
unexpected enemy actions and to accomplish new missions which may arise during
the conduct of the strategic air operation.
Determination of the position for attack units in the overall operational
formation is very important. The actions of attack units is to be coordinated
with the composition and actions of the first echelon (support echelon) and the
method of destroying enemy aircraft on the ground and in the air. The key point
is that the first echelon must be able to neutralize enemy surveillance,
reconnaissance and navigation systems, shoot down enemy fighters which are able
to become airborne, and destroy the enemy air defense capability to create
obstacles to the main strike aircraft.
Planning the strategic air operation takes into account the number of missions,
composition and combat capability of the participating units, enemy resistance,
weather conditions and other factors. The basic content of planning includes
----- - Proper selection of targets
----- - Degree and sequence of neutralizing each target
----- - Allocation of forces and means to each mission
----- - Times for each strike and activity
----- - Sequence and form for each activity
----- - Coordination
----- - Organization of command and control
----- - All around support measures
The critical task for planning is to find the proper measures to ensure
successful passage of the main forces through the enemy air defenses. Planning
the air operation must be conducted in such a way as to ensure that all units
are prepared on time and provided with resources to become airborne from any
state of combat readiness in the shortest possible time. Planning is conducted
to ensure that the operational objective will be achieved at the specified
time. Depending on the situation the objective of the air operation can be
achieved through simultaneous or through successive accomplishment of the
specific missions. To achieve this one or more massed strikes, or echeloned
actions and aerial combats may be conducted. If the concept of the operation
anticipates the destruction of enemy main units in two massed strikes on
airfields and one major aerial combat engagement then the content of one of the
missions will be the destruction of most enemy aircraft on airfields. The
second mission will be the completion of their destruction on airfields and in
the aerial engagement. If the enemy has strong units of fighter interceptors
then the first mission for the air operation will be the destruction of these
forces on their airfields and in the air and the second mission will be the
destruction of enemy fighter-bomber and bomber forces. Weakening the enemy air
forces and providing favorable conditions for delivering the decisive strikes
might be the content of the first mission. Then the second mission will be the
destruction of enemy main forces and the third mission will be the completion
of destruction of enemy air force assets in specified regions or throughout the
Planning the air operation is based on the commander in chief's decision. The
general staff determines the objective of the operation, the general concept,
the times for its execution and the composition for the forces and means. The
general staff organizes the coordination between services and elements and
issues directives to the commanding generals of the various services. Based on
general staff directives the commanding general of the air forces specifies the
method for conducting the strategic air operation, allocates the efforts of the
individual air forces to each mission, specifies the method for action of each
formation and organizes the coordination among the forces.
With the beginning of the Front offensive ground attack the Frontal air armies
must also cover and support the ground units. Therefore one of the other
important matters included in the plan for the strategic air operation is the
detailed description of the time and method for assigning large air units to
support and cover of the Fronts. To ensure this the Front air armies are
assigned such missions in advance and the number of sorties allocated to these
missions are specified.
4. Conduct of the Strategic Air
The conduct of air operations is the commitment of forces and means to execute
the missions given in the operations plan. it is closely connected with actions
of the rest of the forces operating in the theater of war and is an integrated
part of the general plan and concept. The main content of the conduct of air
operations is the following: commitment of friendly main air units into action,
initiating massed actions to seize the initiative in the air, destruction of
enemy main air units and providing favorable conditions for accomplishment of
the Fronts' and naval forces' missions.
The basic prerequisite for success is the successful passage through the enemy
air defenses. The achievement of this task where the enemy has created strong
multi-belt air defense systems based on SAMS and fighters will be very
difficult. In such areas the greatest threat will come from the high density of
fire of "Hawk" and "Nike Hercules" SAM systems deployed in
a depth of 150 to 200 km. Special attention is paid during execution of the air
operation to accomplish this task. The key point in this is to seek and locate
the weak points in the enemy air defense system and to exploit them. For
passage through the enemy air defense system it is necessary for large numbers
of forces and means to be allocated, using well designed and objective oriented
tactical methods and forms of action and that breakthrough be organized in
specified areas where sufficient damage can be inflicted on the enemy SAM
systems. Careful calculation and proper selection of time and place for
surprise arrival of aircraft over the targets provide additional effectiveness
for the action of friendly aircraft and reduce their losses. It is important in
ensuring successful passage through the enemy air defense system to employ the
latest new equipment and methods for causing damage including missiles organic
to the ground forces. To cause maximum damage to enemy radar stations and air
defense missile guidance systems and to destroy enemy SAM systems at their
launching sites both air- to-surface and ground force tactical-operational
rockets with conventional warheads may be employed. One of the important ways
to insure success is to employ radio electronic jamming means to decrease the
effectiveness of enemy air defense systems.
Special attention must also be paid to measures for ensuring the continued
effectiveness of friendly air units. All preparations must be organized to
limit and contain enemy surprise or preemptive strikes or counterstrikes on
friendly airfields. Constant reconnaissance of enemy air unit activities are
organized and the friendly air units are moved secretly from permanent
airfields to dispersed positions on reserve airfields prior to the beginning of
Air operations to destroy enemy air forces may be conducted in various
different ways. They can be initiated simultaneously with the start of the
Front ground attack or can precede it. In some cases the air operation can even
be initiated during the Frontal ground attack (after the start of the Front
offensive). The air offensive may start during daylight, at night, at dawn or
at dusk. Both sides will place high priority from the beginning of the conflict
on rapidly weakening the opponent's air forces in order to seize the initiative
in the air. Therefore air actions must be very vigorous and every effort must
be taken to gain time by striking the enemy quickly.
The principles for conducting strategic air operations must agree with the
concept of the operation and should help insure its accomplishment by the
effective employment of friendly aircraft. The basic principles are the
----- - Surprise action against airfields and command and control centers
----- - Massed attacks against enemy main forces on the ground and in the air
----- - Continuous action over enemy airfields day and night
----- - Cooperation of air and other forces participating in the air operation
The methods employed in the air operation depend on many factors. The method to
be used in each case is specified in the concept of the operation. The basis
for the method is the massed strike. Some of the possible methods include the
----- - Massed strikes against enemy air force main units on the ground. This
is the most effective and decisive method. It requires the destruction of enemy
aircraft in the shortest time and the destruction of runways, depots and
command centers. But it requires the use of large numbers of Frontal and long
range air units and detailed organization as well as greater initial
superiority in aircraft.
----- - Major aerial combat actions during which enemy aircraft and personnel
are destroyed in the air.
----- - Successive air strikes against individual airfields to destroy them or
detain the air units for later massed strikes or during the intervals between
massed strikes by preventing the enemy from restoring his airfields or
maneuvering his forces.
----- - In general air operations involve several different methods closely
connected with each other. The best results are achieved by delivering surprise
massed strikes against airfields on which the main units are concentrated.
Major aerial combat engagements and successive strikes compliment the massed
strikes and create more favorable conditions for the latter. During the conduct
of air operations the most important task is the seizure and retention of the
initiative by vigorous air actions.
Experience shows that air operations must be initiated by surprise massed
strikes. These are the sum of a series of strikes delivered by Frontal and long
range air units. At the same time the main air units must be protected from the
enemy's fighter aircraft.
After friendly air forces gain the initiative by the initial massed air
operation they continue to develop it by repeated attacks on airfields by small
aircraft units. Between massed air strikes enemy command posts and air defense
system control centers are also attacked. Subsequent massed strikes are
conducted on the basis of reconnaissance information about the results of the
initial strikes. This reconnaissance and the observation of enemy airfields is
of vital importance because the methods to be employed by friendly forces
during subsequent strikes will depend on this information. These repeat strikes
are delivered after the shortest possible time intervals in order to prevent
the enemy from restoring his airfields and reorganizing his air forces. By this
time the surprise factor will be lost. Therefore different methods must be used
to achieve operational concealment and coordination of missions.
Air forces have great maneuverability. Therefore it is necessary to adapt to
the latest enemy situation and re-target air units or individual aircraft
during the course of their missions. during preparation and planning of the air
operation each aircraft unit is assigned not only a main target but also
alternate targets. The method to be used for reassigning missions during the
operation is specified. The timely reassignment depends on reconnaissance being
conducted at enemy airfields during the operation.
Large scale aerial combat will take place during the strategic air operation
from the beginning of the massed strike on enemy airfields as well as during
enemy strikes against friendly airfields. In the first case the aerial combat
is against enemy fighter aircraft which are attempting to prevent the friendly
air strike and in the second case air combat is against the enemy attacking
forces to prevent them from getting to friendly airfields and other targets. In
both cases massing of fighter aircraft in order to create decisive superiority
over the enemy is required. The fighter units must be prepared before the
beginning of the massed air strike.
The following factors influence the success of the large scale aerial combat:
----- - Correct selection of time and place for conducting aerial combat and
creating the most favorable conditions for destroying major enemy fighter air
units piecemeal while not allowing them to interfere with the actions of
friendly main air units attacking their airfields.
----- - Correct gradual commitment of fighter units engaging the enemy fighters
in aerial combat piecemeal while retaining constant superiority over the enemy
in the air. For this it necessary to have established proper reserves and
second echelon units on airfields and in the air and to commit them into combat
in a timely manner to restore the combat capability of the fighting units.
----- - Careful preparation and delivery of air strikes at decisive stages on
the air operation to destroy enemy fighter air units and personnel.
----- - Continuous action over enemy airfields and command centers to
neutralize them and reduce enemy morale, limit his initiative and disrupt his
command and control systems.
Large scale aerial combat to defeat enemy air sorties has the following
----- - The targets are enemy tactical aircraft, fighters and fighter- bombers.
----- - Achieving superiority and gaining the initiative in air combat is very
----- - Aerial combat is often conducted after the direction and composition of
enemy air strikes are determined.
----- - Therefore this aerial combat is often conducted by fighters already
operating as combat air patrols followed by additional fighters on alert on the
If the enemy operates with a large number of aircraft on a wide front it is
necessary to commit large numbers of friendly fighters on different axes and to
conduct numerous, simultaneous attacks. The following factors are required: the
presence of alert fighter aircraft on the airfields, constant reconnaissance,
specific warning about enemy air movements, rapidity in making decisions and
correct command and control to guide fighters to their targets.
During the strategic air operation successive air operations against enemy
airfields are important. Successive actions are used to prevent the enemy from
restoring his airfields by mining them and to disrupt enemy personnel actions.
Air operations are concluded when the enemy air forces are destroyed, but it is
still important to retain the initiative and to maintain air superiority. The
enemy may move other air assets from the depth of his area or from other
theaters. Therefore it is necessary to continue to conduct air operations using
Frontal air forces as well as long range aviation.
Experience in field exercises and in the Middle East wars shows that the
destruction of enemy air fores in a theater of war is possible to accomplish in
a short period of time.
Command and control is conducted in a decentralized manner because the air
operations are conducted by forces from many different headquarters. The
general staff has overall control but conducts the operation through the
general commands of the branches of the armed forces and the Front commands.
The air force large elements are controlled by the command of the air forces
which also organizes the coordination among these units. The commanding general
of the air forces establishes command posts and forward command posts from
which to conduct the operation. The air armies of the Fronts have a more
difficult command and control problem because they are organically subordinated
to the Fronts and have missions to support the ground forces. However, during
the strategic air operation they are required to participate in the destruction
of the enemy air forces which may divert them from their normal missions. For
this reason the commanding general of the air forces, who directs the Frontal
air armies in their role in the strategic air operation, must also be prepared
to switch them rapidly back to support of Frontal forces and the reverse. The
air commander must maintain close liaison with the Front commanders and have
prepared detailed coordination plans.