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San Francisco Complex

The San Francisco Complex is located in the general San Francisco, CA, geographical area. Radar support may be available for some or all of the areas listed.

The complex consists of the following areas:

  • Warning Area 260 (W-260)
  • Warning Area 283 (W-283)
  • Warning Area 285 (W-285)
  • Warning Area 513 (W-513)
  • Hunter MOA/ATCAA

This complex is controlled by the Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility, (FACSFAC) NAS North Island.

Unlike the Pacific Northwest, Navy activity in this area continues to increase. In particular, NAS Fallon has taken on a variety of new missions since 1994, and the long-standing challenges of coexisting with the growing level of civil air traffic to and from the San Francisco area continue. The USAF has virtually eliminated tactical flight operations in northern California and northern Nevada (due to closure of Castle, Mather and McClellan AFB's, reduction of the Beale AFB mission, leaving only the U-2 platform and associated trainer aircraft, and conversion of the Nevada ANG from the RF-4C to the C-130). The Navy greatly reduced flight operations in Northern California because of closure of NAS Moffett and NAS Alameda. Nevertheless, issues still exist between the FAA and Navy in this region. These are due in part to the independently managed but operationally interdependent activities at NAS Fallon, the Nellis AFB range complex, and in the R-2508 complex overhead NAWC China Lake, Edwards AFB and Ft. Irwin, CA.

Most civil traffic in this region is bound to or from one of the three large airports in the San Francisco Bay area - San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. Between them, these airports supported over 1.25 million operations in CY 1999. While north-south traffic is an important component of California's air activity, there is also a significant traffic pattern connecting the West Coast with the Midwest and the East Coast. This latter pattern interacts with DoN and USAF SUA over Nevada, to the disruption of both civil and military activities.

Adding to the difficulty of these operations is the limited capacity of the three Bay area airports to accommodate current or projected traffic. FAA projections indicate airport traffic levels of 1.55 million operations per year between the three airports by the year 2011, but there are no significant capacity enhancements (specifically, no new runways) projected for any of the three in this time frame. A consolidated terminal ATC facility (the northern California TRACON, being constructed at the former Mather AFB, near Sacramento) should introduce some operational efficiencies to the region, but without new runways or technology to enable increased airport arrivals, will yield only minor capacity increases.

The civil traffic pattern is constrained by the existence of the large SUA complexes. During simultaneous operations at the three complexes, civil traffic en route to the San Francisco area is confined to the relatively narrow "Coaldale Corridor". Not surprisingly, the competing requirements of a heavily tasked ATC system and SUA complexes that were developed to accommodate much less capable tactical aircraft than currently used often lead to some conflict in use and activity. A second impact is felt adjacent to the R-2508 complex, both on the south side, and to a lesser extent west of the complex. On the south side of R-2508, traffic bound for the Los Angeles terminal area (primarily Los Angeles, Burbank, and Ontario airports) is constrained by the relatively narrow "Hector-Daggett Corridor". On the west side of R-2508, traffic en route to Los Angeles from the north, and traffic departing Los Angeles to the north (en route to the San Francisco area, Portland and Seattle) often conflict. In addition, the airspace immediately west of the complex may be used to route aircraft bound from points along the southern tier (e.g. Albuquerque, Phoenix, DFW) to the Bay area. This technique is especially beneficial in facilitating traffic flow when the "Beatty Corridor" east of the complex is congested. This can be exacerbated by the presence of convective weather systems (thunderstorm activity).

Naval Special Use Airspace in this region supports the entire spectrum of Navy RDT&E and training requirements. The case may be made that the Navy's most comprehensive and capable test and training complexes reside at NAWC-WD China Lake and Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center (NSAWC) Fallon, respectively. Consolidation of missions at these locations has enhanced the utility of the complexes, while concurrently increasing their importance to the Navy's continuing ability to develop and employ its forces.

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