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Southern California (SOCAL) Offshore Complex

Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility [FACSFAC] San Diego, located primarily at Naval Air Station North Island, is responsible for the management and scheduling of designated military offshore operating areas in SOCAL (W-291) and NOCAL (W-260, 283, 285, and 513). FACSFAC San Diego is the single point of contact with the FAA for the coordination of EASTPAC carrier flight operations that enter and/or impact the National Airspace System. FACSFAC San Diego is designated the EASTPAC Sub-Region military SAR executive agent. FACSFAC San Diego also provides commercial air services. Fleet warfare readiness training and target services are also provided by SCORE, a department of FACSFAC San Diego.

The SOCAL Offshore Complex also includes W-291 and Marine Corps Base (MCB) Camp Pendleton. The complex is located along the coast and in the waters adjacent to Southern California from Santa Barbara to Baja California.

The complex is composed of the following instrumented areas:

  • Fleet Training Area (FLETA)
  • San Clemente Island Underwater Range/Operating Area (SCIUR/OPAREA) 3803
  • Shore Bombardment Area (SHOBA)
  • SOCAL ASW Range (SOAR)
  • Range Electronic Warfare Simulator (REWS)
  • Large Area Tracking Range (LATR)
  • Camp Pendleton Amphibious Assault Operations/Artillery/Aircraft Bombing and
  • Strafing Range (R-2503)
  • Shipboard Electronic Systems Evaluation Facility (SESEF)

The warning, restricted, operations, and training areas associated with this complex include:

  • Warning Area 291 (W-291)
  • Advance Research Projects Agency (ARPA) Training Minefield
  • Breaklock REWS Threat Avoidance Training Area
  • San Onofre High/Low Military Operations Area (MOA)
  • Coronado Islands Submarine Training Area (CISTA)
  • Camp Pendleton Amphibious Assault Area (CPAAA)
  • Camp Pendleton Amphibious Vehicle Training Area (CPAVA)
  • Encinitas Naval Electronic Test Area (ENETA)
  • Helicopter Offshore Training Area (HCOTA)
  • Northern Air Operating Area (NAOPA)
  • San Diego Bay Training Area (SDBTA)
  • San Pedro Channel Operating Area (SPCOA)
  • Silver Strand Amphibious Beaching Area (SSABA)
  • Special Warfare Training Area One (SWAT-1)
  • Special Warfare Training Area Two (SWAT-2)
  • Special Warfare Training Area Three (SWAT-3)
  • Tactical Maneuvering Areas (TMA) P-1 through P-8

Hosted onboard NAS North Island, Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility [FACSFAC] San Diego is the Navy's primary facility for scheduling, surveillance and control of diverse air, surface and subsurface activity on the West Coast. The mission of FACSFAC San Diego is to serve as the scheduling and control authority for naval activity in Warning Area 291 and Warning Areas 260, 283, 285 and 513. Additional responsibilities include portions of R-2301W, R-2507, R-2510, and R-2515. FACSFAC San Diego is the scheduling authority for Abel, Dome, Imperial, Kane, Quail and Turtle MOAs. Additional missions of the FACSFAC are to support the combat readiness of Pacific Fleet air, surface, and subsurface units in all warfare areas by providing ATC services and managing offshore operating areas and instrumented ranges. Command missions are to;

  1. Coordinate assignment and usage of the Northern California (NOCAL), W-260, W-283, W-285 A/B, and W-513 and Southern California (SOCAL) Offshore Fleet Operating Areas (OPAREAs), W-291, by air, surface and subsurface units. Coordinate assignment and use of the Southern California Offshore Range (SCORE), providing Air Warfare (AW), Surface Warfare (SUW), Command and Control Warfare (C2W) and Aerial Mine Warfare (MIW) training in the vicinity of San Clemente Island (SCI).
  2. Act as executive agent and coordinate search and rescue operations for Navy units in the Eastern Pacific Search and Rescue (SAR) sub-region.
  3. Provide command and control facilities to Commander Naval Air Force, U. S. Pacific Fleet (COMNAVAIRPAC) and such other commanders as may be directed by COMNAVAIRPAC.
  4. Coordinate use of the SOCAL Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS) Link 11.
  5. Act as Navy SAR mission coordinator for the NOCAL/SOCAL Offshore OPAREAs and assist Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force Rescue Units and any SAR mission coordinator in the performance of their duties.
  6. Coordinate emergency aeromedical and humanitarian evacuations.
  7. Coordinate aircraft, ship and submarine target services.
  8. Act as COMNAVAIRPAC liaison agent with the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) as required in matters of: Relaying clearance requests and position reports between aircraft and NORAD; Air surveillance in the SOCAL Offshore OPAREA; Aircraft identification; and Aircraft safe passage corridor.
  9. Provide radar surveillance of the SOCAL Aircraft Radar Monitoring Area to minimize mutual interference and enhance the safety of air, surface and subsurface units.
  10. Develop, compile and maintain computer programs to accomplish basic mission.
  11. Collect data on the usage of NOCAL/SOCAL OPAREAs by air, surface and subsurface units.
  12. Act as Navy coordinating agent with commercial oil companies in matters of offshore oil drilling in the SOCAL OPAREA.

FACSFAC San Diego handled a total of 67,531 air operations during 2001, with a peak of 6,743 operations in February 2001. FACSFAC San Diego schedules both the SOCAL and NOCAL Fleet OPAREAs, the most heavily used air and sea OPAREAs in the nation. A total of 2,260 events were scheduled in 2001 with February being the peak month with 245 events. FACSFAC San Diego is Commander Third Fleet's executive agent for SAR in the SOCAL/NOCAL OPAREA. Additionally, FACSFAC San Diego acts as SAR Mission Coordinator for SARs involving U. S. Navy units in SOCAL. During 2001, FACSFAC San Diego was involved in 1 SAR mission with 40 lives saved. FACSFAC San Diego was involved in 63 Medical Evacuations (MEDEVACS), 27 of which were life threatening. Additionally, 5 humanitarian evacuation (HUMEVAC) was coordinated.

W-291 is the major training area in the eastern Pacific. Seven radar sensors provide radar coverage of this operating area. These radars provide approximately 20% coverage of the operating area. Three long-range radars provide coverage of the Northern California operating areas. Operating areas under the cognizance of FACSFAC San Diego are described in FACSFACSINST 3720.1 (series), Manual of EASTPAC and MIDPAC Fleet Operating Areas and the DoD FLIP system. In addition to the operational responsibilities of FACSFAC San Diego, the command serves as parent command for FACSFAC Pearl Harbor.

To some extent, FACSFAC San Diego faces a challenge exactly opposite that faced by its East Coast counterparts. Its SUA is some distance from most highly sought civil air routes. Its interface with the FAA is therefore relatively benign. However, its working areas, especially those on or adjacent to offshore islands, come under intense environmental scrutiny, its surface operating areas are increasingly congested, and its airfields, vital to maintaining both an efficient movement of traffic to and from the areas and for emergency recovery, are significantly more impacted by encroachment than their east coast counterparts.

Major areas of concern are the increased encroachment potential as the result of the growth of civil aviation in the San Diego Area. The Air Cargo Port initiative at Brown Field is but one example of encroachment potential. An additional concern is the potential expansion of oil exploration initiatives in the waters of W-291. Environmental issues associated with archeological and historical sites, wildlife preservation and natural conservation issues associated with San Clemente Island continue to present a threat to the flexibility required to support naval readiness in this area.



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