Army Airspace Management
a. Airspace management (ASM) in the combat zone enhances air assault operations by promoting the safe, efficient, concurrent, and flexible use of airspace. Airspace above the corps area, but below the coordinating altitude, is designated the Army airspace control authority. It is managed by maneuver unit commanders.
b. ASM is part of the Army airspace command and control (A2C2) functional mission. It identifies airspace users and coordinates, integrates, and regulates the use of airspace as defined by geographical and altitude dimensions. ASM involves planning and executing tasks that employ air assets concurrently in the Air Land Battle. ASM contributes to the overall operational plan. Maneuver unit commanders need to achieve maximum flexibility for employing organic and support assets within their airspace. To accomplish this, airspace use is standardized, restrictions are minimized, and coordination is close and continuous.
G-2. Airspace conflict resolution.
a. Normal operational planning, execution, and SOPs prevent conflicts between airspace users. Exceptions must be resolved quickly. Maneuver unit commanders from corps through battalion establish priorities for using the airspace within the Army subarea. These priorities are the guidelines used to resolve conflicts. If conflicts cannot be resolved by using these guidelines, the commander decides which user has priority.
b. Helicopters normally operate below the jointly prescribed coordinating altitude under the control of Army tactical commanders. Fixed-wing aircraft operate above the coordinating altitude and are controlled by the airspace control authority. The coordinating altitude is flexible, situation-dependent, and serves as the upper limit of the Army airspace control subarea. Coordination is -required between the airspace management facilities of each echelon to prevent unnecessary disruption of activities. This is particularly true when aircraft are required to pass through the coordinating altitude.
c. ASM rules, procedures, communication instructions, and special joint airspace requirements are included in maneuver unit SOPs and operation plans and orders. Subordinate unit commanders, as well as coordinators, controllers, and operators, can be given authority to make on-the-spot adjustments to the ASM process when unanticipated hazards are involved. The coordination of flight operations, air defense operations, and indirect artillery fires may cause conflicts in airspace use. Normally, conflicts are resolved at the lowest level possible.
G-3. Airspace restrictions.
a. Air assault operations may require airspace restrictions within the Army airspace control subarea. Requests for airspace restrictions are forwarded to the corps airspace management element (CAME) through the division airspace management element (DAME) for joint approval by the corps commander and the airspace control authority. Army approval of airspace restrictions in division airspace below the coordinating altitude can be delegated to the division commander. Commanders, however, inform the control authority of the imposed restrictions. The DAME forwards the restrictions through the CAME to the battlefield coordination element (BCE) for coordination. The information includes the time period during which the airspace restriction applies.
b. Requests for airspace restrictions include the following information:
(1) Horizontal and vertical limits of the airspace.
(2) Effective time and duration of restriction.
(3) Controlling authority of the restriction when effective.
(4) Description of the restriction specifying to whom or what it applies.
(5) Procedures for the movement of aircraft to and from adjoining airspace.
(6) Procedures for coordinating essential flight and tactical information.
(7) Warning involving flight safety hazards.
c. The division commander forwards these restriction requirements to the BCE. The approving authorities coordinate each request, considering the impact of such airspace restrictions on all airspace users. The DAME and CAME continuously monitor airspace restrictions and initiate actions to remove them when they are no longer needed.
d. For flight operations in a designated restricted area, the commander for whom the restriction was established determines when flight plans are required. Even when flight plans are not required, the appropriate ATC facility still monitors aircraft flights within the restricted area. It must be able to clear aircraft from the area to provide information for rescue purposes.
G-4. Aircraft identification.
To engage enemy aircraft, conserve air defense resources, and reduce the risk to friendly forces, air traffic identification requirements must be compatible with air defense engagement criteria. Friendly aircraft must be identified rapidly and reliably. Electronic monitoring normally fills the need, allowing flexible aircraft employment in the area of operations. When electronic identification is not possible, visual or procedural means are used.
G-5. Division airspace management and coordination.
a. DAME functions. The DAME in the division's main command post has staff responsibility for coordinating, integrating, and regulating the division's airspace. The DAME consists of air defense, field artillery, Army aviation, Air Force, and ATC representatives along with supporting administrative and operations personnel. DAME functions consist of future and present operational planning and coordinating to:
(1) Identify and resolve potential conflicts concerning the use of airspace by correlating ASM information.
(2) Develop and maintain the airspace utilization map.
(3) Develop, recommend, maintain, and disseminate ASM control measures and restrictions which affect the division's airspace.
(4) Maintain and disseminate information about all restricted operation areas, standard-use Army air routes, weapon-free zones, flight corridors, significant preplanned field artillery fires, nuclear strikes, close air support strikes, Air Force and Army reconnaissance missions, major air assault aviation operations, and refueling locations and status.
(5) Monitor the status of ADA and aviation; assess and advise the commander.
(6) Maintain and disseminate the status and location of navigational aids, LZs, and PZs in the area of operations (AO).
(7) Disseminate information about, and changes in, coordinating altitudes.
(8) Disseminate requirements for airfield terminal control zones with the flight coordination center (FCC) element and CAME.
(9) Disseminate requirements for flight plans, restricted areas, ADA, and aircraft weapon-free zones.
(10) Disseminate ATC and ADA procedures to be used by aviation units for deep attack operations, including return procedures.
(11) Disseminate Air Force tactical airlift airspace use and information.
(12) Disseminate selective identification features, and friend or foe identification procedures for Army aircraft.
b. Airspace management plan. The DAME, in coordination with the fire support element and Air Force tactical air control party, develops a division airspace management plan. It details airspace management functions and specifies SOPS, restrictive and control measures, coordination, and ATC information requirements. The plan incorporates applicable elements of the corps' and airspace control authority's airspace management and control plans. Through close coordination with the division main and rear command posts, the DAME determines which combat, CS, and CSS activities impact on effective airspace management planning.
c. Airspace utilization annex. The DAME maintains continuous information on airspace use and develops an airspace utilization annex to operation plans and orders. The annex with its overlay includes specific Army and joint service airspace requirements in effect for a given operation. It also outlines the commander's priority for airspace use within the division. The annex is disseminated to appropriate command posts, the FCC, and Army aviation and air defense units. The S3 of each brigade coordinates information about airspace use in his AO with the DAME. This information helps the DAME manage the division's airspace.
d. Airspace information. The DAME uses graphic displays that combine ground and airspace utilization information, such as air defense, aviation, ATC, and indirect fire support. Data are maintained on current and planned restrictions and special joint-use requirements. Conflicts that cannot be resolved with command guidance, orders, and SOPs are forwarded to the G3 for resolution.
e. ADA integration. The DAME maintains information to assist the air defense liaison officer in recommending changes in the employment of Army air defense assets. The information includes data on the air defense situation, including air defense coverage for other command post elements. Timely reports from ADA units allow the DAME to remain abreast of the air defense situation. The DAME evaluates the impact that air defense weapons control status will have on air operations and makes appropriate recommendations to the division commander. The DAME also collects NBC, weather, air threat, and other air operations information. It disseminates this information directly to appropriate airspace users and ATC facilities.
f. Flight coordination center.
(1) When employed in the division area, the FCC provides a communications link between terminal facilities of division landing sites, other nearby landing areas, division CPs, other FCCs, and the corps flight operations center. The FCC:
(a) Provides in-flight following of aircraft.
(b) Monitors Army aircraft operations and advises aircrews of hostile activity in the airspace.
(c) Provides information on air traffic movement within its assigned area.
(d) Passes instrument flight plans to the airspace management center for approval.
(e) Passes visual flight plans to the appropriate ATC facility.
(2) The FCC establishes liaison with the ADA command post. The ADA unit's radars receive real-time input from associated fire units. They can provide the FCC increased low altitude radar coverage over the division and forward of the FLOT by voice and data links through the ADA command post. FCC liaison with the ADA command post links Army air defense, Army aviation, and Air Force systems.
g. Flight routes.
(1) With the supporting ATC unit, the DAME develops an instrument flight route structure within the division area. The number of routes depends on the terrain, the number of expected flights, and the air defense threat. The division instrument route structure includes feeder or connecting routes with adjacent divisions and corps instrument route structures. Instrument recovery routes are provided from each brigade area to facilitate recovery of aircraft which have inadvertently flown into instrument meteorological conditions. The DAME selects the location for all instrument landing sites. There are at least two precision terminal approach sites in the division. At least one of these precision sites is dedicated to logistical and medical support. Nondirectional beacon navigational aids (NAVAIDS) are also used for nonprecision terminal approaches. The ATC unit operates approach equipment, NAVAIDS, and lighting systems. The division instrument route structure, feeder routes, recovery routes, location of NAVAIDS, and instrument approach sites are included in the airspace utilization annex.
(2) In the division rear area, visual meteorological condition (VMC) flights continue under the basic guidelines and principles that apply to the battalion and brigade areas. Monitoring the division FCC frequencies, aircrews may request flight assistance including flight-following and current information on weather, NBC, airspace restrictions, and air operations.
G-6. Brigade airspace management and coordination.
a. Airspace management at brigade is primarily real-time monitoring and control of airspace and prevention of conflict between airspace users. Future operational planning is limited mostly to recommendations for control measures and restrictions necessary to support brigade and division operations. The maneuver brigade commander or his designated representative, normally the S3, is the airspace manager. The commander routinely exercises coordination through his staff, primarily the S3 assisted by the S3 Air, air liaison officer, fire support coordination officer, ADA LO, subordinate unit commanders and, when attached, the aviation LO.
b. ASM is accomplished primarily by procedural communication and visual control means. At this level, ASM functions involve detailed coordination and integration of TACAIR, indirect fire, organic air defense, and tactical fire and maneuver operations. The maneuver unit commander employs, controls, and coordinates the use of airspace by the forces supporting or reinforcing his operations. The commander also coordinates his airspace activities with other elements of the airspace control system.
c. In the brigade area, air assault operations are conducted on a "see and be seen" basis to prevent aircraft collisions. Fire support and aviation operations are conducted simultaneously. The S3 must ensure close coordination among all airspace users to prevent conflicts in airspace usage.
d. Aviation unit Operations, when possible, provide advance entry information briefings to crews entering the brigade area. These briefings include the supported unit's tactical situation. The supported units (brigades or battalions) must know in advance when and where Army and other service aircraft will enter the area. Army aircraft operating in the brigade and battalion areas are routinely controlled through the chain of command. Commanders communicate directly with the supporting or aviation unit commander to convey tasks and to coordinate missions.
G-7. Air assault task force airspace management and coordination.
a. The AATF airspace manager is the AATFC. The AATF S3 controls the use of this airspace. The capability of an AATF to conduct airspace command and control is extremely limited and consists primarily of reporting force and weapon location. The commander and S3 know the tactical plan, including proposed locations and flight routes. The operations staff elements, under supervision of the S3, collect pertinent information to keep the commander and staff informed of potential conflicts among airspace users in the AATF area. With rare exceptions, ASM at the AATF level is primarily prevention of conflict between airspace users.
b. Aircrews are briefed on tactical situations and plans by aviation unit operations personnel, or during the air mission briefing. The AATF minimizes controls, restrictions, and communications and reporting requirements. The AATF expedites the information flow and issues situation-update advisories upon request or when required.
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