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ABSTRACT - MAGTF Air Defense And Maneuver Warfare
CSC 1989
         Major James E. Thigpen, United States Marine Corps
                           15 May 1989
    Can the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) defend itself
from airborne attacks by a determined threat equipped with modern
aircraft and helicopters?
    This study will answer that question in terms of five
principles of war associated with the Marine Corps' newly adopted
doctrine of Maneuver Warfare.  The method selected for answering
the question is to examine several major air defense battles waged
since World War II; to examine the Marine Corps' current air
defense doctrine, organization, and equipment; and to analyze the
doctrine, organization and equipment relative to the principles of
Mass, Surprise, Simplicity, Maneuver, and Unity of Command.
    This study will not focus on the merits of this or that
technology versus some other technology.  The mountains of
literature and data on that subject are suffocating and change
    Also, this study will not focus on Offensive antiair warfare
(AAW) but will address Offensive AAW in the historical chapter.
Usually it is easier, safer, and more efficient to destroy one's
enemy air threat before it is airborne than after it is airborne.
The distinction is provided by the following two definitions:
    Air Defense is all defensive measures designed to destroy
attacking enemy aircraft or missiles in the earth's envelope of
atmosphere, or to nullify or reduce the effectiveness of such
attack.  (JCS Pub. 1)
    Offensive AAW constitutes operations conducted against the
enemy air or air defense system before it can be launched or
assume an attacking role.  Offensive AAW operations in or near an
objective area consist mainly of air attacks to destroy or
neutralize hostile aircraft, airfields, radars, air defense
systems, and supporting areas.  (OH 5-5)
    The sources used for the historical chapter were all books on
the Arab-Israel Wars, the Vietnam War, and the Falkland Islands
War.  Sources used for the current posture chapter were FMFMs and
Operational Handbooks.  Finally, sources used for the analysis
were written and personal interviews, magazine articles and the
Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation System (MCCRES)
historical data for actual system performance over the past 10
    It was evident in reading air defense history that historians
had a slant toward one belligerent or the other.  For example,
Israeli aircraft losses in 1973 ranged from 107 to 200.  However,
trends were evident despite some prejudices held by some authors.
Finally, analysis proved very difficult because opinions about our
air defense abilities varied so drastically from person to
person.  But, here again, clear trends were identifiable and
helped me reach my conclusion.  My conclusion is that the current
MAGTF air defense system is flexible and capable enough to support
Maneuver Warfare doctrine.  However, this task will be extremely
difficult without organic airborne early warning, better passive
sensors, more air defense firepower, and a more responsive
organization for MAGTF air defense.
               Major James E. Thigpen, USMC
                  (15 May 1989)
          Marine Corps Command and Staff College
         Marine Corps Combat Development Command
              Quantico, Virginia 22134-5050
                    TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table of Contents                                       ii
Introduction                                            1
    I:  Major Air Defense Operations Since WWII         6
   II:  MAGTF Air Defense - Current Posture            40
  III:  MAGTF Air Defense - Analysis                   61
   IV:  Conclusions                                    78
Endnotes                                               83
Bibliography                                           86
    In the 44 years period since the end of World War II there
have been sweeping changes in the nature of air warfare and air
defense.  Before and throughout World War II, air warfare was
conducted by propeller driven aircraft operating from airfields or
aircraft carriers, controlled only toward the end of the war by
simplistic radar.  Air defense was conducted by gun-equipped
fighter aircraft and ground-based antiaircraft guns, again
controlled with limited success by rudimentary radar systems.
    Since World War II, two major developments have revolutionized
air warfare and dramatically complicated the task of air defense.
    First, the jet aircraft engine increased the speed of fixed-
wing military aircraft from less than 350 miles per hour up to 3
times the speed of sound.  The jet engine also increased the range
and payload of military aircraft.  Speed, however, was the primary
factor complicating air defense operations.  Second, the
rotary-wing aircraft (the helicopter) revolutionized air warfare
with the ability to operate from almost any location, not just
airfields and aircraft carries, and to fly extremely low and slow,
utilizing terrain to avoid air defenses.
    In the arena of air defense, there have also been two sweeping
changes since World War II.  Computer-controlled radar and
surface-to-air missiles have enhanced the lethality and potential
decisiveness of air defense operations to a level which can
potentially prohibit air warfare from being conducted at all.  The
computer-controlled radar can reject radar clutter (providing
clear target range, azimuth, and elevation), and can guide a
weapon (missile, bullet, dart and others) into killing proximity
of an aircraft.  The surface-to-air missile is an outgrowth of
both computer-controlled radar and advanced rocket technology
achieved during and after World War II.  The surface-to-air
missile gives the air defender an extremely high probability of a
one shot kill against his target aircraft by guiding the missile
(using radar or heat seeking techniques) into the aircraft.  This
is a major improvement over the manpower intensive and
logistically expensive World War II method of flinging literally
thousands of unguided projectiles into the air for every aircraft
actually destroyed.  It must be noted of course that a second
outgrowth of ever more efficient and smaller computer-controlled
radar and guided missiles is the air-to-air missile fired from
aircraft.  Air-to-air missiles entered the air defense picture
during the 1950s.
    Today, all major military powers own large quantities of
deadly, accurate and highly reliable jet aircraft and helicopters
for a whole range of air warfare missions.  These include:
attacking other aircraft, helicopters and missiles in-flight;
attacking targets on the earth's surface; providing aerial
reconnaissance; transporting military men and material; conducting
electronic warfare (EW) operations; conducting aerial refueling of
military aircraft in-flight; and commanding or controlling ground
or air warfare operations in-flight.  Many lesser powers,
including narcotics trafficers and organized criminal organization
as well as third world governments, have relatively sophisticated
air warfare capabilities in substantial numbers.
    If the Marine Air-Ground Task Force is going to be able to
fight across the entire spectrum of war from Low Intensity
Conflicts to High Intensity Conflicts, it must be able to defend
itself from these prolific air threats.  Enemy Air Order of Battle
(AOB) statistics are not supposed to be as relevant in Maneuver
Warfare thinking as in straight attrition warfare, but these must
be considered.  For basic overview, here is what our potential
adversaries could throw against the MAGTF:
                          TABLE 1 1                  
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    The Marine Corps acknowledges these sobering statics and has
assigned the functions of AAW and control of aircraft and missiles
to the Marine Aviation component of the MAGTF.  Air defense and
Offensive AAW are subfunctions of both AAW and control of aircraft
and missiles.  Is Marine Aviation able to perform its air defense
mission?  Before answering that question, an historical
examination is needed.
                           CHAPTER 1 
    There have been many wars and countless smaller violent
engagements around the world since the end of World War II.  In
many of these conflicts, air warfare and counter-air (air defense)
operations have occurred.  From the United Nations action in
Korean from 1950-1953, to the doomed French aerial resupply effort
at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, to the tragic shoot down of an unarmed
Iranian Airbus airliner by a United States warship during
hostilities in the Persian Gulf in 1988, air warfare and air
defense have become an integral part of modern war.  Just as the
mounted horsemen brought mobility and shock effect to war only to
be countered by the rifled musket and then negated by the machine
gun, so the airplane has epitomized mobility (maneuver), shock and
firepower during the last seventy-five years only to be countered
(but not yet negated) by a wide range of air defense weapons.
    France was one of the first post World War II nations to learn
bitterly just how decisive air defense operations can be when the
principles of Mass, Surprise and Unity of Command are applied
correctly.  During the 56 day assault on the French base at Dien
Bien Phu in 1954 by the Viet Minh, France lost 48 aircraft shot
down by a murderous corridor of antiaircraft fire.2  Because the
French base was solely dependent on aerial resupply, Dien Bien Phu
was lost and so was France's colonial empire in Southeast Asia.
    However, it has been the Arab-Israeli conflicts, the American
War in Vietnam, and the Falklands Islands Conflict of 1982 which
have most influenced and shaped the future course or air defense
operations probably for the rest of the 20th century.  These will
now be examined in some detail.
                       THE ARAB-ISRAELI WARS
                       Sinai Campaign - 1956
    There was no real air defense operation involved in this
conflict.  It was a war primarily of ground combat.3
                       Six Day War - June 1967
    On 5 June 1967, Israel conducted the premier Offensive Antiair
Warfare action in modern history.  No large scale air defense
operations occurred because on that day the Israeli Air Force
destroyed 309 of 340 Egyptian combat aircraft on the ground in
Egypt.  On the afternoon of the 5th, the entire Jordanian Air
Force was wiped out.  Then the Syrian Air Force was wiped out on
the ground in retaliation for Syrian attacks on the Haifa oil
refineries.  By the end of the sixth of June, 1967, 416 Arab
aircraft had been destroyed (393 on the ground) with only 26
Israeli aircraft lost.4  The obvious lesson for the world in
this short, violent air war was that without strong, vigilant air
defenses, even the best air forces are vulnerable to surprise
Offensive AAW operations.
            War of Attrition - July 1967 - August 1970
    This period of constant air strikes by Israel and Egypt across
the Suez Canal has been ignored by writers; yet, it proved to be
an invaluable testing period for Russian SAM-2, SAM-3, and SAM-6
surface-to-air weapons systems by Russian advisors.  The building
of a great air defense barrier along the Suez Canal was begun
during this period of sporadic fighting.  During this period, the
Russians thoroughly developed a layered air defense system with
multiple overlapping radar coverages, SAM engagement zones, and
antiaircraft gun barriers.5  This barrier would shock Israel and
the Western World during the next Middle East conflict.
    Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) grew in significance during
the War of Attrition, just as ECM was evolving as significant in
the Vietnam War during the same period (1967-1973).  Immediately
after the Six Day War in June 1967 "a War of Electronics quickly
developed in the air.  The Soviet Union supplied Egypt with SAMs
for defense against Israeli aircraft.  The introduction of these
effective missiles redressed the situation that had developed
immediately after the June defeat in which Israeli pilots had
freedom of Egyptian skies.  Encountering SAMs in Vietnam, the
Americans had developed ECM pods, which were fixed to the wings of
planes and gave the pilots warning of oncoming missiles, enabling
them to take evasive action.  Soon a `mad scientists war'
developed as on-the-ground radar directional, searching, and
tracking equipment improved and in the air more advanced ECM pods
enabled the pilot to jam, counter-jam, and even deflect missiles
aimed at him."6
                 The Yom Kippur War - October 1973
    The major Israeli miscalculation of the Yom Kippur War was the
assumption that the Egyptians would not attack them until the
Egyptian Air Force could strike and neutralize the Israeli Air
Force.  Israel believed that this could not happen until at least
1975 or later.  President Sadat decided not to wait that long and
sought an alternative.  When the Egyptian Minister of War visited
Moscow in February, 1972, "The Russians proposed such an
alternative.  The Israeli Air Force was to be dealt with by the
creation of one of the densest missile `walls' in the world,
composed of a mixture of ..... SAM-2, SAM-3, and SAM-6, in
addition to conventional antiaircraft weapons which would provide
an effective umbrella over the planned area of operations along
the Suez Canal".7  It is instructive to review the Air Orders of
Battle on 6 October 1973:
                           TABLE II 8
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    As can be seen from these impressive numbers, an historic air
warfare versus air defense confrontation was inevitable.  At 1400,
6 October, 1973, 240 Egyptian aircraft attacked in mass and
surprised Israeli positions, including HAWK SAM batteries, all
along the Eastern Suez Canal and destroyed most of their targets
with the loss of only one aircraft.
    Next the Air Defense Barrier came into play.  "In view of
    the weakness of their Air Force, the Egyptians under-
    standably relied heavily upon the Air Defense Command to
    counter the Israeli Air Force.  ... Intending to strike
    first, the Egyptians expected massive retaliation; their
    answer was to be the Air Defense Barrier, multi-layer and
    multi-altitudinal, a combination of SAMs and guns."9
    This mass of weapons was well equipped with surprises for the
Israelis.  First, the Israelis had not encountered the SA-6, or
the deadly ZSU-23(4) until this time.  Secondly, the Egyptian
(ECM) was far better than expected, amounting to what would today
be termed Wartime Only Modes (WARM)  The Egyptians really used
surprise in this area initially by having installed SA-2 ECM
equipment which was left behind in crates by the Russians when
they left in 1972.  "The Russians estimated that it would take 29
Soviet experts about 9 months to install it.  Egyptian instructors
and students completed the job in 50 days.  The radar and
electronic capability of the Egyptians was grossly underestimated
by the Israelis and others".10  The Israelis had no ECM against
the SA-6 nor the ZSU-23(4) radars at all.
    As soon as the initial Syrian and Egyptian aircraft were
returning to base about 1420 on 6 October 1973, the Israeli Air
Force attacked and ran head-on into the trap with disastrous
results.  "By the end of the first day of the war, the Israelis
had lost from both missiles and ZSUs at least 30 A-4 Skyhawks, 10
F-4 Phantoms, and a proportion of their best pilots, the cream of
the Hunter squadrons."11  The second and third days of the War
were basically the same.  "A missile expert and U.N. observer
officer, Major William Milinckrodt of the Dutch Air Force,
calculated that during the first three days of the war `three out
of five Israeli aircraft that appeared overhead were hit, either
by missiles or guns'".12  This occurred despite having arguably
the best pilots and aircraft in the world at that time.  The
bottom line at the Suez Canal during the first 3 days of war was
that the Egyptian Canal crossing was a complete success due to
their massed, redundant Air Defense Barrier.  The Egyptians
maneuvered of guns to protect all canal crossing sites as these
were completed.  However, a weakness of the Egyptian SAMs was
their lack of mobility.  The SA-2 & SA-3 were fixed site systems.
Though the SA-6 was mobile, it was limited because of the 8-hour
calibration time required every time it was moved.  The only truly
mobile SAM, the SA-7, was not effective because the Israeli pilots
could out maneuver the missile in-flight.
    On 8 October, the Israelis lost 30 aircraft on the Egyptian
front and 20 aircraft on the Syrian front.  On 6, 7, and 8
October, the Arabs fired over 1,000 SAMs "reflecting a deployment
density surpassing that of any known SAM system in the world, the
Soviet Union included"13.  A big key to the Egyptian Air Defense
Barrier's success was unity of command.  Their C2 system was so
streamlined and responsive that the entire Barrier (800 guns, 166
SAM batteries, and 400 radars) could be turned on and off as an
entity to allow friendly aircraft to return to Egypt.
    On the Syrian front, on the Golan Heights, Israeli reaction to
the Syrian advances mirrored that in the Sinai.  The Syrian air
defense was massed, intense, and well controlled.  On 6 October,
the Israelis attempted a new tactic using a low altitude, high
speed approach to the north over Jordanian territory with a quick
pop-up over the Golan Heights to strike Syrian armor from the
flank.  This was somewhat successful during daylight, but the
Syrian armor advanced all night and on the morning of the 7th the
situation was again critical, as explained by author Bruce Brant:
    The airborne pounding began at dawn with successive waves
    of Phantoms and Skyhawks streaking across the (Golan)
    Heights firing rockets, cannons, and dropping bombs
    against the Syrian columns.  The missiles and
    antiaircraft fire wreaked havoc.  For example, in the
    area of Juheder, an Israeli battalion commander asked for
    air support at first light.  As the sun rose, four
    Skyhawks penetrated to bomb the Syrians, but as they
    approached their targets the tell tale smoke trails of
    the SAMs were seen.  All four planes exploded in the air
    in full view of the hard pressed troops of the
    battalion.  Undetered, a second flight of four attacked
    and two exploded.14
    At this point, the air warfare (and Marine Aviation) mission
of Close Air Support (CAS) of ground troops should be addressed in
light of the battle on the Golan Heights.  The lesson was
obvious.  The Israelis found the conduct of CAS almost impossible
in the face of the Syrian air defenses.  Also, the intermingling
of forces on the Heights made identification of ground targets
difficult and CAS equally impossible.  As the battle progressed,
more and more Israeli aircraft had to be diverted to attack the
SAM and AAA batteries so that subsequent sorties could hopefully
be directed at Syrian ground targets.
    The 1973 War proved to the IAF that the old method of CAS
    did not work and should only be used in an emergency.
    They believed that the (surface-to-air) missile denied
    the capability of the pilot to fly over the battlefield,
    contact the ground commander, and then try to find and
    attack the target.15
    On the Golan Heights, ECM also played a major role in the
battle.  In fact, "General Hod, former Commander of the IAF said,
`An ounce of ECM is worth a pound of additional aircraft, in the
presence of dense, sophisticated air defense'."16  Soon after
the war started, Israel did receive 200 ECM pods and chaff from
the U.S.  The new U.S. ECMs were able to counter the SA-2 and
SA-3, but could not defeat either the SA-6 or the ZSU-23(4).  Most
of the SA-6s had to be destroyed by ground artillery fire.
    The fate of the Arab assault was really sealed on 14 October
when the Egyptian Army moved east, out from under their Air
Defense Barrier.  Israeli ground maneuver units quickly surrounded
the Egyptians while at the same time Israeli General Sharon's
ground forces finally breached the Egyptian Air Defense Barrier.
This breach was steadily widened, Israeli tanks threatened Cairo,
and after 13 days the Israelis completely out-maneuvered the Air
Defense Barrier (Israel launched 1,000 sorties over their
penetration of the west bank of the Suez on 19 October
alone.)17  A cease-fire was declared and Israel retained almost
all of its 1967 territorial gains, but at a great price.
   Israel launched over 11,000 sorties, but lost 200 aircraft
(107 aircraft by Israeli accounts) and 160 of her best pilots.
About 85% of Israel's lost aircraft fell to SAMs and 15% were lost
to antiaircraft guns.  The Arabs lost 368 aircraft and 47 SAM
batteries.  Interestingly, thirty-five of the Egyptian aircraft
were lost to Egypt's own Air Defense Barrier.  Twenty-two were
shot down by HAWK missiles.  The remainder fell to Israeli fighter
    In the first days of the War, the Arabs clearly had superior
mass and technological surprise.  The Arabs had simple, effective
tactics and procedures for air defense.  They also had clear unity
of command executed by a rigid C2 system.  The Israelis defeated
the Arab's mass by superior maneuver and they defeated Arab
surprise by quick adaptability.  Air defense mass in this case was
indecisive because it could not move to protect Egyptian ground
maneuver units in the Sinai.  Air defense surprise lost its
effectiveness to flexible Israeli tactics.  The Israeli use of
passive detection systems in their Stratocruisers, direction
finding, massive jamming, radar homing missiles and ground
artillery helped them eventually defeat the Arab air defenses.
The Israeli's had no airborne early warning (AEW) capability, but
this was not critical because the Arab air forces did not use
low-level tactics to any great extent.  This would not be true for
any air warfare operations today.
                 Peace for Galilee - The 1982 War
    On 6 June 1982, Israeli armor moved into Lebanon to rout the
Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).  The Israelis quickly
pushed back the PLO ground forces.  This lead to one of the most
significant events of the war on 9 June, 1982.  The Israelis
decided to push the Syrian forces in Lebanon back to a 40km limit
from the Israeli border.  Because this would require air support,
the SA-2, SA-3, and SA-6 batteries in the Bekaa Valley were to be
attacked.19  Here is what happened, as described by Major Bruce
    At 1400 hours, the IAF .... attacked the Syrian defense
    system in the Bekaa Valley.  The Syrian defenses were
    formidable.  They included 15 SA-6, two SA-3, and two
    SA-2 batteries with some 200 missiles ready to launch and
    supporting antiaircraft guns. These were concentrated in
    the valley and along the Syrian border.  ..... Using
    artillery, surface-to-surface missiles, EW jamming and
    deception, the IAF was able to knock out ten of the 19
    SAM batteries within the first ten minutes of their first
    air attack.  Before the attack was over, the IAF claims
    to have destroyed 17 batteries and damaged two others
    without losing an aircraft.
    The Syrians counter-attacked by sending up to sixty
    MIG-21, and MIG-23 fighters to drive the IAF off.  But,
    the Israelis had stripped away the ground control devices
    used by the Syrian pilots and had an airborne early
    warning plane to vector them to attack headings to
    intercept the Syrians.  In other words, the Syrians were
    flying blind while the IAF was aware of where the Syrians
    were and the best way to attack them.  .... By 12 June,
    1982, the Syrians had lost 80 planes in air combat
    without an Israeli loss.  The IAF did lose one plane to
    ground fire.  According to U.S. sources, a total of 23
    SAM batteries were destroyed.  There are two major
    reasons for the success of the IAF.  First, the Israelis
    were able to change their tactics to take advantage of
    new weapons systems and C2 devices.  Second, the Syrian
    were inefficient.  The Israelis used Remotely Piloted
    Vehicles (RPV's) for over a year to gain reconnaissance
    information on the Syrian SAM batteries.  They knew the
    location of every site. .... Jamming and deception were
    extensive using RPV's, drones, and manned aircraft.  The
    unmanned aircraft were able to get the Syrians to turn on
    their radars (denying them Surprise) which opened them up
    for jamming or destruction by anti-radiation missiles.
    While this was happening, artillery was destroying any
    batteries within range.20
    So the IAF, in an air defense role, used unity of command
(centralized command and decentralized control), surprise
(based on superior intelligence gathered and disseminated)
and maneuver once again to shoot down ultimately 86 Syrian
jets without the loss of a single Israeli plane in air-to-air
combat.  Both sides had front line weapons systems and good
training.  While western equipment has been highly credited
for this smashing air defense victory by Israel, unity of
command, surprise, and maneuver were masterfully applied in
battle and this simply capitalized on good, modern
    Air defense operations during the American involvement in
Vietnam between 1962 and 1973 were almost exclusively
conducted by the North Vietnamese and (to a much smaller
extent) by the Vietcong.  The North Vietnamese steadily built
a massed, simple, and redundant air defense system throughout
their country in direct response to U.S. reliance on tactical
aviation (air warfare) to fight the war.  The following table
shows the final effect of their system on American air power:
                           TABLE III 21
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    However, when taken in the context of time, September 1964 to
1973, these horrendous losses lose some of their sting.  When
viewed as a percentage of sorties flown, it was obvious that the
North Vietnamese air defense system did not prevent the U.S. from
conducting any portion of its air war that it really wanted to.
The real reason for so many losses is captured by William Broyles,
Jr. in "A Veteran's Return to Vietnam", The Atlantic, April, 1985:
    They talked about shooting down American planes with a
    sort of childlike wonder about why the pilots kept flying
    into their flak and SAMs.  There was admiration in their
    voices, but pity, too.22
It was a poor set of Rules of Engagement (ROE) and overly
centralized control of targeting which helped the North Vietnamese
air defenders score so many American kills.  An example of the
former is given in "On Yankee Station", by Commander John B.
    SAM sites were another case in point.  Secretary of
    Defense McNamara knew that Soviet technicians were
    installing and often operating the new surface-to-air
    missile batteries.  Because of concern about harming
    'neutral' Soviets, U.S. TACAIR crews were ordered by
    the Pentagon to pass up these sites even when they were
    vulnerable during construction.  One F-4 squadron
    commander off USS Midway actually watched the SAM site
    being built that eventually shot him down in 1965.23
An example of the latter is:
    Lyndon Johnson boasted that `they can't bomb an
    outhouse without my approval' and thought that was
    something to be proud of.  But whether one regards that
    situation as laudible or ludicrous, the fact is it
    didn't work and it didn't make sense.  At times it
    seemed as if we were trying to see how much ordnance we
    could drop on North Vietnam without disturbing the
    country's way of life.24
See Figure I for a depiction of the safe havens the U.S. gave to
the enemy in Vietnam.
    However, the North Vietnamese were dedicated, industrious, and
brave air defenders.  They capitalized on the liberal supply of
AAA, SAM, and a few MIG fighters to fight back against America's
overwhelming air power.
    In the period between the Korean War and 1965, American
aviators looked at the SAM as their biggest air defense threat and
overlooked AAA.  They thought that low-level bombing was a way to
fly below the SAMs and still hit their targets.  When they tried
this against the North Vietnamese, they found themselves in a sky
full of flak.  Again, as Commander Nichols wrote in his memoirs:
    Through March 1965, when Rolling Thunder began, the
    Navy's attrition fluctuated between fifteen and thirty
    losses per one thousand sorties.  To put that figure in
    perspective, the absolute highest loss rate for the
    rest of the war was barely seven per thousand, and that
    came in late 1965 and early 1966 when we went into
    Route Pack VI in a big way.  From mid-1966 on, the
    attrition over the North never reached four per
    thousand.  How can the drastic difference be explained?
    It's simple:  low-level attacks with treetop pullouts
    put aircraft within range not only of AAA but of small
    arms as well.  Barrage fire worked just fine, even with
    the relatively limited number of antiaircraft guns
    available at the time.
    In early 1965, the North Vietnamese had barely one
    thousand medium - and heavy-caliber guns; 37-, 57-, 85-
    and 100mm.  By late summer the number had tripled, and
    by the end of 1966 there were between six thousand and
    seven thousand guns Up North of greater than 20mm.  Few
    of these guns were radar-controlled, but they didn't
    have to be.  The light-caliber weapons were mobile and
    could be towed to new sites easily.  Pure concentration
    was the,name of the game -- concentration and fire
                           Figure I
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Simply stated, good early warning radars, predictable American
targets and tactics, and a Mass of AAA guns made AAA a deadly air
defense weapons system in Vietnam.
    Surface-to-air missiles appeared early in the North Vietnamese
defense network, and remained for the next eight years.  Photo-
recon planes confirmed the presense of SA-2s southeast of Hanoi in
April 1965, and the Soviets announced the fact to the world in
May.26  As has been stated, the Americans were actually for-
bidden from destroying the SAM sites for years, and the Vietnamese
exploited this ROE to the maximum.
    After 1967 there were usually 30 SAM battalions active in
North Vietnam which equated to 100 missiles on launchers as a
daily figure.  Another 100 missiles were ready for reload at the
SAM sites and 300 more were usually in storage.  Even though 500
missiles up North at any one time may not seem to be a great many,
the resupply chain from Russia was uninterrupted for seven
years.27  See Figure II.
    The flying element of the North Vietnamese air defense system
started arriving in 1964 and by mid-June 1965, the North
Vietnamese had received 70 MIG-15s and MIG-17s.  In December 1965
they started receiving MIG-21s.  The first American warplane fell
to MIGs on 4 April 1965, when 2 F-105Ds were shot down by MIG-17s
                           Figure II
Click here to view image
over the Thanh Hoa Bridge in North Vietnam.28  (The Thanh Hoa
and Paul Doumer bridges were considered the key Lines of
Communications (LOCs) in North Vietnam and were attacked by
American warplanes hundreds of times, but proved both hard to
destroy and quickly repairable.  Predictably, the bridges became
the most heavily defended areas from air attack in the world prior
to the Suez Air Defense Barrier in 1973.)
    As in all Soviet inspired air defense systems, ground
controlled intercept (GCI) and height finding radars of top
quality accompanied the MIGs into North Vietnam from the Soviet
Union.  This new capability gave the North Vietnamese early
warning and GCI coverage over all of North Vietnam and much of the
Gulf of Tonkin.
U.S. Countermeasures
    The American counters to the massive, cohesive, and deadly
North Vietnamese air defense buildup were inventive and often
ingenious.  Ever improving aerial reconnaissance denied the enemy
surprise by pinpointing his SAM/AAA sites prior to U.S. air
strikes.  Precision guided munitions, to include Electro-Optical
Guided Bombs (EOGBs) and Laser Guided Bombs (LGBs) dramatically
increased the accuracy of air delivered weapons while at the same
time decreasing the number of strike aircraft needed to destroy a
target and the time that aircraft had to spend over the target
area to ensure success.  Also, on-board Radar Homing and Warning
(RHAW) equipment was provided to American pilots to warn them when
SAM or AAA radars were tracking them and chaff dispensers were
mounted on-board to deceive or break the radar "lock-on" of enemy
SAM/AAA radars.  But probably the most effective and daring
counter to the North Vietnamese air defense systems was the Wild
       This new weapons system combined a pilot and an
    electronic warfare officer (EWO) in a tactical fighter
    aircraft, a combination descriptively called "Weasel"
    because its job was to ferret out and suppress or destroy
    the enemy's SAM, AAA, and AW (automatic weapons)
       The strike pilots relied heavily on the Wild Weasels
    throughout the Vietnam war, especially in heavily
    defended areas such as those around the Paul Doumer and
    Thanh Hoa Bridges.  The "Weasels" took on the SAMs while
    the strike force went for the targets.  The courage of
    the Wild Weasel provides us an excellent example of
    supporting forces that are invaluable in air operations.
       Obviously, the Wild Weasel mission was not an enviable
    one, and American flying men often say that the call of
    the Wild Weasel is, "How in the hell did I get into this
    business?" But that jibe is only a respectful salute from
    fellow aviators who saw the Weasels write a glowing
    chapter of heroism in the SAM filled skies of North
    Vietnam while adding a new dimension to the art of
    tactical air warfare.29
    Just as in the 1973 Arab-Israli conflict, EW played an ever
increasing role in countering an air defense system.  American EW
progress probably culminated during the Linebacker II B-52
missions against North Vietnam in 1972 when EW operations (aboard
B-52s, Navy EA-6s, and Marine EA-6s) resulted in only 15 B-52s
being shot down out of 3,500 sorties of B-52s and other strike
aircraft.  The success of the U.S. EW operations is more clearly
related when one realizes that 1,000 SAMs were fired at those
3,500 sorties.31
Vietnam - Summary
    A summary of North Vietnamese air defense operations hinges
again on American policy, not tactics.  Specifically, the American
Bombing Halt (1968-1972) after the Rolling Thunder operation was
supposed to convince the enemy that Americans were good guys and
they (the North Vietnamese) should negotiate a settlement out of
the goodness of their hearts.  What they in fact did was to
rebuild their supply lines, rebuild the Paul Doumer and Thanh Hoa
bridges, and beef up their air defense system far beyond its 1968
capabilities.  When North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam on 30
March 1972, it was clear Hanoi had no desire to accept any
settlement other than one dictated by a smashing military
victory.  Despite their mass of SAM and AAA coverage along the
DMZ, American air power stopped the invasion.  Both sides suffered
many losses.  But eventually, and as would happen a year later on
the Sinai, a ground maneuver element which out paced its
cumbersome SAM umbrella and had no fighter coverage was vulnerable
and stopped by tactical air power working in support of the
opposing ground maneuver element.
    Finally, a summary of the waning days of the American air war
vs. North Vietnamese air defense would be incomplete without
mentioning the SA-7.  This weapon's introduction is described as
       The SA-7 surface-to-air missile made its first
    appearance in South Vietnam in April, 1972.  Man-portable,
    fired from the shoulder, and possessing an infrared-
    sensing homing system, the SA-7 Strela became at once a
    serious threat to all aircraft, especially to helicopters
and other slow-flying aircraft.  Western intelligence had
    known about this Soviet weapon for about three years,
    although it had never before been deployed in combat.
       Allied flyers knew how to deal with the SA-2 missile
    from experience over North Vietnam, but the SA-7 was
    entirely new.  Some of the first FAC reports described
    "funny little back missiles following some of the
    fast-movers off the target."  Various countermeasures came
    into early use, especially among the slow-movers.  FAC's
    and gunships raised operating altitudes.  Crews kept alert
    to missile firings, making abrupt evasive maneuvers to
    avoid the missile flight path. A hard turn was sometimes
    effective, by allowing the fuselage and wings to cover the
    engine heat, upon which the missile homed.  Aircraft with
    flare dispensers, such as C-130's, released flares in
    order to decoy the missiles.
       SA-7's brought down several A-1's and FAC aircraft in
    the northern provinces during April and May.  An SA-7
    succeeded in bringing down the first AC-130 ever downed in
    South Vietnam on 18 June.  The gunship was operating
    southwest of Hue at an altitude that should have protected
    it from the Strela.  The target was in mountainous
    terrain--in a valley with hills around it that reached up
    3,500.  The SA-7 was fired from the side of one of the
    hills.  Sgt William B. Patterson had the job of watching
    for missiles and AAA fire.  He lay on the aft cargo door,
    actually hanging out into the airstream so he could get a
    good field-of-view below the aircraft.  It was dark and
    Sgt. Patterson spotted the tell-tale flash of light when
    the missile was fired.  It arched up toward the aircraft
    in a smooth curving trajectory, the motor burning with an
    eery blue-white light, holding straight to its course, not
    porpoising back and forth the way SA-7's usually did.
    When the missile was 2-3 seconds away, the crew fired a
    decoy flare, but the SA-7 kept boring right in, hitting
    the right inboard engine.  There was a loud explosion and
    a flash of fire as the missile struck.  The aircraft
    shuddered, rose up at the nose slightly and then settle
    down; the #3 engine separated from the wing.  The flight
    engineer called on intercom that they were losing
    altitude, the pilots worked to pull her up.  Someone else
    was calling out on the UHF radio that Spectre 11 had been
    hit by a missile.32
Twelve of the fifteen crewmen aboard that AC-130 died.  Clearly by
1972 the man-portable, shoulder-fired missile had come of age.
    The previously discussed Linebacker II operation which was
flown against the major cities of North Vietnam in December, 1972,
humbled the North Vietnamese (and their air defense system) long
enough for the U.S. to negotiate a peace settlement and get out of
the war.
Vietnam - Conclusions
    Conclusions about the true effectiveness of North Vietnamese
and Vietcong air defense operations are not easily drawn.  They
inflicted great punishment on American air power, but the North
Vietnamese never stopped American commanders from using tactical
air power to achieve tactical objectives.  In my opinion, this
occurred because: they did not have enough mass of air defense
assets, they could only achieve very localized air defense
surprise, American technical and tactical ingenuity overcame the
enemy's simple air defense weapons and C2, and, finally, the
enemy's SAMs were not maneuverable.  (One shutters to speculate
the cost of prolonging the war after 1973 in the face of the
totally maneuverable SA-7 threat.)  Maybe the most important
lesson for Marine air defenders to learn from the North Vietnamese
is that their air defense operations supported not only tactical
goals (where they failed) but also operational and strategic goals
(where they clearly won).  Hopefully in the next shooting war
Marine air defenders, and everyone else, will know what America's
operational and strategic goals are.
                     THE FALKLAND ISLANDS WAR
    When Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands at 0015 on 2 April
1982, neither Argentina nor Great Britian could have guessed the
violent intensity of the air defense operations that would be
involved in the British retaking of these remote islands in the
South Atlantic.  The British won the war and their air defense
system played a far greater role in the war than did that of
Argentina.  So the British integrated air defense system will be
examined first.
The British
    Air defense of the British Fleet which regained the Falkland
Islands was conducted by a mix of systems, including ship based
radars, ship and airborne passive detection systems, Harrier
aircraft, SAMs (Sea Dart, Sea Wolf, Sea Cat, Rapier), anti-
aircraft guns, and, at close range, small arms and hand-held
Blowpipe and Stinger missiles.  The result was a defense in-depth
(also the MAGTF's air defense doctrine) that worked fairly
well.33  Argentina started the war with 241 combat aircraft, and
her air losses are depicted in Table IV.
                           TABLE IV 34
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    The British scored their air defense victory by judicious use
of the mass of their air defense assets around the British vital
areas at the right place and time; surprise of the Argentines with
superior British weaponry (fighter, SAM, and fire control radars)
and training (gained by practicing for war against a sophisticated
Warsaw Pact foe); simplicity of C2, overall objectives, and
commander's intent; unity of command (with centralized command and
decentralized control).  However, the British practised limited
maneuver of their air defense assets due to lack of airborne early
    The British did not have enough mass of air defense assets to
defend everywhere all the time.  This was painfully brought home
to the British public by the loss of such modern warships as HMS
                           Figure III
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Sheffield, HMS Ardent, HMS Antrim, HMS Antelope, HMS Coventry, HMS
Sir Tristram, and the supply ship Atlantic Conveyor (see Figure
III).  However, the British point of main effort was the
amphibious landing at San Carlos, Figure IV.  They massed
Harriers, sea-based SAMs and AAA, and ground-based SAMs and AAA
long enough and with enough depth to protect the vulnerable
amphibious force as it moved ashore and ultimately defeated the
Argentinian ground forces to win the war.
    Air defense surprise worked for the British in many ways.
First, the short-range, sub-sonic Harrier became the first line of
the British air defense.  As Bruce Watson points out:
       Neither the Sea Harriers nor the RAF version of the
    Harrier are supersonic.  Argentine Mirages and Daggers
    are capable of speeds nearing mach 2.  In numerous
    engagements over the Sinai, Syrian countryside, and
    Mediterranean, Israeli pilots flying Mirages have
    bested MIG-21s.  Mirages and Daggers are generally
    rated among the better combat aircraft in the world and
    superficially they seem to have many advantages over
    the slower Harriers.
       One of the big surprises of the Falkland Islands War
    would be the performance of the Harriers.  Besides
    their unique maneuvering characteristics, the Harriers
    had another surprise waiting for the Argentines, their
    AIM-9L Sidewinder missiles.  These advanced heat-
    seeking missiles proved more capable than the earlier
    models used by the US Air Force over Southeast Asia.
    In addition to homing on the exhaust of the enemy
    aircraft, these advanced Sidewinders have an "all
    aspect" attack capability which means the pilot need
    not get on the enemy's tail before firing but can fire
    at approaching targets.
       The British deployed twenty-eight Sea Harriers and
    fourteen RAF GR-3s to the South Atlantic.  The latter
    were primarily equipped for ground attack missions.
    Royal Air Force GR-3s were scheduled for modifications
    to arm them with the AIM-9Ls in 1983.  Those
    modifications were accelerated so that the RAF Harriers
    used in the South Atlantic were able to use the
advanced Sidewinders.  Argentina jets operating at the
    limit of their combat radii did not attempt to engage
    the British in dogfights.  Air-to-air combat consisted
    of Harrier pilots firing their AIM-9Ls or shooting
    their 30mm cannon at Mirages, Daggers, and Skyhawks as
    they flashed by en route to their targets.  No Harriers
    were lost in air-to-air combat.35
Next, the British surprised the Argentinians by landing at
undefended San Carlos and thereby using the terrain of West
Falkland Island to provide air defense against the Exocet missile
threat (Argentinian aircraft could not fly-in low-level and get
the required lock-on with the missile within the confined waters
of Falkland Sound).  Finally, the positioning of British Frigates
and Destroyers in Falkland Sound and the tenacity with which these
ships fought and died to protect the amphibious landing was
probably a great surprise to the Argentines.
    Simplicity worked very well for the British also.  Some
examples were air defense warning procedures, Rules of Engagement
and use of darkness.  Air defense warning procedures in the
crowded San Carlos Amphibious Objective Area (AOA) were incredibly
simple.  When condition red was announced by the AAW commander,
every British ship in the AOA blew its siren and broadcast the
warning on all radio channels.  Then the simplest of ROE went into
effect in that all British helicopters dropped to below 50 feet in
altitude.  A weapons free condition was immediately effected
against any target flying above 50 feet until the all clear was
indicated over radio nets.  Finally, the British used darkness as
an air defense weapon after the battle at Goose Green during which
Argentine Pucaras inflicted damage on the Royal Marines.  After
Goose Green the British simply conducted all night attacks.36
   The British C2 system demonstrated flexible Unity of Command
exercised through an intelligent arrangement for decentralized
control by sector.  Sector Antiair Warfare coordinators were
designated just as they are by U.S. Navy/U.S. Marine Corps
doctrine.  These coordinators made their intent clearly known and
various ships knew who was first, second, and third line of
defense and what to do if one ship failed to react, as depicted in
the following account:
       Captain John Coward of Brilliant describes how his
    ship took over.  It was the first operational firing for
    her Sea Wolf close-defense missiles.
       `After their Sea Dart failed to fire, Glasgow held
    steady while we fought the battle.  We hoped to be able
    to fire Sea Wolf fully automatic.  We took our hands off
    and let it fire itself to see how it behaved, which it
    did perfectly.  Two missiles were fired and they took out
    the first two aircraft.  They both disintegrated in balls
    of flame about a mile away.  A third aircraft ran
    straight into the disintegrating parts of these two and
    it crashed into the sea as well.  Its engine catapulted
    right over our flight deck.  The fourth aircraft passed
    overhead and her bombs hit the water and skipped over the
    stern of the ship.  We asked the flight deck crew if they
    had seen the markings on the aircraft; they said they had
    even seen the markings on the bombs!  We were very happy
    with the Sea Wolf.'
    The Argentinians had indeed lost three out of the four
    planes and all three pilots were killed.
       The second group of four Skyhawks came in twenty
    minutes later, straight out of the sun.  This time,
    Glasgow's Sea Dart system acquired the targets at twelve
    miles range but a frustrating malfunction in the missile
    system occurred and again it would not fire and again
    Brilliant had to take over.37
Admiral Woodward's system of centralized command and decentralized
control worked exceedingly well.
    There are some directly applicable lessons learned by the
British air defenders which MAGTF air defenders (and MAGTF
commanders) need to heed.  These center around EW, AEW, and over
dependence on one SAM.  With the exception of some good use of
chaff, British EW operations were not very effective, as
illustrated in this account:
      Both Argentine and British forces made minimal use of
    electronic warfare techniques, due primarily to the
    limited equipment available to the engaged forces.
      The British lack of airborne early warning (AEW)
    capability has been well documented.  Surely this was one
    of the most serious deficiencies of the Royal Navy in the
    war.  What has been overlooked by many is that passive
    electronic warfare SIGINT (signals intelligence), and
    communications receivers could have provided much of the
    warning against the aircraft and Exocet missile attacks
    despite the lack of AEW aircraft.  However, as evidenced
    by the success of three of the four Exocet attacks,
    British SIGINT provided the ships with little warning of
    the missiles.  Analysts have stated that these results
    are unrealistic and more emphasis needs to be placed on
    equipment and readiness factors to ensure that SIGINT is
    used more effectively.  They state that shipboard SIGINT
    existed at the time but problems of coordination 
    prevented timely utilization of vital information.38
The lack of AEW had the three detrimental effects on the British
that it would have on the Marine Corps; Combat Air Patrols could
not be vectored to intercept in time to stop threat raids, strip
alert fighters could not be scrambled in time to intercept threat
raids, and SAM units were not at peak alert and correct
orientation when the threat raids came over-the-horizon.  Thus,
      Much has been written about the British lack of
    airborne early warning radar (AEW).  Any shipboard based
    aircraft type such as the Gannet, the U.S. Navy's E-2, or
    the RAF's AEW aircraft could have both provided ships
    with additional warning and directed the Harriers to
    intercepts of incoming aircraft.  In fact, the Argentines
had the benefit of their own Neptune aircraft and radar
    stations on the islands to assist their aircraft in both
    locating the Royal Navy and avoiding the Sea Harrier
    combat air patrols.39
Finally, the initial poor performance of the Rapier shore-based
missile system (maximum range of three miles and maximum altitude
of 10,000 feet) highlighted the problem of depending on only one
fragile SAM system.  The Rapiers had been deck mounted on the
voyage from England and salt water had taken its toll.  A more
dependable, longer range SAM, like HAWK, and a modern AAA gun
could have probably saved many British lives and HMS Artrim which
was sunk while supposedly being protected by Rapier.40  While
the Blowpipe and Stinger missiles performed well, these systems
could not stop Argentine air attacks against British ground
forces, leading to the British night attacks previously mentioned.
    The Argentine air defense system consisted mainly of modern
35mm Oerlikon AAA guns linked to Skyguard fire-control radars, a
single Roland unit, and a small number of Blowpipes and SA-7s with
an AN/TPS-43 radar for C2.  Essentially the Argentines were sorely
lacking in mass of air defense assets to stop the British from
retaking the islands.  Ultimately, they did inflict the following
                           TABLE V 41
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However, the Argentine commander had one primary point of main
effort after the British arrived in the South Atlantic:  to sink
British ships, not to conduct a serious air defense operation.
Therefore no more discussion of Argentine air defense operations is
                       FALKLAND ISLANDS SUMMARY
    The Falkland Islands campaign is a masterpiece of Maneuver
Warfare at the operational and tactical levels of war, much as
Inchon was during the Korean War.  The one exception to this was the
British air defense operation which became a battle of attrition.
As already discussed, the British air defenders had enough mass,
surprise, simplicity, unity of command and maneuver to ultimately
win.  But, lack of coordinated passive detection (SIGINT) and
especially lack of AEW forced an attrition type air defense battle
for three reasons.
    First, the British could not be pro-active in the defense.  The
lack of AEW caused them to be reactive and suffer heavily.  Second,
the British could not see the enemy early so they could not shape
the air battle and maneuver their precious few Harriers in time to
prevent heavy losses.  Third, lack of AEW and airborne SIGINT caused
the British to be unable to deny rear area disruption and
destruction within the AOA.
    The British were lucky that their standard, somewhat static
defense in-depth worked given their inability to see, shape, and
maneuver in the skies over the Falklands.  The Argentines simply
started running out of aircraft before the British ran out of air
defense weapons with which to knock them down.  But, the British
used what they had, not what they wished they had, to win.
                       POST WORLD WAR II SUMMARY
    This study of major air defense operations since World War II
highlights the fact that mass, surprise (and denial thereof),
simplicity, unity of command, and especially maneuver are critical
to successful air defense operations.  If one cannot, for whatever
reason (political, technical or tactical) conduct a completely
decisive Offensive AAW campaign and must conduct air defense
operations, then these five principles must be intelligently
applied.  However, a clear thread that runs through these operations
on the side of the winners is flexibility in application of these
principles.  Flexibility to focus on the enemy's actual actions and
intentions, to deviate from pre-war doctrine in the face of reality,
and to adjust before one's adversary can counter-adjust or
counter-react has consistently lead to tactical success in the air
warfare vs. air defense arena.  Therefore this examination of MAGTF
air defense must include flexibility along with the five principles
of war to be complete.
    Two recent wars in the Middle East, the Iran-Iraq War and
Afghanistan, involved air defense operations.  There is a paucity of
reliable information on the Iran-Iraq War available to the west.
Therefore, I did not attempt to give a history of that war.  In the
Afghanistan War, the U.S. Stinger missile is widely held to have
been a major threat to Soviet air operations in that country.
Apparently, the lethality and maneuverability of the Stinger
seriously hindered Soviet air operations and may have contributed to
the Soviet decision to withdraw from Afghanistan in 1988 and 89.
                          CHAPTER II
    The MAGTF is theoretically organized, equipped and trained to
provide its own air defense.  Current MAGTF doctrine realistically
assumes vital external support for some key elements of the MAGTF
air defense will be available.  This chapter will examine the
current organization, equipment and doctrine for MAGTF air
    The Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) is the organization which
provides air defense for the MAGTF Commander.  After World War II,
a National Security Act provided for a Marine Corps with three
active MAWs and one reserve MAW and that is still the status in
1989.  Within each MAW, two subordinate organizations provide
pieces of the MAGTF air defense system, the Marine Aircraft Group
(MAG) and the Marine Air Control Group (MACG).  See Figure V.
                           Figure V 1
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    The combat organizations provided by these administrative
organizations are as follows:
    MACG -     (Headquarters & Headquarters Squadron) provides
               Tactical Air Command Center (TACC) - centralized air
               defense command post for the MAGTF Tactical Air
               Commander (TAC).
      MACS  -  (Marine Air Control Squadron) provides Tactical Air
               Operations Center (TAOC) - decentralized air defense
               control center(s) for ground-based surveillance,
               detection, identification, and weapons control.
      LAAM  -  (Light Antiaircraft Missile Battalion) provides,
               Improved HAWK SAM batteries with 40km range, radar
               guided missile.
      LAAD  -  (Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion) provides
               Stinger SAM batteries armed with a man-portable
               missile of 3-5 km range.
    MAG -   Provides following aircraft squadrons:
      VMFA  -  F/A-18 fighter aircraft or F-4 fighter aircraft.
      VMA -    AV-8B attack aircraft with air-to-air weapons
      HMA -    AH-1 attack helicopters with limited air-to-air
               weapons capability.
      VMO -    OV-10 observation aircraft with limited air-to-air
               weapons capability.
      VMAQ  -  EA-6B aircraft for EW support of air defense.
      VMGR  -  C-130 aerial refuelers.
    The theoretical MAGTF (combat) air defense system looks like
                           Figure VI
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    Figure VI is the on-line organization (system) directly
charged by the MAGTF commander with air defense responsibility for
the MAGTF.  There are many more organizations which support this
on-line air defense system.  Internal to the MAGTF are the Marine
Wing Communications Squadron, which provides all required voice
and data communications; VMFP squadron, which provides
photographic reconnaissance; and the new Surveillance,
Reconnaissance, Intelligence Group (SRI Group), which will provide
what the name implies.  External to the MAGTF are a myriad of
other service and even other nation support systems, the most
critical of which are E-2C and E-3A AEW aircraft and EP-3, RC-135,
and EC-130 SIGINT (passive detection) aircraft provided by the
U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force.
    The MAGTF's air defense equipment is most easily understood in
the context of the functions that any air defense system must
perform:  surveillance/detection, identification, weapons
employment, and command/asset management.
    The key to a successful air defense system is integration of
surveillance data and distribution in a timely manner to weapons
platforms (real intelligence in time)2.  The MAGTF has four
types of surveillance assets:  ground radars, airborne radars,
ground and airborne visual sensors (eyeballs), and extremely
limited passive detection (SIGINT) assets.
    The TAOC has four ground-based radars and each square LAAM
Battery will have four ground-based surveillance radars for a
total of eight radars in the newly reorganized LAAM Battalion.
The total ground radar picture in a MAW will be as follows:
Click here to view image
These radars are state-of-art and can provide very reliable
surveillance/detection of air threats flying above their radar
horizon of that particular radar.  The radars can be remoted away
from control centers for improved survivability and can be moved
around the battlefield with varying degrees of effort.  Movement
times can range from a day or more for the AN/TPS-59 to less that
an hour for the HAWK radars.
    Airborne radars used in an air defense role in the MAGTF are
limited to those in the F/A-18 and F-4 fighters.  Area
surveillance is certainly not the mission of a fighter, however,
that is the only airborne radar currently owned by the MAGTF
    Next, the eyes of all Marines in the MAGTF can provide
surveillance/detection of threat aircraft.  Personnel most
commonly employed in this function are LAAD Battery personnel,
HAWK Battery personnel, and aircrew members assigned to Visual
Combat Air Patrol (VISCAP) in areas where radar surveillance is
either degraded or not available.  Though almost any MAGTF
aircraft could fly a VISCAP mission, it is usually assigned to
AH-1, OV-10, or AV-8 aircraft because of their air-to-air weapons
    Finally, the MAGTF's organic passive detection capability
against threat aircraft is limited to those assets in the EA-6B
aircraft from the VMAQ squadron (which are viewed as national
assets).  This is an extremely limited capability of a classified
nature.  However, the EA-6B aircraft is manned and equipped to
handle only a very small fraction of a MAGTF's area surveillance/
detection requirements.  The MAGTF's Radio Battalion in the SRI
Group also has no passive detection capability against threat
aircraft, nor is that the Radio Battalion mission.
    There is a network of Tactical Digital Information Links
(TADIL)s which pass surveillance/detection information between air
defense centers.  However, TADILs are not sensors.  TADILs will be
discussed further under asset management.  TADILs are illustrated
in Figure VII.
                           Figure VII
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    The ability to discriminate between friendly and threat
aircraft and missiles is accomplished within the MAGTF currently
using two methods.  The first and primary one is a radio
electronic interrogation system call Identification Friend or Foe
(IFF).  This system is used by the entire U.S. military and our
NATO allies.  IFF is simply an electronic signal sent from a radio
acting as an interrogator which strikes another radio on-board an
aircraft and evokes a response.  If the response is positive in
accordance with pre-arranged rules, the aircraft can be assumed to
be friendly.  If the response is negative, the aircraft may be
assumed to be unknown or hostile.
    The secondary method of discriminating between aircraft is by
visual means.  These visual means are much shorter range than IFF
and vary from naked eyeballs to magnifying T.V. cameras in the
HAWK batteries to Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) systems all of
which present a "picture" of the aircraft in question at close
    The MAGTF has available both air-to-air and surface-to-air
weapons for air defense.  In the air-to-air category, the MAGTF
has radar fighters, visual fighter/attack aircraft, and
Radar Fighters
    The primary fighter for the MAGTF is the F/A-18 Hornet.  It is
designed to fulfill AAW missions of Air Defense and OAAW.
Equipped with the AN/APG-65 radar, it provides an excellent
airborne detection/surveillance platform for air defense and an
air-to-ground detection capability for ground OAAW targets.  Its
armament includes air-to-air missiles (Sparrow and Sidewinder) and
guns.  The F/A-18's air-to-ground armament includes air-to-surface
missiles, guided bombs, conventional bombs, cluster weapons,
rockets, and guns.  The F/A-18 is capable of IFF, voice
communications and two-way data link to the TAOC.
    The F-4 Phantom, which is being replaced by the F/A-18, is
also an air superiority fighter.  It is equipped with a pulse-
doppler radar which provides airborne detection/surveillance and
an IFF capability for AAW missions.  It can be configured for
ground attack missions against OAAW targets.  Its armament
includes air-to-air missiles (sparrow and Sidewinder) and a
pod-mounted gun.  Its air-to-ground armament includes
air-to-surface missiles, guided bombs, conventional bombs, cluster
weapons, rockets, and guns.
Visual Fighters/Attack Aircraft
    All Marine fixed-wing aircraft (with the exception of the
KC-130 and EA-6B) can carry air-to-air armament.  For attack
aircraft, this capability is primarily for self-defense.  However,
it gives the ACE the flexibility to assign attack aircraft to a
VISCAP.  This can provide the ACE with an air defense force
multiplier.  The AV-8, A-4, and OV-10 can carry Sidewinder
missiles and guns, while the A-6 can carry only Sidewinder
missiles.  These aircraft can provide visual surveillance to the
air defense system during daylight conditions.  In fulfilling
their primary mission of ground attack, the AV-8, A-4, and A-6
provide excellent capability to the MAGTF for OAAW missions.
Their air-to-ground armament is comparable to the F/A-18 and F-4.
    Helicopters are potential AAW resources.  Air-to-air armament
compatible helicopters can provide point defense/VISCAP/air
defense escort capabilities to the MAGTF.  The only helicopter
currently carrying air-to-air armament is the AH-1 Cobra.  It has
Sidewinder missiles and an embedded gun.  The AH-1, equipped with
guns, rockets, and air-to-ground missiles, can also be used in the
OAAW mission.
Air-to-Air Missiles
    Air-to-air missiles have increased significantly the range for
engaging enemy aircraft.  This extension in firing ranges provides
interceptors with more opportunity for engagement and offers less
exposure time to hostile aircraft.  The ROE for the employment of
the various missiles is a definite consideration for AAW.  Visual
identification by friendly interceptors before missile firing will
reduce the capabilities of the current air-to-air missiles.  The
air-to-air weapons available are the Sparrow and Sidewinder.
AIM-7 Sparrow
    The Sparrow is a radar semi-active homing, all-weather, all-
altitude, air-to-air missile designed for carriage by the F-4 and
F/A-18.  The Sparrow requires the aircraft weapon system to be
locked on an enemy target so that guidance information can be
provided to the missile to complete the intercept.  The Sparrow
has been improved significantly to provide better maneuverability
and to increase its close-in, air combat maneuvering (ACM)
capability.  The Air Force's F-4 and F-15 and the Navy's F-14 and
F/A-18 are also capable of employing the AIM-7.
AIM-9 Sidewinder
    The sidewinder is an infrared radiation (IR) homing missile.
It is the primary IR air-to-air missile available to Navy and
Marine aviation.  It can be carried on the F-4 and F/A-18 aircraft
and, although not mission required, can also be carried by all
attack aircraft for close-in defense.  The sidewinder is one of
the simplest and cheapest guided missiles.  It requires closer
proximity to the target for successful intercept.  The Sidewinder
is a complementary asset when used in conjunction with the longer
range radar air-to-air missiles.  The capability of the Sidewinder
has been improved continually, particularly in the area of ACM.
The latest version has an "all aspect" capability and can be
employed from virtually any angle in an ACM environment.  The Air
Force's F-4, F-15, and F-16 and the Navy's F-14 and F/A-18 can
carry the AIM-9.
Air-to-Air Guns
    The F/A-18, A-4, AV-8, and AH-1 are equipped with internal
guns that can be used in an air-to-air environment.  The
reliability and accuracy of the gun make it well suited for
air-to-air warfare.  With the advent of radar ranging, heads up
display, and lead computing gunsight, air-to-air guns have become
a potent weapon in the ACM environment.  This, in conjunction with
the improved close-in capability of the Sparrow and the
Sidewinder, has improved the AAW aircraft capability in an ACM
environment, without degrading the long-range capability of the
interceptor.  The Air Force's F-4, F-15, and F-16 and the Navy's
F-14, F/A-18, and A-7 all have air-to-air guns.
Surface-to-Air Weapons
    Surface-to-air weapons available to the MAGTF consist of HAWK
and Stinger missiles, and organic small arms.  A brief description
of the HAWK and Stinger systems follows:
HAWK Missile System
    The HAWK system is normally deployed as a complete triad
battery.  Triad refers to the batteries ability to engage three
targets simultaneously.  To provide even greater mobility and to
increase the defense capability of the HAWK system, the battery
can be divided into two major configurations--the Base Fire Unit
(BFU) and the Assault Fire Unit (AFU).  The BFU can engage two
aircraft at a time while performing low and medium altitude
surveillance.  The AFU can engage one aircraft at a time with low
altitude surveillance only.  Both the BFU and AFU are IFF capable
and are normally connected to the TAOC via Army Tactical Data
Link-1 (ATDL-1).  (See Figures VIII & IX)
Stinger Missile System
    The Stinger missile system is capable of destroying low-flying
aircraft.  The basic operational fire unit is the Low Altitude Air
Defense (LAAD) team, consisting of a team leader/gunner and a
motor vehicle operator/gunner.  There are five teams to a LAAD
section and three sections to a LAAD platoon.  This element and
all elements, operating independently at platoon or lower level,
are dependent upon the supported unit for logistical assistance
and physical security.  The most basic consideration in Stinger
employment is whether this limited asset will be used as
protection for combat maneuver elements or as a gap-filler in an
overall AAW surveillance/weapons employment plan.  (See Figure X)
Small Arms
    As the very last line of AAW defense, organic ground weapons
should be employed.  Although the use and effectiveness for AAW
planning purposes excludes them for consideration, organic weapons
offer some defense to a unit under air attack.  The volume of fire
from ground units can be effective in contributing to that unit's
air defense.  However, success of this fire depends largely on
luck.  The target aircraft must fly into the rounds.
                          FIGURE VIII 4
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Command/Asset Management
    As depicted in Figure VI and VII, the equipment provided for
command and asset management of the MAGTF air defense system
consists of the TACC and the TAOC.  The TACC is a large, fairly
immobile group of inflatable shelters and support vans (metal
shelters of various sizes).  The TACC issues orders and receives
requests and reports via a complex network of radio circuits,
telephone lines, and TADILs.  The TACC has no sensors.
    The TAOC is equipped with vans where air defense controllers
orchestrate and manage the air defense battle, support vans, and
the ground-based radars already discussed.  The TAOC has the
capability to join the TADIL networks in order to receive target
information from other senior and parallel air defense centers and
forward target information to CAPs and LAAM units (but not to LAAD
units).  The TAOC also has many radio circuits and telephone lines
with which to manage the air defense battle.
    Subordinate units in the air defense system below the TAOC do
not normally get involved in command or asset management
activities and are therefore not very well equipped to do so.  A
leader of a section or division of CAPs, a LAAD Battery
Information Center (BIC), and a LAAM unit Combat Operations Center
(COC) all may be delegated some degree of management or
coordination responsibility.  However, the TAC delegates primary
decentralized control, coordination, and management of the MAGTF's
air defense assets to the TAOC.
This completes the description of the equipment used by the MAGTF
air defense system to perform surveillance/detection,
identification, weapons employment, and command/asset management.
A discussion of the doctrine governing the use of this equipment
now follows.
    It is the unwritten doctrine of the MAGTF to (if possible)
conduct such a decisive OAAW campaign that air defense is
unnecessary.  However, if air defense is required, tentative
doctrine exists to guide its conduct.
    Operational Handbook 5-5, dated June 1987, is the publication
which lays out the MAGTF doctrine for air defense.  Three
doctrinal principles of MAGTF air defense are presented in OH
5-5:  destruction-in-depth, mutual support, and centralized
command and decentralized control.
    Destruction-in-Depth.  Destruction-in-depth is based on the
principle that threat detection and destruction begin as far from
the vital area as possible and continue as long as the threat
exists.  By means of operation plans and orders, the AAW area is
divided into AAW sectors, which are made known to subordinate
units of the landing force and to interested external commands.
The four major factors that govern the expansion or contraction of
this area are the effective communication range, detection range,
weapons range (friendly and enemy), and the relative danger from
an air and surface attack.7
    The AAW area referred to here is the total set of airspace
which the MAGTF TAC is responsible for defending.  The area is
usually divided into sectors and defense of those sectors is
assigned to Sector Antiair Warfare Coordinators (SAAWC) who
coordinate from TAOCs.
    Mutual Support.  AAW weapons are employed and/or located to
ensure continuity of engagement.  In this way a landing force
increases its chance of preventing the penetration of the AAW
vital area by hostile aircraft or missiles.  Proper employment
and/or location ensures that each target is within range of
several AAW elements.  This integrated and overlapping pattern of
mutual support and continuity of engagement minimizes any
reduction in effectiveness of the AAW system resulting from the
loss of one or more AAW elements.8  This definition refers to
MAGTF landing force operations but the principle of mutual support
among MAGTF air defense weapons would be the same during sustained
combat operations ashore.
    Centralized Command/Coordination and Decentralized Control.
Coordinated operations and economy of force require centralized
coordination; however, to achieve a system that has minimum
reaction time, maximum damage resistance, and elemental self-
sufficiency, the capability to function under decentralized
control is required.  The overall centralized command, control,
coordination, and supervision of (air defense) is the
responsibility of the ... TAC, and is exercised through the
agencies of the MACG.  To meet the demands of decentralization,
authority and control is delegated to subordinate elements within
the system ashore.....  These subordinate elements have the
capability to react immediately to a threat unless vetoed by higher
    This is the same doctrinal principle used by Israeli air
defenders and by the British in the Falkland Islands War.
Types of MAGTF Air Defense
    There are two types of MAGTF air defense based on the principles
just presented.  Both types center around protecting a vital area.
The "Traditional Air Defense" simply draws circles around the vital
area representing first a missile engagement zone (MEZ); second, a
cross over zone; third, an air intercept zone (AIZ), and finally, at
the longest range possible from the vital area, is a surveillance
area.  "Mutual Support Air Defense" also centers on a vital area,
but this type air defense allows for overlapping MEZs and FEZs,
while also allowing for VISCAPs with overlapping visual surveillance
areas within the TAOC's radar surveillance area.  See Figure XI.
    There are countless tactics and techinques used by individual
TACs, SAAWCs, flight leaders and LAAM/LAAD unit commanders to
conduct air defense of the MAGTF.  But the three principles and two
types of air defense presented here are the underlying foundation
for MAGTF air defense.  Chapter 3, Section II of OH 5-5 puts forth
the doctrine for MAGTF air defense during amphibious operations
which has been developed and refined over the years since World War
II.  That doctrine is quite sound and will not be re-stated here.
                           FIGURE XI 9
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                        Current Posture Summary
    I have examined the organization of the MAGTF air defense system
which is basically an informal set of agencies (TACC and TAOC),
weapons (fighters, HAWKs, Stingers), and supporters (EW,
communications, air refueling) "provided" by a set of formal
administrative organizations (MAW, MAG, MACG) and commanded by the
TAC.  I have described the equipment used by the MAGTF air defense
system and briefly examined the doctrine under which the system is
    Now I will analyze this system relative to the Principles of War
of Mass, Maneuver, Surprise, Simplicity, Unity of Command and
flexibility in a Maneuver Warfare environment.
                       CHAPTER III
                     MANEUVER WARFARE
    The Marine Corps is adopting Maneuver Warfare as it's basic
doctrine.  Naturally the MAGTF must be able to defend itself from
air attack when fighting while using Maneuver Warfare methods,
just as it did when preparing for Attrition Warfare.  But what is
Maneuver Warfare?
    Maneuver Warfare is an approach to war which holds that a
smaller force can defeat a larger force by out-thinking the larger
force.  This statement is not as far-fetched as it first sounds.
The goals of Maneuver Warfare are to focus on the enemy; observe,
orient, decide and act faster than the enemy (as many times as
necessary to defeat him); avoid enemy surfaces and find enemy
gaps; exploit the enemy's gaps in order to disrupt his C2,
reserves and logistics; maintain this disruption until the enemy's
cohesion is destroyed; finally, when the enemy's cohesion is
crushed, annihilate him or force him to surrender.
    Mnneuver Warfare is characterized by bold, audacious actions,
and by risk taking at low levels of command in order to exploit
real situations (as opposed to methodical, cautious compliance to
inflexible orders).  It is implemented by mission type orders
which give subordinates the flexibility to exploit opportunities
when possible and which convey the intentions of the senior
    In the air defense business, the Marine Corps needs enough
mass of air defense assets in order to deny gaps to enemy aircraft
attacking the MAGTF.  The enemy should find only air defense
surfaces.  The MAGTF air defenders must be able to maneuver in
order to block all enemy air attacks, even those attacks on
rapidly moving MAGTF ground combat units outside of the "vital
area".  The air defense system must be simple enough that
flexibility is not lost in order that the air defenders can be
proactive vise reactive.  The MAGTF must be able to constantly
surprise the enemy with our air defense surfaces and deny surprise
to him by the earliest possible detection of his intentions and
actions.  Our air defenders demand clear, unambiguous unity or
command exercised by a system which is flexible and willing to
delegate authority.  Finally, the Marine Corps air defense system
must be flexible enough that we can observe, orient, decide and
act faster than the enemy, for perhaps very long periods of time.
    How well can the present MAGTF air defense system adhere to
these principles?  Before entering that discussion a review of the
air threat the MAGTF faces is in order.  Table I presented the
sheer numbers of potential threat aircraft and helicopters which
could be employed against the United States and our Allies.
Figure XII depicts those threats, along with the missiles, drones,
satellites and parachutist which round out the spectrum of air
threats facing the MAGTF.  It is obvious that the skies over the
Maneuver Warfare battlefield will be crowded, diverse and
technically sophisticated.
                          FIGURE XII 1
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Again, this is not a comparison of technologies.  However, Figure
XIII represents technical trends that all air forces are
following.  This of course includes threat air forces.
    Does the MAGTF air defense organization, doctrine and
equipment adhere to the principles of Mass?    The organization
depicted in Figure VI, in and of itself, does generally allow the
MAGTF commander, through the TAC, to mass his air defense assets.
There are however three major problems which the TAC's
organization must overcome when attempting to mass in order to
blunt enemy air attacks.
    The first problem is an acute shortage of weapons systems in
most MAGTFs.  A 1987 Force Structure Study Group determined that
150 Stinger teams are required to provide 24 hour per day
protection to a Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF)3.  Each MEF has
only 90 Stinger teams.  Also, a separate HAWK battery is required
to provide medium range protection to at least two airfields, a
combat service support area, and a rapidly maneuvering Ground
Combat Element (GCE) in each MEF.  The aforementioned Force
Structure Study Group reduced the number of active duty HAWK
batteries from three to two per MEF.  Only the airborne air
defense weapons (the fighters) have relatively healthy numbers
with sixty per MEF.  This assumes 5 squadrons of 12 aircraft
each.  Even the fighters will be stretched very thin when tasked
to provide 24 hour per day, 360 degree air defense coverage to the
    The second organizational problem for air defense is a lack of
organic airborne early warning or airborne passive detection
assets.  The MAGTF's dependence on "other Service support" for AEW
and passive detection is one of its biggest air defense
weaknesses.  This is specifically because lack of timely warning
impairs the TAC's ability to Mass his assets at the right place
and time to blunt threat air attacks.  This weakness is documented
over a ten year period by the Marine Corps Combat Readiness
Evaluation System (MCCRES).  During 24 MCCRES tests between 1979
and 1989, TAOC surveillance operators failed to detect, identify,
classify and track 45% of threat aircraft and were able to
maintain track on only 70% of those aircraft which were detected
and identified4.  This is primarily due to lack of ability to
detect low flying threat aircraft.
    Finally, the third organizational problem is the tendency of
the air defense "provider" organizations listed on page 42 to
create ad hoc battalion or squadron command and control nodes in
order to get into the game.  Usually, more C2 nodes means more
information bottlenecks and less timely warning and action.
    MAGTF air defense doctrine, as discussed in Chapter 2, is so
general that it does not infringe upon the TAC's ability to mass
his assets as he sees fit.  That is if he has the assets in the
first place and can squash the non-doctrinal, ad hoc battalion and
squadron nodes that may spring up.
    Some equipment of the MAGTF air defense system lends itself to
mass and some does not.  Fighter aircraft can easily mass when and
where needed if given enough early warning and intelligence.  HAWK
and Stinger units can also mass where needed but, require even
earlier warning and intelligence to be in the right place at the
right time.  Concensus among experts in the Fleet Marine Force is
that the MAGTF will have enough C2 equipment when the new self-
contained Tactical Air Operations Module (TAOM) is fielded in 1991
to the TAOCs.  Eight of these TAOMs, with the eight radars already
in the MEFs, will provide enough Mass for overlapping and in-depth
surveillance, detection, identification and tracking of high and
medium altitude targets.  But the TAOM will still be unable to see
the low altitude threat.  This weakness is particularly trouble-
some near the Forward Edge of the Battle Area (FEBA) where low
flying attack helicopters are the primary threat.
    The principle of Mass can be applied in MAGTF air defense, but
the TAC remains so short of assets that massing to blunt one or
more attacks will create gaps somewhere in the MAGTF air defense.
Lack of organic AEW will make those gaps even more vulnerable.
    Does the MAGTF air defense organization, doctrine, and
equipment adhere to the Principle of Maneuver?
    The current organization inhibits maneuver somewhat because of
a tendency to keep all air defense weapons within line-of-sight of
the TAOC.  This usually does not work.  The organization dissolves
into autonomous air defense engagements by HAWK, Stinger, and
CAPs.  This unplanned dissolution of decentralized control by the
TAOC results in air defense gaps; loss of early warning and
intelligence by the HAWKs, Stingers and CAPs; and can result in
MAGTF ground combat elements maneuvering out from under their air
defense protection as the Egyptians did at Suez in 1973.
    It is readily apparent from the air defense doctrine depicted
in Figure XI that there is a "circle the wagons" mentality focused
on vital areas which permeates current air defense thinking in the
MAGTF.  Also, there is an overly optimistic assumption that the
"threat axis" will usually be known in order to orient MAGTF SAM
and CAPs correctly.  The practice of Maneuver Warfare is not
compatible with the mentality of vital areas or the predictability
of the enemies' attack axis.  Effective doctrine must be developed
which protects all maneuver units spread over a large battlefield
or AOA.  The current practice of providing LAAD units in Direct
Support (DS) of ground maneuver elements is on the right track;
but this practice often seriously decreases these DS LAAD unit's
effectiveness, making them revenge weapons used after the threat
has found a gap in the MAGTF air defense.  The MAGTFs also seldom
practice maneuvering HAWK to defend mobile ground maneuver
    Lastly, the current air defense equipment again ranges from
the epitome of maneuver (the fighters) to the antithesis of
maneuver (the TACC).  Starting with the short range weapons,
Stinger is highly maneuverable in that each Stinger team has its
own vehicle (the HMMWV).  The team must dismount to fire the
shoulder launched weapon however, and can carry only four rounds
per vehicle.  Another stinger limitation is that it cannot
currently engage at night or in bad weather because it depends
solely on visual identification.  This means that Stinger
currently cannot defend maneuvering ground combat elements at
night or in foul weather (rain, fog, snow).  Additionally, the
HMMWV cannot keep pace in many types of terrain with the light
armored vehicles (LAV) of the Light Armored Infantry Battalion
(LAIB).  This ground combat unit, as well as some other high speed
mechanized task forces of the MAGTF, require a ground vehicle
based system for air defense protection.  The maneuverability of
the MAGTF medium range HAWKs is very low.  A HAWK battery can
move, but it is a time consuming process for even the best trained
crews.  On all MCCRES tests of HAWK units to date, there has been
a 100% failure rate on the following two task evaluations5:
    -    Fire unit is completely operational in 90 minutes BFU/45
         minutes AFU with all nets manned, system oriented and
         aligned, silent mode integrated system checks (ISC)
         complete, and prefire checks complete.
    -    Fire unit is completely operational in 105 minutes BFU/60
         minutes AFU with all nets manned, system oriented and
         aligned, silent mode ISC completed, and prefire checks
There has been only a 30% success rate with this task:
    -    Fire unit is completely operational in 120 minutes BFU/75
         minutes AFU with all nets manned, system oriented and
         aligned, silent mode ISC complete, and prefire checks
The introduction of Phase III HAWK in the early 1990s will help
overcome this situation.  The MAGTF, however, needs a more
maneuverable medium range air defense system in light of the
threat trends evidenced by Figure XIII.
    The fighters need no mention here, but the TACC and TAOC
surely do.  The current C2 systems are absolutely not
maneuverable.  The Marine Corps has programs under contract which
will give the MAGTF maneuverability in these C2 systems.  The
Advanced Tactical Air Command Center (ATACC) program will provide
two highly mobile, automated TACCs per MEF by 1992 or 1993.  The
TAOM already addressed will provide up to 8 TAOCs per MEF starting
in 1991.  These two systems will allow the TAC to maneuver his
critical C2 nodes as needed to support the Maneuver Warfare
doctrine of the MAGTF.
    In conclusion, the TAC can maneuver to blunt threat air
attacks against the MAGTF.  His fighters can do so at 1000 miles
per hour.  His Stingers can do so at from 5 to 60 miles per hour.
His HAWKs can echelon in an overwatch type maneuver; but,
individual platoons take from 2 to 6 hours to displace, move, and
emplace if remaining within the 40km umbrella of their sister
units.  Finally, maneuver of the new ATACC and TAOM equipped TAOC
will give the TAC a capability he does not have today.
    Is the MAGTF air defense system simple enough to work
consistently in every clime and place?  One has only to look at
Table I (page 4), Figure VII (page 45), and Figure XII (page 63)
to realize that air defense is an extremely complicated endeavor.
The threat is prolific and diverse.  Marine air defense systems
are extremely complex and can only be simplified if we try to make
them understandable or "user-friendly".  One cannot counter a
large Soviet attack helicopter assault, supported by strike
aircraft, high and low level stand-off jammers, decoy drones,
reconnaissance drones, and SAM suppression aircraft with a
"Simple" system; but self-imposed over-complication is certainly
not needed and is in fact dangerous.
    The MAGTF air defense organization shown in Figure VI is
simple.  If the TAC uses this system, he can maintain his focus of
main effort and shift his focus when necessary.  The enemy of
simplification for the TAC once again, however, is the nebulous
relationship of the MAW's air defense provider organizations and
the doctrinal air defense system.  Only knowledgeable leadership
can keep the MAGTF air defense organization clear and simple.
    The doctrine for MAGTF air defense is often called
simplistic.  The doctrine of defense-in-depth and mutual support
is simple and well understood.  Beyond these doctrinal
philosophies one finds air defense tactics and techniques which
vary greatly in complexity.  The usual stumbling block to
simplicity in the MAGTF air defense system is the excessively
large number of "doctrinal" communications nets that are
required.  These lead to confusion and rob us of surprise by
broadcasting radio locations to the enemy.
    Just as with mass and maneuver, MAGTF air defense equipment
ranges from very simple to very complex.  The Stinger missile is
very simple, especially in light of its high effectiveness.  At
the other extreme are the F/A-18 and the TAOM which, although
highly complex, are user-friendly.
    Therefore, air defense operations are intrinsically complex
because of the diverse threat and sophisticated C2 and weapons
involved.  However, MAGTF air defense organization and equipment
are about as simple as possible.  Our doctrine is also simple with
the exception of the suffocating number of doctrinal
communications nets our air defense system is burdened with.
    Can the MAGTF air defense system surprise the enemy air threat
and deny surprise to that threat?  Normally the answer to this
question is no.
    The organization does not inhibit surprise of the enemy.  The
organization simply responds to the direction of its leadership.
The doctrine on the other hand is crippled by MAGTF air defense
equipment.  The fighters can surprise the threat with ease if they
have adequate early warning and intelligence.  Stinger units can
move and hide in many types of terrain.  Even HAWK can move
(especially at night) and use either data link targeting or the
HAWK Tracking Adjunct System (magnifying T.V. camera) for a one
time surprise of a threat attack before its radars tell the enemy
where the HAWK unit is.  Where then is surprise lost?  C2, radar,
and radio gives the MAGTF air defense system's location away over
and over again, year in and year out.
    As already addressed the TACC and TAOC in use today are almost
the size of small villages.  Innovative air defenders in the MAGTF
try everything from placing the units in dairy barns to burying
them under mountains of sandbags.  Once they become operational
however, their electronic signature gives them away as surely as
if there was a search light mounted on a mast above them.  Some
electronic signature is inevitable, but the immobility of the one
TACC and two TAOCs in each MEF keep them in a static location far
too long during almost all MAGTF exercises.  The ATACC and TAOM
equipments have been covered and offer some relief in the early
1990s for C2.
    Radar on the other hand is a search light.  The electronic
emissions of radars are broadcast in all directions and can be
intercepted from tens to hundreds of miles away (depending on the
radar's effective radiated power).   Yet, no tool is more
effective for early warning of attacking threat aircraft or
missiles in-flight than radar; thus, it is in dispensable.  This
conflict between the indispensability of radar and the searchlight
effect of radar results in many schemes to compensate for radar's
shortcomings.  The two most common schemes are radar blinking
(turning radar on and off) and dependence on data links (see page
45).  The former usually fails miserably because blinking is too
hard to orchestrate under the stress of combat and allows gaps in
air defense coverage.  The latter usually fails, just as miserably
because of the fragile nature of data links (which normally depend
on some other unit's radar for early warning information).  The 24
MCCRES tests of the TAOC to date have documented that on 56% of
those tests ATDL-1 link between the TAOC and HAWK units has failed
to work.  TADIL-C which ties the TAOC to fighter aircraft for
early warning and intelligence through data, without voice
communications, has failed on 44% of the MCCRES tests ever
conducted.6  Clearly, some means of augmenting radar other than
blinking and data links are needed.  The Marine Corps has
recognized this and has approved a Required Operational Capability
(ROC) for a Multi-Spectral Sensor Suite (MSSS) for the TAOC.  The
MSSS will provide passive detection devices for the TAOC.  Using
several parts of the electromagnetic spectrum for early warning,
intelligence, and weapons positioning, the MSSS will allow no use
of radar until absolutely necessary for precise targeting and
weapons control after surprise has been lost.
    In the area of threat surprise denial, the MAGTF is even more
vulnerable.  Not only can the threat detect our radar emissions
from far outside our radar coverage, he can by flying below our
radar coverage, consistently surprise us with attack aircraft and
attack helicopters.  MCCRES tests have proven this over and over
again.  The doctrinal solution to this today is to task E-2C
aircraft from the Navy or E-3A aircraft from the Air Force to
provide the vital AEW needed.  In fact, this tasking is often not
filled; and, when it is answered, it is for extremely short
periods of time.  In war time, the four E-2Cs per "Carrier Air
Wing" will be primarily tasked with defense of the fleet, not
defense of the MAGTF.  E-3A availability for MAGTF air defense
requirements is similarly suspect.  There are so many high level
competing requirements for E-3A support that the aircraft is known
throughout the air defense community as a "National Asset".  Thus,
the probability of its providing 24 hour per day AEW for the MAGTF
is extremely low.  In fact, strategic and operational surprise can
be lost just by having an E-3A appear in an area where an
Amphibious Task Force may desire to conduct special operations or
conventional operations in a Low Intensity Conflict.  If the
Marine Corps had organic AEW, such operations could be conducted
with less political turbulence and certainly with a better air
defense system capable of denying surprise to airborne threats
attacking from over land or over water toward the MAGTF.  Again,
the Marine Corps has recognized this problem and has established a
Tentative Operational Requirement (TOR) for a Marine Corps
Airborne Early Warning (MCAEW) system.  This system will use radar
and passive systems to gather and disseminate early warning and
intelligence information to the MAGTF air defense system.
    Therefore, surprise is the biggest weakness of the MAGTF air
defense system.  The current sensors and C2 systems do not lend
themselves to surprise of the enemy and cannot effectively deny
the enemy the ability to surprise the MAGTF with low level
penetration air attacks.  This has a cascading effect:  if the
enemy can consistently surprise the air defense system, then the
TAC cannot effectively maneuver or mass his assets to blunt those
                        UNITY OF COMMAND
    When effective leadership is practised by the TAC, unity of
command is not a problem for the MAGTF air defense system.  SAAWCs
can effectively coordinate air defense within their sectors up to
the limits of their equipment and doctrine already discussed.  It
is only when non-doctrinal C2 nodes appear that unity of command
becomes clouded and breaks down.  Good leadership can easily fix
this problem.
    The MAGTF air defense system generally is very flexible.  It
is usually task organized for the mission assigned.  However, its
flexibility is hampered by the same equipment problems already
discussed.  The following specific examples are offered:
    (1)  The lack of organic AEW may deny the flexibility to
conduct air operations at all if other service AEW is not
    (2)  The lack of night and all weather identification
capability for Stinger hampers flexibility for use of Stinger
during those times.  If fact, according to MCCRES results, LAAD
teams have been able to correctly identify aircraft acquired
inside 10 kilometers within a 5 second time frame, even in fairly
good daylight conditions, only 63% of the time.7
    (3) Lack of a highly mobile air defense vehicle may hamper the
flexibility to conduct high speed mechanized operations in the
face of an air threat which can attack those MAGTF mechanized
forces on the move.
    (4) Lack of passive sensors denies the MAGTF air defense
system the flexibility to clandestinely gather early warning and
intelligence on threat aircraft and missiles in-flight.
    (5) The large cumbersome nature of the current C2 systems
clearly denies flexibility in the placement of those systems.
Fixing these deficiencies can greatly improve the flexibility of
the MAGTF air defense system.
    In conclusion, the weapons and personnel of todays MAGTF air
defense system are among the very best in the world.  Some
improvements are sorely needed however in the areas of C2,
sensors, and mobile ground-based air defense platforms as the
MAGTF prepares for the 21st century against a prolific threat
which is following the trends shown in Figure XIII.  These
improvements will be difficult to achieve in the near future
because of reduced funding.  However, the requirements are (or
should be) firmly developed in anticipation of the next upswing of
the military budget.
                         CHAPTER IV
    The Marine Corps has recognized the need for a responsive,
integrated air defense system by investing a large portion of its
resources in just such a defense.  The Marine Corps is not in the
business of static defenses however, as illustrated by the
adoption of highly and continuously offensive Maneuver Warfare
doctrine.  Therefore, the MAGTF air defense system must support
Maneuver Warfare tactics and techniques.  In order to do this, the
air defense system must be able to maneuver and mass in order to
blunt all air attacks from any direction on widely dispersed MAGTF
elements.  The system must be able to surprise those air attacks
and deny them the ability to surprise the MAGTF.  The system must
be simple and flexible enough that rapid changes can be made in
order to be proactive vice reactive to enemy air operations.
Unity of command must continue to be exercised through a simple
chain which is understood by all and allows lower level initiative
and exploitation.
    Regarding the principle of Mass, the areas where more forces
are needed in order to deny gaps in MAGTF air defense are the LAAD
and LAAM Battalions.  At least 120 Stinger teams per MEF are
needed, as are at least 4 HAWK batteries per MEF.  All future
MAGTF aircraft procured should also have some air defense
capability, even if not specifically designed as fighters.
    A new Mobile Surface-to-Air Weapon (MSAW) is required in order
to replace HAWK in the LAAM Battalion in support of Maneuver
Warfare techniques with medium range air defense.  Closer into the
protected units, the LAAD Battalion needs to be able to move
quicker, fight at night and in all-weather, and to defend against
mass attacks while on the move.  The Pedestal Mounted Stinger,
(PMS) mounted on a HMMWV, and the LAV Air Defense Variant (LAV-AD)
provide all of these capabilities and should be procured and
fielded as soon as possible.
    All new systems acquired for MAGTF air defense must be user
friendly.  The inherent complexity of the air defense business
cannot be exasperated by needlessly complex weapons and C2 systems
which cannot be managed by Marine air defenders.  A new, simple,
more reliable data link is also needed.
    The entire Marine Corps should support the procurement of an
organic AEW capability and a multi-spectral set of passive and
active sensors for use by the TAOC.  This capability is required
to support the mobile MAGTFs.  Procurement of MCAEW and MSSS will
prevent surprise of the MAGTF by low flying enemy aircraft and
helicopters.  It will be too late when Hinds, Flagons, Fencers,
Floggers, and Havocs are pounding the MAGTF because of an
inefficient air defense which was surprised by these low-flying,
deadly threats.
                       UNITY OF COMMAND
    It would help the MAGTF air defense system if the command
structure was the same all the time (peace, war, garrison, and the
field).  The historical flip-flopping of Marines, weapons, and
equipment from provider organizations to tactical organizations
and back is highly disruptive.  A possible solution is
reorganization within the MACG.  Instead of having 3 squadrons (1
H&HS and 2 MACS) and 2 battalions (1 LAAM and 1 LAAD) involved in
C2 and ground-based air defense, it may be more efficient to
organize into 2 Marine Air Defense Battalions (MAD Bn).  The price
of mixing equipments within this Battalion would be more than
offset by the gains in stability, unity of command, and cohesive
air defense training.  Also the H&HS could be combined with the
current Marine Air Support Squadron (MASS) to form one Marine
Tactical Air Control Squadron (MTACS).  This consolidation should
provide enough Marine Aviation structure to allow the formation of
a MCAEW squadron within the MACG to provide that desperately
needed function without new manpower requirements.  The new MACG
would be organized as follows:
                           FIGURE XIV
Click here to view image
*Each Detachment provides 1 TACC, 1 DASC, and 1 ASRT per MEB
         MEB - Marine Expeditionary Brigade
         MWCS - Marine Wing Communications Squadron
         MATCS - Marine Air Traffic Control Squadron
         ASRT - Air Support Radar Team
    The IAAD Battery depicted here would have 2 platoons equipped
with PMS and 1 platoon equipped with the current shoulder-fired
    The organization I recommend provides for two integrated air
defense systems per MEF and one complete system per MEB.  The
on-line air defense system in each MEB would look like this:
                           FIGURE XV
Click here to view image
    This organization lends itself better to Mass, Maneuver,
Simplicity, clear Unity of Command, denial of enemy Surprise, and
much more flexibility than the MAGTF commander or his TAC have
    The lessons of history are clear.  In order for the MAGTF to
conduct Maneuver Warfare, a integrated air defense system with all
of the characteristics addressed in this paper is required in the
face of an ever growing, highly technical, sophisticated air
threat.  If the recommendations put forward here are heeded, the
MAGTF will have such a system capable of facing the 21st century
                           END NOTES
1.    The Military Balance, (International Institute for
      Strategic Studies, London, 1987).
2.    Phil Chinnery, Air War in Vietnam.  (Bison Books, New
      York, 1987), p.11.
3.    Chaim Herzog, The Arab-Israel:  Wars, (Random House; New
      York, 1982), p.138.
4.    Ibid., p.152.
5.    Ibid., p.213.
6.    Edgar O'Ballance, No Victor, No Vanquished:  The Yom
      Kippur War.  (Presidio Press, San Rafael, California,
      1978), p.3.
7.    Herzog, p.227.
8.    O'Ballance. pp.17-69.
9.    Ibid., p.280.
10.   Ibid., p.284.
11.   Ibid., p.291.
12.   Ibid., p.292.
13.   Ibid., pp.294-295.
14.   Bruce A. Brant, Major, U.S. Army, Battlefield Air
      Interdiction in the 1973 Middle East War and Its
      Significance to NATO Air Operations.  (Fort Leavenworth,
      Kansas, 1986), p.71.
15.   Ibid., p.78.
16.   Ibid., p.85.
17.   O'Ballance, p.300.
18.   Ibid., pp.300-306.
19.   Herzog, p.347.
20.   Brant, pp.118-12O.
21.   Chinnery, p.189.
22.   John B. Nichols, Commander, U.S. Navy and Tillman,
      Barret, On Yankee Station.  (Naval Institute Press,
      Annapolis, Maryland, 1987), p.49.
23.   Ibid., p.18.
24.   Ibid., p.16.
25.   Ibid., p.51.
26.   Ibid., p.54.
27.   Ibid., p.56.
28.   Air War-Vietnam, Edited by Colonel Dewey Waddell and
      Major Norm Wood, (ARNO Press, New York, 1978), p.26.
29.   Ibid., p.24.
30.   Nichols, p.57.
31.   Peter B. Mersky, and Norman Polmar.  The Naval Air War in
      Vietnam, (Nautical and Aviation Publishing Company of
      America, Annapolis, Maryland, 1981), p.205.
32.   Air War-Vietnam.  p.141.
33.   Bruce W. Watson, Military Lessons of the Falklands
      Islands War:  Views from the United States, (Westview
      Press, Boulder, Colorado, 1984), p.44.
34.   Rodney A. Burden, and Michael I. Draper. Falklands The
      Air War, (Arms and Armor Press, Great Britian, 1986),
35.   Watson, p.44.
36.   Major Jeffrey Niblett, DFC, MC, interview with author, 15
      December 1988.
37.   Martin Middlebrook, Operation Corporate, (Viking Press,
      London, 1984), p.189.
38.   James A. Haggart, Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy, The
      Falklands Islands Conflict, 1982 Air Defense of the
      Fleet, Marine Corps Command & Staff College, War Since
      1945 Seminar, 1984, p.24.
   39.   Ibid., p.63.
   40.   Ibid., p.73.
   41.   Burden, p.18.
    1.   Antiair Warfare. U.S. Marine Corps Operational Handbook
         5-5, (MCDEC, Quantico, VA., 1987), p.2-8.
    2.   Ibid., p.E-1.
    3.   Ibid., p.2-1.
    4.   Employment of the Light Antiaircraft Missile
         Battalion-Hawk. U.S. Marine Corps Operational Handbook
         5-5A, (MCCDC, Quantico, VA., 1988), p.3-1
    5.   Ibid., p.3-2.
    6.   LAAD Platoon Commanders Handbook. U.S. Marine Corps
         Operational Handbook 5-5C, (MCDEC, Quantico, VA., 1986),
         p. 1-12.
    7.   Antiair Warfare, p.1-2.
    8.   Ibid., p.1-2.
    9.   Ibid., p.3-4.
    1.   U.S. Army Air Defense Operations, Field Manual 44-100
         (Final Draft), (U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery School,
         Fort Bliss, TX., 1988), p.2-2.
    2.   Ibid., p.2-4.
    3.   LtCol Robert Dodt, USMC, Surface-to-Air Weapons Officer,
         Headquarters, USMC, Washington, DC.  Interview with
    4.   Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation System (MCCRES)
         Lessons Learned Report, 20 March 1989.
    5.   Ibid.
    6.   Ibid.
    7.   Ibid.
1.  Books
Burden, Rodney A. and Draper, Michael I.  Falklands The Air War,
    Arms and Armor Press, 1986.  This is an extremely detailed
    account of every aircraft and pilot involved in the Falkland
    Islands War.  Every aircraft is discussed regarding color
    scheme, armament, and maintenance status before and after the
    war.  All aircraft shoot downs are chronicled as to location,
    time, and description of the engagement.  The actions and
    postwar status of every pilot on both sides is also presented.
    This a superb historical chronicle which does not attempt to
    reach any subjective conclusions about the war.
Chinnery, Phil.  Air War in Vietnam, Bison Books, 1987.  This
    simplistic work attempts to describe the entire Vietnam air war
    in 189 pages.  Most of the pages are photographs of various air
    actions which do offer a good visual picture of the air war.
    The author does give a good verbal account of the French air
    war prior to the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu.
Herzog, Chaim.  The Arab-Israeli Wars.  Random House, New York,
    1982.  One of the best Israeli oriented accounts of all of the
    Arab-Israeli Wars.  The author shows a wealth of knowledge
    about air defense operations and all other forms of
    conventional combat.
O'Ballance, Edgar.  No Victor, No Vanquished.  The Yom Kippur War.
    Presidio Press, 1978.  This work offers a different slant to
    Herzog's book on the 1973 War.  The author borders on a pro-
    Egyptian perspective.  The work is still thorough and offers
    many details of Egyptian air defense operations against the
    Israeli Air Force.
Mersky, Peter B. and Polmar, Norman.  The Naval Air War in
    Vietnam.  Nautical and Aviation Publishing Company of America,
    1981.  This a good account of U.S. naval air activity in
    Vietnam from the early 1950s to 1975.  The book offers little
    information on North Vietnamese air defense activity.
Middlebrook, Martin.  Operation Corporate.  Viking Press, 1984.
    This is a detailed account of the Falklands War from a British
    perspective.  The book is oriented to ground combat and
    provides little air defense information.
Nichols, John B.  Cmdr. USN. and Tillman, Barrett.  On Yankee
    Station.  Naval Institute Press, 1987.  The definitive account
    of U.S. Navy air operations against the North Vietnamese and
    their air defense systems.  It is a very personal account of
    the air war which is substantiated with facts and figures.
Waddell, Dewey.  Col. USAF., and Wood, Norm, Major, USAF.  Air-War
   Vietnam.  ARNO Press, 1978.  This book lists thirty authors.
   All of the authors are U.S. military officers whose accounts
   are edited by Colonel Waddell and Major Wood.  It offers many
   first hand accounts of U.S. air power opposing the North
   Vietnamese air defense systems.  The book presents the best
   account of MIG vs. U.S. aircraft activities found in any
Watson, Bruce W. and Dunn, Peter M. (editors) Military Lessons of
   the Falklands Islands War:  Views from the United States.
   Westview Press, 1984.  This book is a compilation of lessons
   learned about modern air defense operations.  It gives an
   American perspective on the Falklands air war which is fairly
   objective regarding both sides in the conflict.
The Military Balance 1987-1988, International Institute for
    Strategic Studies, London, 1987.  This is simply an
    encyclopedia of the Air, Ground, and Naval Orders of Battle for
    every country in the world.
2.  Publications
Brant, Bruce A. Major, USA.  Battlefield Air Interdiction in the
    1973 Middle East War and Its Significance to NATO Air
    Operations, U.S. Army Command & Staff College Research Paper,
    1986.  The author provides a great deal of insight into the
    difficulties of conducting Battlefield Air Interdiction or
    Close Air Support in the presence of an integrated air defense
Haggart, James A. LCmdr. U.S. Navy. The Falklands Islands
   Conflict. 1982 - Air Defense of the Fleet.  U.S. Marine Corps
   Command & Staff College Research Paper, 1984.  This paper gives
   an unbiased account of the Royal Navy air defense activity
   required to protect the British Fleet in the Falklands.  His
   account of air-to-air and surface-to-air combat is interesting
   and thought provoking.
Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation System (MCCRES) Lessons
   Learned Report.  MCCDC, Quantico, VA., 1989.  This is a
   computer file of the performance of every Marine Corps unit
   which as ever stood a MCCRES test.  The report cited covered
   all Marine Air Control Group units tested between 1979 and
   March 1989.  Marine Corps Order 3501.9A provides the standards
   which are evaluated.  This report provides the historical
U.S. Army Air Defense Operations. Field Manual 44-100 (Final
    Drafts.  U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery School.  1988.  This
    is the latest operational guidance in the U.S. Army for the
    conduct of ground-based air defense.
U.S. Marine Corps Operational Handbook 5-5.  MCDEC.  1987.  This
    is the general doctrine of the USMC for the conduct of Antiair
U.S. Marine Corps Operational Handbook 5-5A.  MCCDC.  1988.
   Provides general doctrine of the USMC regarding employment of
   HAWK missile battalions.
U.S. Marine Corps Operational Handbook 5-5C.  MCDEC.  1986.  This
    handbook gives a general doctrinal guidance for USMC Stinger
    platoon commanders.
3.  Interviews
Col. RAG Berns, Head, Standards Branch, T&E Center, MCCDC,
    Quantico, VA.  February 1989.  Col. Berns provided an
    evaluator's perspective on the current air defense system.  He
    has a wide background in C2 and surface based air defense in
    the MAGTF.
LtCol. Robert Dodt, U.S. Marine Corps--Surface-to-Air Weapons
    Officer, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps.  December 1988.
    Provided details of current ground-based air defense posture
    of the U.S. Marine Corps.
LtCol. K. B. Levan, U.S. Marine Corps--Commanding Officer,
    U.S.M.C. Administrative Detachment, U.S. Army Air Defense
    School, Fort Bliss, Texas.  1988.  This was a written
    interview which provided insight into Marine air defense
    command and control as well as personal experience with Marine
    surface-to-air weapons.
Col. John Mohr, U.S. Marine Corps, Commanding Officer, MACG-28,
    2nd MAW, FMFLANT.  January 1989.  This interview provided
    detailed information on the real-world status of the command
    and control and air defense posture of the 2nd Marine Aircraft
Major Jeffery Niblett, DFC, Royal Marines --Student USMC Command &
    Staff College.  December 1988.  Provided first-hand account of
    the British air defense activity at San Carlos landing site in
    the Falkland Islands.  Major Niblett was a Royal Marine
    helicopter pilot supporting the British landings.
Major General M.P. Sullivan, Deputy Commander for Warfighting,
    MCCDC, Quantico, VA.  December 1988.  General Sullivan
    provided a wealth of knowledge in a written interview.  He is
    the architect of the MAGTF Master Plan, which includes MAGTF
    air defense system plans.  He also provided a fighter pilot's
    outlook on the MAGTF air defense system.

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