The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW

Military

The Time Has Come For The Marine Air Defense (MAD) Battalion And The Hawk Mobility Survivability Enhancement (HMSE) Program
CSC 1992
SUBJECT AREA Aviation
				EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Title:   The Time Has Come For The Marine Air Defense (MAD)
          Battalion And The Hawk Mobility Survivability Enhancement
          (HMSE) Program
Author:  Major Jeffrey Josserand, United States Marine Corps
Thesis:  The equipment and organization of Marine air
defense is not sound.
Background:  The current organization and equipment of
ground based air defense assets in the Marine Corps is not
sound.  The organization does not provide a fully integrated
air defense for the entire Marine Air Ground Task Force
(MAGTF) in all phases of an expeditionary operation. nor
does the current equipment configuration.  To understand the
problem it is necessary to look briefly at the changing air
threat following the demise of the Soviet Union. history of
air defense in the Marine Corps and the deficiencies of the
current systems.  The conclusion contains an outline of a
program of reorganization and equipment changes which if
adopted will correct the deficiencies.
Recommendation:  The HAWK Mobility Survivability Enhancement
program and the Marine Air Defense Battalion should be
adopted to better prepare the Marine Corps for the future.
	The Time Has Come For The Marine Air Defense (MAD)
Battalion And The Hawk Mobility Survivability Enhancement
			(HMSE) Program
I.  	Today's air threat
      	A.  	Anti-Ship Missiles
      	B.  	Tactical Ballistic Missiles
      	C.  	Anti-Tank Guided Missiles
      	D.  	What these threats mean to the Navy and Marine Corps
II. 	The history of air defense in the Marine Corps
      	A.  	Redeye and Forward Area Air Defense batteries
      	B.  	Stinger and Low Altitude Air Defense battalions
III.  	The problem
IV.   	The Solution
      	A.  	The HAWK Mobility Survivability Enhancement Program
      	B.  	The Marine Air Defense battalion
      	The one-shot-one-kill potential of many airborne
weapon systems leaves no room for error in air defense.
Even with the demise of the Soviet Union the
proliferation of modern weapons technology in the third
world leaves few potential trouble spots without a
significant air threat.  In response to this threat.
the United States Marine Corps has embarked on a number
of equipment upgrades and organizational changes
designed to offset the advantages currently posed by
our country's potential adversaries.  To fully
understand these changes it is necessary to take a
brief look at the threat. a history of the current
organization. and why the new changes have been
adopted.
      	The first need is to recognize the changes in air
threat on the modern battlefield and how they may
effect amphibious landings in the future.  Ships are
the largest mobile targets in the world.  It is
unfortunate that what is true of all ships is more true
in the case of amphibious warships.  Naval designers
have continued to make larger and larger amphibious
ships and. consequently. easier and more valuable
targets.  The requirement for amphibious warships to
come very near to the beach in the execution of their
mission places these ships at great risk.  Reduced
radar capability and the air avenues of approach
provided ashore combine to severely reduce the
effectiveness of the otherwise very effective air
defenses of the amphibious task force.  Unfortunately.
the destructive power of anti-ship missiles launched
from land, sea, or air, gives a massive destruction
capability to just a few enemy aircraft--even when we
have air superiority.
      	The power of an anti-ship missile is not a
surprise.  On October 21. 1967, the Israeli destroyer
Elath gained the dubious distinction of becoming the
first warship to be destroyed by an anti-ship missile.
The destroyer had been hit in rapid succession by three
Styx missiles fired by a small patrol boat.  In less
than a minute the traditional measures of naval power
had been changed by a technological innovation which
theoretically allowed a small platform to sink any ship
afloat from a distance of 30 miles.  The sinking jolted
naval staffs all over the world into action to develop
similar weapons and countermeasures.  In the spring of
1982, the United Kingdom was given a nasty surprise at
the hands of the Argentines.  The loss of the HMS
Sheffield to an Exocet missile placed into question the
follow-on amphibious landing.  Efforts to develop
similar systems throughout the world were greatly
reinforced by the success of the Exocet.
      	In the past decade the United States Navy found
itself on both the giving and receiving end of
anti-ship missiles.  The traditional Navy requirement
to keep the sea lanes open required the sinking of a
number of Libyan vessels with U.S. anti-ship missiles.
Later in the decade the threat to the flow of oil out
of the Persian Gulf saw U.S. ships at risk from a
similar threat.  The unexpected attack by an Iraqi
launched Exocet on the USS Stark. and the heavy loss of
life resulting. demonstrated the threat.  During Desert
Storm, the threat of Iraqi Silkworm and Exocet missiles
was widely recognized.  Iraq also managed to save
nearly three hundred helicopters from destruction while
under Allied air supremacy.  It should be noted that
many of these helicopters were capable of firing
anti-ship missiles.
      	The past twenty-five years have not found the
United States Navy without action in anti-ship missile
defense.  Navy doctrine includes an area distant from
the task force called the "fighter-engagement" zone.
Closer in. and directly over the task force. is the
missile engagement zone.  Many new and very capable
weapons have been added in the past few years to combat
anti-ship missiles.  The actions of all weapons in
these areas are coordinated by numerous radars and a
complex communication system.  The combined power of
this array is impressive: it provides the United States
Navy excellent protection on the high seas against
aircraft and missiles and has worked well on a number
of occasions.  What the existing system cannot do is
provide the required protection to the ships of the
amphibious task force while they are close to the
landing beach.
      	During the Gulf War the power of Tactical
Ballistic Missiles and how hard they were to destroy
prior to launch was clearly demonstrated.  Although in
the current period of little real military threat they
are a real threat for the future.  Improved accuracy
and/or the addition of a chemical or nuclear warhead
will make Tactical Ballestic Missiles a major threat to
both the Navy and Marine Corps.  Marines ashore and the
Navy, to include amphibious ships, currently have no
defense against these missiles.  It is not difficult to
imagine the negative impact that these missiles would
have on an amphibious landing.
      	In 1973 the power of the Anti-Tank Guided Missile
was first demonstrated.  Obviously of little threat to
ships the success of these missiles had many predicting
for the elimination of Tanks from the battlefield.
During the Gulf War coalition forces again demonstrated
the devastating power of these missiles when used by
helicopter.  The increasing range of Anti-Tank Guided
Missiles and the ability to fire them day or night has
placed everyone on the battlefield at risk.  This
weapon system has had a huge impact on the forward
areas of the battlefield.  Recent improvements in the
range of these missiles when fired by helicopter have
given them a longer reach then the air defense missiles
used to defend the forward area.
      	What is consistent with Anti-Ship Missiles,
Anti-Tank Guided Missiles and Tactical Ballistic
Missiles is that they are all relatively new threats on
the modern battlefield.  Each threaten the amphibious
forced entry capability of this country.  Even with the
few air assets that an enemy may have, and given that
we have air superiority as is required to conduct an
amphibious landing, the greatly increased destructive
power of these new weapons will place the Navy and
Marine Corps team at great risk to an enemy with
relatively few assets.  The result is that air
superiority does not mean what it once did.  Therefore,
it is necessary to reestablish the circle of air
defense around the amphibious task force using
ground-based air defense assets quickly moved ashore
early in an amphibious landing.  These assets must have
sensor coverage. command and control. and firepower
sufficient to the task.
      	The history of air defense in the Marine Corps is
relatively brief.  Hand-held air defense missiles were
introduced into the Marine Corps in 1966 with the
addition of a single Redeye missile platoon to the
structure of both United States based Marine divisions:
this unit  later moved to the Marine Air Wing.  A two-
or three-platoon strength was maintained up until the
early l980s.  In 1980-82 the Stinger missile system was
introduced to replace the Redeye system. and structure
was increased to 20 platoons located in three active
and one reserve forward Area Air Defense (FAAD)
batteries.  In 1986 the FAAD battery was replaced with
the Low Altitude Air Defense (LAAD) battalion which had
a slight increase in strength over the old FAAD battery
organization.  Today there are three active and one
reserve LAAD battalion.  The result of this slow
initial evolution and rapid recent growth is that few
officers in the Marine Corps had any real practical
experience with hand-held air defense missiles until
recently.
      	The Home All the Way to Kill (HAWK) missile system
was introduced into the Marine Corps in the early
1960's.  The system has been repeatedly modernized over
the years to maintain its status as one of the best air
defense systems in the world.  The HAWK system is
located in the Light Anti-Aircraft Missile (LAAM)
battalions of the Marine Air Wing.  Force reductions
caused one LAAM battalion to be deactivated in 1991.
leaving two active and one reserve battalion.
      	Criticism of the HAWK system was significant
during the 1980s.  At the head of this criticism was
General Gray.  He was a strong proponent of maneuver
warfare and expeditionary forces and as such pushed for
a lighter more mobile air wing.  The HAWK system was
used as an example of a system that required too much
strategic lift.  The lift required placed into question
whether the HAWK system would ever be deployed and if
this was true why the Marine Corps needed the HAWK
system at all.  Incredibly, in the face of this presure
to reduce the lift requirement. the HAWK system
actually grew.
      In early 1988 the staff officers responsible for
the HAWK system recognized that if the Marine Corps
ground based air defense system was to retain a medium
altitude air defense capability. which they felt was
needed. something had to change.  The most recent
modernization of the HAWK system called Phase III
started in 1989.  One part of the original program was
designed to improve the launcher.  Unfortunately the
launcher upgrade had not been funded.  During the same
period another required reduction in structure placed
the HAWK system at risk of complete elimination from
the Marine Corps inventory.  Staff officers from Marine
Corps Research Development and Acquisition Command
(MCRDAC) and Marine Corps Combat Development Command
(MCCDC), along with the HAWK system contractor, built
on the unfunded launcher improvements to make dramatic
modifications to the existing system: this effort was
later called the HAWK Mobility Survivability
Enhancement (HMSE) program.  The HMSE, program was
designed to fix the deficiencies of the HAWK system and
provide the first building block in gaining a defense
against Tactical Ballistic Missiles.
      	In early April of 1990 General Gray, then
Commandant of the Marine Corps, was briefed on the HSME
program.  General Gray endorsed the program.  He also
asked what impact it would have on the two proposed
plans then circulating to reorganize ground-based air
defense.  Neither the 1st MAW or 2d MAW plans had taken
these equipment solutions into account.  At the
conclusion of the meeting. the Commandant directed that
the Marine Corps Combat Development Command (MCCDC)
propose a plan to take advantage of the HMSE program
and build upon the 1st MAW and 2d MAW reorganization
plans.
      	On 12 June 1990 the Commandant, assistant
Commandant and the Commanding Generals of both the
MCCDC and MCRDAC were briefed on the result of the
MCCDC effort.  During that meeting the Commandant
directed that the ground based air defense assets of
the Marine Corps be reorganized into Marine Air Defense
Battalions.  He directed that a test should be
conducted in early 1991 to first validate the concept.
Key to conducting this test was to gain a sufficient
amount of funding to procure the equipment solutions
upon which the concept was based.
      	In August 1990 Operation Desert Shield began and
was soon followed by operation Desert Storm.  The
majority of ground based air defense assets in the
Marine Corps were deployed in support of the Gulf War.
All funding was directed to support Marine forces
deployed to combat.  Neither funds nor manpower were
available to conduct the test of the MAD battalion
concept as planned in early 1991.
      	Following the Gulf War many Marines found fault
with the MAD battalion concept.  The combination of
reorganization and the significant equipment changes
were for most too great a change to be quickly
embraced.   During the summer of 1991, a conference was
held to look at the structure of the Marine Air Command
and Control System (MACCS) as part of another effort to
reduce the size of the Marine Corps.  The
recommendation of the conference was that the current
structure of LAAD and LAAM battalions should be
maintained and the equipment solutions of HMSE adopted
as soon as possible.  At the close of this conference.
the results were briefed to Deputy Chief of Staff for
Aviation.  He stated that he supported the MAD
battalion concept.  Later in 1991 the MAD battalion was
officially entered into the plan for the future
structure of the Marine Corps.
      	The essential central difference between the MAD
battalion and the MAW plans was the HMSE program
equipment solution and the degree of integration
between Stinger and HAWK-equipped organizations.  The
major issue became whether Stinger and HAWK assets
should be mixed and where--if at all.  The MCCDC plan
had them mixed inside the same battery.  The other
plans had them mixed inside the battalion.
Unfortunately, this argument strayed away from the real
issue which was how will ground based air defense
assets fight.  It is when this question is asked that
problems with equipment redundancy and complex command
relationships become quickly exposed.  It is also
important to note the evolution of the organization of
air defense in the Marine Corps and the relatively
little experience that we have had.
      	In the past, Stinger assets would go ashore early
in an amphibious landing while HAWK assets would go
ashore much later.  The problem with this concept is
that HAWK was needed ashore early; Stinger could not
handle the threat alone.  The sensor coverage, range
and altitude of the HAWK system was needed to help
defeat the threat to the ships of the amphibious task
force, a fact often ignored by Marines.  By the time
HAWK went ashore, the air threat was long gone, or much
reduced.  Once it was recognized that HAWK or a weapon
system with its capabilities was needed ashore early, a
new problem arose.  The firepower and radar coverage
brought ashore with HAWK needed to be connected with
the ships of the ATF through an effective command and
control system in order to coordinate activities of air
defense assets ashore and afloat.  The old voice nets
of the early Redeye days were no longer enough.
      	The HMSE program answered these needs.  The goal
was to provide a truly integrated ground based air
defense over the entire MAGTF in deployable building
blocks as outlined in figure 1.  It would give the
MAGTF commander the ability to move medium altitude air
defense forward, ashore early in an operation and
survive once it was there.  This would force enemy
aircraft. notably Anti-Tank Guided Missile firing
helicopters, below the radar horizon thus denying the
enemy the range advantage over that of Stinger fire
units.  It would also provide a sensor package and a
command and control network which could be used by the
Stinger-equipped fire units.  By moving medium altitude
air defense forward, the MAGTF commander could deny the
enemy the sanctuary of operating over his own forces.
this plan would fully integrate all elements of the
ground based air defense system within the MAGTF and
with other Joint/Combined forces.   Each building block
of HMSE would be deployable by the Marines Corps medium
lift replacement aircraft (loads less than 10.000
lbs.).
      	The HMSE program and the MAD battalion concept
emphasized the stand-alone capability of the individual
fire unit first, followed by increasing combat power
through layered command and control.  Air defense must
be organize the way we will fight, capitalizing on full
integration while retaining the ability to fight in
independent cells.  A LAAD section supports an Infantry
battalion and therefore is made to stand alone and
respond to air defense requirements of the battalion it
supports. while at the same time gaining the benefits
of integrating with higher command.  The battery with
both low and medium altitude air defense assets
supports an infantry regiment while exploiting a common
command and control and sensor capability in support of
both HAWK and Stinger fire units while integrating with
higher and adjacent units.  These building blocks lend
themselves to fighting on a nonlinear battlefield as
well as during periods of massive counter measures.
      	The equipment modifications of HMSE, when added to
the organizational changes of the MAD battalion
concept. produces a unit organized the way it would
train and fight.  Figure 2 depicts an outline of a
battery deployed to defend a regiment.  Figure 3
depicts an outline of the MAD battalion organization.
Of interest is the fact that the MAD battalion, by
eliminating redundant functions, allows for better
utilization of manpower which significantly increases
the ability of ground based air defense.  Specifically,
where HAWK assets of only one Marine Expeditionary
Force are now in the active force, the MAD/HMSE concept
in effect doubles with little increase in lift
required.  The Light Armored Vehicle-Air Defense
(LAV-AD) added to the increase in Stinger fire units
from MAD/HMSE concept provides each MEF a full
capability in LAAD fire units.
      	The future addition of an Anti-Tactical Ballistic
Missile capability to the MAD battalion will provide
the Marine Corps with a viable air defense to meet all
threats.  The efforts of the Marine Corps within the
Strategic Defense Initiative should provide a missile
to complement the superb sensor coverage of the
ANTPS-59 radar already in the inventory to give the
Marine Corps a point defense Anti-Tactical Ballistic
Missile capability which will complement similar Navy
improvements.
      	The Marine Air Defense Battalion and the equipment
solutions of the HAWK Mobility Survivability
Enhancement program combine to produce an affordable
and capable air defense system for the future.  The
demise of the Soviet Union has had no impact on
reducing the threat to amphibious operations from the
air in the future.  The brief history of air defense
paints a picture of a capability in evolution ready for
the next step.  The deficiencies of the current
organization and equipment are obvious.  The current
plan to evolve to the MAD battalion and take advantage
of new equipment is sound and should be followed.
Click here to view images



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list