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Marine Corps Air Defense Of The Future: Strength Or Weakness?
AUTHOR Captain Gregory K. Wilkinson, USMC
CSC 1992
Title:  Marine Corps Air Defense Of The Future:
Strength or Weakness'
Thesis:  Will  the Marine Corps Air Defense structure
of  the future provide the combat support required for
MAGTF operations?
Background:  The Marine aviation Command and Control
System performed well  in Southwest Asia    The Marine
Corps Air Defense System was able to easily perform in
a complex Joint environment partly because of realistic
training within I MEF at Twenty Nine Palms Combined Arms
Exercise, Weapons and Tactics Instruction Courses, and
CENTCOM sponsored exercise  "Roving Sands."  The Marine
Corps has undergone major cuts in Air Defense
Battalions going from six battalions down to a projected
two in light of  force structure reductions.   Air Defense
within the Marine Corps is attempting to partially
overcome these deficiencies by improving current systems
and capabilities such as HAWK  (PIP Phase III,  Mobility
Modification, TAS improvements,  ATBM capability,  and
Weapon Director Units),  Stinger  (RMP,  LAV-AD,  and the
Avenger) ,  the remanufacture of the AV-8B adding the
APG-65" radar, and improvements in the command, control,
and early warning with the DLS/PC and the C2 HMMWV
shelter.   The C2 structure in the Marine Air Control and
Air Defense is not broken and should not be restructured
merely to create change.
Recommendation:  Improvements to the TAOM and air defense
systems are vital to the future of MAGTF operations.   Due
to Marine Corps cutbacks all the active duty battalions
will be needed for a MEF level deployment.
Thesis:  Will the Marine Corps Air Defense structure of the
future provide the combat support required for Marine Air
Ground Task Force operations?
I.	Lessons learned from Desert Storm
	A.	Training exercises prior to deployment
	B.	Operations in Southwest Asia
II.	Marine Corps Air Defense structure
	A.	1989 structure
	B.	1992 structure
III.	Light Armored Vehicle --Air Defense variant
	A.	System capabilities
	B.	Employment
	C.	Maintenance concept
	D.	Organizational assignment and command
		and control
IV.	Light Anti-Aircraft Missile Battalions
	A.	Phase III Product Improvement Program
	B.	Weapons Director Unit
	C.	Anti-Tactical Ballistic Missile capability
V.	Whittaker Data Link Simulator /Personal Computer
VI.	Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion
	A.	Pedestal Mounted Stinger
	B.	Soviet-Afghanistan conflict
VII.	Air Defense role of remanufactured AV-8B
VIII.	Air Defense role of F/A-18
      In the Marine Corps,  as well as in other services,
fiscal cuts are beginning to have their effects.   USMC air
defense has already absorbed substantial cuts and will  be
paired down even further.   To determine the changes that
will be necessary in light of  fiscal austerity,  a closer look
must be made of the required force structure;  preferably
by experts in the Fleet Marine Force (FMF).   Will the
Marine Corps Air Defense structure of  the future provide
the combat support required for Marine Air Ground Task
Force operations?
       When the Marine Air Command and Control System
(MACCS) deployed to Southwest Asia  (SWA)  in the summer
of  1991 many questions existed as to whether the equipment
being employed and personnel training levels were capable of
handling sustained operations in a combat environment;  such
as the hostile and remote deserts of Saudi Arabia.   This
question was soon put to rest.  I MEF personnel attended
Weapons and Tactics Instruction Courses in the Arizona
desert conducted by Marine Aviation and Tactics Squadron
One and the Combined Arms Exercise  (CAX)  at Twenty Nine
Palms.   Although not mirror images of SWA employment,
they proved to be extremely valuable and were the basis
of normal MACCS day-to-day operations.  The Central
Command-sponsored exercise,  "Roving Sands,"  was
conducted each of the last three years.   Having been
completed only one month prior to SWA deployment,  Roving
Sands was nearly an exact script of Desert Storm (DS)
The same joint interfaces in Command,  Control,  and
Communications  (C3)  structure and complexities that
were to confront the MACCS in SWA were present during
Roving Sands.   All  forces employed during Roving Sands,
with respect to air defense,  were the same except for
the substitution of 1st Tactical Fighter Wing  (TFW)  for
the Forty-ninth TFW.   Because of  the Roving Sands
exercise,  a bond formed between participating units
with everyone becoming familiar with the capabilities and
limitations of everyone else.   U.S.A.F.  F-15 fighters
actually developed the confidence to let U.S.A.  Patriot
units fly wing man for them on Combat Air Patrols  (CAP)
Training of this type,  in support of  to the Operations
Plan  (OPLAN),  was definitely a realistic and cost
      During the deployment to SWA,  several problems were
encountered.   The first was the rearrangement of the Time
Phase Force Deployment List  (TPFDL)  which had been refined
over the last 3 years.  The TPFDL was discarded by the USMC,
initially,  as the Wing Staff had not deployed on any of
the previous exercises and were unfamiliar with the TPFDL
and their roles and billets within the Tactical Air Command
Center  (TACC).  The Staff did not realize the importance
of making an operations order.   In most exercises key
billets in the TACC were continually filled by personnel
from the MACCS community.  The rearranged TPFDL resulted
in aircraft deploying faster to SWA with their means of C3
and early warning left sitting in the states.   The
aircraft were basically grounded,  without a structure to
fit into,  until elements of the MACCS were deployed.
Key billets must be filled by those who will  fill them in
combat to give staff members the familiarity with oplans
and the TPFDL that they need.
      The second major problem that presented itself was the
substitution of  1st TFW for 49th TFW.   This decision was,
without a doubt,  made because of the shorter distance from
Germany to SWA vs.  Alamagordo,  New Mexico to SWA.  At
the time the decision was made,  it was definitely who gets
there,  "firstest with the mostest, "  as Saddam Hussein
was apparently going to continue to roll south unless his
masses were stopped.   Because of this substitution,  the F-15
community from 1st TFW was completely unfamiliar with USMC,
11th Air Defense Brigade,  49th TFW tactics,  Integrated
Air Defense System (IADS)  and was also unfamiliar with the
oplan and Joint Air Tasking Order issued by the Joint Force
Air Coordinator.   This was to be a continuous problem as
all  forces  in theater,  except for the 1st TFW F-15 units,
planned and executed tactics and plans by the Joint Air
Tasking Order and Special  Instructions   spins"  published
by the USAF.   In compositing forces for war,  choosing
between units that train together as opposed to myopically
selecting units that are geographically close warrants
careful consideration.
      It was decided not to employ,  in DS,  HAWK Systems
Anti-Tactical  Ballistic Missile  (ATBM)  capability,  which
could have added to  the defense of  the MEF,  both at
airfields and built-up areas.  The HAWK ATBM capability
could have been employed without changing tactical
employment. [11:1]
       In the work-up  for the deployment of  the Marine Air
Control System  (MACS)  to SWA,  MACS-1 was substituted
for MACS-7 close  to deployment day.   MACS-I  was equipped
with prototype Tactical Air Operation Modules  (TAOM).  That
lacked spare parts and normal  maintenance support.
Automated Tactical  Data Link One,  which  interconnected air
defense units,  was hard to establish and  rarely stayed up
for more than short periods.   Control of  aircraft from the
TAOM was done with AWACS video only,  as radars were severely
degraded into the Operations Modules (OM's) .   Deployment of
such a tenuous,  unreliable,  and non-maintainable system as
the primary USMC Aviation C2 node was at best a gamble that
need not have been taken.   MACS-7 was originally on the
force list and was ready to deploy with a more reliable,
maintainable,  and proven system.   Additionally,  the MACS-7
training site  is located  in a desert environment similar
to SWA.   Aircraft space  for the Fly-In-Echelon was
extremely  limited,  and  because MACS-1 was  to  redeploy
in a few months,  it  would have to be replaced using
additional aircraft sorties for another TAOC.  Had Saddam
attacked in the early weeks of DS the lethality of  the
IADS controlled through the TAOC,  a key C2 mode, was
tenuous, at  best. [9:1]
      The span of control  for HAWK and Stinger Battalion's
(Bn)  was too large for a single Bn Commander and his staff
to effectively coordinate.  Within the MEB,  and the
concurrent MEF scheme of maneuver,  Hawk and Stinger
employment dictated over 300 miles between fire units or
teams.   To ease span of control and support problems, one
Bn of  each should have been put in a general support role
to the MEF (air defense of airfields,  FSSG sites,  ports,
and convoys),  with the other two Bn's being put in general
support to the 2 divisions.  Changing to Marine Air Defense
Battalion  (MAD Bn)  concept would further exacerbate control
and support problems and is severely opposed by units in
the FMF.[12:1]
      Overall,  during the Desert Shield/Desert Storm deployment
the MACCS functioned well with only minor difficulties
that were overcome quickly.   Following the SWA war,
there has been increased pressure from personnel outside the
MACCS to make changes and major modifications to structure
and employment without substantial reasoning.   To  this
"if  it  ain't  broke don't  fix  it"  should prevail.
       Until  1989,  the Marine Corps structure called  for six
air defense battalions.   One Low Altitude Air Defense  (LAAD)
and Light Anti-Aircraft Missile  (LAAM)  Bn for each of
the three MEF's.   Due to foreseen cuts,  it was decided that
the LAAM Bn's would be cut in 1989 from four firing batteries
to two.   Further, 1st LAAM Bn was deactivated completely,
effectively cutting firepower by over 66%.   Additionally,
this forced 2nd LAAM Bn to double-hat for I and Ill MEF
contingencies as there was no longer enough air defense
assets to cover three MEF's.
      In 1992,  the Marine Corps Headquarters directed a
further reorganization that combines surface-to-air
missile units into two MAD Bn's.   One Bn would be located
on each coast with the First LAAD Bn being deactivated
voiding Ill MEF of all surface-to-air air defense assets.
A MAD Bn combines two HAWK firing batteries and two Stinger
Batteries with approximately one-third of  the HAWK support
structure and all Stinger support structure going into
additional Stinger Teams.   There is no loss in the total
number of bodies,  simply some MOS changes.   Due to the
creation of a MAD Bn structure,  without substantial
input from the Fleet Marine Force  (FMF)   the stand-up of
the MAD Bn's has been delayed from 1992 to  1996.[1:1-30]
      The Marine Corps is in the final stages of source
selection for the LAV-AD  (Light Armored Vehicle Air
Defense Variant)  contract.   The LAV-AD has demonstrated a
high lethality against high performance aircraft and
helicopters while providing a gun  (25mm)  and missile
(Stinger and Hydra 70-rockets)  mix.   This system with the
LAV's proven speed and maneuverability will greatly enhance
a maneuver element's close-in low altitude air defense
capabilities.   Maneuver element commanders will no longer
have to look back and wonder  if  the Stinger gunners are
keeping up.
      As demonstrated in Desert Storm,  air defense assets
in the Marine Corps are most limited and should be optimally
employed to support the MAGTF Commander's  list  of air defense
      During Desert Shield/Storm,  2nd and 3rd LAAM (Light Anti-
Aircraft Missile)  Battalions,  2nd,  3rd,  and 4th  (Reserve)
LAAD  (Low Altitude Air Defense)  Battalions,  and one platoon
of  1st LAAD Bn were deployed to support I MEF.   Wing,
division,  and Force Service Support Group  (FSSG)  units were
still short fire units and Stinger teams that were required
by doctrine,  the threat,  and number of vital areas with
critical assets.   The LAV-AD could have relieved some of  the
air defense shortages within I MEF and would have provided
a better IADS  (Integrated Air Defense System)  across the
battlefield. [12:1]
      LAV-AD's added new dimension to the future battlefield
won t make up for manpower cuts.   But,  by employing each
weapon system in general support of the MAGTF  IADS  (as were
Hawk and Stinger during Desert Storm) ,  each will be
complimented and reinforced by other air defense systems
on the battlefield.
      LAV-AD fielding plans include one company within
each LAI  (Light Armored Infantry)  Bn.   First and second
echelon maintenance will  be done on vehicles and turrets  in
the LAI Bn.   Third and fourth echelon vehicle maintenance
will be performed by the FSSG.   Third and fourth echelon
maintenance on the air defense systems  in the turret will
be performed by the LAAM Bn's or  by  future MAD Bn's when
IFTE  (Intermediate Field Test Equipment) is  fielded.
       As with the maintenance of  the LAV-AD,  their mission
and placement within the wing or division has been the topic
of many discussions.   Division proponents,  recognizing  the
importance of  air defense,  desire an organic asset within
them.   Wing proponents want  it within,  to control missiles
in the air to insure integration of all air defense systems
and to prevent fratricide.
      At one point,  LAAM Bn's were  located  in the division.
They were  later moved to Force Troops  (the Make-up of  the
Marine Corps used to contain a Wing,  Division, Force Service
Support Group,  and Force Troops)  and subsequently ending
up in the wing when Forced Troops were deactivated.   Reading
accounts from World War I,  World War II  (especially Midway)
Korea and Vietnam,  these Bn's performed as well as they were
trained,  led,  and motivated --like most Bn's.
      Wherever the LAV-AD's are assigned the following must be
      1. LAV-AD must integrate into the Marine Aviation Command
      and Control Systems  (MACCS)  for early warning,  cueing,
      threat and weapons release conditions,  and maintain air
      situational awareness.
             a.  Whether this  is done through new C2 shelter on
      High Mobility Multipurpose Multi-Wheeled Vehicle  (HMMWV)
      or Hawk units with WDU  (Weapons Director Units)  or
      through the TAOC  (Tactical Air Operation Center) ,  it
      must be done.
             b.  Tests and studies have demonstrated a 200%
      increase in the Stinger weapon system lethality with
      early warning.   This is especially true with LAV-AD's
      extremely limited turret visibility
             c.  Control  of  vehicle  locations on the ground  is
       of no consequence to the MACCS as long as vehicle
       positions are known for cueing via voice or data link.
      2. LAV-AD's should be employed with the maneuver
      elements of  the MAGTF  (Tanks,  Tracks,  LAI).   LAV-AD
      with the maneuver elements tied into the MACCS
      for control of air defense.
             a.  The advantage of  the LAV's speed and mobility
      should be utilized.   The defense of  static or slower
      maneuvering units can be left to PMS  (Pedestal Mounted
      Stinger),  foot-mobile/HMMWV mounted Stinger teams,  and
      Hawk fire units.
             b.  LAV-AD's should be the first mobile air defense
      system ashore in amphibious operations.   Although
      foot-mobile Stinger gunners may proceed LAV's if
      3. Training on a continuous basis must be accomplished
             a.  CAX's
             b.  Weapon Tactics Instruction Course  (WTI)
             c.  Carolina Combat and Roving Sands exercises
            d.   MTS  (Moving Target Simulators,  at Camp Pendleton
                 and Cherry Point)
      Light Anti-Aircraft Missile Battalion  (LAAM Bn)
capabilities have grown exponentially over the past six
years,  partially making up for the large Marine Corps
force structure cutbacks.   By adding an electro-optic
system (camera to passively track an aircraft without
turning radars on)  and then upgrading it by replacing
vidicon tubes with a charge coupler device increasing
range and clarity by nearly 300% while significantly
reducing failures.   An additional  benefit from this
upgrade was the ability to optically track aircraft in
overcast and low-light levels  (pink time) .   A follow-on
night capability is also ready to be deployed but procurement
dollars are in question. [6: 1-3]
       A Phase III Product Improvement Program was also
implemented to digitize the HAWK system, adding reliability,
and improve electronic countermeasures.  An additional
benefit was the replacement of 150 pound cables for ordinary
field communication wire (WD-1 ,WF-16) allowing radars to be
displaced kilometers away from each other. [7: 1-3]
       Planned mobility modifications will allow a HAWK fire
unit to be moved with only two five ton trucks, and a HMMWV;
the current system requires a minimum of seven five ton
trucks. [3: 1-10]
      A recent Weapons Director Unit  (WDU) modification now
allows the HAWK weapons system to send early warning and
queuing information to Stinger teams and radar-silent HAWK
fire units over twenty miles away.[8:1]
      Fielding of the ATBM capability has given the HAWK
system the capability to shoot down Frog and Scud Tactical
Ballistic Missiles  (TBM's)  with greater warhead kill
accuracy than that of current ATBM systems.[11:1]
      Another fairly new innovation is Whittaker's Data Link
Simulator/Personal Computer (DLS/PC).  It is currently
capable of  interfacing,  via data link,  with all air defense
agencies.  It is the size of a desk top computer.  The DLS/PC
was used extensively during DS to down-link information
directly from USAF E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System
(AWACS)  aircraft to HAWK fire units.   Subsequently,  target
information was sent to Stinger teams via WDU's,  when they
outran the Tactical Air Operations Center  (TAOC)  radar
coverage and communications  link ranges.  The DLS/PC is
being incorporated into  the C2 shelter on a HMMWV for
HAWK and Stinger units to give it the same capabilities as
the TA0M will have when the TAOM is fielded.[13:1-5]
      The Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion  (LAAD Bn)  is
scheduled in  1993 to begin a transition where 60 of  its
current 90 teams will  be equipped with a Pedestal  Mounted
Stinger  (PMS)  system named the  Avenger.  The Avenger is
a day-night HMMWV mounted turret system with eight
ready-to-fire Stinger missiles and a fixed mount 50 caliber
machine gun.  Bringing Stinger weapon system night
operation capabilities to fruition will significantly enhance an
already lethal Marine Corps IADS.[1:10]
      During the Soviet/Afghanistan conflict,  Stinger systems
accounted for 269 kills in 340 firings by Mohadine rebels,
who,  were only partially trained on the Stinger weapon system.
The Stinger weapon system halted the Soviet offensive and
enabled rebels to take the offense with increased freedom
of movement,  eventually causing the Soviets to pull out of
their country. [10:1-5]   Additional  improvements to the
Stinger system include the C2 shelter previously discussed,
and the WDU link for real-time early warning and queuing.
      While not new to the Marine Corps inventory,  the
proposed remanufacture of the AV-8B with an APG-65 radar
would also significantly enhance USMC air defense. [4:1 ]
During DS the AV-8B operated from short air fields and LHA
and LPH amphibious ships where it provided sortie rates as
high as five per day.   Previously employed in the short
duration visual-cap  (vis-cap)  role,  because of  its quick
response time and high maneuverability,  remanufactured AV-8B' s
will now be able to use Sparrow and Advanced Medium Range
Air-to-Air Missiles  (AMRAAM) .  These radar guided missiles
compliment the AV-8B's current Sidewinder Infra-red seeker
missile armament and allow it to act as a self-escourting
aircraft freeing F-18's from this mission in some scenarios.
      The current primary Marine air defense aircraft is
still the F-18,  which can still outperform most enemy threat
aircraft.   It adds a significant dimension to USMC air
defense.   The Marine Corps still  lacks an organic early
warning platform such as the E-3 AWACS, and will probably
not get one in this time of declining budgets.  By utilizing
the F-18,  with its two-way TADIL-C data link,  and establishing
a  "radar contract"  the Marine IADS can partially make up for
the lack of an AWACS.   The F-18 would concentrated its radar
search looking down while the MACCS provides middle to high
radar coverage.
      The TAOC has long been a critical C3 node within the
Marine air defense system.   The current TAOC  (AN/TYQ-2)  is
a menagerie of  1950's technology.   Its numerous vans and
bulky cables have made it an  "albatross"  in a rapid
deployment scheme.   It's lack of mobility and age brought
about the development of the AN/TYQ-23 or TAOM.   But major
problems have caused repeated delays in the fielding of the
TAOM,  once dubbed TAOC-85,  as it was to have been fielded
in 1985.   Owing to these delays,  its technology is now
somewhat outdated and the TAOM s memory capacity is now
inadequate to support follow-on product improvement
       The TAOM,  if  fielded in the next couple of years,  is
contained in an 8 x 8 x 20 foot shelter that weighs approximately
20,000 pounds,  and is  transportable by CH-53E, LVS,
or commercial tractor-trailer.   With vast improvements
in USMC IADS capabilities such as the LAV-AD,  Avenger,
DLS/PC, WDU, and numerous HAWK improvements, the TAOM
will be unable to provide the necessary computer power and C2
to all air defense assets.   The TAOM will probably have to
delegate parts of  its role to the C2 HMMWV until a follow-on,
smaller,  and more capable system can be developed. [5:1-18]
       As the Marine Corps pairs down,  we will need to cross a
few traditional  boundaries in order to maintain air defense
coverage across the MEF Marine air defense assets must
be integrated within the theater to take advantage of mutual
support as well as  "black world"  intelligence assets.   Even
with nearly all the Marine Corps air defense assets deployed
to DS,  critical maneuver elements remained short of required
air defense firepower.   The use of  the LAV-AD and Avenger
systems will make up for some of these shortages.   In the
final result we will do in the future what we have done in
the past:
       * Learn to do better with less
       * Task organize our MAGTF
       * Get each weapon system in the position to best
       exploit its capabilities.
1.	Executive Steering Committee Brief.  "USMC  2001."
25 September 91.
2.	"Expeditionary Air Defense System."  Program review.
11 April 91.
3.	"HAWK Mobility."  Raytheon Presentation.  February 89.
4.	Holtzer, Robert.  "Tri-Nation Advanced Harrier Program
Hits Snag."  Defense News 9 March 92.
5.	Mastalski, Captain A.C.  "HAWK Mobility Enhancement
and Expeditionary Air Defense System."  September 89.
6.	"Northrup Developing Focal Plane Array.  Editorial.
Aviation Week and Space Technology 2 November 87.
7.	Ryan, Major J.E.  "HAWK an the Evolution of Air Defense."
Marine Corps Gazette May 86.
8.	U.S.  Marine Corps Lessons Learned  (21049-34407)
"Contingency Fire Unit."  18  December  91.
9.	U.S.  Marine Corps Lessons Learned   (21049-533
Tactical Air Operations Module."  18 December  91.
10.	U.S.  Marine Corps Lessons Learned  (22440-39748)
"Stinger in Afghanistan."  1 July 89.
11.	U.S.  Marine Corps Lessons Learned  (30657-42213).
"HAWK  Anti-Tactical Missile Modification."  10 May 91.
12.	U.S.  Marine Corps Lessons Learned  (50131-15362)
"Insufficient Air Defense Assets."  10 May 91.
13.	"Whittaker Data Link Set."  Whittaker Electronics
Systems Presentation.  September 90.

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