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SECTION IV: AIR DEFENSE


Maneuver Elements and Their Air Defense Role

(FC 71-2J, Chap 7; FM 44-3, Chap 6)

The maneuver task force commander is responsible for the overall air defense of the task force. Successful task force air defense requires the active involvement of all elements. It depends on a unit's ability to defeat the enemy's air threat. The maneuver task force commander must:

  • Establish air defense priorities for attached air defense weapon systems.

  • Ensure the planning and implementing of the task force air defense plan.

  • Employ all available firepower against attacking "low level" threat aircraft, paying particular attention to enemy attack helicopters.

  • Incorporate air avenues of approach into the Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield (IPB) process.

  • Ensure air avenues of approach and expected numbers and types of threat aircraft are briefed during the task force operation order.

  • Ensure that during the planning and wargaming process, he designates who has direct fire responsibility for covering enemy attack helicopter positions.

  • Ensure that direct fire responsibilities are incorporated as a part of the task force's execution matrix.

A maneuver commander cannot rely solely on attached air defense weapon systems to provide the necessary air defense of the task force. All maneuver firepower available to the task force must be brought to bear on the opposing air threat; i.e., 120mm main guns, 105mm main guns, Bradley 25mm guns, crew served weapons, and small arms fire.

The maneuver commander must ensure that a thorough terrain analysis of all likely enemy close air support (CAS) and attack helicopter air avenues of approach are incorporated as a part of the IPB process. This terrain analysis IAW FM 44-3 and in conjunction with air threat intelligence data received from higher headquarters provides the basis for a final determination of the likely enemy air avenues of approach. The air threat intelligence data received from higher headquarters provides the basis for a final determination of the likely enemy air avenues of approach. The air defense officer, with assistance from the S2, ALO, and FAC, determines the likely enemy air approach routes. The task force air defense officer or S2 briefs these likely enemy close air support and attack helicopter avenues of approach during the operation order. Briefing of these air avenues of approach down to crew level results in dramatically improved target acquisition and better integration of maneuver weapons in the air defense role.


Table of Contents
Section III: Fire Support
Section V: Mobility/Countermobility/Survivability



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