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Striking Force
Naval Orientation - Military manual for administrative purposes
The Force Antiair Warefare Coordinator (FAAWC)
The  three  classes  of  modern  tactical  air-to- surface  weapons  are  standoff  outside  area  defense (SOAD),  standoff  outside  point  defense  (SOPD), and  close-in  (CI)  weapons.  The  range  at  which each specific weapon can be used most efficiently determines its classification. We can assume that the longer a weapon’s range, the “smarter” it has to  be;  the  “smarter”  it  is,  the  more  expensive (and more accurate) it becomes. Therefore, strike planners  must  efficiently  plan  how  to  employ  their weapons  supplies  to  avoid  running  out  of  them before  they  can  win  the  war! Since  weapons  have  become  more  and  more expensive, those responsible for purchasing them have made a recent effort to make more efficient purchases.   Classifying   weapons   as   mentioned in  the  previous  paragraph  is  one  way  they accomplish that because it reduces the number of different  types  available.  In  addition,  it  makes everyone’s  job  easier  because  fewer  types  of weapons must be stored aboard ship and loaded aboard  aircraft. While planning a strike against enemy forces, battle group commanders must remember to plan for  the  defense  of  their  own  ships.  The  air  defense of  a  carrier  battle  group  is  formidable,  built  on a “defense-in-depth” philosophy. Fighter aircraft carrying air-to-air weapons serve as the carrier air wing’s  contribution  to  fleet  air  defense.  Tanker aircraft  from  the  air  wing  refuel  the  fighters. The  fighters,  coordinated  by  ship  or  airborne controllers,  will  either  be  airborne  or  on  the carrier’s  catapults  ready  for  an  immediate  launch, depending  on  the  tactical  situation. SURFACE  ACTION  GROUPS  (SAG’S) The operation orders of a task force or group commanders  provide  for  surface  action  groups (SAGs) that can perform certain missions. These missions  include  antisubmarine  warfare  (ASW), antisurface warfare (ASUW), and strike warfare, to name a few. A battle plan is prepared for these forces  on  the  assumption  that  they  will  encounter surface  action.  However,  such  a  force  is  usually only one element of a coordinated strike by both air,  subsurface,  and  surface  units. Surface  action  in  the  modern  Navy  means much more than exchange of naval gunfire. The introduction  of  antiship  cruise  missiles,  such  as the Harpoon and the Tomahawk antiship missile (TASM),  has  revolutionized  war  at  sea. A  coordinated  strike  against  an  enemy  SAG may well include surface-, sub-, and air-launched Harpoon   missiles;   surface-   and   sub-launched TASMS; and air-launched ordnance. Forces may require the use of one or more of these weapons systems  in  addition  to  traditional  naval  gunfire to sink disabled enemy hulks. A coordinated air and cruise-missile strike may surprise an enemy SAG so much that it may cause one of two results. First, the surface action may become a pursuit of disorganized  enemy  forces.  Second,  the  strike  may slow enemy forces so that they cannot bring their own  surface  missile  systems  to  bear  upon  the carrier   or   other   essential   units   in   the   battle group. Special situations may require SAGs to destroy isolated or crippled enemy surface units, execute a  deep  land  strike, conduct   naval   gunfire shore   bombardment, and   perform   surface reconnaissance missions. Today’s modern surface force  can  take  on  all  these  missions  with  or without  accompanying  tactical  air  support. The  deployment  of  Tomahawk  land  attack missiles (TLAMs) has turned both surface ships and   submarines   into   potent   strike   platforms. These  strike  platforms  can  be  widely  dispersed throughout  the  battle  group. The  ability  to  conduct  covert  strikes  from submarines  brings  a  new  dimension  to  naval warfare.   Future   development   will   bring   land attack  cruise  missiles  with  even  longer  attack ranges.  We  need  these  missiles  to  further  disperse surface  forces  and  still  conduct  strike  warfare while minimizing the involvement of the carrier air wing. FIRE  SUPPORT Although  often  considered  a  phase  of amphibious  operations,  surface  forces  may  be called   upon   to   provide   gunfire   support   for troops  ashore.  During  World  War  II  that  was accomplished primarily by a force of battleships, cruisers,  and  destroyers.  These  forces  spent  hours, and even days, bombarding the enemy ashore to try  to  destroy  as  many  fortifications  as  possible before troops hit the beaches. After the landings, ships provided support as tactical circumstances dictated. Since the enemy showed less opposition to  landings  during  the  Korean  and  Vietnam  wars, forces  mainly  provided  fire  support  in  response to  tactical  circumstances, As  you  may  recall,  USS  New  Jersey,  along with  other  surface  ships,  took  part  in  fire-support missions  in  Beirut,  Lebanon,  in  1983. ANTIAIR   WARFARE Antiair warfare (AAW) includes all measures designed to nullify or reduce the effectiveness of attack   by   hostile   aircraft   or   guided   missiles. 12-10

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