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Combat Air Patrol (CAP)
Active  AAW  includes  the  use  of  aircraft,  anti- aircraft  guns,  missiles,  and  electronic  counter- measures. (Electronic  countermeasures  are employed  to  jam  radars,  mask  or  monitor electronic   transmissions,   confuse   guidance systems,   present   false   targets,   and   the   like.) Passive AAW—measures other than active, taken to  minimize  the  effects  of  hostile  air  action— involves  elements  such  as  cover,  concealment,  and dispersion. Ships and aircraft are joined in a task forma- tion  to  accomplish  a  mission  that  has  been dictated  by  strategic  necessity.  An  AAW  forma- tion is designed to protect a carrier, which is the offensive  striking  unit  of  a  carrier  task  force  or battle  group. As  enemy  aircraft  approach  in  a  strike  against our ships at sea, our forces may divide defensive AAW  operations  into  three  phases  occurring successively.  The  first  phase  involves  the  use  of personnel   and   equipment   to   search   for,   find, evaluate, and report the enemy attack force. The second phase involves initial active AAW defense measures—taken while attacking aircraft are at a  considerable  distance  from  the  force.  These measures  may  include  electronic  deception;  air- craft interception; and long-range, surface-to-air, guided-missile fire. The third phase, close-range defense, takes place when attacking aircraft have penetrated near or within gun range of the main body  of  ships  being  defended.  Close-range  defense measures consist of gunfire, short-range missiles, and  evasive  maneuvering. Speeds  of  modern  aircraft  and  missiles  require that  defensive  measures  be  taken  as  early  as possible at the greatest practicable distance from the  attacking  force.  An  AAW  operation,  there- fore, uses distant early warning aircraft, such as the E-2, and surface picket ships, such as guided- missile destroyers. Depending on the size of the formation  and  nature  of  the  threat,  several sector   antiair   warfare   coordinators   (SAAWCs) may   conduct   operations   in   designated   areas. SAAWCs  report  to  the  force  antiair  warfare coordinator   (FAAWC)   who   then   coordinates defenses   over   the   entire   task   force   area   of responsibility. The FAAWC normally determines the extent of  the  antiair  warfare  area,  which  encompasses the  total  region  to  be  protected  from  enemy  air attack. Figure 12-3 maps the subdivisions of the AAW area. Concentric circles surround the main body  of  ships  at  distances  determined  by  the nature  of  the  expected  attack.  The  circles represent  the  outer  perimeters  of  the  subdivisions. The  surveillance  area,  the  outer  limit  of  which Figure  12-3 .-The force antiair warfare coordinator (FAAWC) determines the extent of the AAW area. corresponds to the perimeter of the entire AAW area,  is  the  region  of  search,  detection,  and tracking. The destruction area is the sector (within the  surveillance  area)  in  which  destruction  or defeat  of  the  enemy  airborne  threat  should occur. It is divided into an air-intercept and long- range  missile  zone,  medium-range  missile  zone, and  gunfire/short-range  missile  zone.  The  vital area  contains  the  main  force  of  ships  that  must be  defended. The  AAW  area  usually  is  oriented  about  an AAW axis, or threat axis. The AAW axis is a true bearing from the vital area to the most probable direction of enemy attack. Early warning aircraft and ships normally are deployed along the AAW axis. A number of factors affect the choice of an AAW  disposition.  These  include  the  submarine threat, available ships and aircraft, fuel, amount of  protection  required,  and  weather.  Whenever possible,  mutual  support  from  nearby  units  is obtained through the overlapping of AAW areas. Although  conventional  gunfire  can  be  effective in   AAW,   high-speed   jet   aircraft   have   made defense  by  gunfire  a  last-ditch  effort.  At  600  miles per hour, an attacking aircraft is within effective range of a 5-inch gun for less than a minute before the plane reaches its drop point. This speed allows, at  best,  about  100  rounds  of  gunfire  from  one ship.  In  World  War  II  we  expended  an  average of   3,000   rounds   of   all   types   to   down   each propeller-driven   aircraft. 12-11

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