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Page Title: Combat Air Patrol (CAP)
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Defense against an air attack demands a high degree of coordination between widely dispersed units  in  the  formation.  Attacking  aircraft  can climb to very high altitudes, or they can come in just  over  the  wave  tops.  No  matter  what  their altitude, the speed of the aircraft is often super- sonic.  That  means  instantaneous  reactions  and quickly   computed   solutions   are   essential   to the  defenders.  Even  after  attaining  maximum proficiency,  a  ship’s  individual  efforts  would probably prove futile unless it were deployed in a  defense-in-depth  formation.  Defense  in  depth requires  intensive  coordination.  Teamwork  is  then the order of the day, and the captain of the team is  the  AAW  coordinator. The  AAW  coordinator  and  staff  usually observe  the  entire  picture  on  various  display plots  aboard  a  missile  cruiser.  The  coordinator maintains  communications,  except  during  some conditions of electronic silence, with all the AAW units.  The  coordinator  also  receives  all  “bogey” (unfriendly   air   contact)   information   from   the detecting  ship  or  aircraft. COMBAT  AIR  PATROL  (CAP) When an aircraft poses a definite threat, the AAW  coordinator  must  decide  which  defense  to use.  The  first  line  of  defense  is  the  on-station combat  air  patrol  (CAP).  If  the  CAP  is  in  the target  area,  the  relative  speeds  of  the  CAP  and target may indicate a possible intercept. In such cases, the coordinator may order the AAW unit’s CAP  air  controller  (aircraft  or  surface  ship)  to vector  the  CAP  to  the  target.  On-station  CAP aircraft orbit at a station between the inner and intermediate  surface  picket  lines,  roughly  30  miles from  their  controlling  units. CAP can miss the target for several reasons. Patrolling aircraft may be out of position, relative speeds  may  work  against  an  intercept,  or  poor visibility  and/or  radar  reception  may  make  the CAP   useless.   When   CAP   proves   ineffective, the   AAW   coordinator   may   employ   long-range missiles or launch additional interceptor aircraft. During  CAP  intercept  attempts,  shipboard weapons   direction   systems   direct   fire   control radars aboard missile ships to the target. When a ship is ready to engage a target with missiles, it  notifies  the  AAW  coordinator  and  may  order one  or  more  missile  launches.  If  more  than  one ship is prepared to assault a target with missiles, the AAW coordinator must decide which ship, or ships, will take part in the attack. The coordinator must  consider,  among  other  factors,  which  ship is in the best position for a kill and what type and number  of  missiles  it  has  aboard. Missile ships may be stationed in the extended (outer),  intermediate,  or  inner  screen  position. However,  they  should  remain  either  far  enough in or out to allow the CAP to operate freely. Since a missile ship usually is free to fire on any target that enters its envelope, a well-defined crossover point  must  be  designated.  A  crossover  point  is  the range at which a target ceases to bean air intercept target  and  becomes  a  surface-to-air  missile  target. Air   controllers   must   be   careful   to   keep   CAP aircraft from crossing this point to prevent their destruction  by  friendly  fire. If CAP aircraft or long-range missiles do not stop an attack, the AAW coordinator may direct the carrier(s) to launch additional interceptor air- craft.  Interceptors  remain  ready  for  launch  in specified  conditions  of  readiness  as  follows: Condition  One  CAP:  Pilots  strapped  in cockpits;   catapult   and   deck   crews   at stations; and all leads to engines plugged, ready   for   immediate   ignition.   Reaction time limited only to the time required to turn  the  carrier  into  the  wind. Condition   Two   CAP:   Aircraft   ready to  start;  pilots  and  deck/catapult  crews nearby  rather  than  on  station. Condition  Three  CAP:  Launch  capability required within 15 minutes. Pilots in ready rooms;  crews  relaxing  near  stations. Condition Four CAP: Pilots and crews on 30  minutes’  notice. Condition Five CAP: Pilots and crews free until called. ANTISHIP MISSILE DEFENSE (ASMD) The  antiship  missile  defense  (ASMD)  program significantly  improves  a  ship’s  capability  in countering   high-speed,   low-altitude,   anti   ship missile  threats.  In  attaining  this  defense  posture, the program requires modifications to the overall ship  combat  system  for  the  following  purposes: To  enhance  low-flyer  and  electronic  warfare (EW)  detection  capabilities To  reduce  reaction  times  by  modifying  com- mand  and  control  functions  for  weapons direction To  improve  gun  and  missile  system  engage- ment capabilities 12-12

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