Wartime Air Traffic Control
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL AIRPOWER RESEARCH INST
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The debate over whether air bases are survivable continues to rage throughout the Air Force. Some optimists still believe our bases are invulnerable sanctuaries that will be protected by an inevitable USAF air supremacy. However, an increasingly popular school of thought contends that air supremacy is unlikely in a future conflict and, and, just as we would prefer to destroy an enemys air force on the ground, the Soviets have come to the same conclusion. Reinforcing that ominous thought, Soviet weapon systems NOW have improved in range, accuracy, and lethality to the point where they can strike and seriously damage our theater air bases. Likewise, a proliferation of sophisticated weaponry throughout the third world now puts that capability within the grasp of other potential adversaries. Air base operability ABO is the four-pillar Air Force program designed to reduce air base vulnerability by defending against an attack, minimizing the effects of an attack, recovering after the attack, and resuming generation of combat sorties. There are many interlocking combat support components of ABO. One of those, air traffic control ATC, is a critical factor in the effort to launch and recover aircraft, and it also plays a role in air base defense. Therefore, survivability of an ATC capability must be one of the goals for ABO planners. This paper addresses the wartime role of air traffic services and establishes the importance of integrating ATC considerations into the ABO planning process.
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