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Coordinating altitude (CA)

Definition The Coordinating Altitude (CA) is a designated altitude in military operations that serves as a dividing line between close air support and air interdiction use of the airspace. Above this line, aircraft are assumed to be in support of air interdiction missions, while below are planes involved in close air support for ground troops. […]


The Coordinating Altitude (CA) is a designated altitude in military operations that serves as a dividing line between close air support and air interdiction use of the airspace. Above this line, aircraft are assumed to be in support of air interdiction missions, while below are planes involved in close air support for ground troops. This ensures smooth operation and reduces risks of friendly fire and airspace deconfliction.

Key Takeaways

  1. The Coordinating Altitude (CA) is specifically used in military operations to create a safety buffer in the vertical plane between aircrafts carrying out diverse tasks within the same geographical space.
  2. It is a properly defined altitude at which there is ensured de-confliction between two air units. Below this altitude, one unit operates while the other operational unit functions above it.
  3. The primary aim of implementing a Coordinating Altitude (CA) is to prevent mid-air collisions and mishaps, ensuring the success of the mission, and maintaining the safety and security of military personnel.


The Coordinating Altitude (CA) in military operations is important because it plays a pivotal role in ensuring safety and synchronization during concurrent operations.

This term is used to determine a particular altitude at which aircraft transitioning from one mission to another can fly to avoid collisions with other aircraft involved in operations.

Without a predetermined coordinating altitude, there could be a high risk of miscommunication or confusion, leading to potential collisions or mishaps in air traffic.

Hence, the CA is crucial to maintain order, execute efficient combat control, and ensure airspace deconfliction, which ultimately contributes to the overall success of military operations.


The Coordinating Altitude (CA) is a significant facet in military aviation operations. Its primary purpose is to create a demarcation point in the airspace to reduce the risk of midair collisions during complex flight operations.

Whether it’s during a large-scale combat sortie or simply a wide-ranging training exercise involving numerous aircraft, a CA can help streamline operations by secluding different sets of activities to separate altitude levels. Specifically, the Coordinating Altitude serves as a virtual divider in the sky, separating aircraft into different echelons based on their mission phase and tactical requirements.

For instance, airplanes operating under the CA may be dedicated to ground strikes, tactical air support, or detailed surveillance. Those maneuvering above the CA, however, might be focused on air-to-air combat or higher-altitude reconnaissance.

By implementing a CA, the military can maintain efficiency and safety simultaneously during high-intensity operations.

Examples of Coordinating altitude (CA)

Operation Desert Storm: In the 1991 Gulf War, when coalition forces were planning their air strikes against Iraq, a Coordinating Altitude was set to prevent mid-air collisions between the different nation’s aircraft. This ensured that the United States aircraft were operating at a different altitude from British, French, and other coalition aircrafts.

NATO Air Operations: Coordinating altitude is often used in NATO air operations, for instance, in conflicts in the Balkans or in Afghanistan. This principle allows for better coordination between aircraft from different nations, helping to avoid confusion or potential mishaps. Specific altitudes are designated for different types of aircraft or for those from different countries so that their paths never intersect.

Joint Military Trainings: During joint military trainings like Red Flag, a large-scale aerial combat training exercise hosted at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Coordinating Altitude is usually set. This ensures safety and efficient coordination among various participating nations and their diverse collections of aircraft. The Coordinating Altitude acts as a deconfliction buffer between different air operations, mitigating the risks of mid-air collisions.

FAQs for Coordinating Altitude (CA)

1. What is Coordinating Altitude (CA)?

Coordinating Altitude (CA) is a specified altitude or range of altitudes used to vertically separate fixed-wing aircraft and rotary-wing aircraft, or to separate different types of rotary-wing aircraft during aircraft tactical operations.

2. Why is Coordinating Altitude (CA) important in military operations?

Coordinating Altitude (CA) plays an important role in ensuring the smooth and safe execution of military operations. It helps to avoid mid-air collisions and reduces the risk of incidents that could compromise the success of the mission.

3. How is Coordinating Altitude (CA) determined?

CA is determined based on factors like aircraft performance, mission requirements, weather conditions, and local and international aviation regulations. The altitude is usually expressed in feet above sea level.

4. Who is responsible for determining and enforcing Coordinating Altitude (CA)?

The determination and enforcement of the Coordinating Altitude (CA) typically falls under the jurisdiction of the military body conducting the operation. This could include personnel such as mission planners, air traffic controllers, or the aircraft operators themselves.

5. Can Coordinating Altitude (CA) be adjusted during an operation?

Yes, depending on the needs of the operation, flight conditions, and other factors, the Coordinating Altitude (CA) can be adjusted during an operation. Any changes are usually communicated through the established command and control structure to all affected aircraft.

Related Military Operation Terms

I believe there has been a bit of confusion in your request as “Coordinating Altitude (CA)” chiefly refers to aviation terminology. VA benefits typically refer to the US Department of Veterans Affairs benefits, generally aimed at healthcare, financial support, education, and services for veterans. Therefore, these two topics do not directly correlate. If you want a list related to aviation or VA benefits, please specify. However, I’ve created a list involving general terms you might commonly see in relation to VA benefits:


  • GI Bill
  • Compensation
  • Pension
  • Survivors Benefits
  • Health Care


If you intended to inquire about aviation-related terms, please provide additional information.

Sources for More Information

  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): FAA is a reliable source for information on terms related to aviation, including the military. They may have detailed information about Coordinating Altitude.
  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO): NATO’s website might have useful resources and documents related to military operations and terms such as Coordinating Altitude.
  • U.S. Department of Defense: This website is a good go-to source for military terminology and operation descriptions, including Coordinating Altitude.
  • The Joint Chiefs of Staff: As the body of the highest-ranking military officers in the United States, they may have the desired term explained in one of their resources.

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