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Airspace Coordinating Measures (ACMs)

Definition

Airspace Coordinating Measures (ACMs) refer to a set of procedures and systems established to coordinate and regulate the use of airspace among different military and civilian elements. The primary goal of ACMs is to ensure the safe, efficient, and conflict-free use of airspace during military operations. This includes preventing accidental engagements between friendly forces and deconflicting air traffic to optimize mission effectiveness.

Key Takeaways

  1. Airspace Coordinating Measures (ACMs) are tools used to establish efficient communication and coordination among various military and civilian air assets operating in the same airspace.
  2. They help prevent conflicts and deconflict airspace by providing guidance on altitude, time, and routing restrictions while allowing essential flexibility for operations.
  3. Examples of ACMs include High Density Airspace Control Zone (HiDACZ), Restricted Operations Zone (ROZ), and Standard Use Army Aircraft Flight Route (SAAFR).

Importance

Airspace Coordinating Measures (ACMs) are essential in military operations as they facilitate the efficient and safe coordination of joint and multinational air assets operating within a shared airspace.

ACMs help prevent conflicts and mid-air collisions between different aerial platforms, such as manned aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, and munitions, ensuring the seamless execution of simultaneous and closely located missions by various nations and military services.

Furthermore, ACMs establish operating areas, altitude restrictions, and procedural guidelines that protect friendly ground forces from fratricide while deconflicting complex kinetic and non-kinetic operations.

Overall, ACMs serve as a critical enabler for mission success by optimizing airspace usage, fostering interoperability, and preserving the safety of all involved personnel and assets.

Explanation

Airspace Coordinating Measures (ACMs) play a crucial role in modern military operations, aimed at promoting safety, enhancing situational awareness, and facilitating efficient coordination among different military units that operate in a shared battlespace. The primary purpose of ACMs is to prevent mid-air collisions and fratricide incidents, as well as streamline communication between air and ground forces operating within the same area.

These measures lay the groundwork for fostering cooperation and mutual support between various components of a joint force, including aviation, artillery, and electronic warfare units. Furthermore, ACMs ensure seamless integration of diverse assets, such as manned and unmanned aircraft, ground-based air defense platforms, and indirect fire systems.

Achieving effective airspace management through the implementation of ACMs enables military commanders to tap into the full potential of their assets, optimize force employment, and accomplish mission objectives in an expedited manner. ACMs encompass a comprehensive set of tools that may include designated airspace structures, fire support coordination lines, no-fire areas, restricted operations zones, and other protocols jointly agreed upon by the participating forces.

These tools enable mission planners and operators to deconflict airspace, coordinate air traffic control procedures, and integrate air defense systems in a manner that complements the overall tactical and strategic objectives. The meticulous design and implementation of ACMs contribute towards achieving greater freedom of maneuver, preserving friendly force protection, and creating synergistic effects on the battlefield.

Examples of Airspace Coordinating Measures (ACMs)

Airspace Coordinating Measures (ACMs) are actions, procedures, and temporary restrictions applied in a joint operational area to enable effective and safe airspace management for all users. These measures are essential for mitigating risks and enhancing operational coordination during military operations. Here are three real-world examples:

Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003): During the invasion of Iraq, the US Department of Defense and coalition partners coordinated airspace management through a system of procedural control measures. ACMs were used to assign different altitudes, routes, and times for various aircraft missions, ensuring the safety and effectiveness of operations. They employed airspace coordinating measures like coordinating altitude restrictions, restricted operations zones (ROZs), and aircraft identification features to avoid any friendly fire incidents and to maintain situational awareness.

Operation Unified Protector (2011): The NATO-led mission in response to the Libyan Civil War required a coalition of multiple nations to enforce the no-fly zone and provide air support for ground troops. This operation’s success relied heavily on the implementation of ACMs to coordinate the use of airspace among the participating nations. Aircraft from different countries had to operate in the same environment, necessitating precise and well-coordinated procedures to ensure safe operations and maximize mission effectiveness.

Afghanistan Airspace Control (2001-present): Throughout the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Resolute Support Mission (RSM) actively managed the country’s complex and evolving airspace. Coalition forces used ACMs such as establishing air corridors, coordinating altitude restrictions, and creating specific areas for aerial refueling to facilitate both military and civilian aircraft operations. The continuous refinement of these ACMs enabled coalition forces to maintain operational effectiveness, while minimizing the risk of incidents in a challenging airspace environment.

Airspace Coordinating Measures (ACMs) FAQ

What are Airspace Coordinating Measures (ACMs)?

Airspace Coordinating Measures (ACMs) are procedures and dimensions of airspace that provide for the coordination and deconfliction of air traffic within designated regions. They facilitate the safe and efficient use of airspace by integrating military operations with civil aviation and other airspace users, while reducing the risks associated with shared usage of airspace.

What is the purpose of ACMs?

The primary purpose of ACMs is to enhance airspace management, ensure the safe and efficient integration of various airspace users, and maintain the security and effectiveness of military operations. ACMs typically include the establishment of airspace structures, scheduling of activities, and coordination among involved parties to minimize conflicts and maximize effective use of air assets.

What are some examples of ACMs?

Some examples of ACMs include Air Traffic Control Assigned Airspace (ATCAA), Restricted Areas, Military Operations Areas (MOAs), Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs), and Warning Areas. These measures help separate military and civilian air traffic to prevent accidents and mitigate potential hazards associated with specific training or operational activities.

How do ACMs affect non-military airspace users?

ACMs help to ensure the safe and efficient integration of non-military airspace users by designating specific airspace volumes and times where military and civilian flights will be separated. This can sometimes result in the temporary restriction of certain areas for non-military users, or the adjustment of flight routes in response to ongoing military operations.

How are ACMs established and maintained?

ACMs are typically established through a collaborative process among relevant civil and military authorities, such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Department of Defense (DoD). These organizations work together to plan and implement ACMs, share information, and coordinate activities to minimize conflicts and ensure the smooth flow of air traffic operations.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Restricted Airspace Zones
  • Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs)
  • Air Traffic Control (ATC)
  • Notice to Airmen (NOTAM)
  • Military Training Routes (MTRs)

Sources for More Information