A342
Topic Author
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Military Aircraft And "enemy" ATC

Thu Sep 13, 2007 2:40 am

Hi guys,

just wondering about this. AFAIK military aircraft of any nation have the right to fly in international airspace. But what if this airspace is controlled by the ATC of an enemy nation?
An example: Russian/Soviet aircraft regularly flow/flew over the Atlantic / North Sea, where the airspace is controlled by NATO nations. Now here's my actual question: How does ATC treat these aircraft in international airspace? Do they communicate with the crews and carry out all the standard procedures or what? Do these aircraft fly at large distances to civil aircraft?

Thanks in advance,

A342
Exceptions confirm the rule.
 
PADSpot
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RE: Military Aircraft And "enemy" ATC

Thu Sep 13, 2007 4:48 am

By international law, the notion of a country's sovereign airspace corresponds with the maritime definition of territorial waters as being 12 miles out from a nation's coastline. Airspace not within any country's territorial limit is considered international, analogous to the "high seas" in maritime law.
[Wikepedia]

AFAIK there are international agreements that military non-allied aircraft have to adhere to stricter limitations. I think it's 30nm, but I dont know exactly.
 
KevinSmith
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RE: Military Aircraft And "enemy" ATC

Thu Sep 13, 2007 6:23 am

Quoting A342 (Thread starter):
But what if this airspace is controlled by the ATC of an enemy nation?

Here off the coast of Florida there are several Warning Areas. ATC can see into them and can give adivsory calls to a/c that are in them. So lets say you've got two aircraft in a Warning Area on a collision course. ATC can give vectors to the a/c away from another. The a/c however are under no obligation to comply. My SWAG would be that if there was a bogey off the coast ATC would vector all non-intercepting aircraft away from the bogey.

That is pretty much it. As far as control authority over them they have none like PADSpot said.

Quoting PADSpot (Reply 1):
the "high seas" in maritime law

Kind of scarry when you think about it.
Learning to fly, but I ain't got wings.
 
rc135x
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RE: Military Aircraft And "enemy" ATC

Tue Sep 18, 2007 11:47 am

Military airplanes operating in international airspace often do so under the "see and avoid" principle. A MAC C-17 flight transiting foreign airspace on a planned flight clearance, however, functions like a civil airliner.

During the early 1990s the United States and the former Soviet Union worked out an arrangement under a program known as IVORY EAGLE to prevent inadvertent airspace incursions from leading to shoot-downs or major incidents. This involved the TC-135W and BEARs (I don't know if they were Tu-95s or Tu-142s) entering the ADIZ (but NOT territorial airspace) of the other nation. Su-15s FLAGONs from Anadyr Bay scrambled, as did F-15s (I can't recall if they were from Galena or King Salmon or if these had been closed...) The results were positive, and the mechanism is in place to prevent another KAL007 type incident.

So my guess about BEARs shooting the GIUK Gap, for example, is that they are see-and-avoid. Probably the same for U.S. planes in international airspace.

Quoting PADSpot (Reply 1):
AFAIK there are international agreements that military non-allied aircraft have to adhere to stricter limitations. I think it's 30nm, but I dont know exactly.

There are no specific formal agreements about distances. In the early years of the cold war U.S. planes flew up to 12nm from foreign land masses. After several incidents, including attacks and shoot downs, this increased to 20nm from the land mass. Over time the distance has increased (according to published sources) to 40nm and back down to 20nm, although it varies with each country visited.
KC-135A, A(RT), D, E, E(RT), Q, R, EC-135A, C, G, L, RC-135S, U, V, W, X, TC-135S, W
 
PhilSquares
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RE: Military Aircraft And "enemy" ATC

Tue Sep 18, 2007 12:02 pm

Quoting A342 (Thread starter):
How does ATC treat these aircraft in international airspace? Do they communicate with the crews and carry out all the standard procedures or what? Do these aircraft fly at large distances to civil aircraft?

This might help you understand the situation you're talking about. Remember there are two different issues here. First territorial boundaries and then airspace controlled by ICAO agreement.

The concept of "Due Regard" is recognized by ICAO.


The Department of Defense issued DOD Directive 4540.1, Use of Airspace by United States Military Aircraft and Firings Over the High Seas, for situations when DOD aircraft are not able to accomplish the mission while complying with ICAO procedures for point-to-point and navigation flights. There are operational situations that do not lend themselves to ICAO flight procedures. These situations may include politically sensitive missions, military contingencies or classified missions. When operations of this type are not conducted under ICAO flight procedures, they are conducted under the "due regard" prerogative of military aircraft. Due regard means that the aircraft commander, of a state aircraft, will operate that aircraft with "due regard" for the safety of all air and surface traffic. Before an aircraft commander can declare due regard, there are certain conditions that must be met:


(1) Aircraft shall be operated in VMC; or

(2) Aircraft shall be operated within radar surveillance and radio communications of a surface radar facility; or

(3) Aircraft shall be equipped with airborne radar that is sufficient to provide separation between themselves, aircraft they may be controlling, and other aircraft; or

(4) Aircraft shall be operated outside controlled airspace and, when possible, away from high density traffic areas

Hope this helps??
Fly fast, live slow
 
usnseallt82
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RE: Military Aircraft And "enemy" ATC

Tue Sep 18, 2007 9:46 pm

Quoting A342 (Thread starter):
But what if this airspace is controlled by the ATC of an enemy nation?

Doesn't matter. 12nm is 12nm. Even if you're right at 12.1nm, you're legal in the eyes of the international community.

However, nobody without explicit authorization would be stupid enough to get that close because it will definitely enable the pucker-factor for the country being flow outside. This is why DoD guidance will keep aircraft at more stringent distances to keep from causing any international incidents. Plus, you need a buffer space anyway. At 12.1nm, you don't have any room to drift before another country has the legal right to blow you away.

Quoting A342 (Thread starter):
How does ATC treat these aircraft in international airspace? Do they communicate with the crews and carry out all the standard procedures or what? Do these aircraft fly at large distances to civil aircraft?

Depends on what the aircraft is doing. If they are just transiting the area, they'll probably be up with ATC for traffic separation. If they are doing other things, then they'll proceed due regard, as already covered, and maintain safe distances outside the country.

Quoting PADSpot (Reply 1):
AFAIK there are international agreements that military non-allied aircraft have to adhere to stricter limitations. I think it's 30nm, but I dont know exactly.

No such thing. The only distance recognized by the international community is 12nm. Now, the tricky part comes when you have a country that we aren't the best of friends with. We don't want to push any buttons because of an aircraft that accidentally flies too close and therefore will impose stricter limits on our own forces.

There are always exceptions, but this is the guidance 99.9% of our forces will follow.
Crye me a river
 
PADSpot
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RE: Military Aircraft And "enemy" ATC

Wed Sep 19, 2007 1:27 am

Quoting Usnseallt82 (Reply 5):
therefore will impose stricter limits on our own forces.

So the idea is that you expect foreign military airplanes to stay as far away from your borders as you direct your own forces to stay away from foreign borders? Well, if that works then ok. Sounds flexible and reasonable. I hope thereare no double standards ...
 
A342
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RE: Military Aircraft And "enemy" ATC

Wed Sep 19, 2007 4:59 am

Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 4):
Hope this helps??

Yes, thank you!
Exceptions confirm the rule.

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