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INTERCEPT PROCEDURES TEXTBOOK
IP-2: AIR INTERCEPT CONTROL
For the fighter to fully understand and appreciate the often difficult tasks of air intercept
control, an awareness of the conditions under which the controller operates, the procedures in
use, and the complexity of command and control are useful. This unit will introduce the student
to the Fighter/Controller relationship, with the express purpose of stressing the importance of
teamwork.
Basic Radar
Basic search radars have a search range of approximately 250 miles. They are capable of
identifying IFF return out to 200 miles. They are also capable of seeing through all forms of
weather, enabling the air controller to close-control the fighter into lock-on range without any
appreciable difficulty.
E-2 Hawkeye and E-3 AWACS
The E-2 Hawkeye is the carrier-based Airborne Early Warning (AEW) platform with a 24-
foot diameter saucer-shaped radome housing the APS-138 or APS-145 radar. The E-2 can detect
targets more than 230 miles away, track over 250 targets, and provide control for more than 30
separate airborne intercepts. Passive detection devices can alert the E-2 crew to electronic
emissions more than 500 miles away. The Hawkeye crew is also responsible for "big picture"
coordination of surface and air warfare assets.
The E-3 AWACS is the Air Force's specially modified Boeing 707 that houses a
sophisticated airborne command and control center. The operating altitude of the E-3, combined
with the capability of the radar, allows it to detect targets from 200 to 300 nautical miles,
depending on target size. Like the E-2, the E-3 AWACS is resistant to electronic jamming by
enemy forces. The E-3, like all long-range radar platforms, is limited in its ability to provide
close control to the fighters at the merge.
Planned Position Indicator (PPI) Scope
The planned position indicator scope is the type of radar display that air intercept controllers
use to detect aircraft and control fighter aircraft. It gives the controller what is best described as
a "God's eye view" of the area. It has many features incorporated to assist the air controller,
namely an off center function, a roving cursor, and a variable range control.
The equipment used by the VT-86 GCI controllers, callsign "Gritrock," is relatively old and
very labor-intensive. The Gritrock controllers here at VT-86 will typically be fleet-experienced
Navy Operations Specialists (OS). They are able to "paint" raw returns, but will usually rely on
IFF.
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