PART F - PERFORM ACTIVE AIR DEFENSE MEASURES
1. Identify Active Air Defense Doctrine. Active air defense is direct action taken to destroy
enemy air platforms or reduce their effectiveness. While the first line of defense against enemy air
is the constant application of passive air defense measures, commanders must prepare their units to
actively engage air threats. If attacked the unit has the option of fighting back. The decision to
engage hostile air platforms will include consideration of the unit's mission and tactical situation.
If the enemy air platforms are outside the engagement range of the unit's weapons, a unit's most
attractive option could be to seek cover.
Fighting back is active air defense, but it's not undertaken as a one-on-one activity, that is, one
soldier acting independently against one air threat. Rather, it is a coordinated group response
either undertaken spontaneously or under command using prescribed engagement techniques. If a
unit cannot coordinate its fire, it will be ineffective and waste ammunition.
2. When passive air defense measures fail and enemy air threats are within range of organic
weapons, units can conduct active air defense by shooting back. All Army units can engage enemy
air threats to --
a. Destroy the threat.
b. Force the threat away from friendly positions.
c. Force the threat to fly higher, so they can be destroyed by friendly aircraft or ADA.
d. Spoil the hostile pilot's aim as they engage friendly forces.
3. Right of Self-Defense.
Your right to fire at an attacking aircraft is derived from the doctrine of self-defense. You
may defend your unit from direct attack but you do not engage aircraft not attacking you except on
the command of the next higher authority. Even if you are under direct attack, practical
consideration bear on your decision to fire. It makes no sense at all to shoot at a helicopter
attacking you from a standoff range of 3 kilometers, except perhaps with the main gun of a tank.
Your decision to fire should be tempered by consideration of the capabilities of weapons you have
available to you. However, there is another side to the fire decision. While your intent in firing is
to kill the attacking aircraft using small arms, it will result in a low probability. However, the use
of coordinated group firing, using all organic weapons to make the pilots aware that they are under
fire, can disturb their concentration and cause them to miss their target or abandon their attack.
The pilots should be made aware that they are under fire from the ground. Nothing is more
disturbing to a pilot's concentration than flying into a hail of tracers, and if practical, tracers
should be used.