Section 7. Navy Shipboard Exercises


FACSFACs are Navy air traffic control facilities established to manage/schedule special use airspace (SUA), operating areas (OPAREAs), and off-shore airspace in support of air, surface and sub-surface operations. FACSFACs should be used as the point of contact for FAA activities with respect to Navy shipboard operations. Although each FACSFAC has location-specific responsibilities, they normally perform the following services:

  1. Scheduling, coordinating, and monitoring of surface, sub-surface and airborne units operating within and transiting between offshore OPAREAs and the National Airspace System (NAS).
  2. Scheduling and coordinating airborne units operating within assigned airspace of inland operating areas.
  3. Scheduling of military training routes (MTRs).
  4. Maintaining liaison with other controlling agencies, fleet commands, other military commands, FAA, Coast Guard, and selected state and federal agencies.
  5. Providing SUA control services to participating military units, other government aircraft, government contract aircraft, and, on a not-to-interfere basis, civil aircraft as delineated in letters of agreement with applicable FAA and military activities.
  6. Scheduling and coordinating associated commercial and military aircraft services support.
  7. Assistance during search and rescue (SAR) and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC).

Each FACSFAC is structured to meet the operational needs of a specific geographic area in direct support of fleet requirements. Facility location and associated areas of responsibility are as follows:

  1. FACSFAC San Diego, CA: responsible for NOCAL/SOCAL OPAREAs.
  2. FACSFAC Pearl Harbor, HI: responsible for Hawaiian/MIDPAC OPAREAs.
  3. FACSFAC Vacapes, VA: responsible for Narragansett, Atlantic City, Vacapes, and Cherry Point OPAREAs.
  4. FACSFAC Jacksonville, FL: responsible for Charleston, Jacksonville, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and Puerto Rico OPAREAs.

The Navy must coordinate with the ARTCC/CERAP/HCF(s) involved in the handling of aircraft operating from shore bases participating in fleet readiness exercises at least 30 days prior to the exercise.


Planning conferences between the regional FACSFAC supporting Navy shipboard operations, the regional Navy representative (NAVREP) and the appropriate FAA activity should be held to review operation planning and execution. Emphasis should be placed on procedures for aircraft transiting the NAS to/from inland OPAREAs and target complexes. The following topics should also be discussed:

  1. Adherence to coordinated strike/launch sequence plans, published stereo routes and pre-coordinated flight plan routes.
  2. Adherence to filed instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan call signs while transiting the NAS.
  3. Assignment of Mode 3 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) codes for flight operations within the air defense identification zone (ADIZ).
  4. Coordination with other commercial, military, and civil agencies impacted by shipboard operations.
  5. Issuance of Notices to Mariners (NOTMARs) for hazardous operations.
  6. Notification procedures for completion of operations in altitude reservation (ALTRV)/SUA/range/target areas.
  7. Flexibility/contingency plans for unforeseen changes to planned operations.

Regional FACSFACs are the communications link between FAA activities and aircraft carriers. Shipboard air operations personnel establish ship-to-shore communications with the regional FACSFAC (unless beyond communication range or if shipboard electronic emissions are restricted) to facilitate the conduct of aircraft carrier operations. If circumstances dictate, airborne carrier air wing aircraft (such as E-2 airborne early warning aircraft) can be used as “middle-man” to coordinate with the aircraft carrier. Typical aircraft carrier operations consist of:

  1. Cyclic operations consisting of numerous aircraft launching and recovering from the ship for extended periods of time.
  2. Carrier qualification/refresher training consisting of continuous flight operations for pilot proficiency that may require several aircraft to divert/bingo to a shore installation for minimum/emergency fuel or other emergency situations.
  3. ALPHA strike and amphibious assault exercises that require numerous aircraft to transit coastal routes to/from inland areas/target complexes.
  4. Air wing flyoffs consisting of numerous aircraft (approximately 50-70 aircraft) departing the ship en route to their home bases at the completion of the at-sea period.
  5. SAR and MEDEVAC missions.

Procedures for the coordination and handling of air wing flyoffs from aircraft carriers returning from deployments must be developed between appropriate FAA activities and the regional FACSFAC


Air capable ships are naval vessels, such as destroyers, frigates, etc., that embark a helicopter detachment of one to three aircraft. Air capable ship operations consist of surveillance missions, logistical support flights, MEDEVAC missions, SAR support and passenger/cargo flights to/from shore installations in support of fleet operations. FACSFACs should be used as the point of contact for FAA activities with respect to air capable ship operations.


Exercises/operations requiring FAA CARF altitude reservations will normally be coordinated by FACSFAC in accordance with Chapter 4 of this order.


Procedures must be developed to provide for liaison visits to the aircraft carrier by FAA personnel. Carrier air wing and shipboard air operations personnel must develop procedures to visit FAA activities.