No fly zones?
February 28, 2011 5:39 PM   Subscribe

what does establishing and enforcing a "no fly zone" entail?
posted by BadgerDoctor to Law & Government (11 answers total)
As in, the Iraq no-fly zones?

Massive air superiority and widely-deployed surface-to-air antiaircraft installations.
posted by mhoye at 5:45 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

The ability to shoot down anything that fly's into your zone. Then telling people to not fly into your zone or you will shoot them down.
posted by token-ring at 5:57 PM on February 28, 2011 [4 favorites]

The willingness and ability to kill, immediately, any human in any airplane, that you choose to kill, in such a "zone." Your hope, if "you" are the nation state(s) "enforcing" such a zone, is that aviation activities conducted in such a zone, that are not approved by you (and which you then end by shoot down, or other violent intervention), will ultimately be found to be supportive of regimes or groups with lesser claims to historical justice than "you" maintain.
posted by paulsc at 6:04 PM on February 28, 2011

Foreign Policy has an article up right now about no fly zones that should answer your question:
posted by alaijmw at 6:07 PM on February 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

You need some aircraft—the shooty kind—and the ability to project that force into the area in question. That means you need air bases and/or aircraft carriers within operational range of the area. Logistical support—fuel, ordnance, food, and the means to get them where they're needed. Radar, so you know when things are in the air that shouldn't be. And the ability to defend all the parts of this apparatus from attack.

Not really sure what you're asking. It kind of sounds like you're asking what a no-fly zone is. And it's basically just what token-ring said.
posted by ixohoxi at 6:17 PM on February 28, 2011

In a technical sense it takes RADAR coverage of the denied area (either ground-based or airborne ala AWACS), a Command & Control center to coordinate everything & some means to shoot the planes down, either ground/sea-based missile launchers or fighter jets stationed nearby with a clear flight path to the target.
posted by scalefree at 6:20 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

This recent article discusses what would be involved in setting up a no fly zone over Libya and should be of interest to your question. The short answer is that it's an area where you tell people that they aren't allowed to fly. If they fly in that zone anyway, you stop them, by warning them and/or shooting at them. Secondary to that is the typical need to destroy anti-aircraft facilities, so forces on the ground can't attack your fighters patrolling the zone. It's really the same concept as a demilitarized zone, just in the air instead of the ground.
posted by zachlipton at 6:45 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

My (1967, revised 1983) Tactical Pilotage Charts for south east Asia contain the warning "Aircraft infringing upon Non-Free Flying Territory may be fired upon without warning. Consult NOTAMS and Flight Information Publications for the latest air information". So what everyone else is saying about the ability to shoot shit down, and let it be known that you're going to do so.

There is also a second warning on the Vietnam/Laos/Kampuchea charts that states "Unlisted emissions from this area may constitute a navigation hazard or result in border overflight unless unusual precaution is excercised". From that, I'd guess that if you really want to get serious about your no fly zone, you don't just want to have radar and the usual communications to find intruders and warn them off. You also want to mess with their ability to know quite where they are, so that they avoid even coming close to your zone.
posted by Ahab at 7:41 PM on February 28, 2011

Another component of a no-fly zone is SEAD, suppression of enemy air defenses. If you want to enforce a no-fly zone, it means you have to fly over it. If you're flying over it, the other guy can shoot at you from the ground.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:44 PM on February 28, 2011

If we're taking on enemy RADAR, we're almost certainly going to want to give some of the Project Suter gizmos a whirl just to see how well it works in the field, before we blow the RADARs up. Project Suter is a next-gen system for hacking into antiaircraft networked RADAR systems from the air by sending specially crafted RADAR reply sequences to the ground stations & spoofing them into seeing targets that aren't there & making them otherwise misbehave. Think of it as buffer overflows for RADAR. Seriously bleeding edge stuff; you can read some guesses about what it is & how it works here, here & here.
posted by scalefree at 8:22 PM on February 28, 2011

The USA sets these up within its own airspace all the time, too - they're known as Temporary Flight Restrictions, or TFRs. I believe they may be a little more relaxed now (as in, aircraft on a flight plan in contact with traffic control might be allowed through) but right after 9/11 it was absolutely forbidden to fly through them.

How this works in non-combat zones with civilian aircraft is that radar is used to control a given airspace and aircraft are all equipped with transponders. The FAA somehow shares data with the USAF for fighter responses.

A similar airspace entity is something called the Air Defense Identification Zone, or ADIZ. It's an imaginary line off the USA coasts, and all traffic passing in to the country through those lines must have an open flight plan.

As an anecdote, I was working in a small airport in South Jersey circa 2003 or so and the president was coming to Philadelphia for something or other. So, a TFR was established and published for the extent of his stay. Someone at a nearby airport didn't get the memo, and he flew his little Piper from that airport to ours, total distance about 3 miles. During the five minutes or so that he was in the air, I got a call from the FAA telling us to expect the airplane (and to have the pilot call the FAA back once he landed), and not two minutes after he taxis up to the office two fighters flew over the airport.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:15 AM on March 1, 2011

« Older London hotels - why is it so hard to search for...   |   Failing that... what features in a bathroom make... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.