Top left banner Top right banner
Bottom left banner Bottom right banner

Stewards of the Sea Menu

Warfare Areas

The Navy conducts operations in many places around the world. In order to prepare for real-world operations, the Navy conducts military readiness activities (e.g., training and testing) in designated air, land, and ocean areas where Sailors can safely train with aircraft, vessels, and sophisticated systems, such as weapons, sensors, and related equipment.

The skills needed to achieve military readiness are challenging to master and are perishable without constant practice. Training activities must be diverse and as realistic as possible to prepare aircrew and Sailors to complete their mission and ensure their success and survival. Naval training requirements are developed in support of the Navy’s primary mission areas described below to ensure Sailors maintain the highest level of readiness and capability.

Air Warfare

The mission of air warfare is to destroy or reduce enemy air and missile threats, including unmanned airborne threats, and serves two purposes: to protect U.S. forces from attacks from the air and to gain air superiority. Air warfare provides U.S. forces with adequate attack warnings, while denying hostile forces the ability to gather intelligence about U.S. forces.

Aircraft conduct air warfare through radar search, detection, identification, and engagement of airborne threats. Surface ships conduct air warfare through an array of modern anti-aircraft weapon systems such as aircraft detecting radar, naval guns linked to radar-directed fire-control systems, surface-to-air missile systems, and radar-controlled cannons for close-in point defense.

Amphibious Warfare

The mission of amphibious warfare is to project military power from the sea to the shore (i.e., attack a threat on land by use of a military force embarked on ships) through the use of naval firepower and expeditionary landing forces. Amphibious warfare operations include small unit reconnaissance or raid missions to large-scale amphibious exercises involving multiple ships and aircraft combined into a strike group.

Amphibious warfare training ranges from individual, crew, and small unit events to large task force exercises. Individual and crew training include amphibious vehicles and naval gunfire support training. Large-scale amphibious exercises involve ship-to-shore maneuvers and naval fire support, such as shore bombardment, air strikes, and attacks on targets that are in close proximity to friendly forces.

Anti-submarine Warfare

The mission of anti-submarine warfare is to locate, neutralize, and defeat hostile submarines that threaten Navy forces. Anti-submarine warfare is based on the principle that surveillance and attack aircraft, ships, and submarines all search for hostile submarines. These forces operate together or independently to gain early warning and detection and to localize, track, target, and attack submarine threats.

Anti-submarine warfare training addresses basic skills such as detecting and classifying submarines, as well as evaluating sounds to distinguish between enemy submarines and friendly submarines, ships, and marine life. More advanced training integrates the full spectrum of anti-submarine warfare from detecting and tracking a submarine to attacking a target using either exercise torpedoes (i.e., torpedoes that do not contain a warhead) or simulated weapons. These integrated anti-submarine warfare training exercises are conducted in coordinated, at-sea training events involving submarines, ships, and aircraft.

Electronic Warfare

The mission of electronic warfare is to degrade the enemy’s ability to use electronic systems, such as communication systems and radar, and to confuse or deny them the ability to defend their forces and naval assets. Electronic warfare is also used to detect enemy threats and counter their attempts to degrade the electronic capabilities of the Navy.

Typical electronic warfare training activities include threat avoidance, signals analysis for intelligence purposes, and use of airborne and surface electronic jamming devices to defeat tracking and communications systems.

Expeditionary Warfare

The mission of expeditionary warfare is to provide security and surveillance in the littoral (at the shoreline), riparian (along a river), or coastal environments. Expeditionary warfare is wide ranging and includes defense of harbors or civilian ports, operation of remotely operated vehicles, defense against swimmers, and boarding/seizure operations.

Expeditionary warfare training activities include underwater construction team training, dive and salvage operations, civilian port defense exercises, and insertion/extraction via air, surface, and subsurface platforms.

Mine Warfare

The mission of mine warfare is to detect, classify, and avoid or neutralize (disable) mines to protect Navy ships and submarines and to maintain free access to ports and shipping lanes. Mine warfare also includes offensive mine laying to gain control of or deny the enemy access to sea space. Naval mines can be laid by ships, submarines, or aircraft.

Mine warfare neutralization training includes exercises in which ships, aircraft, submarines, underwater vehicles, unmanned vehicles, or marine mammal detection systems search for mine shapes. Personnel train to destroy or disable mines by attaching underwater explosives to or near the mine or using remotely operated vehicles to destroy the mine.

Surface Warfare

The mission of surface warfare is to obtain control of sea space from which naval forces may operate and entails offensive action against other surface and subsurface targets while also defending against enemy forces. In surface warfare, aircraft use cannons, air-launched cruise missiles, or other precision-guided munitions; ships employ torpedoes, naval guns, and surface-to-surface missiles; and submarines attack surface ships using torpedoes or submarine-launched, anti-ship cruise missiles.

Surface warfare training includes surface-to-surface gunnery and missile exercises, air-to-surface gunnery and missile exercises, and submarine missile or torpedo launch events, and other munitions against surface targets.

If you would like to see videos of Navy ships and Sailors conducting training exercises in these warfare areas, please click through the video media player below.

Video by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason Isaacs
USS Howard Explains Anti-Submarine Warfare
Carrier Strike Group ONE - CSG 1
June 16, 2021 | 3:05
Howard: ASW
Runtime: 00:03:05:07
Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason Isaacs

210616-N-CZ893-1002 PACIFIC OCEAN (June 16, 2021) Senior Chief Sonar Technician (Surface) Ryan Markham and Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class Bradley Espinosa explain anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aboard the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83) June 16, 2021. Howard is currently underway conducting routine maritime operations in U.S. 3rd Fleet. (U.S. Navy video by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason Isaacs)