Operations Billet Specialty

Surface Warfare Officers School Commnd

Department Head Combat Systems

Newport, Rhode Island



REV: 03/98


(a) NTP-4

(b) NTP-4

(c) APP-4 Vol I & II


Quite often a ship is judged on its ability to communicate, therefore, a Communications Plan (Comm Plan) is a must. A Comm Plan is a good and necessary tool for Radio, CIC, and Bridge personnel. A Comm Plan should be written to cover each and every underway period. A good Comm Plan will give a true picture of what communication circuits are required and indicate where and when they are needed throughout a specific underway period. Flexibility, of course, is necessary when writing a Comm PLAN.


1. Each time a ship gets underway there should be a Comm Plan. A good Comm Plan will list all the communication requirements, in detail, for a specific underway period. The end result should be a detailed and effective communications Plan that can be understood and utilized by all concerned. As department heads, you should not have to write the Comm Plan, but should have a good knowledge of how they are written and what they include.

    1. Important considerations for Comm Plans:

a. Should be tailored to the tactical scenario

b. Must consider Comm info from various source documents such as:

    1. Fleet Commanderís OPORD
    2. Numbered Fleet Commanderís OPORD
    3. NAVCAMS LANG/MEL Fleet Telecomm Procedures
    4. Various Fleet Instructions
    5. Messages (OPTASK/OPGENS)
    6. SOPA Regs
    7. LOIs

c. Ensure that Comm needs donít exceed resources available.

    1. Personnel manning
    2. Equipment
    3. Unit capability
    1. Assign watch responsibilities for the following locations:
    1. Communications Center.
    2. CIC
    3. Bridge
    4. Helo Control
    1. Disseminate the information contained in the Communications Plan. Ensure that Communications are provided from the beginning to end of the evolution.
    2. Test the circuits from the user position (remote locations). Some typical circuits for in port/underway may include:
    1. Inport:
    1. Fleet Broadcast
    2. Ship-to-Shore
    3. Harbor Ops/Admin
    4. Drill Circuits
    1. Underway:
    1. Fleet Broadcast
    2. Ship-to-Shore
    3. Harbor Ops/Admin
    4. Tug Control
    5. Task Force (Group) TTY Circuits
    6. Degaussing

3. When drafting the Comm Plan, screen the OPTASK Comm and other OPTASK/OPGENS and look for the following:

a. Basic battle group Circuits such as:

    1. TF/TG Command
    2. AW C&R
    3. SU/USW C&R
    4. C2W C&R
    5. TF/TG Tactical
    6. TG Teletype
    7. Link/Link Coord
    8. Sextant-Outboard
    9. OTCIXS
    10. TACINTEL
    1. Special requirements, i.e. warfare commander or alternates
    2. U/W requirements, i.e. harbor common, Tug control, degaussing run, etc.
    3. Transit requirements, i.e. FACSFAC, OPAREA, etc.
    4. Distress requirements
    5. Ship/Shore requirements, i.e. CUDIXS, relay via CV, etc.
    6. Broadcast requirements.
    7. Plan for running overload channels as first run. Plan for HF.
    8. Circuit restoration priorities
    9. Equipment availability
    10. Remote locations
    11. Special CMS requirements
    12. Special visual signal requirements
    13. Required reports, i.e. PRE-EX, POST-EX, etc.
    14. Established frequency Plans, i.e. USW Air Channelization, TACAIR Channelization
    15. Pick out circuits you will need for your particular ship, i.e. your shipís mission
    1. The Comm Plan should include:
    1. Proper classification
    2. Line numbers
    3. All required circuits
    4. Frequencies
    5. Emission Designators
    6. Equipment allocations
    7. Terminal equipment
    8. Key mat/Cryptographic equipment
    9. Remote locations
    10. Restoration Priorities
    11. Remarks column can include:

1. Necks

2. Frequency change times

    1. Special notes
    1. Channelization Plans

5. Additional data needed can include:

    1. Task organization List
    2. Call sign list (including visual)
    3. Visual requirements
    4. Complete channelization Plan
    1. The Communications Plan must be approved by the Department Head, and should be chopped through the CICO, EMO and if applicable, the SSO prior to routing.
    2. Distribute copies to Radio, CIC, Bridge, Flag spaces, CO, XO, etc.
  1. Distress frequencies.
    1. 500 KHZ - International Calling and Distress frequency.
    1. Authorized emission - CW
    2. Used to establish communications between merchant ships and shore stations. Must shift to normal working frequency upon establishing communications.
    3. Merchant ships and naval ships, if no other circuits are available, will transmit their distress messages on 500 KHZ.
    4. No transmissions, except distress messages, are authorized on this frequency during the required silent periods which include:
    1. 15-18 minutes after each hour
    2. 45-48 minutes after each hour
    1. USN ships are not required to guard this circuit.

2. 8364 KHZ - International Lifeboat, life raft and survival craft frequency.

    1. Survival craft to establish communications relating to SARA with ships or coastal stations
    2. Aircraft to establish communications with ships or coastal stations.
    3. Primarily for long-distance alerting and direction purposes.
    4. No shore transmission authorized except with survival craft in support of SAR and/or direction finding operations.
    5. USN ships are not required to guard this circuit except when operating with maritime patrol aircraft and during SAR operations.
    6. CW emission
    1. 2182 KHZ - International Distress and Calling Frequency for Maritime Mobile Service.
    1. Authorized emission voice (AM Telephony).
    2. Used by naval ships, merchant ships, and stations rendering assistance to ships or crafts in distress. May be used to call the Coast Guard when unable to establish communications on normal authorized Coast Guard frequencies.
    3. Silent periods are 00-03 minutes and 10-33 minutes after each
    4. hour.

    5. USN ships maintain a listening watch on this circuit.

4. 121.5 MHZ - International Aeronautical Emergency Frequency (VHF).

a. Voice emission (AM)

b. Reserved for actual distress traffic ONLY.

c. This is actually a spare frequency for air distress traffic which will normally be sent over tactical or air route (civil or military) frequencies employed for in flight communications.

d. USN ships guard as personnel and equipment allow.

5. 243.0 MHZ - Navy Aeronautical Emergency Frequency (Military Air Distress) (UHF Band).

a. Voice emission (AM)

b. Used to provide a communications channel to and from

airborne and ground stations or surface craft involved in

actual emergency or distress conditions.

c. USN ships guard.

6. 156.8 MHZ - International Calling and Safety frequency (VHF-FM).

a. Voice emission. (FM)

b. Inter-ship and ship-to-coast communications.

c. Bridge-To-Bridge (Channel 16)

d. Guard