Naval Aviation requires adequate airspace and ranges to practice tactics, perform research and development, to train realistically (i.e., to train as we will fight), and to transit aircraft from airfields to ranges. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently introduced the concept of Free Flight, which empowers the pilot to choose where the aircraft will fly based on the most economic route. Because of the Free Flight concept, we will be under increased pressure to allow civilian access to military special-use airspace.

To ensure we retain the special use airspace we need, the Department of the Navy and the Department of Defense are investing in a Military Airspace Management System that will closely track the utilization of special use-airspace, documenting who uses it, and why. Additionally, air traffic control (ATC) equipment located at NAS and Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) approach controls is being upgraded in coordination with the FAA to ensure that naval aircraft are handled as efficiently and expeditiously as civilian aircraft. Naval Aviation is involved with the other services to define the next generation Joint Precision approach capability and to determine the timing of upgrades to aircraft avionics which will ensure our continued access to airspace worldwide.