Military strategists frequently use the term A2/AD to refer to war-fighting strategies aimed at preventing an adversary from deploying military forces in close proximity to, inside of, or within a contested area. The strategy makes use of a number of interconnected missiles, sensors, guidance and other technologies to restrict mobility in order to deter any potential adversaries.
The deployment of adversarial troops into an operational area is prevented or limited by the Anti-Access – A2 – capabilities. Once in the area of operations, freedom of manoeuvre is limited using Area-Denial (AD) capabilities.
According to the U.S. Department of Defence Joint Operational Access Concept notes that “Anti-Access refers to those actions and capabilities, usually long-range, designed to prevent an opposing force from entering an operational area [while] Area-denial refers to those actions and capabilities, usually of shorter range, designed not to keep an opposing force out, but to limit its freedom of action within the operational area”
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The major lesson from the Gulf War of 1991 was the evolution of A2/AD. In a few days, the coalition led by the United States brought down a larger army. These sorts of precision-guided systems have been effectively used by nations like China and Russia to create A2/AD capabilities.
It is a strategy used to stop an enemy from entering any domain or moving freely through any region, including cyber, electromagnetic warfare, naval, and air.
Armed forces deploy a sort of A2AD to defend by using weapons or technology that substantially slows down or restricts an enemy’s mobility. Anti-ship, anti-tank, layered coastal defence, layered air defence, and integrated air and missile defence are some examples of A2AD.
Similar capabilities are required for A2AD, including anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities, mobile missile systems, hunter-killer submarines, anti-satellite missiles, and space surveillance equipment.