were the answer to a tactical problem
s (missile submarines
) is a difficult business, especially if you can't wait for a prearranged time for them to surface
or float a radio buoy
. In order to penetrate seawater
, radio needs to be in the ELF
range. Sending ELF or VLF messages at long ranges requires enormous antennae
; the U.S. Navy maintains several facilities to send these messages which cover several acres each. As a consequence, they're also extremely fragile
. In the event of war, especially nuclear war
, there is good reason to believe that these facilities would be unavailable. Other landbased links would be vulnerable as well.
The U.S. Navy solved this problem by having a fleet of aircraft that, when alerted, would take off and begin orbiting previously defined positions over the United States. They would form an east-west chain designed to relay messages from the CONUS and Hawaii (and Looking Glass and its ilk) to the Atlantic fleet, especially the submarines.
TACAMO stands for, and I kid you not, TAke Charge And Move Out.