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A Countrys Military To Defend Itself History Essay

Airpower refers to the use of airspace resource by a country’s military to defend itself and uphold its foreign policy. Additionally, it also refers to the appliance of airspace apparatus to realize the ideas of the country’s leadership. In effect, air power could act autonomously or in collaboration with others forces of the sea and land. Even though such statements defining airpower could be accepted these days, the conception is even so ambiguous. Exactly what encompasses airpower and, even more outstandingly, how does this definition of airpower fit in the sophisticated structures of contemporary warfare and air combat in particular? These queries are very fundamental even though the answers seem to be ambiguous. The actuality is that airpower has been compartmentalized. There exists no sufficient canon that rallies the disconnect units of airpower and absolutely describes the aerospace medium. The contemporary United States Air Force manages just a minor segment of the entire airpower resources. The United States Army, the Marine Corps and the Navy all hold ‘air forces’ which are disconnect (not entirely disengaged though) and discrete from that of the Air Force.

Principally and operationally, each of these aerospace services has developed some aspects of air power. Different airspace units handle different portions of airpower with diverse spectrums. The compartmentalization of the airspace however can be placed in a historical context. The political intention of creating disconnect air services (or preserving an arm of the air force in the seas or land) has distorted the historical lessons that exhibit the latent prospects that air power can offer. From the turf war, a very inadequate outlook of airpower as it relates to the actions, movements and requirements of each defense and offence service has been witnessed.

Absent from the contemporary conception of airpower is an organization or arrangement for creation and improvement of a joint doctrine. The existent animated rivalries and mock boundaries ought to be placed aside so as to delineate and develop the latent aerospace potentials. This paper takes a rational examination of airpower and proposes a probable abstract framework which could assist prospective development of this crucial combat medium. In the body and conclusion of the paper, the paper comes up with a key theme: how a theoretical structure for airpower can be translated to practical applications.

Airspace features

Airpower exists because of the aerospace medium. As such it is imperative in any airpower discussion to adequately define the medium since this medium influences the available instruments and the expediency or application of prospective hi-tech developments. At present, though, there is no succinct, common consensus that is taken as the standard airpower definition. Even the array of instruments which constitute airpower diverges as different services across separate countries are analyzed. The predicament in delineating this word actually pops up when we have to pithily describe airpower weaponry systems ranging from those employed in the seas to the ones used on the land. Just two features are necessary to realize this daunting task: environment and the airpower intelligence [A] . A fine explanation of this features and the manner that they interact will demonstrate their input on models of prospective airpower service.

The environment obviously avails the medium through which military offence and defense missions are carried out. Military aircrafts have to fly through an air medium to deliver missiles to precise targets; equally, satellite projections make use of the airspace medium to execute their premeditated missions. From this context, an aircraft utilizes the aerospace medium to realize crucial military goals. This environmental feature employs weaponry vehicles like helicopters, jets and propellers while not including other military vehicles like ships and tanks. Clearly, the environment feature is a very notable aspect of enhancing applicability of a weapon system. Air Force files which analyze the performance attributes of velocity and range presume that all military assaults occur in the closure of the environment; aerospace. Nevertheless, this attribute unaided is not adequate to distinguish airspace instruments from those of the land and the sea. Projectiles like shells and bullets, for instance, move through the airspace even though they are not regarded as uniquely airspace instruments like aircrafts. Another feature is required to further demarcate the airspace as distinctly unique from the other mediums [B] .

The military Intelligence is a commonsense corollary of the environment upon which an assault is to be carried. Particularly, once the assault vehicles are in the airspace medium, the vehicle operators have the capacity to formulate resolutions and or apply intelligence. The intelligence feature may be a less palpable component of airpower but it is nevertheless the ultimate denominator on whether an assault is launched to precision. The Intelligence, being the operator, can be airborne inside the airspace vehicle or on land in a land-based vehicle. For that matter, the fixed-wing aircrafts, intelligence space satellites or vehicles that are remotely piloted all qualify as structures of the airspace.

This intelligence feature is not novel and neither is it surprising. Files from the Air Force archive discussing the agility of airpower neglect the capacity to alter targets or positions, to use the available intelligence inside the platform of the weapon. Additionally, numerous of the operational capacities related to airspace actions and movements like presence, mobility, reactions to situations and ability to survive have their root in this feature. Initially in the military context, intelligence of the assault vehicle was the occupant in the airman maneuvering it [C] . At the moment, even though the weaponry system has not changed much, it is greatly complemented by the input of aircraft’s artificial intelligence and control systems based on a station in land or sea.

Relevant use of environment and intelligence in airpower

Combined, the environment (medium) and intelligence offer a foundation for future development of hi-tech military aircrafts. Samplings of airpower military instruments that demonstrate these two features include long-range missiles, space satellites, helicopters and drones. The list is barely exhaustive but presents a valuable outline of reference. All military forces that employ the air medium utilize at some point the aforementioned instruments. Bad news is that not a single of them employs all of them in developing its canons or models of operations.

Up to now, demarcations made distinguishing different types of aircrafts for the intentional use of separating them along the services they can offer have been very reserved and equally transient. Commonsense acknowledges that helicopters will offer different services to fixed-wing planes due to the terrain and altitude they can operate on. Owing to the technical innovations being witnessed in the airspace field, clear demarcation lines separating the diverse aircrafts are unfeasible to be always made. For illustration purposes, the airlifting property of airpower have been reinforced and improved by the technology of the helicopter. The helicopter has been established into a metallic beast of today’s battleground, guaranteeing a degree of itinerancy that can only be offered by the airpower. The vertical and/or short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) technology ranks high among the inventions of airpower, but oncoming innovations in the same line presents a blurring possibility to the current features of airpower vehicles [D] .

The environment and aircraft artificial intelligence aspects put airpower and the others apart. The moment this distinction is noted, the responsibility and excellent applicability of airpower can be set aside. Normally, airpower technocrat focus on enhancing the colossal destructive ability that airpower presents which is merely the bombardment of identified targets. Yet, the immense potential that airpower ought to be analyzed against every manner that it has been employed in the past. If historical utilization of airpower is reviewed, it is possible that its potential can widened to cover more ground in war strategies. In history, the use of airpower to achieve strategies of projection, surveillance and denial is not startling. Instead of trying to avail an inclusive delineation, let us to the strategies of projection, surveillance and denial as the main functions of the military .These three functions clearly form a potent triad from which the military missions and specific unit roles can be conceptualized. The three embody a priceless constituent of airpower which ought to be comprehended in utilization of an aircraft.

Functions and strategies of military aircrafts

Every warfare campaign needs a proper strategy in the employment of available tools and instruments if it is to remain functional, let alone achieve its mission. The best fraction of contemporary airpower canon and theory is directed towards the capacity of its projection. From this framework, projection refers to the capacity to exert commendable military force to a particular setting at a preset time. A multiplicity of schemes is utilized in focusing military power to a particular cause and mission. Obviously, the Air Force scheme is always to bombard a preselected point. Another equally relevant scheme, but not as obvious, is projecting land forces by means of airlifting. The increased mobility presently enjoyed by military units is an upshot of force projections by aircrafts. Generally consensual military practices like close-air reinforcements, interdiction and premeditated salvos are all manifestation of this ability. The crucial ability of projection is the vital possibility of using the air vehicles to place requisite military units and their tools of operation in specified locations at times of significance.

Next to projection, in highlighting the capabilities offered by aircrafts, is denial. The denial capability involves repulsion or rebuffing of any of the enemy’s freedom to act. Projection offers the pure value of being offensive and denial offers the middle game; it mixes offensive actions and defensive reactions. Denial can however be viewed as a defensive strategy than an offensive plan as it always depends on the offensive and reactionary moves of the enemy. Conversely, the offensive operations meant to achieve air dominance can also be regarded integral components of denial. In March, 2011 the United States, France and Britain forces demonstrated the importance of denial by shutting down the Libyan air space thus crippling its assault capabilities [E] . Some interdiction aspects and close-air reinforcements can be classified as denial strategies. It is important to understand that sometimes enemy forces may be subliminally denied territorial freedom by passive movements of Air Force; even airlifts can disallow enemy armies the freedom to move around.

Surveillance, while possibly being the mainly employed, is least reflected on when military technocrats are reviewing the airpower capabilities. Plainly put, surveillance engrosses observing or watching to guarantee accurate control and direction. The utilization of surveillance planes and space satellites to monitor the developments in the military units of countries around the world is perhaps the biggest source of intelligence information by United States army. The possession of intelligence information concerning enemy units is very crucial in formulating viable air strategies and gaining domination in airpower. Surveillance utilizes the upshot of visibility to sway the impending actions of governments that are perceived as being hostile. For instance, the space satellite surveillance on the ongoing across the world is key element in formulation of foreign policy. In addition, the sentry E-3A plane patrols into regions and transmits a variety of military and political information. A central piece of many arms reduction treaties is the United States capacity to compel foreign governments to exercise restraints and discard pestilent military plans.

The three military capabilities highlighted above work in together to sustain explicit airpower operations. Mission statements are just words that the military expects to achieve. These goals can be achieved by incessant review and rehearsal of military capabilities. Any mission holds a mixture of the surveillance, projection and denial capabilities and as such, the capacities institute groundwork for constructing mission statements and attack plan. In every operation, one military capability will eventually dictate the rule whereas others act as supplementary plans. Only in deployment of all the three capabilities can the operation’s objectives be realized. In the case of banning air flights above the war region, for example, projection will dominate the agenda as the main offensive weapon. Nevertheless, denial is indispensable to repress the enemy army defenses and surveillance is clearly needed to obtain the target information and assess the mission’s success [F] .

The features (environment and intelligence) and capabilities (denial, surveillance and projection) are vital only if they aid an army in air combat. This theory is as useful as its application in the battleground. Airpower headship works inside the employment environment, an extensive construct for the realistic appliance of the airpower theory. The head of a military excursion should understand the environment as a compound setting of two prime considerations: national policy and conflict’s spectrum. In this setting, the airpower assault ought to be efficient and responsive.

Capabilities and intensity of war

The setting and intensity of combat operations are considerably varied from warfare to another. Even though airpower enthusiasts have conventionally concentrated on nuclear conflicts, conflicts with varying spectra need careful deliberation before commencement. Armed conflicts with considerably low intensity like surgical strikes need just the same amount surveillance because many high-intensity conflicts arose from small conflicts that were not successfully extinguished. If a conflict is not adequately managed it has the potential of spilling over and widening its spectrum and therefore becoming more complex and expensive to manage. A conflict’s spectrum obviously delineates the operational setting for the planners of the military expedition. Establishing a conflict’s nature and the suitable offensive military decisions is ultimately the epitome of military art. Military art refers to the evaluation of the suitable strategies, schemes, and instruments to be used in an armed conflict. The cadence and power of military operations in addition to requisite force numbers necessary to successfully perform these are decided by an evaluation of the nature of the conflict.

When evaluating the nature of a conflict and particularly the spectrum, the national policy should be understood. Airpower, while effective and necessary, is needed only if it upholds and promotes the national policy. The statement implies that air, land and sea operate together and not against each other. The employment of military action is meant to pressure other countries or groups to act in a particular ways. While the conflict’s spectrum determines the suitable response of the military, the national policy dictates the level and scope of military involvement in any given situation. National goals are represented by the political framework under which a military offensive against a country or group that is viewed as the enemy can be launched. President Bush’s ‘Axis of evil’ for instance clearly demarcated countries viewed as not sympathetic to the war on terror. The ‘Axis of evil’ while highlighting countries like Iran and North Korea as being sympathizers of terror group and terrorism, was laced with heavy political undertones that implicitly emphasized the United States zero tolerance of terrorism [G] . National goals and objectives decide the terms and conditions that equate to success and they ought to be consistent. Elemental military variables which rely on the political setting include issues like the extent of military force, period of conflict, amount of freedom accorded to military units and size of force.

Practical application in a case study: How Israel defeated Egypt, Jordan and Syria

The six day war between Israel on one hand and Egypt, Jordan and Syria on the other, highlights just how crucial airpower discipline can help vanquish an opponent. The war that is famously remembered as the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, took place between 5th and 10th of June with its hallmark being the surprise air raids by Israel on Egyptian air forces. In the conflict, Israel expertly used the surveillance, projection and denial aspects of strategic warfare to ensure victory within six days of what was largely an airpower mismatch. The development of a mission depends on occurrence of a conflict, and Israeli forces had long before its adversaries developed a strategic mission to protect itself against the incursions into its territorial boundaries. Even after the signing of the Armistice agreement in 1948 to bring a cessation to the hostilities between Israel and the neighboring Arab nations of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, the Israeli government understood that the agreement would not be enough to establish everlasting peace in the region [H] .

The conflict’s spectrum determines the nature of the war and the most feasible resolution. Israeli defense force understood the spectrum of the war involved combat with Arab nations that were bordering it to the North-East and South West. The setting of the war did not favor Israel as it was virtually surrounded by its enemies. The solution was a purely air military assault. Nonetheless, it was only the after extensive review of the Israeli national policy and its harmonization with the necessity for a military offensive that the green light was given to the then Israeli minister of defense, Moshe Dayan, to consult with military planners for a strategic mission plan. The planners developed a mission plan to incapacitate Egyptian air forces by bombarding their military air bases. Israel had suffered a lot from the Holocaust in Germany during the Second World War and was a very determined nation to ensure its survival in the face of adversity. Their attempted extermination by Adolf Hitler almost twenty years earlier had a great influence on their national policy and this greatly influenced their harmonized war stratagem.

Theoretical airpower analysts, in concert with their colleagues from land forces had formulated a comprehensive airpower mission that streamlined their cooperation and eliminated possible miscommunication, the mission was dubbed Operation Focus. Israel then studied surveillance information from its borders that indicated that Egypt was certainly going to attack. It was Israel’s prime time to attack and execute its denial capabilities. Israel launched a critical surprise offensive on the Egyptian Air Force, which was by far the most modern in the Arab world. Egyptian Air Forces boasted of over 400 combat aircrafts, consisting of Mig-21 that were by then very high-tech. Operation Focus engaged at least 90 percent of Israeli military aircrafts in a severely damaging attack on Egyptian air forces and land forces, damaging the Egyptian Tu-16 bombers that might have been used by Egyptians to shoot down Israeli airplanes.

The attack was an illustration of denial capabilities as it ensured that almost all Egyptian aircrafts were destroyed and therefore incapable of fighting in the air. It limited Egyptian incursions into Israel to merely by land forces. Subsequent and similar attacks by Israeli forces were carried on to the Syrian, Jordanian and Iraqi forces and airfields. Within 5 days after beginning of the war, the close coordination of Israeli military personnel and the pre-emptive strikes ensured Israel tasted a famous victory.


The surveillance, projection and denial capabilities are also streamlined to create a clear structure in line with the overall mission statement. The mission statement will decide whether to be offensive or defensive or both. The environment and intelligence will dictate the weaponry system to be utilized. The type and number of instruments to be availed in the battleground will depend on these two features. It is imperative that the use of different instruments that perform the same actions or operations be highly discouraged to eliminate confusion. Instruments that perform more than one function should be highly encouraged. For instance, one bomber which possesses the ability to carry out tactical, conventional and nuclear missions should be preferred to three separate instruments to carry out the three missions.

Three elements are explicit in the airpower operations. The national policy element is significantly influential during a military operation process. For instance, some instruments of airpower might not be tolerable to a section of the national leadership. The military surveillance, projection and denial capabilities offer an outline for studying any war mission. The features of airpower, intelligence and environment, guarantee that preparation will have at its disposal the entire catalog of airpower instruments. The paper highlights completely on the wide operations of airpower and basically does not discuss tactical aspects of an air operation.

When early enthusiasts of airpower were imagining and formulating theories hardly any aircraft were in existent. Combat lessons were unavailable and as such the theories were based on conceptual fantasies of what they imagined airpower might attain. These theories were formulated with very precise views of probable conflicts. The last 50 years have witnessed phenomenal transformation in the industry as airpower has transformed into a major component of warfare. Fragile Second World War planes have been phased out and replaced by an assortment of jets, missile launchers, stealth bombers, and helicopters. Due to the role that airpower plays in combat it is inevitable that different nations will invest in their air forces to strengthen their national security. As this evolution continues, the doctrines that anchor national policies must be sufficiently extensive to accommodate the mission statement.

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