Strategic developments in military aviation

Military, tactical and strategic developments in military aviation

strategic developments in military aviation

We will deal with the following points here:

A  historical overview of military aviation

Air mobility of military aviation
Military air transport.
Military aviation power projection


Here is a recent example of air combat between two planes at very low altitude and at high speed;

Who wins ?


“The two world wars contributed to the astounding progress of aviation and helped to forge the foundations for the tactical and strategic employment of aviation.


With the emergence of the airplane at the dawn of the twentieth century, war was projected into the third dimension.

Its use gave a new dimension to tactics and military strategy: first of all thanks to a double capacity of investigation and destruction. Then, thanks to the speed and length of the air vector. it turned out that the air weapon gave a greater scope to the general maneuver of the forces

But before approaching this subject, it is judicious to begin by defining the terms which we will often use in the study of this subject namely "the tactics", "the strategy", "the air power", "the tactics air "and" air strategy ".

To begin with, we will quote the quote from the Prussian general Mr CLAUSEWITZ who said at the beginning of the 19th century I quote:

"There are two absolutely distinct activities: tactics and strategy. The first orders and directs the action in the battles, while the second links the battles to each other, to achieve the ends of war" end of quote.



So then for Tactics, we will say that it is a technique or science consisting in leading a battle by combining by maneuver the action of the armed forces to achieve the objectives of a campaign or defeat the enemy.

And to define the strategy we will say that

It is the art of coordinating the action of the military, political, economic and moral forces of a country or a coalition in order to achieve the expected results.

As for Air power, it covers all the means making it possible to acquire superiority in the third dimension, to ensure freedom of action on land and at sea while allowing the air forces to carry all their weight in the air. offensive actions for the benefit of all.



And as far as air strategy and tactics are concerned, it has been found that there is not much evidence of air strategy in the classical literature. The notion is even absent from the dictionary of military strategy. In addition, the line between air strategy and air tactics has not always been clear.

In a campaign, the tactical and strategic levels of air power employment are often confused. To classify them on separate levels would lose sight of their interactions.

Thus, air strategy and tactical strategy are part of military strategy. The latter translates the directives of the global strategy into terms corresponding to the use of armed force. And in view of the objectives assigned to it, it must make it possible to calculate and coordinate the means necessary for the success of the military enterprise, but without going beyond the framework of the political ends envisaged by the politician.

In a general way,

In air tactics, planes provide, among other things, support to land and naval forces. They allow aerial observation of enemy positions, they direct navy and artillery fire. And they transport troops, equipment and supplies.

Strategically, planes are used to bombard enemy industrial centers, communications systems and hubs.

On the other hand The appearance of the air weapon has provoked deep tactical and strategic upheavals. These machines, capable of delivering significant firepower beyond the front line, were used throughout the twentieth century with increasing efficiency. The various doctrines of the use of the airplane, which have succeeded each other during this century, have always been situated within the framework of an antagonism between the partisans of a use exclusively for the benefit of the ground forces, and those who advocated attacking strategic objectives deep in enemy territory.


Thanks to air power, which has become essential in all military operations, military tactics and strategy have been able to find several answers to their needs; the appearance of new modes of action and the emergence of new concepts applied in the last conflicts of the twentieth century are a good illustration of their evolution.



Air tactics and strategy have adapted to the evolution of crises and conflicts and have offered a wide range of modes of action to achieve all the missions of the armed forces.



At first, the aircraft was designed to feed the fires of the ground forces.

Thus, the first devices that were used for war purposes were the zeppelins, devices subsequently neglected because of their extreme vulnerability.

Then came the propeller planes, first used by the Italian army to observe the movements of Turkish troops,


The first planes, like the Vicker FB5, were used primarily for observation and reconnaissance in enemy territory, but they were lightly armed, slow and vulnerable to anti-aircraft fire.


However, when machine guns were installed on airplanes like the Fokker Eindecker, they have a mechanism controlling fire to prevent damage to the propellers. The aerial fact quickly established itself: in 1918, each of the Allied offensives was supported by more than 300 planes.

In addition, At the start of the war, the bombs were thrown by hand from the cockpit.

Later, bomb sights and standardized bomb installations made strikes against civilian and military targets more effective. The massive use of aviation at the front reached its peak in 1918 with the Allied forces led by US General Billy Mitchell,

It should be noted that in all the operations of the First World War, there was no air doctrine and the way of using the planes was rather improvised than thought out and planned.


However, in the aftermath of the First World War, everyone understood that the air forces will have to play an important role in a future conflict. But for the most part, the importance of this role remains a question mark.

Thus, the analysis of the First World War raised the following problem.

At the end of 1914, the belligerents, exhausted and decimated by the firepower of the weapons used in battles, settled in trenches and fortifications that were to remain permanent for nearly forty months.The question was (how to unlock the war, to regain the tactical and strategic mobility lost due to the progress of land armaments).

Shocked by this immobility which had characterized this so-called trench warfare. Military strategists of the interwar period, notably GL Giulio Douhet and GL William Billy Mitchell

Ruled that an air force must aim to carry the attack farther from the battlefield, to strike strategic targets such as airports, train stations, to destroy industries supporting opposing armies and finally to undermine the morale of the civilian population.

However, during the Second World War, two conceptions of the use of air force were applied, they were mainly related to geostrategy in the countries protagonists of this war.

The first so-called insular design advocated by England and the United States, it is the last two opted for strategic strikes which appeared for England as an interesting substitute, since she preferred to avoid a land engagement on the European continent. .

And for the United States, where there was a strong isolationist current, strategic bombing was a strategic panacea; popular, economically advantageous, theoretically less costly in men than a land war of attrition.

As for The second so-called continental conception initiated by Germany, Russia and France: where land constraints predominated, geostrategic conditions hardly favored the actions of an independent strategic aviation, thus, the Germans, for example, supporters of lightning air-land maneuver, do not invest significantly in long-range bombardment aviation. The German aviation doctrine was purely tactical, the Germans first tried brilliantly at first the principle of support aviation with the famous stuka.

But, when Hitler decided to apply the strategic bombings, he misused them by concentrating these bombings on London and the big cities of G. Brittany instead of destroying the air bases of the Royal Air Force.

And when the war began with the Soviet Union, the Germans had no strategic bomber that would have enabled them to strike the adversary's vital resources. In addition, no strategic air warfare action had been planned, the medium bombers were engaged exclusively for the benefit of the ground troops. Thus the Germans realized too late that their strategy of rapid air-land warfare was ineffective against a country which had, in its rear, a very important war industry.


In the aftermath of the Second World War, especially during the Cold War, the main function of fighter planes was to intercept the large nuclear bombers which threatened strategic bombers, in addition low-flying fighter planes were put into circulation for the Pure air combat and close support of ground forces The tactical use of aviation continued after World War II in geographically limited wars.



On the other hand, the major tactical innovation of the period following the Second World War is undoubtedly air mobility which is a neologism designating the use of the helicopter, in all its forms, in airspace close to the ground. .


Indeed, a simple look at the main conflicts that took place in the second half of the 20th century shows a gradual evolution of the performance and reliability of the helicopter, thus modifying its concept of use and making it acquire a decisive role in military tactics armed conflicts. Three significant periods, from the end of World War II to the present day, have revealed the evolution of military tactics with the use of the helicopter.



Thus, The first period covers the two main conflicts which followed the Second World War, namely the Indochina War (1946-1954) and the Korean War (1950-1953). In both conflicts, light and medium helicopters appeared to be associated with the armed forces. They were generally used in the context of transport, medical evacuation and crew recovery missions.


The second period extends from (1954-1975), The lessons learned from the previous conflicts had made admit the need to integrate the helicopters in units formed in the ground forces, and to use them in a tactical framework like combat engines.


In Vietnam, the Americans have hired a very impressive number of helicopters (3,500). They made up many Bell UH-1 D Iroquois flotillas, but also medium and heavy cargo ships. This massive use of rotary wing missiles in vast combined operations corresponded to a new concept of military air mobility.


And the third period extends from 1979 to 1989. During the Soviet military operations which took place in Afghanistan, the USSR measured the usefulness of helicopters in a country without road infrastructure, where the risks of ambushes rendered hazardous convoys. Also the staffs have in fact an intensive use, in logistic support for the advanced garrisons and in powerfully armed and armored combat vehicles.



The Gulf War then brought to light a relentless air supremacy, allowing the intensive use of helicopters both on land and at sea in good safety conditions. This conflict is also marked by the use of Apaches in very specialized missions.

Currently, the helicopter participates in almost all combat functions, the missions assigned to it are purely tactical, we distinguish:


Liaison missions, carried out by any type of device, generally unmarked

Reconnaissance or intelligence missions carried out by light or medium helicopters, armed or not, equipped with technical optical means.


Combat missions entrusted to aircraft which may or may not be specialized, armed either for anti-tank combat, or for support and protection, or for the fight against other helicopters.

Transport missions are carried out either in a tactical framework, or in a logistical context.


Battlefield surveillance missions. Light and medium helicopters are also used as flying PCs and in command support missions,




Thus, the helicopter gives an additional dimension, the third, to land combat of which it is an integral part. With its own efficiency, it creates, associated with the ground component, added value resulting from the expansion of the areas of action, the reduction of intervention times and the increase in their pace. It is in this sense that air mobility appears as a power multiplier.



And as far as military air transport is concerned, we will say that:



In the wide range of new modes of action, military air transport finds a preponderant place and shows that it is an integral part of air strategy and not a secondary component.

One of the first post-Cold War commitments for transport planes was humanitarian aid: support for the Kurds in northern Iraq from May to July 1991, support for the inhabitants of Sarajevo from July 1992, then for the inhabitants from Bosnia from March 1993. It is interesting to note that this mission was the only one entrusted to the air forces during the first years of this new era of crisis management.

In 1991, in Croatia, there was no question of clearly identifying the aggressor and therefore threatening the belligerents with air strikes to bring them to the negotiating table. The establishment of military means to carry out humanitarian missions is, however, a strong political signal through which the international community, despite its powerlessness, shows its will to refuse that international humanitarian law is not respected.


No one can deny the impact of the Sarajevo airlift, if only on a humanitarian level, on subsequent events. In fact, in a context of crisis management, it is more accurate to speak of a military humanitarian mission.

However, humanitarian transport is a special mission, authorized by the belligerents who reserve the right to oppose it by actions against planes and crews.

Thus, During the landing in Sarajevo, a significant number of planes came under fire from small arms. On several occasions the Serbs bombed Sarajevo airport in retaliation for infra-red decoy fire from airlift planes. The military humanitarian operation does indeed constitute direct action in a combat zone.

The modes of action of the transport aircraft in this type of engagement are the assault landing on a steep slope. Or the dropping of food carried out at high, medium or low altitude. In fact the modes of action are the same as those of an airborne operation.


And with regard to the projection of long-range forces which is a mission of transport planes we all note that:

The threat of airstrikes in Serbia and the presence of a military force deployed in Macedonia undoubtedly allowed Serbs and Kosovars to come together to seek an agreement. This deployment requires a long-range force projection capability.

It is the field of transport planes and tankers that should not be forgotten when it is necessary to project fighter or transport planes. The transport plane, compared to the boat, allows this expansion of space, it can thus reduce projection times and thus contribute to delivering a strong political message almost instantaneously.

When the engagement of a force is decided, the transport aircraft makes it possible to carry out, throughout the operation, the following phases: engagement, maneuver and support of the forces. To do this all modes of action can be used, with a preference for the landing whether it is assault or not. The characteristic of these crisis management operations compared to a classic conflict is the dissemination of land units in the theater of operations and the creation of islands or pockets. In these so-called incomplete operations, the transport aircraft will constitute the umbilical cord of these forces, and the engagement, support and maneuver of the forces require mastery of the use of transport aircraft despite the threat.

In this part, we have seen how the transport plane could be the main vector of two types of engagements: humanitarian, and deployment of forces, each of these engagements not being exclusive of the others. These commitments take place at the very beginning of a crisis, as a preamble to a military intervention that may or may not be done, depending on the results of what we can call strategic diplomacy or diplomatic strategy.

In addition to this mode of action, which is military air transport, strategic bombardment can be defined as:

Direct military action in non-metropolitan or foreign territory. It is one of the most important concepts and modes of action of power projection which, in a short time, can win the decision.

It therefore calls on mobile forces in non-national spaces, endowed with a strong and rapidly available strike capacity.It appears as the ideal weapon for total war, no longer attacking the opposing armed forces but at its center. of gravity.

However, winning a war solely with strategic strikes has not been 100% achieved to this day.


Thus, fearing the possibility of unsuccessful air strikes, during the Gulf War, the Joint Chiefs of Staff planned a vast combined operation.

The bombardment was initially directed towards strategic objectives, such as command centers, in an attempt to disrupt the adversary. Objectives, chosen for their political or economic interest, were also discussed.

At the same time, military targets were also bombed, with a view to preparing the ground offensive. We are therefore witnessing in this conflict coherent air operations, in phase with the activity of the ground troops.

This reversal of strategic air doctrine made it possible to favor the adequacy between the politico-military objective sought and the means used.

The most convincing example is that of the Iraqi nuclear industry, which the American administration wanted to reduce at all costs, and which is doing so, notably with the help of air power. Western air strategists have opted for surgical strikes whose efficiency would be constantly improved thanks to advances in high technology.


So the use of precision weapons on an objective by a bomber fighter is as effective as that of a multitude of unguided bombs, fired by a heavy bomber. This is the reason why the American aviation will modify the concept of employment of its heavy bombers which will be gradually adapted to the shooting of precision weapons.



On the other hand, the bombing campaign in Kosovo merits careful consideration as it highlights the role of strategic offensive air action in modern conflict.

It also illustrates the debate between supporters of anti-force bombing and those who advocate strategic bombing from the start of a conflict.

This conflict is marked by the growing antagonism between the joint commander-in-chief (SACEUR, supreme allied commander in Europe), who called for exclusively anti-force air strikes, and the head of aviation employment in the southern sector. NATO (COMAIRSOUTH), which advocated strategic strikes in the heart of Serbia.

Airstrikes began at the end of March. SACEUR immediately set COMAIRSOUTH's priority to attack the Serbian forces in Kosovo.

COMAIRSOUTH considers that the list of objectives set is too small and insufficiently strategic to obtain the expected results.

The antagonism between the two senior military officials worsened until the joint commander of NATO's southern sector offered a compromise by proposing to SACEUR an increase in the means to reconcile the two options, anti-forces and strategic.

In addition, the analysis of the results of this exclusively aerial campaign shows that it is essentially these aerial actions in the middle of Serbian territory that made it possible to bring Milosevic back to the negotiating table, the anti-force missions not having produced the expected results, especially because of the mobility and camouflage capabilities of the Serbian forces. This is the lesson of this conflict.



Thus, if the evolution of tactics and military strategy through the use of aviation has resulted in the appearance of a wide range of modes of action, it has given rise to new concepts of war. .




Coercion is a strategy which allows at a lower cost and thanks to the use of an adapted and credible force to obtain a change in the behavior of the adversary.

Indeed, the coercion tries to avoid the brutal shock with the enemy military force, the best way to avoid it is to bypass it to arrive directly at the goal desired a long time ago by Sun zi who professed to "win without fighting ". Bypassing from the top then appears to be the ideal solution.

From the beginnings of aeronautics, this freedom which the use of the third dimension brings is fully utilized. The adjustment of artillery fire from captive balloons and then from planes made it possible to overcome the masks of the relief and to see beyond the infantryman.

Then came the first hand bombardments from an airplane, suddenly crossing the human curtain formed by the armed protective cordon. It is therefore now possible to avoid Warden's “fifth circle”, that of the armed forces which protects any enemy system, to directly attack the desired centers of gravity.

It should be noted that this ability to bypass a protective curtain is not new. It was the raison d'être of artillery or even bows in the battles of the past. We can also consider that the shooting of flaming arrows inside the ramparts of a besieged city already represented an effective use of the third dimension.

However, the scope of the armaments did not allow the actual coercion to be carried out. It was a use of evasion at the tactical level of battle in brute force action.

However, it was the aircraft that would provide the extension and flexibility necessary for strategic coercion. Air is a homogeneous medium. It is thus possible to reach any point of the globe without any restriction provided that it is not buried too deeply.

There are no longer any physical obstacles to advancement. At the military level, there is also homogenization of the social space. No one is more protected. There are no longer any "backs" or "fronts". It is possible to strike civilians as well as soldiers. Psychologically, a fighter no longer has to face a physical person. All notion of bravery, courage, honor in combat disappears. It only remains to suffer, helplessly, and to receive the blows.

The use of the third dimension thus depersonalizes the combat and forces the adversary to the defensive.


In addition, the appearance of fast and reusable vectors making it possible to use this third dimension effectively and has made it possible to take full advantage of these characteristics.

The plane is only one of these vectors. It is now piloted but this fact is not inevitable. It is the result of technological latency which prevents substituting, for the moment, a machine for the versatility of human intelligence. It is not possible, in fact, at the present time, to replace the reasoning and decision-making capacity of the human brain to carry out, at equivalent cost, the same missions.

However, our point can be applied to a cruise missile, a combat drone, an artillery shell or a special forces commando parachuted into an objective. The dimensioning characteristic is the passage through the third dimension to destroy or incapacitate an objective as part of a strategy of coercion.

Modern aviation is only one of the tools that finally made it possible to realize the strategic dreams of the ancients: to achieve the desired objectives by bypassing enemy resistance. We will now use the more general notion of air power.

The use of this power allows the politician to have a tool for his strategy of coercion which is at the same time rapid, reversible, non-permanent and which, above all, does not imply the costly and politically delicate dispatch of troops to the ground.

Elliot Cohen wrote that "air power is an unusually attractive form of military power because it seems to deliver satisfactory results without really committing."

Moreover, air power is a flexible form of force usable by planners, it can be easily modeled, even in real time, and redirected if necessary.

The F16 E of the US Air Force can thus, from now on, change mission in flight by receiving the files of a new objective, once the plane takes off, by satellite transmission.

These current technological developments, combined with the search for better stealth and the precision of all-weather strikes, can only strengthen the coercive capacities of air power.

Current bombing technologies are indeed able to destroy or render powerless any surface objective whose position is precisely known. A laser-guided 1000 kg bomb is enough to cut a bridge or hit a specific building in the middle of a populated neighborhood. It is these precision armaments, moreover, that have increased the effectiveness of air power as a means of coercion.

Finally, but the list is not intended to be exhaustive, air power provides the capacity for parallel strikes that Warden mentioned. It is in fact possible to simultaneously achieve objectives at sometimes considerable distances from each other in order to achieve the desired simultaneity of destruction.

This power can also lead to annihilation, but in a new form.


Freed from the inhibition linked to nuclear deterrence and the risk of confrontation with the USSR, the United States takes advantage of the circumstances of the Gulf War to return to the American tradition of largely modified enemy annihilation.

The Gulf War perfectly illustrates this new concept.

Indeed, the war against Iraq is a unique model of its kind through the use of air weapons since the beginnings of the crisis. The invasion of Kuwait by Iraqi troops on August 1, 1990 gave rise to the first post-Cold War global crisis. A comparison is necessary to demonstrate the evolution of the third dimension.

So, if in January 1945 the city of Berlin was devastated, its offices and homes reduced to ashes, the propaganda minister of Nazi Germany, Joseph Gocbbels, could still spread his messages throughout the country and Hitler, in his bunker at Zossen could still be in command.

For the Gulf War, the American armies had, from the start of events, the conviction that the strategy for managing the Gulf crisis has no chance of succeeding unless military operations are short-lived through use. of air power.

So, in less than forty eight hours after the air offensive against Iraq began, on January 17, 1991, Baghdad was still almost intact, but the former Iraqi leader and his military commands were already blind. deaf and dumb, in a paralyzed capital, unable to transmit the slightest order.

This decapitation by air power had the immediate effect of paralyzing the abundantly equipped air defenses. Each plane on its base, each missile post or battery of anti-aircraft guns is left to its own devices, deprived of the essential advanced alerts and centralized management which makes air defenses formidable.

To ensure this domination, the coalition air forces immediately destroyed the main early warning radar stations. The lack of centralized command to give the take-off order to the fighter planes which could still do so and to coordinate the large number of anti-aircraft guns and missiles in order to meet the needs of the isolated land army deprived of all supplies.

Also, during this war, the effects on morale also took place in the evolution of military strategy and gave better justifications and returns. This appears clearly in the desertion after a few weeks of bombardment of a large part of the Iraqi troops. This great desertion is the direct result of the bombardments on the bridges and the logistic axes by acting strongly on the morale of the Iraqi soldier, and the units could neither advance, nor retreat, nor survive on the spot.

This gives the bombing a redundantly cruel "morale" effect for the Iraqis and is a new lesson to be learned from this war.

The air force therefore served in this conflict as a formidable lever of power intended to shake the will of resistance of the adversary by targeting its nodal centers, by directly sowing terror in its population and by rapidly incapacitating its living forces. . However, this weapon no longer seeks to directly attack ground forces.

Indeed, the air power of today aims from the outset strategic objectives which annihilate indirectly under an effect of accumulation the ground forces. In this way, the army could neither retreat nor fight, and therefore remain completely paralyzed.

All the more, they attacked the command posts by the direct hit of guided weapons. These objectives, after their bombardment they will be photographed to assess the damage, bombarded again, photographed again, and attacked again.

Concerning the case of the Gulf War and unlike the air offensive against Germany which devastated all the important towns and many towns without having an impact on German military power, The Thousand Hours Air Offensive against Germany Iraq left its towns and villages almost untouched but completely defeated the Iraqi army.

This immobilized, often starving and thirsty armies, greatly diminished by desertions and no longer able to use most of their heavy weapons already destroyed, barely resisted the hundred hours advance of the American ground forces.

The air force had finally won a military aviation war .

However, the known events are blurred by the different insights into each of the aspects of the war which are political, strategic, operational, tactical and technical, each of them being quite varied, and some rather contradictory.

By choosing the strategic lighting, which is best suited in this case, an infinite number of ideas can be argued and several lessons and lessons can then be drawn from them.

The first conclusion is that the war against Iraq has not known reverses of fortune which mark any serious conflict, and this thanks to the success of the air offensive of "decapitation", without historical precedent which was carried out. from the start.

Second, the air force has been the weapon of decision here to a degree unmatched in the annals of war.

Finally, between the air offensive against Iraq and all those which preceded it, the difference is of nature and not of degree. Indeed, the tonnage dropped during the bombardments certainly cannot alone explain this remarkable result and this clear evolution in military strategy.

Contrary to the impression left by the triumphalist press conferences which gave each day the account of the exits carried out, it should be noted that less than half of the 110,000 flights thus recorded, from January 17 until the ceasefire of February 27 , was indeed relating to combat sorties. In addition, the aircraft that actually carried bombs were not heavily loaded. Even the enormous, ancient B-52s carried only half the tonnage of bombs of their predecessors in the Vietnam War, dropping 25,700 tons in total in 1,624 sorties.

Regarding the range of fighter-bombers and attack aircraft, the average bomb load for each type of aircraft was much lower than that presented in the reference manuals.

The F-16 fighter-bomber, carried only a third of its theoretical capacity, as for the F-117 `` stealth '', it displays an average of 1.5 tons of armament during 1300 combat sorties it carried out during the war instead of 2 tons. In fact, the average bomb load of all American aircraft that carried out ground attacks (except the B-52s) is slightly less than a ton.

We therefore arrive at the following conclusion, apparently simple but which is in reality very complex: it was the unprecedented precision of the aerial campaign rather than its volume that brought about the spectacular result of this conflict. A much more controversial conclusion can also be advanced: only precision attacks using guided weapons are certainly decisive in winning the war, while the rest of the bombardments were no more effective than in previous wars. aerial and some of them totally unnecessary.

In addition, air power today is developing its means to avoid and to a lesser extent reduce damage, hence the concept of zero death.

ZERO DEATH CONCEPT of military aviation

The use of air power makes it possible to avoid stagnation on the ground and to reduce the loss of human life.

In fact, General Douhet, in the doctrine that bears his name, is the first to conceive of a massive use of strategic aviation capable of taking the final decision alone.

However, thanks to technical advances which have made very precise strikes possible with minimal collateral damage, a new generation of thinkers have set out to reason in terms of paralysis and not destruction. Thus, the objective is henceforth to strike selected targets, centers of gravity in the Clausewitzian sense, so as to cause the blocking of the entire enemy system.

In this sense, the Western military tradition, through Clausewitz, has always favored direct strategy as its mode of operation. As a result, Colonel John Warden advocated the strategic paralysis of the enemy more than its annihilation and this is in line with Sun Zi's approach. On this subject, Warden in a conclusion of an article in the Air Power Journal, writes:

“Combat is not the essence of war, nor even one of its desirable constituents. The real essence of war is to undertake what will force the enemy to accept our own goals ”.

This doctrine seems to have conquered American strategists all the more easily because it gives the impression of a "clean" war, at a distance and without collateral damage. Indeed, in the Gulf War, the use of the third dimension demonstrated power and decision-making factor.

However, on the American side, it must be recognized that it was a zero death war. It was in the Kosovo conflict that the air power strategy was used intensively. Thus, the massive and rapid destruction of a large number of strategic targets would be equivalent to the disappearance of the enemy without it being necessary to deplore the slightest death or to proceed with the always hazardous land expeditions which lead to the occupation of enemy soil and a confrontation "in contact" with the enemy in a defensive position and finally loss of life.

Also, applied to the Balkans, air warfare seems to have demonstrated its effectiveness. Thus, according to the aviators of the Allied armies, Kosovo has shown that a war can be won only by air means.

"The bombings have fulfilled their functions", writing Pierre Beylau in his dispatch. The use of drones, these unmanned planes, during the Kosovar conflict, has been intensified and shows that the staffs are less willing to risk the lives of their men to seek intelligence.

Thus, this strategy, born at the beginning of the century, has evolved to the point of conceiving a real strategic paralysis. The air weapon, by its flexibility, its length and its versatility, perfectly meets the political requirements of modern diplomacy. In future conflicts, the logic of pressure will increasingly prevail over a logic of conquest. In this field, the air weapon brings all the advantages of its flexibility. We are also starting to talk about “influence projection”. This strategy, underpinned by political action, is fully in line with a preventive diplomacy approach, by keeping tensions at their lowest level to avoid any rise to extremes, and therefore to potential deaths. Thus, air power can appear as "the engine of zero death war" as an instrument of preventive diplomacy.

Paradoxically, the Gulf conflict has highlighted the preventive role of the air force. In this war, two different strategies were opposed: one was the violent Iraqi offensive action to seize Kuwait, the other, that of the coalition which consisted in implementing powerful means of destruction whose effects led Iraq to change its posture and behavior.

With this approach, the real turning point of this war was not January 17, 1991, date of the air engagement, but August 1990, marking the beginning of the deployment of the coalition air forces. It was at this time that the former Iraqi leader lost the strategic initiative by locking himself into a defensive attitude. The crisis had turned upside down long before the first US arms fire.

In the Kosovo conflict, the editor of the report drawn up by the National Assembly explains the reasons for the choice of the air offensive and specifies that: “air strikes constitute a flexible and effective means of military reaction. But they were mainly decided because they did not raise any frank opposition within NATO, unlike an offensive on the ground. "

Thus, air power is a military means with generally limited risks. It is therefore natural that the aerial option is considered in a preventive logic since it makes it possible to freeze a theater without having to immediately engage on the ground. It is in a way a selective and limited use of force, with a stated objective of zero death war.


CONCLUSION of military aviation


In short, the air force has played a very important, if not decisive, role; the appearance of the airplane as a rapid and reusable vector made it possible to use the third dimension efficiently.

Today we come to a time when air power has the means and the technology to cope with everything that ancient thinkers imagined more than sixty years ago.

The latest conflicts which have seen the massive use of the third dimension may be part of a revolution in military affairs; tactics and military strategy have been found to change significantly with the emergence of new modes of action and consequently new innovative operational concepts have emerged, making use of the use of the third dimension.


However, it should be clarified that information technology, integration and miniaturization processes for robotics will make future airplanes real more powerful weapon systems that can further affect tactics and military strategy.



What do you call a military plane?

Military aircraft are classified according to categories related to their operational role. ... The E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System, or Awacs,.

What are warplanes called?

A fighter jet is a military aircraft designed to attack enemy aircraft

What is the fastest fighter plane?

The X-15! This aircraft therefore holds the current world record for the fastest manned aircraft.

Who invented military aircraft?

It was the two American brothers, Wilbur (1867-1912) and Orville (1871-1948) Wright, who were the first to perform real flights in 1903.

What is the most powerful plane in the world?

Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

What is the fastest plane in France?

This is the Rafale's maximum speed in Mach (1,925 km / h).