Understanding Air Warfare
By David Jordan
Routledge – 2015 – 208 pages
Understanding Air Warfare provides the reader with a clear understanding of the key debates surrounding air power, one of the newest and most important forms of modern warfare.
The exploitation of the air for military purposes has been a source of much contention since the first employment of aircraft in war by the Italians in 1911. The debate over whether air power should be subordinated to the land and maritime components in its entirety, or whether it had a distinct, independent function which might be decisive in future conflict had begun even before the end of the First World War, and remains a germane issue today.
The book will consist of two parts. The first section concentrates upon the ‘nature’ of air warfare, discussing some of the unique challenges presented by operating in this environment and analysing what might be termed the ‘key concepts’ of air warfare. The second part of the book is more focused upon contemporary and future operations, exploring the way in which historical constants still apply, the variety of extant thought regarding air power and air warfare and the degree to which the future of air warfare may not conform to expected historical constants thanks to changes in force structure, technology and application of air power, particularly in respect of legal and ethical concerns.
Examining the linkages between the early theoretical perceptions of what air power could achieve in conjunction with other forces and independently, this book highlights many of the continuities of air power, both in terms of the theoretical debate and practical applications. It employs detailed historical case studies to illustrate and explore the key issues, and also extends its examination of air power into the future, bringing in elements of space power where applicable.
This accessible new textbook will be essential reading for students of air power, strategic studies and military history, and students at professional military colleges in particular, and highly recommended for students of security studies and space power.
Introduction Part I: Air Power Concepts 1. The Nature of the Air Environment 2. The Foundations of Air Strategy 3. Proving the Concept: Air Power in War, 1939-45 4. Competing Visions of Air Warfare: From Hiroshima to the Fall of the Berlin Wall Part II: The Changing Nature of Air Warfare 5. Towards A Revolution in Air Warfare? 6. The Age of Transformation? Air Warfare from Desert Storm to the Balkans 7. The Age of Transformation? Air Power and the Challenge of Smaller Wars 8. Challenges for Future Air Warfare
David Jordan is a Senior Lecturer with the Defence Studies Department, King’s College London, based at the Joint Services Command and Staff College, Shrivenham. He co-authored Understanding Modern Warfare (CUP, 2008).