Despite being just a little over century old, air power has dominated all conflicts since World War 2. In last few decades it has become imperative to win the air war before surface forces can succeed, Arab-Israeli wars, Falklands, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan have all seen dominance of air power. Armies and Navies are investing significant parts of their budgets on air power compared to their organic systems like tanks, ships and submarines. Achieving a level of air supremacy will be the primary mission in any conflict. The primacy of Air Power will be a decisive factor in shaping the outcome of future conflicts.
Airpower consists of the application of military aviation, military strategy, and strategy for use of air power for aerial warfare.
Airpower began with the advent of powered flight early in the 20th century. After thin line between earth’s atmosphere and the vast space beyond got crossed with first space flight, it today represents the complex operating environment and is often termed Aerospace Power although militarisation of space remains regulated by international treaty. All airborne assets of the various agencies of a nation, including Army, Navy, state and civil air operators form part of the air power of any nation. Airpower is the ability to project power from the air and space to influence the behaviour of people or the course of events. It encompasses control of the air through offensive and defensive missions, air strikes, intelligence gathering, surveillance, reconnaissance and air mobility. Airpower can be considered a function of air supremacy. A combatant side that has 100% or near 100% control of the skies has air supremacy; an advantage of some 70–90% would indicate air superiority. A highly contested airspace over a battlefield full of anti-aircraft weapon systems could deny airspace to either user.
21st is the century of Asia. With rising China and India, all global economic and military action has shifted to Indo-Pacific region. As all eyes focus towards the region, how air power shapes in Asia will dictate the global power structure. I have therefore started a website to discuss Air Power Asia. Do visit http://www.airpowerasia.com, sign-up for mail (at the bottom of the website) and follow us on Twitter at @AirPowerAsia. Look forward to interacting with you all.
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