Air–Sea Integration

Authored by: Travis Hallen

Routledge Handbook of Air Power

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138632608
eBook ISBN: 9781315208138
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315208138-15

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Abstract

The century of air and sea power relations is a tale of inter-service rivalry, competition, and successful collaboration. This chapter provides an overview of this evolutionary process, dividing air-sea integration into four stages. The First World War witnessed experimentation, with the development of anti-submarine warfare and early versions of aircraft carriers. The maritime battles in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Mediterranean theatres of the Second World War saw an operationalisation of air–sea integration that proved vital to the Allies’ victory, and the resulting lessons laid the foundation for the carrier-centric approach to maritime power from the 1960s to the 1980s. During the Cold War, maturation came about through deconfliction, the introduction of capable maritime patrol aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, and new approaches to anti-surface warfare. With the end of the Cold War came another shift in focus, this time towards multi-domain integration. The fourth stage represents the evolution of air–sea integration manifested in concepts such as air–sea battle and joint concepts for access and manoeuvre in the global commons set against Russian and Chinese anti-access area denial capabilities. The chapter concludes that as ‘Western forces continue to develop their next generation of air and sea capabilities, they must ensure these forces are integrated by design’.

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