Air Strike

Authored by: Frans Osinga

Routledge Handbook of Air Power

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

Print ISBN: 9781138632608
eBook ISBN: 9781315208138
Adobe ISBN:


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Through a brief exploration of the air power decades from 1990 to 2010, this chapter describes the rapid evolution of the strike role that has transformed Western militaries. This has resulted in the ability to achieve air superiority quickly on a theatre-wide scale, which in turn provides new levels of protection for ground forces, lines of supply, and logistics sites. By exploiting air superiority, airborne sensor platforms can supply unprecedented levels of situational awareness to commanders, enabling them to detect and prevent an adversary from massing armoured forces. Rapid dissemination of accurate target information enhances the precision of air strikes and reduces response times, ensuring effective engagement of small and mobile targets such as insurgents and thus improving air support. These capabilities create an increased level of intensity of the air offensive, thus allowing a higher operational tempo for the entire joint campaign. Those new capabilities provide new options for coercive diplomacy, enable targeting of individual terrorist leaders, and support counterinsurgency operations. Importantly, those developments have resulted in a significant reduction of risk for friendly ground troops as well as for civilians. The combination of technological advances with organisational and doctrinal innovations has greatly increased the political and military potential of air power.

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