Airpower, more than any other factor, has shaped war in the twentieth century. In this fascinating narrative history, Martin van Creveld vividly portrays the rise of the plane as a tool of war and the evolution of both technology and strategy. He documents seminal battles and turning points, and relates stories of individual daring and collective mastery of the skies.However, the end of airpower's glorious age is drawing near. The conventional wisdom to the contrary, modern precision guided munitions have not made fighter bombers more effective against many kinds of targets than their predecessors in World War II. U.S. ground troops calling for air support in Iraq in 2003 did not receive it any faster than Allied forces did in France in 1944. And from its origins on, airpower has never been very effective against terrorists, guerrillas, and insurgents. As the warfare waged by these kinds of people grow in importance, and as ballistic missiles, satellites, cruise missiles and drones increasingly take the place of quarter-billion-dollar manned combat aircraft and their multi-million-dollar pilots, airpower is losing utility almost day by day.
The first aircraft to sink a submarine was a small flying boat of the Austro-Hungarian Naval Air Arm. The year was 1916 and by that time in World War I, the airplane had come to be appreciated as an important antisubmarine weapon by all combatants. With the arrival of World War II the survival of Great Britain was put in doubt by the massive destruction inflicted on the North Atlantic lifeline by German submarines. The development of anti-submarine warfare from the air was a major factor in decreasing the number of casualties to Allied merchant shipping. This book tells the story of the cat-and-mouse tactics employed by aviators and submariners to outwit each other. It also covers the development of electronic warfare and purpose-built weapons and the role they played in the lethal duel fought over World War II waters. This new edition of a book that has become a standard on the subject includes accounts of some of the most dramatic actions during both wars.
This volume explores how warfare has changed over the last few decades and why airpower has become a dominant factor in war. The case studies emphasize the importance of connecting policy and airpower: operational effectiveness cannot substitute for poor statecraft. As the United States, its allies, and Israel have seen in their most recent applications of airpower, even the most robust and capable air weapon can never be more effective than the strategy and policy it is intended to support. By analyzing the operational history of the world's most battle-tested air forces, the accounts in this book can give military professionals insight into the political context in which air operations must be assessed, build their appreciation of the strategic value of airpower, and serve as a practical guide to the best uses of this potentially decisive tool.
Airship charts the history of lighter-than-air craft from the continental pioneers of the late 19th century through to European airship stationsin the Great War, Germany's pre-eminent commercial and military zeppelins, the construction of British behemoths R100 and its sistership R101 and the calamitous losses of US Akron in 1933 and LZ129 Hindenburg in 1937, events which ultimately heralded the end of largescale airship production. The historical development of airships is seen to be protracted and fractious, as the armed forces of leading European countries and the U.S. explored commercial applications while trying to develop them for military use.
Strategic Air Command was created because of the Air Force's internal beliefs, but the organization evolved as it responded to the external environment created by the Cold War. In the aftermath of World War II and the creation of an independent air service, the Air Force formed SAC because of a belief in the military potential of strategic bombing centralized under one commander. As the Cold War intensified, so did SAC's mission.
In order to prepare SAC's warriors to daily fight an enemy they did not see, as well as to handle the world's most dangerous arsenal, the command, led by General Curtis LeMay, emphasized security, personal responsibility, and competition among the command. Its resources, political influence, and manning grew as did its culture until reaching its peak during the Cuban Missile Crisis. SAC became synonymous with the Cold War and its culture forever changed the Air Force as well as those who served.
During the 1930s, American tactical aircraft ranged from small biplanes to all-metal monoplanes, but they lacked the range, performance, and firepower required to combat a new foe in the darkening skies over Europe. With their 300-mph top speeds, these airplanes represented the step before the step in achieving the higher performance of legendary fighters used in World War II, but the secrets of what became America's first next generation fighters lay in the design, construction, and flight testing of radical new airplanes that broke the rules of aeronautical engineering and were intended to push performance envelopes to new limits. Although the Materiel Division of the Air Corps faced a daunting task, unique designs from Vultee, Curtiss-Wright, and Northrop ultimately emerged to win contracts for building experimental prototypes of airplanes with very different configurations. Powered by either inline or radial piston powerplants, these new designs looked more futuristic on paper than anything seen before, but the acid test was to see how they flew. Would they become record-breaking champions, or frustrating aeronautical problem children confounding their engineers, builders, and pilots? Noted author Gerald H. Balzer tells this story using original factory photos and comprehensive information that has never before been published. This fascinating tale of America's first Pusher Fighters highlights the trials and tribulations of innovative designers, dedicated builders, and courageous test pilots, each of whom contributed to bringing the Vultee XP-54 Swoose Goose, Curtiss-Wright XP-55 Ascender, and Northrop XP-56 Black Bullet into reality.
Area 51's most important military aviation developments are profiled in an illustrated format. When most of us think of Area 51, we think of aliens, UFOs, and controversial government cover-ups. It's easy to forget that, since the mid-1950s, the United States' famed extension of Edwards Air Force Base has served as a top-secret CIA testing ground for many of the most groundbreaking advancements in American military aviation technology. In Area 51 - Black Jets, author and military historian Bill Yenne offers the first fully illustrated chronology of Area 51's most famous aircraft projects, including Lockheed's U-2 "Dragon Lady" and SR-71 "Blackbird" reconnaissance planes, drones ranging from the early Lockheed D-21 to the modern-day General Atomics MQ-1 Predator, and the famous F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter produced by the Have Blue program during the 1970s. Each project is given its own fascinating chapter illuminating the aircraft's development at this famed location. But beyond the aircraft themselves, Area 51 - Black Jets also covers a handful of the many classified experimental programs carried out at Area 51 over the years, such as Have Doughnut, Have Ferry, and Have Drill - secret undertakings that successfully reverse-engineered such enemy aircraft as the Russian MiG during the Cold War. Illustrated with historic color and black-and-white photographs, diagrams, and maps, this book reveals Area 51 for what it truly is: a clandestine area for the United States' most cutting-edge technological innovators in military aviation.
In 1941, the United States was neutral ground, but Germany's killer forces were devouring Europe. The British Royal Air Force needed pilots fast, to fight the highly trained German combat forces. President Roosevelt and General "Hap" Arnold knew the United States had to help turn the tide of war, and the Arnold Scheme was born. Lakeland and Arcadia, Florida. Camden, South Carolina. Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Americus and Albany, Georgia. These were the Sunbelt towns that became the heart and soul of SEACTC (Southeast Air Corps Training Center) and welcomed thousands of British pilot trainees as they embarked on their dangerous missions. In excerpts from letters, diaries and journals, learn the inside story of the Arnold Scheme and the strategic offensive that would help prepare the nation for war.
From the most important leaders and the most courageous victories to the earliest machines of flight and the most advanced Stealth technology, this book presents a fascinating look at 50 turbulent years of Air Force history.