Airpower Effectiveness

1261 Words6 Pages
Throughout history, airpower’s effectiveness in achieving political objectives has varied greatly. Airpower has played a vital role in conflicts dating back to World War I. From World War I to the Vietnam War, airpower evolved significantly, but never achieved the effectiveness in achieving strategic aims as it has in the decades following the Vietnam War. The combination of realistic training and improved technology have made airpower more effective in achieving strategic aims, specifically when facing a foe who employs conventional military means. The first part of this essay will discuss the revolutions in United States Air Force (USAF) training and technology in the years following the Vietnam War, which will be followed by two case…show more content…
In the 1970s, aircraft such as the A-10, F-14, F-15, F-16, and F/A-18 became part of the US military’s arsenal along with the introduction of the AIM-120 air-to-air missile. These new technologies would be key to gaining and maintaining air superiority and supporting ground forces. The F-117 and B-2 stealth aircraft made their debut in the 1980s and 1990s, respectively, which would prove instrumental in subsequent conflicts. They would be able to bypass enemy air defenses and strike targets of high military value. Other critical tools that came on-line to achieve military objectives were offensive cyber capabilities and Global Positioning System (GPS) technology coupled with precision-guided munitions (PGM), such as the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM). The combination of the changes taking place in training and the introduction of new technologies changed the way the AF conducted war. Each time the AF fielded a new aircraft, missile, or other technology, it was quickly integrated into Red Flag and other realistic training exercises, which proved to be the most important contribution to preparing AF pilots for…show more content…
The political objectives for ODS were the withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait and to promote stability in the region. Leading up to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, US Central Command held annual training exercises that prepared the command for such a scenario. Coupled with new technologies and Red Flag, this proved to be a fatal combination for Iraq. On the opening night of the campaign, F-117s flew through Iraq’s air defenses undetected and struck critical Iraqi command and control targets with PGMs, severely degrading Saddam Hussein’s ability to exercise command over his forces. Stealth and precision provided the capability to achieve control over Iraq’s core systems. Furthermore, attacks by A-10s and other coalition aircraft against Iraqi armor units drove many enemy fighters to desert or surrender, that by the time coalition ground forces swept across Kuwait, they did not encounter much resistance. Moreover, training exercises and new technologies enabled parallel and synchronous attack like never seen before that paralyzed the Iraqi leadership and fielded forces. To put this into perspective, during ODS, more targets were struck within one day than all of 8th AF struck in 1942 and 1943. Not only was airpower instrumental in driving Iraqi forces out of Kuwait, but it was largely responsible for destroying

More about Airpower Effectiveness

Open Document