The Future of Air Power

Seminar Guide
The Future of Air Power
24 February 2015
Karlberg slott
Karlbergs Slottsväg
171 73 Solna
Dear Guests,
It is with great pleasure that we welcome you to this air power seminar, hosted by
the Swedish Defence University. Looking back over the last one hundred years,
one of the most significant changes in the character of war is the increased role
of air power. It has become an indispensable asset to the operational commander
and a pivotal tool for our politicians.
Although few will deny the significant contribution of air power in the Second
World War, the asymmetric advantage that air power offered in Korea, Vietnam,
and elsewhere has remained largely unappreciated because air power alone could not
determine the outcome of those wars. When air power demonstrated its significance
in Operation Desert Storm (1991) most analysts failed to comprehend why air
power held such strategic value. It was not state-of-the-art technology alone that
changed the character of war, but a concept that served as the basis of planning
and application. The stunning effectiveness of offensive aerial operations
show­cased air power as an increasingly powerful and flexible instrument for the
pursuit of political objectives – one with continuing relevance well beyond the
total war context in which it was initially forged.
Air power has since played an important role in operations such as Deliberate Force
(1995), Allied Force (1999), Enduring Freedom (2001), Operation Iraqi Freedom
(2003) and Unified Protector (2011). In the process, air power has become the
topic of professional study in its own right, with various institutions offering
academic degrees in the field. Military officers can now build on both a substantial
body of research and ample empirical data to improve their mastery of air power.
The Air Operations Section, as part of our War Studies Division, is devoted
to education of officers, to strengthen their understanding of air power – past,
present and future. This seminar is an extension of our educational programmes
and ongoing research to improve insight into the role of air power in meeting
tomorrow’s security challenges. Simply put, we encourage an informed debate
on the future role of air power. We do so by offering presentations from, and
discussions with, some of the world’s leading experts.
Enjoy the seminar!
Bengt Axelsson
Brigadier General
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Stephan Persson-Tyrling
Lieutenant Colonel
Chief, Air Operations Section
The Future of Air Power
Program 24 february, 0830-1530, Karlbergs slott, Samlingssalen
0930 Welcome Remarks
Brig. Gen Bengt Axelsson
Session I
A New Air Power Concept
Col. Professor John Andreas Olsen
The Role of Technology in Future Warfare
Professor Dr. phil. Holger Mey
Panel discussion
1215 Session II
Strategy and Air Power
Col. ret. John A. Warden
A New Era for Command and Control of Aerospace Operations
Lt. Gen. ret. David A. Deptula
Panel discussion
1430 Session III
The Future Swedish Air Force
Maj. Gen. Micael Bydén
1515 Closing Remarks
Maj. Gen. Micael Bydén
About the Air Operation Section
Swedish Defence University, Air Operations Section
The Air Operations Section is responsible for teaching, education, and research
in the command/control of air operations/air forces, both at the tactical and at
the operational command levels and in warfare in general. The Section keeps
up to date with and contributes towards the develop­ment of air-operational
capabilities through participation in courses, studies and exercises on the
optimum use of the air arena in an operational context. It also conducts research
in War Studies particularly air power.
Name, title/position, e-mail address:
Lt Col. Stephan Persson-Tyrling, Head of Air Operations Section,
[email protected]
Maj. Lars-Johan Nordlund, Tutor, [email protected]
Lt Col. Magnus Bengtsson, Tutor, [email protected]
Lt Col. Anders Nygren, Tutor, [email protected]
Susanna Melin, Research Assistant, [email protected]
Lt Col. Erik Bergkvist, Tutor, [email protected]
Maj. Johan Danko, Tutor, [email protected]
Maj. Caroline Ekberg, Tutor, [email protected]
Maj. Björn Johnson, Tutor, [email protected]
Maj (res.). Patrik Wiklund, Lecturer, [email protected]
Dr. Dan Öberg, Senior Lecturer, [email protected]
Dr. Kersti Larsdotter, Senior Lecturer, [email protected]
Lt Col. Anders Malm, Tutor (PhD. candidate), [email protected]
Maj. Lisa Justesen, Tutor (PhD. candidate), [email protected]
Prof/Col. John Andreas Olsen, (Guest professor War Studies), [email protected]
Speaker Information
Major General Micael Bydén is the chief of staff of the
Swedish Air Force, a position he has held since 2012.
Major General Bydén was born in Gnarp, Sweden
in 1964. He graduated from the Coastal Artillery
Academy in 1985 and then converted to the Air Force
to start basic flying training. Most of the early part of
his career was spent in the air as a fighter pilot. In 1999
he left F21 Wing in the northern part of Sweden and
moved to Washington D.C to take post as Air Attaché
at the Swedish Embassy for three years. Since then
he has served as Commanding officer at the Swedish
Air Force Flying Training School and at the Swedish Armed Forces Helicopter
Wing. Among other commitments he served as Chief of Staff at HQ Regional
Command North, ISAF, in 2011. In 2012 he was promoted Major General and
took post as the Chief of Staff, Swedish Air Force. He has some 1500 flight hours
in propeller and jet trainers and all versions of SAAB 37 Viggen (recce, ground
attack and fighter). Part from this he has also basic helicopter training.
His hobbies include golf, hunting, running, workout and skiing. He is married
to Anita Carlman and they have three children; Ludvig, Lovisa and Harald.
Speaker Information
The Future of the Swedish Air Force
Major General Micael Bydén
The mission of the Swedish Air Force – and of the nation’s armed forces as a
whole --- is to support Swedish security and foreign policy and help maintain
peace and independence in accordance with four major tasks: helping to main­
tain territorial integrity, participating in various crisis response operations,
defending Sweden against armed aggression, and safeguarding civilians and
securing vital public functions. This means that the air force must be able to
counter an advanced opponent through the whole spectrum of conflict and
continuously maintain high readiness for various missions, which in turn
means training and equipping the necessary standing units and ensuring their
availability. The air force must be prepared to conduct operations independently
or as part of a coalition, primarily in Sweden and the near abroad, but also in
distant locations when appropriate.
My current focus areas are threefold: personnel and recruitment, in both the
short and the long terms; improved national defence capabilities and planning,
with an emphasis on base operations and command and control; and long–term
system (aircraft) development. The Swedish Air Force must aim to remain a
well-organized, professional, and robust service that offers high availability and
usability for both national and international operations. Successful application
of air power requires interoperability with partner nations. Since the 1990s the
Swedish Air Force has made significant progress in this area, as demonstrated by
Sweden’s commitment to various exercises (such as Red Flag) and to missions in
Congo, Afghanistan, Libya and the Gulf of Aden. Inter­operability represents the
way ahead: the Swedish Air Force has, among other things, procured command
and control systems and purchased Link 16 to increase its capacity to work
alongside other nations. Future force structure will include Gripen fighters,
today C/D and tomorrow E models, that can perform missions which will help
sustain security at home and abroad by delivering air power independently and
in joint and combined operations. Mission First – Safety Always!
Speaker Information
Lieutenant General (ret.) David A. Deptula
is a world-recognized leader and pioneer in
conceptualizing, planning, and executing national
security operations from humanitarian relief to major
combat. Deptula was the principal attack planner
for the Operation Desert Storm air campaign;
commander of no-fly-zone operations over Iraq in
the late 1990s; director of the air campaign over
Afghanistan in 2001; joint task force commander
(twice); and air commander for the 2005 South
Asia tsunami relief. He served on two congressional
commissions charged with outlining America’s future defence posture. He is a
fighter pilot with more than 3,000 flying hours – 400 in combat – including
multiple command assignments in the F-15. He has a BA in astronomy and
MA in systems engineering from University of Virginia and a master’s degree
from National War College. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Fighter
Weapons School, Air Command and Staff College, and the Armed Forces Staff
College. During his last assignment as the Air Force’s first deputy chief of staff
for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), he transformed America’s
military ISR and drone enterprises. Deptula, transitioning from the Air Force in
2010, currently serves as dean of the Mitchell Institute of Aerospace Studies; is
a board member at a variety of institutions; and is a sought-after commentator
around the world as a thought leader on military issues, strategy and ISR.
Speaker Information
A New Era for Command and Control of Aerospace Operations
Lieutenant General (ret.) David A. Deptula
The challenges of emerging threats, new technologies, and the velocity of
information demand more than a mere evolution of current C2ISR (command,
control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) paradigms. We need a
radically new approach that capitalizes on the opportunities inherent in those
same challenges. We cannot expect to achieve future success through incremental
enhancements à la CAOC 10.x upgrades – that method evokes an industrial-age
approach to warfare that has lost its currency and much of its meaning. We cannot
meet the requirements of information-age warfare with “spiral development”;
rather, we must have modular, distributed technological maximization that
permits and optimizes operational agility. That kind of agility calls for dramatic
changes to our C2 CONOPS; our organizational paradigms for planning,
processing, and executing aerospace operations; and our acquisition processes.
It also demands a determined effort to match the results to the three critical
challenges and opportunities while simultaneously fitting them seamlessly into
the context of joint and combined operations. We will not meet future national
security issues in a fiscally constrained environment by simply buying less of
what we already have. We must embrace and invest in innovation, creativity,
and change – a charge that applies not only to the systems we procure in the
future but also to the ends, ways, and means that we command and control them.
In the future, we need to invert the paradigm of large, centralized theatre C2
nodes and develop a system that issues specific direction to particular elements of
combat power according to a paradigm of multiple nodes responding in parallel
to guidance designed to produce desired theatre-wide effects. Determining how
to do that should be the focus of the time, effort, and resources we spend on C2.
This is how we should prepare for the next war rather than rely on the methods
we used to fight the last one.
Speaker Information
Professor Dr. phil. Holger H. Mey is Vice President,
Advanced Concepts, Airbus Defence and Space,
Munich, Germany. Before joining – which was then
EADS Defence & Security, then Cassidian, and
now Airbus Defence and Space in June 2004 – Mey
worked for twelve years as a security policy analyst and
consultant in Bonn. He began his professional career
in 1986 as a research associate at Stiftung Wissenschaft
und Politik. From 1990 to 1992 he served as an analyst
on the policy planning staff of the German minister
of defence. He then founded the Institute for Strategic
Analyses and became chair and director; for two years he was also the security
policy adviser to the chair of the Defence Committee in the German parliament
and directed and conducted well over thirty studies for various Ministries and
Government Agencies. Professor Mey is an honorary professor at the University
of Cologne and a member of many international and national foreign and
security policy associations, including the International Institute for Strategic
Studies in London and the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin. He
is also honorary Ancien of the NATO Defence College in Rome. Professor Mey
has published over 150 articles. He is editor, co-author and author of a number
of books, including Deutsche Sicherheitspolitik 2030 (2001).
Speaker Information
The Role of Technology in Future Warfare
Professor Dr. phil. Holger H. Mey
Historically, humans have always used and developed new technologies for
military purposes. New technologies have usually created new military options
which, in turn, required new procedures and concepts. The latter is the key
to assessing whether technological superiority can be translated into winning
the war. Technological superiority as such does not win wars. Germany did
not lose the Second World War because it was technologically inferior (which
it was not) and the United States did not win the Vietnam War despite its
technological superiority. Obviously, many other factors come into play.
Actually, winning a war is less related to technology per se; it is more about the
skillful exploitation of the opportunities that technology creates. And above all,
technology is only as useful and relevant as the task and mission it serves.
At the end of the day, the issue at stake is less about how precisely one can
destroy a target; it is all about what difference its destruction makes. Any
application of military power should be in one way or another related to
furthering the war objective. Technology can, and is likely to, play a significant
role in accomplishing war objectives, but only if the application is done in a
skillful manner and with a good understanding of what exactly it is that one
wants to accomplish. Technology needs to be understood in its dynamics.
The advantage of today is the standard of tomorrow. For any measure that is
being taken a counter-measure will follow soon. Sometimes technology favors
the defence and sometimes the offense – and this applies to the strategic, the
operational, and the tactical levels of war. Hence, one needs to look at the
overall context in which technology is being applied. What also matters is
quantity: firstly, quantity is a quality in itself. And secondly, quality is better
than quantity – especially if deployed in large numbers!
Speaker Information
Colonel John Andreas Olsen is currently assigned to
the Norwegian Ministry of Defence and is a visiting
professor at the Swedish Defence University. He was the
deputy commander and chief of the NATO Advisory
Team at NATO Headquarters, Sarajevo, from 2009 to
2012. His previous assignments include tours as dean
of the Norwegian Defence University College and head
of its division for strategic studies. Colonel Olsen is a
graduate of the German Command and Staff College
and has served both as liaison officer to the German
Operational Command in Potsdam and as military
assistant to the Norwegian Embassy in Berlin. He has a doctorate in history
and international relations from De Montfort University, a master’s degree in
contemporary literature from the University of Warwick, and a master’s degree
in English from the University of Trondheim. Professor Olsen is the author
of Strategic Air Power in Desert Storm (2003) and John Warden and the
Renaissance of American Air Power (2007); coauthor of Destination NATO:
Defence Reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2003‒2013 (2013); editor of On
New Wars (2006), A History of Air Warfare (2010), Global Air Power (2011),
Air Commanders (2012), European Air Power (2014) and Airpower Reborn
(2015); and coeditor of The Evolution of Operational Art (2011) and The
Practice of Strategy (2012).
Speaker Information
A New Air Power Concept
Colonel Professor John Andreas Olsen
NATO members need to develop military-strategic concepts that better link
the application of force in general – and air and space power specifically – to
the endgame objective of fostering good governance as the defining legacy of
any NATO-led intervention. This requires a conceptual approach that views
the state of interest as a system, a strategy that seeks systemic empowerment
of the supported ally and systemic paralysis of the opponent, using both lethal
and non-lethal means in pursuit of strategic effect. Systemic paralysis seeks
to prevent a state, government, or key forces form doing something while
systemic empowerment seeks to create better conditions for friendly actors.
While the former sets out to degrade, disintegrate and damage, the latter
seeks to encourage, enhance and establish. The concept follows two lines of
operations, conducted simultaneously and in parallel: one process-oriented to
achieve psychological impact, and the other form-oriented to achieve physical
effect. The former centres on the intangible – mental and moral – aspects of
war, while the latter deals with the material sphere.
To be successful, airmen must capitalize on traditional and non-traditional
intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and highly precise targeting,
in addition to the other roles and missions. The new notion focuses on control
rather than occupation, targeting from a distance rather than in-theatre
fighting, and strengthening local political structures and processes in pursuit of
good governance. To succeed, airmen must master their profession, connect air
power directly to end-state objective, adopt a new language for this purpose,
and match new technology with innovative strategic through. Airmen should
propose a generic, system-level approach to warfare and subsequent statebuilding that challenges military planning, which is usually ground-centric and
battlefield oriented. It is an air-minded concept that focuses on war-ending
criteria rather than war-fighting skills per se.
Speaker Information
Colonel (ret.) John A. Warden III is an executive,
strategist, planner, author, and motivational speaker
whose work has had a worldwide impact in business,
in the military, in government, and in education.
After earning his fighter wings in 1966, he flew 250
combat missions in Vietnam. Warden held several
staff and command positions, including commander
of Detachment 4 at Decimomannu, Italy (1984‒85)
and commander of the 36th Tactical Fighter Wing at
Bitburg, Germany (1986‒1987). While in charge of
the Warfighting Concepts Division at the Pentagon
he developed the “Instant Thunder” plan, which became the foundation for
the Operation Desert Storm air campaign. Warden next served as the special
assistant to the vice president of the United States, and then as commandant of
the U.S. Air Force Command and Staff College (1992‒1995). Warden received
a BSc in national security affairs from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1965
and an MA in political science from Texas Tech University in 1975. While
attending the National War College (1985-1986) he wrote the seminal work
on modern airpower theory, The Air Campaign, which has been translated
into at least seven languages. Warden has published several articles, including
“The Enemy as a System” (1995) and is the coauthor of Winning in Fast Time
(2002). He is the chairman and chief executive officer of Venturist, Inc.
Speaker Information
Strategy and Air Power
Colonel (ret.) John A. Warden III
War is an attempt to force an opponent to do something he does not want to
do. There are two possible objectives: promote a change in enemy beliefs, or
prevent an enemy from being something or doing something. Military force
can accomplish the latter objective, but cannot reliably accomplish the former.
Thus, wars should be designed to ensure that force is appropriate and can
do the job. Wars and campaigns must be strategic which is best ensured by
an open planning and operating process. For wars to be strategic, they must
address four basic questions: 1) Where do you intend your enemy to be at
war’s end? (High Resolution Future Picture) 2) What are you going to put your
resources against? (Required System Effects and S-trategic Centers of Gravity)
3) How much time do you have to be successful? (short Parallel Operations)
4) Exits planned in advance for both success and failure? (Exit Plans).
The Required System Effects represent the functionality of the enemy necessary
to realize your Future Picture. The Centers of Gravity which need to be
addressed to convert the enemy system to the required state should be as
directly strategic as possible and are best identified through using the Five Ring
methodology. The appropriate force (air, sea, land, cyber or some combination)
should be applied in parallel so as to induce paralysis on the enemy to allow
time to convert his system as required and to prevent effective counter attack.
At some point, the war will either conclude successfully or will be proceeding
in the wrong direction. For both cases, it is imperative to have clear exit plans
prepared and approved at the highest level before the commencement of
hostilities. Once overall war strategy is developed, the same methodology can
be used to develop component or joint campaigns as indicated.
Air Power Essentials
10 Propositions Regarding Air Power
Phillip S. Melinger, Ten Propositions Regarding Airpower, 1995
Whoever controls the air generally controls the ground
Airpower is inherently a strategic force
Airpower is primarily an offensive weapon
In essence, airpower is targeting, targeting is intelligence, and intelligence
is analyzing the effects of air operations
Airpower produces physical and psychological shock by dominating the
fourth dimension – time
Airpower can conduct parallel operations at all levels of war, simultaneously
Precision air weapons have redefined the meaning of mass
Airpower’s unique characteristics necessitate that it can be centrally
controlled by airmen
Technology and airpower are integrally and synergistically related
10) Airpower includes not only military assets, but also an aerospace industry
and commercial aviation
Air Power Essentials
8 Attributes of Air Power
Richard P. Hallion, “The Future of Airpower”, 2001
Airpower today, and for the foreseeable future, possesses some innate
synergetic qualities and advantages that have matured over a half century
of development and refinement – airpower has the virtues of speed,
range, flexibility, precision, and lethality
The time compression inherent to airpower
Only airpower has the ability to bring strategic and other high-value
targets an enemy holds most dear under rapid attack in simultaneous or
near-simultaneous fashion
Fulfilment of this parallel, simultaneous attribute of airpower requires
information mastery of such magnitude as to constitute a fourth attribute
Thus a fifth aspect of modern airpower is that air power is really air and
space power
A sixth attribute of air power is its duality, for both combat and
humanitarian purposes
A seventh attribute of airpower is its dominance over other forms of
warfare. Today and for the foreseeable future, it is no longer possible to
state with any certainty that surface forces are the primary instruments
whereby a nation secures victory in war
Historically, airpower works best when it is projected by a genuine air force
Air Power Essentials
9 Characteristics of Air Power
RAAF, Air Power Manual, 2013
Perspective. The greater field of view and extended horizon of the operational
environment obtained by virtue of a platform’s operating altitude
Speed. The ability to cover distance quickly and to create an effect with
minimal delay
Reach. The ability to project military power over long distances, largely
unconstrained by physical barriers
Flexibility. The ability to create a variety of lethal and nonlethal effects
across the full range of military and military-supported operations to
achieve desired outcomes
Precision. The ability to employ lethal or nonlethal force and achieve
effects accurately, with discrimination and proportionality
Dependency. The reliance on support to enable the generation,
employment and sustainment of air power
Fragility. The vulnerabilities inherent in the sophisticated materials of
which air platforms and technologically advanced systems are composed
Payload. The total weight and volume of passengers, cargo, sensors and
weapons that an aircraft can carry
Impermanence. The temporary nature of an air platform’s ability to
maintain an influence or effect through its presence
Air Power Essentials
Strengths and Weaknesses of Air Power
Colin S. Gray, Airpower for Strategic Effect, 2012
What uniquely can airpower do?
• Directly assault physical centers of gravity regardless of their location,
attack the enemy inside to outside from his center to his periphery
• Project force rapidly and globally
• Observe “over the hill” from altitude
• Transport people, modest levels of equipment, and supplies rapidly
and globally
• Insert and sustain small isolated expeditionary, raids, and even garrisons
What can airpower do well?
• Project friendly land and sea forces and other assets from enemy airpower
• Deter and be the decisive strategic agent for high-level and mid-level
regular and conventional conflicts
• Compensate effectively for (some) deficiencies in friendly land and sea
• Deny or seriously impede enemy access to particular land and sea areas
• Deny enemy ability to seize, hold, and exploit objectives
What does airpower tend to do poorly?
“Occupy” to control territory form the air alone
Send a clear diplomatic message
Close with and grip the enemy continuously
Apply heavy and potentially decisive pressure for conclusive strategic
effect in (largely) irregular conflicts
• Discriminate with thorough reliability between friend and foe, guilty
and innocent
What is airpower unable to do?
• Cost-effectively transport very heavy or bulky cargo
• Seize and hold contested territorial objectives
• Accept, process, and police an enemy’s surrender
Air Power Essentials
12 Lessons from Modern War
Benjamin S. Lambeth, Lessons from Modern Warfare, 2013
Airpower will inevitably be pivotal in future wars
Airpower alone can sometimes achieve desired goals
A ground input will usually enhance airpower’s potential
Airpower will not always be preeminent in joint warfare
The major combat roles of air and land power have been reversed
Carrier airpower can sometimes substitute for land-based fighters
Effects-based operations outperform simple attrition every time
Coercion works best with modest goals and expectations
For regime change, planning just for the takedown will not suffice
Even the best force imaginable cannot make up for a flawed strategy
Mission creep usually comes at a high price
We do not get to pick our wars that matter most
Air Power Essentials
12 Recommended books on Air Power
Corum, James and Wray Johnson, Airpower in Small Wars: Fighting
Insurgents and Terrorists (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2003)
Cox, Sebastian and Peter Gray (eds.), Air Power History: Turning
Points from Kitty Hawk to Kosovo (London: Frank Cass, 2002)
Gray, Colin S., Airpower for Strategic Effect (Maxwell Air Force Base,
Alabama: Air University Press, 2012)
Hallion, Richard P., Storm over Iraq: Air Power and the Gulf War
(Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992)
Lambeth, Benjamin S., The Transformation of American Air Power
(Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000)
Mason, Richard A., Air Power: A Centennial Appraisal (London:
Brassey’s, 1994)
Meilinger, Philip S. (ed.), The Paths of Heaven: The Evolution of Airpower
Theory (Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Air University Press, 1997)
Olsen, John Andreas (ed.), A History of Air Warfare (Washington DC:
Potomac Books, 2010)
Olsen, John Andreas (ed.), Global Air Power (Washington DC:
Potomac Books, 2011)
Olsen, John Andreas (ed.) Air Commanders (Washington DC: Potomac
Books, 2012)
Stephens, Alan (ed.), The War in the Air: 1914‒1994 (Fairbairn,
Australia: Air Power Studies Centre, 1994)
van Creveld, Martin, The Age of Airpower, (New York: Public Affairs, 2011).
Air Power Essentials
Reflections on Air Power
Air power history has become respectable. There is now a body of scholarly
academic literature, which has not only succeeded in placing air power in
its proper historical context, but in pushing the subject beyond the fighting
front to embrace a whole range of different historical issues and approaches.
There is now an extensive intellectual history of air power that focuses on the
development of doctrine in many differing contexts, thanks in no small part
to the interest of air force history offices in understanding the historical roots
of current air power thinking. . . . The most distinctive aspect of the new air
power history is the growing emphasis on the social, cultural and political
dimension of the subject.
Professor Richard J. Overy
It is a triumph neither for good history nor for theoretical rigor to leap from
denunciation of the thesis that airpower will always deliver victory to the
antithesis that airpower can never deliver victory. Moreover, if one intellectually
addresses the meaning of victory, indeed of decision, then it becomes evident
that there is, certainly can be, far more merit in the claim that airpower can
be a more strategically decisive force than critics generally allow... Indeed, it is
defensible to argue that among the revolutions in military affairs more and less
constantly carried through since 1900, that effected by airpower has been the
most significant... Airpower is one of history’s most impressive success stories.
Professor Colin S. Gray
Air Power Essentials
Reflections on Air Power
Air power is an unusually seductive form of military strength, in part because,
like modern courtship, it appears to offer gratification without commitment.
Francis Bacon wrote of command of the sea that he who has it “is at great liberty,
and may take as much and as little of the Warre as he will,” and a similar belief
accounts for air power’s attractiveness to those who favor modest uses of force
overseas. Statesmen may think that they can use air attacks to engage in hostilities
by increments, something ground combat does not permit. Furthermore, it
appears that the imminent arrival of so-called nonlethal or disabling technologies
may offer an even more appealing prospect: war without casualties.
Professor Eliot A. Cohen
The ubiquity, perspective and reach of aerospace platforms liberate them from
the obligations to engage in sequential patterns of operations. Whereas ground
forces have to achieve tactical breakthroughs in order to fulfill operational
objectives which in turn leads to progress at the strategic level of war, in theory
at least air power can undertake missions on all three levels from the very outset
of a conflict. Furthermore, not only has the accuracy and lethality of modern
weaponry endowed aerospace forces with unprecedented scope in terms of the
spectrum of targets they can engage with a good prospect of success, but also
such forces remain, for the time being at least, less vulnerable to destruction by
terrestrial ones than the other way around.
Professor David Gates
Air Power Essentials
Reflections on Air Power
The advent of air power, which can go straight to the vital centers and either
neutralize or destroy them, has put a completely new complexion on the old
system of making war. It is now realized that the hostile main army in the field
is a false objective, and the real objectives are the vital centers.
Brigadier General William Mitchell
We must not start our thinking on war with the tools of war—with the air­
planes, tanks, ships and those who crew them. These tools are important
and have their place, but they cannot be our starting point, nor can we allow
ourselves to see them as the essentials of war. Fighting is not the essence of
war, nor even a desirable part of it. The real essence is doing what is necessary
to make the enemy accept our objectives as his objectives. . . . We have moved
from the age of the horse and the sail through the age of the battleship and the
tank to the age of the airplane. Like its illustrious ancestors, the airplane will
have its day in the sun, and then it too shall be replaced.
Colonel John A. Warden III
During the opening days of Desert Storm, we could not precisely hit targets
because all we had for precision attack were laser-guided munitions. So when
the worst weather in 14 years rolled into Iraq, we could not drop any weapons.
Today, that does not matter. We conquered the night in the late 1980s and we
conquered weather by the early 2000s. Now, weather, night, distance are no
longer constraints to force application; the constraint is where is the target,
what do you want to hit?
Lieutenant General David A. Deptula
Air Power Essentials
The Swedish Air Force
The Swedish Air Force is tasked with organising and training aircraft units and
base and command units and completes its tasks by means of fixed-wing aircraft
and helicopters. These tasks include protecting Swedish airspace, conducting
rescue operations, performing air transport duties and gathering intelligence. Air
Force units specialise in completing tasks in Sweden and abroad. They do this in
collaboration with the Navy and the Army. Together, they protect Sweden’s borders
and defend the country against external threats.
Air Force units are categorised into:
Fighter Aircraft Units
• Fighter aircraft units can strike against ground, air or sea targets with great
precision, force and flexibility. They can also be deployed for intelligence
gathering to assert Sweden’s territorial integrity.
Transport Aircraft Units
• Transport aircraft units undertake air transport duties and are deployed in
e.g. humanitarian missions, nationally and internationally.
Signal Reconnaissance Units
• Signal reconnaissance units perform electronic combat reconnaissance and
intelligence gathering duties.
Radar Surveillance Units
• Radar surveillance units are primarily deployed to enhance data obtained
from land and seaborne sensors.
Helicopter Units
• The helicopter units undertake land and sea operations and air and sea
rescue services.
Base and Command Units
• Base and command units primarily support and command combat aircraft units.