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“Airpower” in International Politics

Abstract
The article deals with the evolution of the air power doctrine from the point of view of its role in interstate interaction. In its broadest meaning, this concept implies a type of military strategy in which combat aviation dominates. The authors address the history of aerial device use in the military conflicts of the 19th century, look into the emergence and development of military aviation in the 20th century and analyze the changes which took place in the 21st century in world politics as well as the changes in regional conflict management that air force development was responsible for. In the historical context, the evolution of air war conduct theories is considered starting from the classical works on the air power theory that date back to WWI and WWII and finishing with the modern approaches to what future aviation will be like. One of the issues raised is the possibility to build an effective air defense system capable of neutralizing and completely destroying enemy air force. The analysis completed by the authors leads them to the conclusion that the understanding of the air power doctrine remains at the level of the 1940’s and attributes the most crucial role to strategic aviation combined with nuclear arms and high technologies. Nevertheless the nature of modern conflicts calls for the emergence of a new pool of air power doctrine-related concepts implying either the suppression of sophisticated air defense or establishing a comprehensive air defense capable of protecting a country from enemy air strikes. In addition, the development of new doctrines on the basis of improving technological capabilities allows to radically rethink the approaches to the appearance of future air forces, which may become a serious threat to countries with underdeveloped air defense systems.
Keywords:
Air power doctrines; the “third dimension”; theatre of military operations; tactical and strategic aviation; strategic bombing doctrine; air defense systems; military revolution theory.


Authors: Vasily Veselov, Alexey Fenenko

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