Routledge Handbook of Air Power  book cover
1st Edition

Routledge Handbook of Air Power

Edited By

John Andreas Olsen

ISBN 9781138632608
Published February 26, 2018 by Routledge
428 Pages

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USD $270.00

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Book Description

The Routledge Handbook of Air Power offers a comprehensive overview of the political purposes and military importance of air power.

Despite its increasing significance in international relations, statecraft and war, the phenomenon of air power remains controversial and little understood beyond its tactical and technological prominence. This volume provides a comprehensive survey designed to contribute to a deep and sophisticated understanding of air power. Containing contributions from academics and service personnel, the book comprises five sections:

- Part I Foundation: the essence of air power

- Part II Roles and functions: delivering air power

- Part III Cross-domain integration: applying air power

- Part IV Political–social–economic environment: air power in its strategic context

- Part V Case studies: air power in its national context

Examining a series of themes and factors that contribute to an understanding of the utility and applicability of air power, this Handbook focuses on the essence of air power, identifies its roles and functions, and places air power in its wider strategic and national contexts.

The Routledge Handbook of Air Power will be of great interest to students of air power, strategic studies, defence studies, security studies and IR, as well as to military professionals and policy-makers.

Table of Contents

Foreword, David A. Deptula

Introduction: The New Face of War, John Andreas Olsen

Part I: Foundation: Essence of Air Power

1. Air Power Anatomy, Benjamin S. Lambeth

2. Air Power and High Command, Alan Stephens

3. Air Power Theory, Phillip S. Meilinger

4. Science, Technology and Air Warfare, Richard P. Hallion

5 Air Power, International Law and Ethics, Jeffrey Biller

6. Air Power History, Peter W. Gray

Part II: Roles and Functions: Delivering Air Power

7. Control of the Air, Dag Henriksen

8. Air Strike, Frans Osinga

9. Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Gjert Lage Dyndal 

10. Air Mobility, Robert C. Owen

11. Command and Control, Christopher McInnes

12. Air Power Logistics, Richard Knighton

Part III: Cross-Domain Integration: Applying Air Power

13. Air-Land Integration, Harvey Smyth

14. Air-Sea Integration, Travis Hallen

15. Air-Special Operation Integration, James D. Kiras

16. Air-Space Integration, Everett Dolman

17. Air Power and Cyber, Richard Andres

18. Air Power in Interagency Operations, James S. Corum

Part IV: Political-Social Economic Environment: Air Power in its Strategic Context

19. Combat Power and Political Effect, Michael Clarke

20. Air Power and the Media, Philip Sabin

21. Deterrence and Coercive Diplomacy, Karl P. Muller

22. Air Power in Multinational Operations, Christian F. Anrig

23. Cost of Combat Air Power, Trevor Taylor 

24. Air Power and Industry, Keith Hayward

Part V: Case Studies: Air Power in its National Context

25. China Air Power, Xiaoming Zhang

26. Russian Air Power, Igor Sutyagin

27. Indian Air Power, Sanu Kainikara

28. Pakistani Air Power, Jamal Hussein

29. Brazilian Air Power, Carlos Eduardo Valle Rosa

30. Japan, Tomoyuki Ishizu

Conclusion: The Shape of Things to Come, John Andreas Olsen

Afterword, Stephen Hillier

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John Andreas Olsen is a Colonel in the Royal Norwegian Air Force. He is Visiting Professor at the Swedish Defence University and Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. His latest publications include Airpower Reborn (2015) and Airpower Applied (2017).


The Routledge Handbook of Air Power is highly relevant to politicians, diplomats, officers and scholars alike. It is a first-class analysis of how to deliver and apply air power with emphasis on breadth, depth and context, offering unique insight into air power’s strengths, limitations and potential as a political instrument. I commend it to you as a '‘must read’'.'-- Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Chief of the Defence Staff, UK

'Air power began to transform the conduct of war in the early twentieth century and it continues to do so. This is an invaluable and authoritative resource guide to all aspects of air power, and its relationship to other aspects of armed force. An excellent set of contributors explores air power’s potential as well as limits.'-- Sir Lawrence Freedman, King’s College London, UK

'John Andreas Olsen has brought together a group of excellent authors in this volume’s first-rate exposition on the state of air power today, its doctrines, roles and force structure. Particularly valuable are the sections on the air power’s political, economic, and social impact. No other book approaches it in scope.' -- Thomas Keaney, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Washington DC, USA

'Desert Storm’s success was based on lessons from past air operations; seize control of the air, operate as a single force, see/decide/act with speed. These lessons must be relearned and refreshed with imaginative new concepts. The authors of this Handbook have done both, codified how to fight from the air, now and in the future. An absolute required read for understanding war.'-- General Charles A. Horner, USAF (ret.)

'The Routledge Handbook of Air Power is an impressive work. Comprehensive in its scope and depth, it explores the many facets of air operations, their relationship with other military arms, and its role in strategy. It collects the wisdom of some of the world's foremost experts on the topic. This is a book aimed at scholars and practitioners and will be welcomed by both.' -- Thomas G. Mahnken, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, Washington DC, USA

The Routledge Handbook of Air Power is a most impressive work that astutely examines contemporary air power. The book’s overall breadth of coverage is noteworthy while each essay concisely and insightfully discusses its own specific carefully-chosen subject area. The book offers much for defence policymakers, military professionals, academics and all concerned with deeply understanding air power in the modern era. Highly recommended.’— Peter Layton, Griffith University, Australia, in The Central Blue

'The contributors to the book include an extraordinary group of scholars as well as practitioners of air power from all over the world... highly recommended for libraries of the National Defence University and the War and Staff Colleges of the three services. The book should also be useful to all those who deal with matters of defence, whether in government, or in private think tanks.'--Air Cdre Kaiser Tufail (ret.), Pakistan Air Force, Defence Journal

'...this is an excellent and essential contribution to our understanding of air power. [...] the pedagogic layout of the book helps give the volume purpose that leads the reader through many critical issues related to air power. As such, while the book's primary market will undoubtedly be serving air force personnel involved in PME and training activities, there is enough in this volume that other interested readers will gain much from this collection.'--Ross Mahoney, From Balloons to Drones

'The Routledge Handbook of Air Power is a superb work that yields insights into the characteristics, capabilities, and capacity of airpower simply not available in previous works on the subject. Accordingly, the handbook is highly recommended for individuals and institutions who want to advance their knowledge of airpower, its indispensable functions in armed forces, and the roles it can play as a critical element of national security strategies.'-- Lt Gen David A. Deptula, USAF, Retired, Air and Space Power Journal

'John Andreas Olsen’s objective of increasing our understanding of air power has been magnificently achieved in this single volume. He assembled some of the leading air power scholars around the world but also added scholars who understand the value of air power in a wider strategic context....John Olsen has performed a great service to modern security studies by compiling this work.'-- Christina Goulter, Aerospace, December 2019