1st Edition

Understanding Contemporary Air Power

ISBN 9781138393806
Published April 19, 2020 by Routledge
232 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

USD $42.95

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Book Description

This book aims to explain air power to both military and civilian audiences in an accessible manner, approaching the topic in a balanced and systematic way.

The past 100 years illustrates that air power is an inevitable feature of any type of modern warfare. It has a key role to play in any of the three main operational environments: conventional (inter-state) wars, peace-support operations, and counterinsurgencies. This book examines the strengths and challenges of using air power in these situations, and each type of operation is explained using modern and historical examples, with an emphasis on the relevant lessons for the contemporary and future use of air power.

The book also looks into the complexity of media coverage of air warfare and changes in the public perception of air power in recent years. The specifics of structuring national air forces is also discussed, along with the future of air power based on current trends. One of the enduring themes in the book is the necessity of inter-service and cross-domain integration, emphasizing the increasingly important role of cyber and space domains in the future of network-centric warfare.  

This book will be essential reading for students of air power and air warfare, and recommended reading for students of international security, strategic studies, defence studies, and foreign policy.

Table of Contents


1. What is air power?

2. Evolution of air power theory and thinking on air power

3. Defining the factors for successful air power: People, technology and political will

4. Air Power in different operations: Conventional warfare

5. Air Power in different operations: Counterinsurgencies

6. Air Power in Different Operations: PSO and R2P

7. Civil-military relationship: public and media perspectives on air power

8. National Air Forces

9. Future trends in air power

Conclusion: What does the future bring?

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Viktoriya Fedorchak is Lecturer in European Studies at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway, and previously taught courses to the Irish Defence Forces at the Military College, Curragh, Ireland. She is author of British Air Power: The Doctrinal Path to Jointery (2018).


'This textbook sets out to provide the context and to explore the issues and ideas required to understand the contemporary use of airpower in its different operating environments. Fedorchak examines and explains relevant theory and concepts before addressing fundamental roles, to provide a comprehensive analysis of the theory and practice of airpower today. The book will be extremely useful for anyone interested in modern military operations, and will be especially valuable for those seeking to understand what militaries can achieve in and from the third-dimension.’--Ian Speller, Maynooth University, Ireland

'Viktoriya Fedorchak offers an excellent textbook on contemporary air power. The book represents a fresh and insightful study of the utility of air power in peace support operations, counter-insurgency campaigns and conventional warfare. It provides a scholarly assessment of theory, roles and functions and the place of air power in the larger context of civil society. It also offers an honest account of air power’s strengths and limitations, as well as prudent advice on its future applicability. This book should be essential reading for anyone interested in the use of military force in today’s world.'-- Colonel John Andreas Olsen, Royal Norwegian Air Force

'This is an important new work that adds substantially to the literature on modern airpower.  Fedorchak has started with the basics of what airpower is and what it can do to achieve national goals, and then steps through the history of war over the past several decades. Her conclusions are logical and irrefutable: as range, precision and intelligence sources have multiplied, airpower had become increasingly crucial to how the West fights--against any adversary. Drawing a distinction between 'success' and 'victory,' she shows that airpower is essential to achieving success, which in the modern world is what nations must seek. An excellent primer essential to any course on airpower or as an adjunct to a study of strategy.'--Col. Phillip S. Meilinger, USAF (Retd.), formerly Dean of the School of Advanced Airpower Studies at the Air University, Alabama, USA

‘Viktoriya Fedorchak's book addresses one of the most discussed issues of our time, the use of military air power. The use of large land armies belongs to the past. Instead, states are increasingly using military air operations. The world's most powerful military force, the United States, is investing heavily in drone warfare. Fedorchak addresses the theme in both breadth and depth. She discusses what military air power has been, is and can evolve into, and not least what factors are crucial to the successful use of military air power. This book is most welcome in a time of great change in the world in terms of military strategy, defense and global balance of power.’— Erik Opsahl, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway

‘This textbook will be essential reading for my courses for years to come. Having lectured air power and strategic studies for many years, I always struggled to find introductory readings that do not revolve almost entirely around the strategic bombing debate and are not limited to the US case. Fedorchak offers a truly comprehensive account of the potential and limits of air power in modern warfare that will be valuable for military and university student alike. In addition to using a wide variety of interesting national examples – including Russia, China, Sweden and Ireland – her book addresses issues pertaining to contemporary airpower that are often understudied. Her writing, for example, on political will, civil-military relations and media portrayals of airpower, is insightful and important. As such, Understanding Contemporary Air Power is making an significant and original contribution to the literature on the subject.’-- Bettina Renz, University of Nottingham, UK

'This book is recommended for a wide audience, including scholars, analysts, and students as early as beginning undergraduates, as it should be accessible to anyone with the most basic understanding of the military. Chapters conclude with helpful discussion questions and suggested reading. Even those quite familiar with airpower already may benefit from the wide-ranging mix of intellectual themes, practical coverage of air forces, and recent case studies that she interweaves into her account. Fedorchak truly has provided an impressive introduction to contemporary air power that merits reading.'--Heather P. Venable, H-Net Reviews