It may seem odd as I have only recenlty posted the TOC for the last edition of Air Power Review. However, there have been some changes at the RAF’s Centre for Air Power Studies that meant the previous issue had been delayed. Hopefully we will now start to see this excellent journal appear on a more frequent basis.Here is the contents of the latest edition.
Dr Peter Lee, ‘Remoteness, Risk and Aircrew Ethos’
From the era of dog-fighting biplanes to the age of fly-by-wire, twin-engine fast-jets with stealth technology and satellite-guided weaponry, each iteration of technological advancement has seen its associated RAF aircrew – especially the pilots – construct their ethos in the shadows of those early pioneers. The heritage and heroics of their forebears have been claimed and selectively incorporated in the ethos of each new generation who would apply the increasing utility of air power in combat operations. However, the advent of the Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) in recent years has brought a new dynamic to the aircrew/aircraft nexus, with the former being removed from both the cockpit and the battle space. This article explores some of the ways in which the personal and collective ethos of those who operate the Reaper RPAS is formed now and may be formed in the future.
Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Roe, ‘Evacuation by Air: The All-But-Forgotten Kabul Airlift of 1928-29’
In 2010, the Royal Air Force (RAF) undertook a hazardous mission to evacuate British nationals from Libya, North Africa. The rescue effort was a complete success; all willing and entitled British civilians were evacuated safely and no aircrew or aircraft came to any real harm. Eighty-three years earlier, the RAF undertook another risky air evacuation to save hundreds of embassy staff from several countries, along with their families, after inter-tribal strife spread into civil war in Afghanistan. This time the destination was Kabul. This article exposes the political background behind the evacuations, the actions of the threatened British Legation and the skill and determination of the pilots and crew involved in the little known, but extraordinary, evacuation of Kabul 1928-29.
Group Captain Alistair Byford, ‘A Greek Tragedy? The Royal Air Force’s Campaign in the Balkans, November 1940 to April 1941’
The campaign in Greece in the winter of 1940-41 was the last of three disastrous expeditionary campaigns mounted by British forces in the first fifteen months of the Second World War, following the intervention in Norway and the blitzkrieg in France and Flanders. While the campaigns were similar in nature – all were joint, fought in coalition and culminated in a desperate evacuation – each had a unique character, and this paper will suggest that the RAF’s experience in Greece yields specific and valuable contemporary lessons about the employment of air power. Most importantly, success and failure were intimately connected to the degree of control of the air that could be achieved, in turn determined and constrained by the organisation of deployed logistics and support functions. However, the campaign is most notable as an example of the primacy of the political imperative above purely military considerations, and illustrates the unpalatable strategic choices that Commanders must subsequently make as they attempt to manage and mitigate the operational consequences.
Dr Ben Jones, ‘The Persian Gulf and British Defence Policy, 1956-1971’
In the fifteen years prior to Britain’s military withdrawal from east of Suez in 1971, the defence of its protectorates in the Persian Gulf became a key focus for British defence policy, largely for economic reasons. This article charts the changing diplomatic situation in terms of Britain’s relations with its allies and the threats which existed to them. The major focus is upon the resulting decisions with regards to the stance and readiness of Britain’s military forces in the area. The concept of deterrence was crucial and contingency plans emphasised the need to act quickly and decisively. What changed was not Britain’s interest in the region, but the practical issues of maintaining its defence posture and whether these commitments could be afforded. A wide range of original documents have been used to shed new light upon Britain’s policy towards the Gulf during this period.
Colonel Bruno Mignot, ‘Non-Kinetic Operations: Information Operations, Air Force Style’
The air operations carried out by the French Air Force are characterised by a global approach, in that they fully integrate non-destructive operations described as “non-kinetic” and include the whole range of information operations in the broadest sense. Typical of this approach, which has already received international recognition during joint and combined exercises, is that it takes account of the political, military, cultural, economic and social environment of a country in crisis at the time of an external operation. This article examines non-kinetic operations firstly by looking at the various players in the operational theatre, then by asking what is meant by “non-kinetic”. Information operations and the strategy of influence are examined and then the eight basic functions of non-kinetic ops are described with the article ending on a description of the organisation of a non-kinetic cell.
Flight Lieutenant Sandy McKenzie, ‘The Renaissance of Air Power’
Dr Rob Wheeler, ‘War at a Distance – An Alternative Perspective’