Here is the table of contents from the latest editions of RAF Air Power Review.
One of the key outcomes of the improved delivery of air power in the North African campaign of the Second World War was the effect that it had on the morale of ground forces. Morale can be understood as the willingness of an individual or group to prepare for and engage in institutionally encouraged actions. The disasters that beset Eighth Army in the summer of 1942 were significantly influenced by a crisis in morale that fed into ineffective combat performance. This crisis in morale was turned around in dramatic fashion at Alam Halfa and El Alamein leading to more effective performance and ultimately victory in North Africa. The improved provision of air support for Eighth Army played an important role in this recovery of morale and in the gradual erosion and destruction of German and Italian willingness to fight. Practitioners, theorists and historians must take account of the extent to which air power is a morale weapon if they are fully to understand the past and utilise air power to its maximum effect today and in the future.
Flight Lieutenant Kevin Terrett, ‘Stalemate: How the Future of Air Power might look in the shadow of the emerging fifth-generation Air Threat’
PAK-FA: a weapons system that has the potential to strike fear in to the heart of Western air power for decades. This article will examine the background and proposed open source capabilities of the Russian stealth fighter program and argue that if the PAK-FA marketing brochure truly reflects the fielded capability of the platform, then the impact on Western air power at both the strategic and tactical level will be profound. The paper argues that simply procuring the Joint Strike Fighter and F-22 Raptor in the quantities proposed will not necessarily be enough to counter PAK-FA. Western air power must also look to the development of networked air, ground and sea-based technologies capable of detecting and engaging the airborne stealth threat, an F2T2EA chain optimized for speed and a rebalancing of front-line training towards within visual range combat. The penalties for not taking action in the immediate future to counter the emerging stealth threat could well be catastrophic to our national intent and global impact.
Squadron Leader Colin Wills, ‘The Potential for Unmanned Combat Air Systems to Gain Control of the Air in Future Warfare’
Current Unmanned Combat Air Systems developments, such as BAE’s Taranis programme, focus on Intelligence, Surveillance, Targeting, Acquisition, and Reconnaissance, and air-to-surface missions, including that portion which is the counter-air task. The article argues that the air-to-air component of counter-air warfare is as essential. Could Unmanned Combat Air Systems, the next evolution of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, gain control of the air in future warfare? There is currently a paucity of analysis within the UK into Unmanned Combat Air Systems undertaking this task. The threat environment in which weapon systems are required to operate in will reinforce capability requirements. The effect that political, legal, and ethical issues of using Unmanned Combat Air Systems might have upon decision makers cannot be underestimated, and also requires consideration. This article examines the implication of these issues and the future utility of Unmanned Combat Air Systems gaining control of the air.
Flight Lieutenant Vix Anderton, ‘What’s Sex Got To Do With It? Women, Peace and Security for Future Operations’
The military ability to influence is predicated on understanding the target audience. This is as true for conventional warfare as it is for counterinsurgency and applies to an adversary’s leadership, the local population, and the British people. Given half of the world’s population is female, gender underpins many social and cultural issues. However, it is significantly overlooked by campaign planners and in operational execution. The role of women, particularly in developing countries, is largely underappreciated and misunderstood. This article will explore the importance of women’s security needs and the requirement for the British military to better understand gender issues. It is time that gender was acknowledged as a key component of military capability that should be used to improve the effectiveness of both current and future operations.
Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Roe, ‘‘Bugsplat’ and Fallible Humans: The Hi-Tech U.S. Drone Campaign over North-West Pakistan’
It is an almost daily occurrence to read of U.S. armed pilot-less drones, or more correctly unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), killing suspected militants in north-west Pakistan. U.S. officials consider the precision strikes a vital weapon in the war against Islamist extremists. However, the attacks are a source of deep frustration and tension between Washington and Islamabad. Many in Pakistan say they violate national sovereignty and also cause widespread civilian casualties. For their part, the U.S. has criticized Pakistan for failing to crack down on fighters who stage attacks in Afghanistan and has stepped up UAV attacks in the tribal region to combat them. Washington considers Pakistan’s semi-autonomous north-western tribal belt to be the main hub of Taliban and Al-Qaeda activity in the region. This article looks at the current U.S. air campaign over north-west Pakistan by outlining the advantages and disadvantages of employing UAVs. It concludes by drawing a number of historical parallels; it is now almost a hundred years since airpower made its first appearance on the frontier.
Group Captain Tim Below, ‘A Trilateral Renaissance of Expeditionary NATO Air Power’
Air Commodore Dave Best, ‘Airpower and Afghanistan’