Aerospace Power in the Twenty-First Century: A Basic Primer by Clayton K. S. Chun

By Clayton K. S. Chun

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Today, many nations do not depend upon domestic aerospace industrial strength to 29 AEROSPACE POWER IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY produce aircraft or space systems. For example, the United States arguably must depend on foreign industry to provide computer chips, raw materials, and other imported products t o e n s u r e t h e m a n u f a c t u r e o f m a n y m i l i t a r y a e r o s p a c e c o m p onents. In the future, growth in economic globalization will increase foreign interdependence for industrial products.

Achieving air superiority can also come from defeating aircraft on the ground. t a c k s u s i n g c o n v e n t i o n a l m u n i t i o n s m a y l e a v e a r u n w a y u nusable or may severely damage parked aircraft. Enemy forces that are prepared and can benefit from defensive weapons are more difficult to defeat than unprepared f o r c e s t h a t a r e a t t a c k e d i n o p e n t e r r a i n . T h e c h a n c e o f s u ccess for an offensive action against the enemy is increased greatly if a military force can attain surprise—the mirror image of security.

German losses were over 6,000 killed and w o u n d e d . T h e 1 0 - m o n t h B a t t l e o f V e r d u n ended with over 377,000 French and 337,000 German deaths. Aerial bombardment of cities with relatively fewer, albeit civilian, deaths would be more humane than the slaughter in the trenches. Douhet reasoned that aerial warfare, under the command of an airman, was less destructive than previous modes of combat. Aircraft put under the command of ground or naval forces 41 AEROSPACE POWER IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY Trench warfare in World War I would merely act in secondary roles, like reconnaissance , a n d not take full advantage of their capabilities.

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