Aerial warfare

For military aviation forces and equipment, see Military aviation. For strategic theory on the use of air forces, see Airpower.

Aerial warfare is the use of military aircraft and other flying machines in warfare. Aerial warfare includes bombers attacking enemy concentrations or strategic targets; fighter aircraft battling for control of airspace; attack aircraft engaging in close air support against ground targets; naval aviation flying against sea and nearby land targets; gliders, helicopters and other aircraft to carry airborne forces such as paratroopers; aerial refueling tankers to extend operation time or range; and military transport aircraft to move cargo and personnel. [1] Historically, military aircraft have included lighter-than-air balloons carrying artillery observers; lighter-than-air airships for bombing cities; various sorts of reconnaissance, surveillance and early warning aircraft carrying observers, cameras and radar equipment; torpedo bombers to attack enemy shipping; and military air-sea rescue aircraft for saving downed airmen. Modern aerial warfare includes missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles. Surface forces are likely to respond to enemy air activity with anti-aircraft warfare.


The history of aerial warfare began in ancient times, with the use of man-carrying kites in China. In the third century it progressed to balloon warfare. Airplanes were put to use for war starting in 1911, initially for reconnaissance, and then for aerial combat to shoot down the recon planes. The use of planes for strategic bombing emerged during World War II. Also during World War II, Nazi Germany developed many missile and precision-guided munition systems, including the first cruise missile, the first short-range ballistic missile, the first guided surface-to-air missiles, and the first anti-ship missiles. Ballistic missiles became of key importance during the Cold War, were armed with nuclear warheads, and were stockpiled by the superpowers (U.S. and the U.S.S.R) to deter each other from using them. The first military use of satellites was for reconnaissance in the 1950s, and their use has progressed to worldwide communication and information systems that support globally distributed military users with intelligence from orbit.

Other Languages
العربية: حرب جوية
български: Военна авиация
català: Guerra aèria
Deutsch: Luftkrieg
español: Guerra aérea
فارسی: جنگ هوایی
한국어: 항공전
íslenska: Lofthernaður
Кыргызча: Аба согушу
Bahasa Melayu: Peperangan udara
Nederlands: Luchtoorlog
日本語: 航空戦
norsk bokmål: Luftkrig
português: Guerra aérea
română: Război aerian
Simple English: Aerial warfare
தமிழ்: வான் போர்
Türkçe: Hava savaşı
українська: Повітряна війна
中文: 空中戰爭