Kaliningrad Trap - Reconciling Airpower Theory with Peer Competitors
AIR UNIVERSITY MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE United States
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This study analyzes the appropriateness of employing traditional airpower theory against Russia in the context of a Baltic conflict and offers that air planners must consider political context when attempting to control the vertical domain through active, offensive tactics. History demonstrates that airpower is primarily an offensive weapon. The results of this study show that if NATO and the US responded to a Russian invasion of the Baltics by applying traditional airpower theoriesspecifically by seeking control of the vertical by violently removing the Integrated Air Defense System IADS located in Kaliningradthis response would likely escalate the conflict. NATO air planners should understand that an air war against Russia will be different than the Arab-Israeli Six Day War, Desert Storm, and Allied Force. Air planners must pursue non-traditional IADS take-down methods to compel Russia to return to its borders without escalating the war.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics