The Evolution of Russian Offensive Air Warfare Theory: From Deep Battle to Aerospace War
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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This thesis examines the development of Russian offensive air warfare theory from 1930 to the present day. The revolution in military affairs caused by the development of high-precision weaponry and advanced methods of detection has transformed traditional concepts of warfare, making remote strikes by aircraft and missiles an increasingly vital factor in modern war. To Russian observers, the Persian Gulf War offered proof that a paradigm shift has indeed taken place. Despite radical technological change, the traditional concepts of airpower employment developed in the 1930s and perfected during the Second World War remain essentially valid despite visionary views on independent air warfare strategy. However, the battle between offensive airpower and air defense is now considered the critical factor in determining the course and outcome of a war, but within the context of combined arms operations and not independent strategic action. The high effectiveness of emerging strike technology in the Gulf War has led to priority Russian development of both countermeasures and analagous capabilities. However, there is agreement that the means of air defense alone are not sufficient, and preemptive offensive conventional strikes are widely viewed as the only acceptable alternative, even in the framework of a defensive strategy.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics