Dec 31, 1993
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This report examines the contributions and limitations of air power in the Persian Gulf War. The authors conclude that, for the first time in modern combat, air power was the equal partner of land and sea power, performing the critical enabling function that led to victory. The authors seek to moderate, however, certain claims made by airpower advocates after the war: they maintain that the war did not demonstrate that a strategic air campaign guarantees victory, but rather that air power, skillfully employed under the right conditions, can neutralize, if not completely destroy, a modern army in the field. Nor did the war display breakthroughs in weapon technology, but rather the prowess of well-trained and motivated airmen and their support crews in using maturing technology. Moreover, the authors maintain, the air war was not fought as jointly as many supposed. The sheer mass of available air power allowed it to be used inefficiently at times to cater to doctrinal preferences of the various services.
The Setting for the Gulf Air War
Planning the Air Campaign
Command, Control, and Organization
Information Acquisition and Management
Air Combat System Performance
Air Power Performance in the Gulf War
An Assessment of Air Power’s Role
Statistical Data on Desert Shield and Desert Storm