By Clayton K. S. Chun
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Additional info for Aerospace Power in the Twenty-First Century: A Basic Primer
D u r- Navy F-18s 28 AEROSPACE CONCEPTS AND DEFINITIONS ing the 1950s and 1960s, rockets and spacecraft extended aerospace’s reach into the cosmos. Today, the space shuttle launches into space like a rocket, deploys satellites in space, and then returns to Earth like an airplane. Tomorrow, aeros p a c e p l a n e s may operate at hypersonic speeds in space while taking off and landing on Earth like airplanes. The gap between air and space vehicles may greatly narrow with these developments. Aerospace Elements Aerospace power relies on both vehicles and other elements to accomplish its missions.
Aerospace power can rap26 AEROSPACE CONCEPTS AND DEFINITIONS idly deliver aid to nations that suffer natural disasters such as earthquakes, fires, or floods. Aircraft can swiftly deliver critical food and shelter when hours literally count in life-threatening situations. Commanders can use aircraft to fly over contested areas and provide quick, precision delivery of supplies and material. On 24 June 1948, the Soviet Union blockaded all road, rail, and waterways into Berlin to make allied forces abandon the city.
If the military force can avoid detection from surveillance before its attack, then it may significantly improve the probability of conducting a successful surprise attack. Such an attack may catch aircraft on the airfield or outside of hangars, air defenses unprepared for action, or protective revetments vulnerable to immediate destruction. In May 1981, the IDF/AF a t t a c k e d a n I r a q i n u c l e a r reactor at Osirak. Operation Babylon ’s objective was to de21 AEROSPACE POWER IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY F-15 air superiority fighter s t r o y I r a q’ s g r o w i n g n u c l e a r w e a p o n s p r o g r a m .