Issue 2011-7 
3rd August, 2011



Pathfinder 159
An Australian Airman at the Birth of Indonesia's Air Force

Pathfinder 160
Facets of Air Power: An Element of National Power


Commander's Intent

Air Force is in the midst of an unprecedented period of change with most major air capabilities transitioning concurrently. For this to occur seamlessly, a well-considered, collective and coordinated approach is vital in successfully realising such change while maintaining the health of the organisation. In this document, Air Marshal Geoff Brown, AM, Chief of Air Force, presents his Commander's Intent for the RAAF to indicate where the Air Force needs to go as an organisation and the role all personnel should play to achieve the collective RAAF vision: One Team – Swift, Decisive, Resilient and Respected.

Published: August 2011


CAF Reading List 2011

Following on from last year's Chief of Air Force's Reading List, the Air Power Development Centre has developed the 2011 list to provide a ready reference of books that provide an insight into contemporary air power issues and have contributed to the history and development of air power.

Published: August 2011


Down To Earth

This is the autobiography of Air Marshal David Evans, AC, DSO, AFC, the Chief of Air Staff, RAAF (1982-1985). With his flying days now 25 years behind him and both feet planted firmly on the ground, Air Marshal Evans gives a vivid and forthright account of his Air Force experiences, and reflects back on one of the most varied personal careers of the modern RAAF.

Author: David Evans
Published: June 2011


Recommended Reading

Airpower and Counterinsurgency
by Paul Smyth
Air and Space Power Journal, Summer 2011

This article poses the hypothesis that RAF doctrine, irregular warfighting concepts and air capabilities must evolve to meet the realities of the post-Cold War global security environment. The author takes a realistic approach when identifying the contribution air power can make to land centric (military and civilian) counterinsurgency (COIN) operations. He provides six factors for air planners to consider when formulating and executing effective air campaigns in support of Iraq or Afghanistan-like joint operations, which can also be used to inform airmen and soldiers of the capabilities and limitations of air power in COIN. The content of this article resonates well with air forces like the RAAF which are actively involved in air operations such as these and are developing air doctrine related to irregular warfare. [AAP 1001.2 The RAAF Approach to Irregular Warfare has been endorsed by CAF and is in the final stages of publication.]


Bombers Over Libya
By John A. Tirpak
AIR FORCE Magazine, July 2011

This article provides a new appreciation for the air power characteristic of "reach". During the first week of UN sanctioned NATO military operations in Libya in March 2011, the USAF conducted long range global strike missions from the continental US involving B-2 and B-1B bomber aircraft. This article examines the complexity of these missions, including the extremely detailed tanker plan, and the multiple combatant command coordination and mission execution requirements that had to be fulfilled. Air forces like the RAAF who will soon possess significant air-to-air refuelling assets, along with its extant strike and air command and control systems, should recognise the power projection potential of long range strike and note the significant coordination requirements of those missions identified by this article.


Red Wings Ascendant - The Chinese Air Force Contribution to Antiaccess
By LTCOL Michael P. Flaherty, USAF
Joint Force Quarterly, Issue 60, 1st quarter 2011

The author of this article attempts to clarify misconceptions regarding "pre-emptive" Chinese military doctrine, and, in particular, potential offensive action by the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) as a form of active defence. Citing lessons learned from the 1991 Gulf War and perceived sovereignty incursions by US carriers during the 1995-1996 Taiwan Strait crisis, the author puts the Chinese active defence policy, recent doctrinal changes and the acquisition of anti-access air capabilities, into historical, cultural and strategic contexts. This article promotes a balanced understanding of the PLAAF's offensive and defensive doctrine and how their modernised air capabilities are likely to be employed, which is important for nations with strategic interests in the Western Pacific region to appreciate.


The Influence of Airpower on the Marne
By Walter J. Boyne
AIR FORCE Magazine, July 2011

The popular impression of air power during World War I is based upon air-to-air combat between 'knights of the air', but in reality the strategic importance of early military aviation had more to do with their ability to influence events on the ground. Walter J. Boyne's article on the Battle of the Marne is an example of how air power was used in support of a land campaign to change the conduct of war forever. Airborne ISR was decisive in disrupting the German offensive through northern France and, if not for Allied aircraft, the Germans may have won the war before Christmas in 1914.


Did You Know?

Despite the impression created by their titles, the Battle of the Coral Sea (May 1942) and the Battle of the Bismarck Sea (March 1943) were actually air actions conducted by carrier and land-based aircraft which shaped the course of events in the Pacific theatre during World War II. In the first, US and Japanese aircraft carriers traded blows (without the ships actually sighting each other) while land-based aircraft from both sides engaged in ISR, bombing and torpedo-dropping missions – as a result of which a Japanese amphibious operation to capture Port Moresby was turned back. In the second, a Japanese convoy of ships attempting to deliver troop reinforcements to northern New Guinea was destroyed at sea solely by allied land-based air power – as a result of which the Japanese realised they had lost the freedom to use surface lines of communication and resupply in daylight within their South Seas theatre. Both contests were demonstrations of the pivotal role of air power in a denial strategy in areas of vital interest to Australia, and forced Japanese responses which exposed them to further and greater risk of damaging losses.


The views expressed in this newsletter and the linked articles are entirely those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Royal Australian Air Force.

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