Air Force

An air force, also known in some countries as an air army, is in the broadest sense, the national military organization that primarily conducts aerial warfare. More specifically, it is the branch of a nation's armed services that is responsible for aerial warfare as distinct from an army, navy or other branch. Typically, air forces are responsible for gaining control of the air, carrying out strategic and tactical bombing missions and providing support to surface forces.

The term "air force" may also refer to a tactical air force or numbered air force, which is an operational formation either within a national air force or comprising several air components from allied nations. Air forces typically consist of a combination of fighters, bombers, helicopters, transport planes and other aircraft.

Many air forces are also responsible for operations of military space, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), and communications equipment. Some air forces may command and control other air defence assets such as antiaircraft artillery, surface-to-air missiles, or anti-ballistic missile warning networks and defensive systems. Some nations, principally Russia, the former Soviet Union and countries who modelled their militaries along Soviet lines, have an Air Defence Force which is organizationally separate from their air force.

In addition to pilots, air forces have ground support staff who support the aircrew. In a similar manner to civilian airlines, there are supporting ground crew as pilots cannot fly without the assistance of other personnel such as engineers, loadmasters, fuel technicians and mechanics. However, some supporting personnel such as airfield defence troops, weapons engineers and air intelligence staff do not have equivalent roles in civilian organizations.

Read more about Air Force:  Organization, Air Armies

Famous quotes containing the words air and/or force:

    Nor sequent centuries could hit
    Orbit and sum of SHAKSPEARE’s wit.
    The men who lived with him became
    Poets, for the air was fame.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)

    Mathematics alone make us feel the limits of our intelligence. For we can always suppose in the case of an experiment that it is inexplicable because we don’t happen to have all the data. In mathematics we have all the data ... and yet we don’t understand. We always come back to the contemplation of our human wretchedness. What force is in relation to our will, the impenetrable opacity of mathematics is in relation to our intelligence.
    Simone Weil (1909–1943)