Military -- Flight and Its Research Paper

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B-29 and B-26 bombers were used by U.S. forces to decimate Korean cities through round-the-clock air war using incendiary bombs, delayed demolition explosives and an "infernal jelly" called napalm.[footnoteRef:38] Created secretly during World War II, napalm was basically a mixture of petroleum and a thickening agent, designed to fiercely adhere to the target and severely burn it. Though first used against enemy structures and humans in World War II, napalm was used in the Korean War to devastating effect.[footnoteRef:39] the results of the U.S. air war against North Korea were intentionally catastrophic: at the commencement of the War, North Korea had 22 major cities, 18 of which suffered at least 50% obliteration.[footnoteRef:40] Furthermore, the U.S. government seriously considered using the atomic bombs that had so decisively ended World War II in the Pacific Theater. Particularly in September and October of 1951, B-29 bombers were used for multiple runs to drop "dummy" a-bombs or heavy TNT bombs on North Korea.[footnoteRef:41] However, the use of the a-bomb was ultimately deemed logistically impractical because "timely identification of large masses of enemy troops was extremely rare."[footnoteRef:42] in the end, the United States dropped 635,000 tons of bombs and 32,577 tons of napalm on Korea[footnoteRef:43], and some U.S. military personnel such as Air Force general Otto Weyland were convinced that the merciless air war forced an early conclusion to the War.[footnoteRef:44] [37: McCarthy, p. 157.] [38: Bruce Cumings. The Korean War: A History. New York, NY: Modern Library, 2011, p. 159.] [39: Ibid.] [40: Ibid., p. 160.] [41: Ibid., p. 157.] [42: Ibid., pp. 157-8.] [43: Ibid., p. 159.] [44: Ibid., p. 160.]

From the end of World War II to the Vietnam War, the Military significantly aided the development of jet and rocket flight. Due to great interest in the value of flight during World War II, the Military was intent on advancing and taking full advantage of development in flights. Consequently, in 1947 both the U.S. Air Force was established[footnoteRef:45] and an Air Force pilot named Charles Yeager broke the sound barrier in an experimental plane called the Bell X-1.[footnoteRef:46] From 1947 to 1957, the U.S. Military extensively developed "flight arms" of its military branches and military jets, such as the F-86 Sabre[footnoteRef:47] and the B-52 Stratofortress.[footnoteRef:48] the Soviet Union was also understandably highly interested in the military uses of flight, resulting in the 1957 launch of its first man-made satellite[footnoteRef:49] and the 1961 launch of the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin.[footnoteRef:50] [45: Walter J. Boyne. Beyond the Wild and Blue: A History of the United States Air Force, 1947-2007, Second Edition. New York, NY: St. Martin's Press, 2007, p. 6.] [46: Ibid., p. 69.] [47: Ibid., p. 57.] [48: Grant, p. 286.] [49: McCarthy, p. 79.] [50: Boyne, p. 192.]

The United States' involvement in the Vietnam War from 1950 to 1973 spurred the further sophistication of existing flight machines and the development of "Smart Weapons." 1962 saw both the first production of the 744 plane[footnoteRef:51] and the first orbit of Earth by an American, a Marine Corps pilot named John J. Glenn, Jr.[footnoteRef:52] Though America was initially lagging behind the Soviet Union in space exploration, by 1969, a U.S. Navy pilot named Neil a. Armstrong and a U.S. Air Force pilot named Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., became the first earthlings to walk on the moon.[footnoteRef:53] Not to be outdone in aviation, the Soviet Union launched the first space station, Salyut 1, in 1971.[footnoteRef:54] Though aircraft developed prior to the Vietnam War was used in that conflict, the U.S. also developed "smart weapons, such as precision-guided weapons, for use in that war.[footnoteRef:55] Furthermore, the then-sophisticated aircraft used in this war is a laundry list of specialized craft, including but not limited to: the Skyraider, a propeller-driven craft that was heavily armed and used for strafing, bombing and rescue[footnoteRef:56]; the Skyhawk, a single-seat attack bomber[footnoteRef:57]; the F-4 Phantom, a two-seat, two-engine interceptor-bomber[footnoteRef:58]; Jolly Green rescue helicopters[footnoteRef:59]and an F-8 Crusader, a MiG-21 class fighter using both guns and missiles.[footnoteRef:60] Despite extensive development of aviation during the Vietnam War, the U.S. Military was disappointed with the overall efficacy of the air attack[footnoteRef:61] and engaged in a reorganization of systems for the development of intelligence, technology and information systems. [51: Ibid., p. 112.] [52: Grant, p. 341.] [53: Ibid., p. 353.] [54: Ibid., p. 360.] [55: Robert K. Wilcox. Scream of Eagles: The Dramatic Account of the U.S. Navy's Top Gun Fighter Pilots and How They Took Back the Skies Over Vietnam. New York, NY: Pocket Star Books, 2005, pp. 287-9.] [56: Ibid., p. 287.] [57: Ibid.] [58: Ibid., p. 288.] [59: Ibid., p. 25.] [60: Ibid.] [61: David R. Mets. Airpower and Technology: Smart and Unmanned Weapons. Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2009, p. 113.]

After the Vietnam War, the U.S. Military concentrated on further developing flight machines, including "smart weapons" that pierced the "fog of war." The "fog of war" is a widely-used phrased essentially referring to the uncertainty about all variables in war due to the complexity of war.[footnoteRef:62] One vital development for the design, construction and use of smart weapons was Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation (LASER). First suggested theoretically by Albert Einstein in 1917, LASER was developed at Bell Labs in 1953.[footnoteRef:63] Realizing the value of a system that accurately measures range/speed and marks targets (and avoids becoming an easy target), the U.S. military began a program for laser-guided bombs as early as 1964, [footnoteRef:64] and used laser-guided crafts and weaponry during the Vietnam War.[footnoteRef:65] However, it was after the Vietnam War that the development of aircraft using smart weapons reached an art form in a "transformation of American Air Power."[footnoteRef:66] During these years, fighting aircraft such as the F-14, F-15C and F-16 were developed.[footnoteRef:67] in addition, the F-117 aircraft was developed to overcome "the synergies of RADAR, SAM, AAA and air interceptors" to reduce the visibility of aircraft and therefore enhance its ability to avoid interception and destruction.[footnoteRef:68] Meanwhile, in the realm of outer space, the U.S. developed the first reusable space craft -- a space shuttle called "Columbia" -- in 1981.[footnoteRef:69] Piloted by a U.S. Navy test pilot and aeronautical engineer named John W. Young and a U.S. Navy pilot named Robert Crippin,[footnoteRef:70] the Columbia ushered in the age of "space planes" that allow a permanent human presence and usage on international space stations.[footnoteRef:71] [62: James G. Blight and Janet M. Lang. The Fog of War: Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2005, p. 3.] [63: Mets, p. 85.] [64: Ibid., p. 92.] [65: Ibid., p. 106.] [66: Ibid.] [67: Ibid., p. 105.] [68: Ibid., p. 106.] [69: Grant, p. 358.] [70: Piers Bizony. The Space Shuttle: Celebrating Thirty Years of NASA's First Space Plane. Minneapolis, MN: Zenith Press, 2011, p. 21.] [71: Ibid., p. 7.]

By the time of our First Gulf War of August 2, 1990 to February 28, 1991 saw the use of highly sophisticated aircraft using equally sophisticated smart systems. Those developments include: AWACS, which are aircraft using Airborne Warning and Control Systems[footnoteRef:72]; J-STARS, which are planes using joint surveillance and target attack radar systems[footnoteRef:73]; GPS, which is a global positioning system[footnoteRef:74]; and cruise missiles, which are remotely-guided missiles designed to large warheads with great accuracy over long distances.[footnoteRef:75] These developments, along with the brutal might of the United States, resulted in a decisive and relatively quick victory in the Gulf War. Meanwhile, space exploration continued, resulting in the 1998 partial launch of the first International Space Station, though it remained unmanned until 2000.[footnoteRef:76] [72: Richard Lowry. The Gulf War Chronicles: A Military History of the First War with Iraq. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, 2008, p.8; Mets, p. 139.] [73: Ibid., p. 226; Mets, p. 139.] [74: Ibid., p. 65; Mets, p. 107.] [75: Ibid., p. 8; Mets, p. 107.] [76: Kitmacher, Gary H. Reference Guide to the International Space Station: Assembly Complete Edition. Burlington, ONT, Canada: Apogee Books, 2010, p. 3.]

Between early 1991 and 2000, a notable development in aviation affecting the U.S. Military was the drone. Also known as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the drone was initially developed prior to World War II; however, the use of the development and use of these aircraft accelerated significantly during the 1990s. Designed for aviation duties that are too "dull, dirty and dangerous" for humans,[footnoteRef:77] drones were developed and used to great efficiency by the U.S. Military in the 1990s. [77: Brian P. Tice. "Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: The Force Multiplier of the 1990s." Spring 1991. (accessed June 20, 2013).]

3. Conclusion

Though military use of flight was slow in the earliest days of 20th Century America, Post-World War IU.S. military involvements rapidly accelerated the development of flight, revolutionizing warfare. Starting as casual observers during the Wright Brothers' historic flight in December 1903, the military began to see and develop the military possibilities of aviation, with each…

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