From Balloons to Drones, exploring the development of air power from the earliest days of flight to now and the future.

Over the past two decades, airpower has become the “Western way of war” […] because it offers the prospect of military victory without large-scale destruction and loss of life. Airpower, however, cannot be decisive or even effective under all circumstances […] The utility of airpower is highly situational (emphasis added).

John Andreas Olsen[1]

Air power remains the preferred weapon of choice for many governments. However, the application and development of air power are controversial and misunderstood.

To remedy this, From Balloons to Drones is an online platform that seeks to provide analysis and debate about air power history, theory, and contemporary operations in their broadest sense including space and cyber power. From Balloons to Drones recognises that air power is more than just ‘aircraft, weapons systems and bombing.’[2] Any analysis of air power must also encompass, though not limited to, issues such as ‘training, education, values, rules of engagement, leadership, adaptability, boldness in execution, and a range of other factors, tangible and non-tangible, that influence a military operation.’[3] Given this broad view, From Balloons to Drones seeks to encourage a healthy discussion over the use of air power in its broadest sense and seeks a wide range of contributions covering historical themes as well as discussions on contemporary operations and challenges.

You can find out how to contribute to From Balloons to Drones here.

Dr Ross Mahoney

Editor, From Balloons to Drones

[1] John Andreas Olsen, ‘Introduction – Airpower and Strategy’ in John Andreas Olsen (ed.), Airpower Reborn: The Strategic Concepts of John Warden and John Boyd (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2015), p. 2.

[2] John Andreas Olsen, ‘Introduction’ in John Andreas Olsen (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Air Power (Abingdon: Routledge, 2018), p. 5.

[3] Ibid.