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, and the associated forces that are responsible for its use, are controversial and misunderstood. Indeed, as Olsen noted above, the use of air power is situational and contextual. The efficient use of military force, which lies at the heart of air power thinking, is dependent on understanding the ends, ways, and means of strategy and the relationship between objectives and capabilities.

This can only be achieved by understanding the development of air power and the forces that use this form of military capability as well as its relationship with broader areas, such as politics and society. To provide 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 its broadest sense including space and cyber power.

From Balloons to Drones seeks to publish articles, commentaries, research notes, and book reviews that encourage debate about air power.

We welcome and encourage potential submissions from postgraduates, academics, and practitioners involved in researching the subject of air power.

Submissions can take the following form:

  • ArticlesBalloons to Drones seeks to publish informative articles on air power that range from historical pieces to the analysis of contemporary challenges. These well-researched articles should attempt to bridge a gap between the specialist and non-specialist reader. They should be around c. 1,000 to 1,500 words, though Balloons to Drones will accept larger pieces though we reserve the right to publish them in parts. References can be via footnotes and hyperlinks.
  • CommentariesBalloons to Drones seeks to publish opinion pieces on recent on a recent piece of news, either on a contemporary or historical subject. These are to be responses to such piece and should be no longer than c. 1,000 words.
  • Research NotesBalloons to Drones seeks to publish research notes related to contributors currents research projects. These take the form of more informal pieces and can be a discussion of a source or a note on a recent research theme. Unlike other pieces published by Balloons to Drones, they can be written in the first person, though they can include references. These should be c. 500 to 1,000 words.
  • Book ReviewsBalloons to Drones publishes occasional book reviews that aim to be an accessible collection of appraisals of recent publications on the subject of air power. If publishers are interested in having a publication reviewed then, please contact via the email address below.

Submissions should be submitted in Word format. Also, please include a 50-100 word biography with your submission. However, if you are not sure if your piece fits our requirements, then please email us with the POTENTIAL SUBMISSION in the subject line. References can be used, and, given the readership of this site, please be careful to explain any jargon used.

If you are interested in contributing, please email us at

Header Image: Sopwith Snipe at the RAF Museum London (Source: Author’s Collection)

[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 thoughts on “From Balloons to Drones – Air Power Throughout the Ages

  1. Reblogged this on Thoughts on Military History and commented:

    Here are details of an exciting new group blog on air power that I am involved with. It is entitled ‘From Balloons to Drones’ and is an online platform that seeks to provide analysis and debate about air power history, theory, and contemporary operations in its broadest sense including space and cyber power. Go have a look!


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