As we come to the end of 2017, we also come to the end of the first full-year of operations for From Balloons to Drones. Established in the middle of 2016, From Balloons to Drones was created with the aim of providing a platform for the discussion of the air power history, theory, and contemporary operations in its broadest sense. In seeking to achieve this aim, in 2017, we have published around 30 articles ranging from a discussion of the contemporary challenges related the development of Ground-Based Air Defence and Integrated Air Defence Systems through to an analysis of the experience of aircrew as Prisoners of War during the Second World War. We are grateful to our group of contributors who have taken the time to write and publish via From Balloons to Drones.

The website has been visited around 18,000 times by 10,000 different visitors. While visitors from the US, UK, Canada, and Australia predominate, we have also had readers from around the globe including, for example, from South Korea, China and at least one from Tajikistan. We are grateful to those who take the time to read the articles and comment on them.

The ten most popular articles by visits for 2017 were:

  1. Changing the USAF’s Aerial ‘Kill’ Criteria;
  2. Blinded by the Rising Sun? American Intelligence Assessments of Japanese Air Power, 1920-41: Part 1 – The 1920s;
  3. Arrows from the Ground – Or how an incident on 17 March 2017 may change the relationship between ground and air forces;
  4. Commentary – The RAF and the F-117;
  5. Blinded by the Rising Sun? American Intelligence Assessments of Japanese Air Power, 1920-41: Part 2 – 1930-1937;
  6. Air War Books – Dr Brian Laslie;
  7. Blinded by the Rising Sun? American Intelligence Assessments of Japanese Air Power, 1920-41: Part 3 – 1937-41;
  8. Unseating the Lancer: North Korean Challenges in Intercepting a B-1B;
  9. ‘Integrating’ the Italian Air Force after the Armistice;
  10. It is Time to Demystify the Effects of ‘Strategic Western Air Power’ – Part 1.

Two honourable mentions must also go to Dr Matthew Powell’s article ‘A Forgotten Revolution? RAF Army Co-operation Command and Artillery Co-operation’ and Kristen Alexander’s ‘“For you the war is (not) over”: Active Disruption in the Barbed Wire Battleground.’ Both articles were published in December, and I suspect that had they appeared earlier in the year then they would have been in the top ten.

We have some new and exciting plans for 2018 including a series of articles to be published simultaneously and in conjunction with The Central Blue. We will also be publishing more book reviews while a steady stream of new articles, commentaries and research notes will appear over the year. Remember we can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Finally, From Balloons to Drones is always seeking to publish new and exciting perspectives on the subject of air power and we encourage contributions from academics, postgraduate students, policymakers, service personnel and relevant professionals. To find out how to contribute then please visit this page.

Header Image: A8-126 performs the last dump and burn in history on the final day of flying the F-111 by the Royal Australian Air Force. (Source: Australian Government)

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