Air Operations

The air environment is unique. Air surrounds the globe and overlays the land and sea. Consequently, air power is inherently joint, as air power has decisive impact when orchestrated along with land, maritime, space and cyberspace power.4 Air power is also pervasive, as aircraft are rarely physically constrained by national boundaries or terrain, so can potentially obtain access to any point on Earth. The distinctiveness of the environment means that air power has very different attributes to maritime power and land power. Consequently properly executed joint operations, where air, land, sea, space and cyber capabilities are used to complement one another’s strengths and weaknesses, can be particularly effective.

(Allied Joint Doctrine for Air and Space Operations, AJP-3.3 Ed.B, Apr. 2016)

Related Publications

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Beating Cold

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Sea-based Ballistic Missile Defence

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NATO E-3A and AGS Interoperability

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Unmanned Air Systems in NATO Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)

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Ensuring Military Cross-Border Air Operations in Europe

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Future Battlefield Rotorcraft Capability

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Maritime Rotary Wing

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Increasing Interoperability in NATO’s Air-Delivery Cargo Fleet

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Future Options for Surface-Based Air and Missile Defence?

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Unintentional Air Strikes during Dynamic Operations

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Unmanned Aerial Systems Miniaturization

Chances and Risks of an Irreversible Trend
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Detecting and Neutralizing Mini-Drones

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NATO Helicopter Underslung Load Certification

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Joint Air Power Following the 2016 Warsaw Summit

Urgent Priorities
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Air Warfare Communication in a Networked Environment

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Hypersonic Vehicles

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Future Battlefield Rotorcraft Capability

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Better Together

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The Rise of Close Air Support after World War II

Did the US Army and US Air Force Inter-Service Rivalry Benefit Close Air Support?
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The Competence Centre for Surface Based Air and Missile Defence

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Mitigating Disinformation Campaigns Against Air Power

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The Future NATO Rotorcraft Force

Capability Requirements through 2030 and Beyond
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Considerations for Employment of the F-35B in Amphibious Operations

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The Value of Common Air Transport Training

A Glance at the European Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Course
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The Royal Canadian Air Force and NATO

In Preparing for Domestic and Continental Missions, the RCAF Prepares for NATO Operations
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Swedish Tactical Aerial Reconnaissance and NATO

Past, Present and Future
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NATO Deployable Airbase Activation Modules

Paving the Way Towards a NATO Deployable Airbase
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NATO Air Power

The Last Word
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A400M: Europe’s Interoperability Poster Child?

A Heavily Critiqued European Program Leads the Way for Allied Interoperability and Crisis Response Capability
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NATO Air Policing Against Unmanned Aircraft

Considerations for a New Approach
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Optical Data Links for Aerial Applications

Promising Technology for Future RPA Operations
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Future Unmanned System Technologies

Legal and Ethical Implications of Increasing Automation
The number of unmanned systems in NATO nations’ military inventories has grown rapidly and is still increasing throughout all domains. Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) currently represent the largest share of those systems. At the same [...]

Air Transport Training, Exercises and Interoperability

‘If I had a wish list, it would be more ISR capability, more airlift or more rapid global mobility, particularly with respect to air-to-air refuelling. I encourage things that will give us better interoperability among [...]

Air Command and Control in the Amphibious Environment

Although NATO, as an Alliance, has never executed an opposed amphibious landing, it continues to grow, maintain, and exercise its amphibious warfare capability and the role of Air Power in support of Landing Operations continues [...]

Nimble Titan

Ballistic Missile Defence in a Regional, Cross-Regional and Global Environment
Since the beginning of armed conflicts, weapons have been used to gain advantage on the battlefield. The chronological and developmental successor of arrows, catapults, and cannons, Ballistic Missiles (BM) entered the battlefield in 1944 and [...]

NATO / Multinational Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Unit

A Feasibility Study
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Standardization of Qualifications for NATO Helicopter Crews in Support of Land Operations

The Joint Air Power Competence Centre (JAPCC) conducted a study in 2012 examining the vertical lift cap­ability of the majority of European NATO member states. The Study, etc.). However, problems related to standardization of qualifications [...]

Be Advised, Training in Progress

Operational-Level Air-to-Air Refuelling Planning Course Begins to Meet a NATO Need
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Doing the Same with Less

Potential Synergies for NATO Air Power
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Platform Autonomy

State-of-the-Art and Future Perspectives from an S&T Point of View
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The Multinational Aviation Training Centre (MATC)

Sharing Expert Capabilities and Experience
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If We Are Not Talking About Air, Who Else Will?

10 Years of the JAPCC
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How is Close Air Support Changing?

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Future Considerations of BMC2

BMC2 Must Be Both Horizontally and Vertically Integrated to Maximize Information Exchange and Fusion
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Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems in Contested Environments

A Vulnerability Analysis
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Enhancing NATO Joint Personnel Recovery Capability

As we prepare for the future, it is critical that NATO and its nations capture the lessons identified from recent crisis response and combat operations. Turning these into lessons learned as we transition from NATO [...]

Air-to-Air Refuelling Consolidation

‘Of all air power force-multipliers, Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) is amongst the most significant. It provides an essential capability that increases the range, endurance, payload and flexibility of all capable receiver aircraft, and is especially important [...]

Forward MEDEVAC Challenges

The Italian Army Implementation Programme
Current military operations have shown that medical support is a fundamental capability for an expeditionary military force. This operational requirement has been emphasised in theatres such as Afghanistan, where local medical facilities have been completely [...]

The Extended Air Defence Task Force

From Task Force to Competence Centre
The Extended Air Defence Task Force (EADTF), comprising Germany, The Netherlands and the United States, was formally established on the 3rd December 1999 in Burbach, Germany. The principal reason for the formation of the EADTF [...]

Double Counting or Counting Double?

The Future of NATO’s Tanker Transport Fleet
NATO nations are in the process of a much needed modernisation of their Air Transport (AT) and Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) fleets, and in many cases, are choosing airframes that can perform both missions. For strategic [...]

New Technologies

Fire, Wheel, Steam Engine and … Nanotechnology
“A number of significant technology-related trends – including the development of laser weapons, electronic warfare and technologies that impede access to space – appear poised to have major global effects that will impact on NATO [...]

F-35, The Backbone of Next Generation NATO Operations

To understand the F-35 as it exists today, it’s valuable to examine the origins of the program. In the early 1990’s, the United States Department of Defense launched a tri-service combat aircraft recapitalisation program called [...]

Air and Space Power in Counter-Piracy Operations

NATO has been contributing military forces, mostly warships, to the Counter-Piracy (CP) mission off the Horn of Africa (HoA) since October 2008. Commanders at sea have made several strong appeals for more Air and Space [...]

Enhancing NATO’s Operational Helicopter Capability

The recent Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns have highlighted the unique capabilities helicopters have contributed to the asymmetric environment. However, whilst playing a decisive part in successful operations, it has become increasingly clear to commanders that [...]

Fires are a Joint Business

Ten years have passed since Operation Anaconda took place, a direct combat operation in the Afghanistan theatre involving a large number of U.S. and coalition forces working with allied Afghan military units with the goal [...]

Regional Fighter Partnership

Options for Cooperation and Cost Sharing
“The [financial] crisis makes cooperation between nations no longer a choice. It is a necessity. Today, no European Ally on its own is able to develop the full range of responses to meet all security [...]

Multinational Logistics

A Missed Opportunity?
Logistics is of vital importance to any military operation. Without it, operations cannot be carried out or sustained. Most oper­ations start at home base and use a combination of strategic, operational and tactical movement to [...]

NATO Air Transport Capability

An Assessment
“Supply and Transport stand or fall together; history depends on both.” Winston Churchill The Objective of Air Transport (AT) is best encapsu­lated in the Allied Tactical Publication (ATP) 3.3.4. ­Volume I, as follows: AT enables [...]

Personnel Recovery

That Others May Live to Return with Honour
Throughout history, armies traditionally fought the wars whilst government officials, explorers and tourists travelled and worked all over the globe. During war, travel or exploration, individuals may have become isolated from their group, or the [...]

NATO Air and Space Power in Counter-IED Operations

Publication of JAPCC Primer
In recent years, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) have increasingly become a feature of modern conflict, their ease of production using locally-available materials and deployment via support networks providing adversaries, unable to compete on conventional terms, [...]

UAS Integration into the European National Air Space System

A Status Report
To what extent is debatable, but the fact that Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) will play a major role in the future is undisputed. As the roles, missions, and number of these systems expand, their integration [...]

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