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The Applicant Series #18: Airpower

The Applicant Series showcases works done by hopeful writers who have applied with inkmypapers over the years. The results and comments will be provided first, followed by the actual essay/report written by the applicant

Applicant’s Results: Passed

Title: Airpower can win small wars. Discuss.

Comments: This is part 2 of the essay written by one of our successful applicants. Just to add on a few more comments: notice how each paragraph starts with a great topic sentence that describe what the paragraph is going to talk about. Also, the topic sentence contains signposting words or phrases that makes the entire essay flow. All in all, this is the type of standard we expect from our writers here at inkmypapers.

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Why Airpower Can Win Small Wars

Amidst all the criticisms, however, it can still be said that airpower can win small wars but only when coupled with the right considerations. The 2008 Gaza War showed strong evidence that addressing the gaps seen in the example of the 2006 Lebanon War can improve application of airpower theories. One thing IDF did was to level up the capabilities of not only IAF but also their ground and naval forces. In putting up their Urban Training Centre, they managed to train their human resources to acquire skills in asymmetric warfare in an environment that simulated, as accurately as possible, their intimidating encounter with Hezbollah. They also made it a point to bank on an integrated warfare capability, grouping their land forces into brigades that worked in close coordination with aerial resources. Even IAF commanders get further instruction coming from senior officers who have knowledge of combat encounters so that airpower is also supportive of ground forces (Peng & Lim, 2011).

Adequate preparation will not result to victory, however, if not coupled with realistic objectives. On one hand, it is because public opinion will assess who wins based on whether or not declared goals are met. In the case of the 2006 war, declared objectives were to abolish Hezbollah facilities, diminish their weapons, and rescue the hostages. With the IDF not accomplishing all set tasks, their plotted objectives worked to their disadvantage and even validated Hezbollah’s worthiness as an opponent. Coming out from the said experience, IDF set out to do differently in the 2008 war. With more concrete and attainable objectives, they were able to keep in check all of their decisions, declaring a ceasefire the moment they met their success indicators (Peng & Lim, 2011).

More importantly, as ‘hearts and minds’ are a major point of consideration in these small wars, airpower theory has to balance its exertion of power on the masses to account for humanitarian measures. As mentioned earlier, airpower draws strength from its ability to incite fear and disharmony from civilian populations. Yet, in fighting these wars where the narrative is an essential point in establishing victory, public sentiment can be heavily influenced by concrete statements and efforts that assume a concern for civilian welfare. In the war on Gaza, IAF made use of intelligence networks to give caution to civilians before attacks were implemented. From phone calls to leaflets to sound bombs, they came up with means to give people time to run away while still capturing their targets. Though they could still do better in creating their narrative around these efforts to care for civilians, the IAF is aware that there are many constraints in their ‘no-win situation’ (Peng & Lim, 2011).


In conclusion, this essay has discussed the role of airpower in winning wars of a smaller-scale. As much as the IDF has benefited from the presence of the IAF, new wars have shown a need to re-evaluate the existing bias towards airpower. Judging by the performance of IAF in the 2006 war, sole reliance on airpower can prove detrimental to securing victory in military operations. At the same time, looking at the 2008 war, airpower still remains to be an important asset to defense forces for as long as it is used with adequate consideration. More importantly, however, nations would do well to study the changing definition of victory and the humanitarian aspects of conflicts which both factor in on the war of ‘hearts and minds’ that occur on the field of mass communication. Therefore, it can be said that airpower can still win small wars if those wielding it are able to pay careful consideration to what truly matters.


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