An airstrike is a military strike by air forces on either a suspected or a confirmed enemy ground position. Airstrikes are commonly delivered from aircraft such as bombers, ground attack aircraft, and strike fighters. Weapons used in an airstrike can range from machine gun bullets, missiles, to various types of bombs. Airstrikes are sometimes initiated in strategic bombings, but the term generally refers to tactical intervention by airpower on the battlefield.

Airstrikes may be followed by artillery, armor, or infantry assaults, dependent on the military situation at hand. Airstrikes are commonly used when ground attacks are ineffective or when ground forces need to be used in conjunction with close air support.

Airstrikes are controlled by trained observers, often translating the requests of ground troops. The coordination and authorization of airstrikes is carried out at command levels to ensure minimal "collateral damage" or "fratricidal fire".Fact|date=July 2008


On November 1, 1911, Italian aviator Second Lieutenant Giolio Gavotti dropped four bombs on two Turkish-held oases in Libya, carrying out the world's first airstrikes as part of the Italo-Turkish War. [U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission: [ Aviation at the Start of the First World War] ]

One of the first examples of an Allied use of an airstrike during the First World War was at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle in 1915 when the RFC dropped bombs on German rail communications.

"Broken Arrow"

The United States military code word for calling in all available aircraft for an airstrike was "Broken Arrow".

The code has been depicted during the movie "We Were Soldiers", depicting the battle at Landing Zone X-Ray in the Ia Drang Valley during the Vietnam War. "Broken Arrow" is also the title for a movie, starring John Travolta, wherein the usage denoted the loss of a nuclear weapon.

=Collateral da

In any airstrike, there is a risk of injuring, killing, or destroying non-combatants, allies or non-military buildings. This is called collateral damage. [cite web |url= |title=Air Force Law Review |date=Winter, 2005 |publisher=Jefferson D. Reynolds]

Collateral damage can be advantageous by damaging nearby enemy troops and installations. The negative side effects to collateral damage may include the infliction of damage to civilian facilities and accidental injury of friendly troops near the target.

The amount of civilian collateral damage caused by airstrikes has decreased dramatically since its peak during the World War II era, when airstrikes were carried out with 'dumb' bombs - bombs without any guidance systems. The strategy was to use large numbers of bombers and bombs in the hope that some of the bombs that were dropped struck the intended target. There have been claims that lately, with the increased availability of precision-guided missiles and smart bombs in present militaries in the modern era, recent conflicts such as Operation Desert Storm and the 2003 Invasion of Iraq have seen decreased civilian collateral damage as compared to previous wars, such as the Allied incendiary bombing raids on Dresden, the German bombing of Coventry, and the American airstrikes on the Japanese mainland during the Second World War.

ee also

* Aerial bombing of cities
* Aerial warfare
* Air attack
* Air raid
* Time On Target


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