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Characteristics of Air Power
Air power has three main characteristics:
The rapid arrival and build-up of aircraft near or in troublespots provides a visible sign of presence and intent. Modern air operations are also extremely flexible and can be switched between attack, defence and support depending on the needs of the moment.
Air power is less vulnerable to enemy fire when compared with land and sea forces.
Air operations can also be conducted from bases far away from the opponent's military forces. During Operation Allied Force, for example, RAF Tornados operated from their home base in Germany and attacked targets in Kosovo. These missions were supported by in-flight refuelling.
These characteristics can be combined to increase the effectiveness of air operations. For example, reconnaissance requires reach and height for high-level missions while transport aircraft use speed and reach to move force and equipment rapidly from home bases to deployed operations.