Military Helicopter Doctrines of the Major Powers, 1945-1992: Making Decisions about Air-Land Warfare

By Matthew Allen | Go to book overview

Introduction

How can men attune their minds as clearly as possible to the constantly changing conditions and demands of war? How do military institutions adjust to new realities, what forces carry innovation forward, and what obstacles stand in its way?

-- Peter Paret1

After the Second World War, the application of nuclear energy and electronics to military activity, especially precision guidance technology, revolutionized warfare. Battlefields became vastly more lethal than ever before. Improved technology also saw aircraft flying higher, further and faster, while tanks and other ground vehicles became speedier and more reliable. As a result, the armed forces of the 1980s were much more mobile than those of 1945. However, and especially in comparison to the advances in firepower, most of the improvements in mobility were incremental, based on minor technical developments. Indeed, only one major innovation after 1945 brought with it a whole new form of military mobility: the helicopter. Yet, despite its significance, helicopters have only been subjected to limited study. This work is intended to correct this deficiency. 2

Because the helicopter--for our purposes, a shorthand term that includes all the doctrines and technologies associated with helicopterswas a major innovation, the history of its development provides an excellent example of the processes by which military organizations change and adapt to new forms of warfare. There is considerable literature on decisionmaking and innovation in the post-1945 era, but little of it is

-xix-

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Military Helicopter Doctrines of the Major Powers, 1945-1992: Making Decisions about Air-Land Warfare
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Military Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Abbreviations and Translations xiii
  • Introduction xix
  • Notes xxvii
  • 1 - Above the Best--Developments in the United States 1
  • Notes 58
  • 2 - Revolutions at Every Turn-- 71
  • Notes 113
  • 3 - Double Trouble--Developments in the United Kingdom 127
  • Notes 168
  • 4 - A Tale of Two Helicopter Forces--Developments in West Germany and France 179
  • Notes 205
  • 5 - A Rotary-Wing Revolution?-- Helicopters and Air-Land Warfare 213
  • Notes 234
  • 6 - Deciding on Innovation-- Helicopters and the Decision-making Process 235
  • Conclusion 261
  • Notes 266
  • Appendix - Summary of Helicopters' Technical Characteristics 271
  • Selected Bibliography 275
  • Index 283
  • About the Author 295
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