Air force

An air force is a military organization that primarily operates in air-based war. They typically use a combination of fighters, bombers, helicopters and other aircraft. Many air forces are also responsible for operations of military space and communications equipment.


Most (but not all) armed forces have air forces that are independent - that is, it is neither part of the army nor the navy. This does not stop armies and especially navies from possessing air arms to support their land or sea operations.

Air Forces typically operate numerous types of aircraft. These may include:

Some air forces, such as the United States Air Force also operate inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBM).

Some air forces such as the British Royal Air Force have a unique rank structure; other air forces such as the United States Air Force(USAF) have a rank structure on the Enlisted side that is unique, but Officer corps uses army-style rank. And finally there are air forces such as Soviet Air Force that use army-style ranks for both Enlisted and Officer corps. Most (but not all) wear blue-grey uniforms pioneered by the Royal Air Force. The organization structures of the air forces also vary: some air forces (such as the United States Air Force and the Royal Air Force) are divided into commands, groups and squadrons; others (such as the Soviet Air Force) have an army-syle organizational structure.

Contrary to popular belief, pilots often make up only a small portion of an air force's personnel; there are in fact numerous other types of flight crew, and many more who engage in the maintenance and communication of aircrafts and air bases. Some air forces also operate anti-aircraft artillery (now with radars and missiles), and a few air forces even have their own paratroopers. Given the pilots' special status, they often wear special insignia in the form of a vol or "wings". Other air crews might wear variations of such insignias.

See also

de:Luftstreitkrfte eo:Aerarmeo fr:Arme de l'Air he:חיל אוויר nl:Luchtmacht pt:Fora Area ja:空軍 sl:Vojno letalstvo fi:Ilmavoimat sv:Flygvapen zh:空军


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