Sea power principles developed a century ago might still apply to air power.


Two of the most influential sea power advocates of the late 19th to early 20th centuries - American Alfred Thayer Mahan and the British expert, Julian Corbett - knew nothing of aircraft. Mahan championed the ‘big navy’ comprising a line of battleships. At the same time, Corbett wrote about naval fleet deployment, suggesting that battleships be supplemented by smaller, less capable ships that could support the battleships. This essay recommends air power specialists study these two sea power theorists. Worth noting that sea and air orders-of-battle might be based on a set of common principles. Although the essay is directed at the USAF, it can be applied to air forces generally. The writer refers to a recent debate regarding the possibility of acquiring a new production of F-15Xs to replace old F-15s. These new F-15Xs could be paired with F-22 or F-35 jets to provide a supplemental strike capability after the suppression of any air defences.