Red Air

Politics in Russian Air Power

by Dr. Sanu Kainikara

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Synopsis

The pursuit of national security is normally dominated by an overaching ideology that takes into account the political, economic, social and military paradigms that face a nation. In the history of the Soviet Union this ideology was more thaqn normallyinfluenced by political activism that demanded the continuation of the 'Workers' Revolution' into other parts of the world. Since the military forms an integral part of the governmental apparatus, its utilisation in the pursuit of securing national security is considered a legitimate and normal action. The Soviet Union built up the world's largest military force in an effort to ensure that the nation would have the necessary 'super power' status to counter-balance the growing power and influence of the United States of America. The ideologies of both the nations were diametrically opposed to each other and formed the basis for the now defunct Cold War that enveloped the entire world for five decades. It is therefore, not surprising thatthe military forces of both sides were influenced heavily by the respective ideologies. This book looks at the developemnt of the Russian concept of air warfareand studies the impact of ideology on its development. It is seen that in the Soviet Union ideology had thwarted free flowing doctrinal thinking, the absolute cornerstone for the building of a strong and efficient fighting force. An analysis of the factors that have affected the formulation of doctrine in the Soviet Union, both from a histopric as well as from a warfighting point of view, reveals the lacunae that existed in the system. While accepting that political control of the military forces is a necessity, the study demonstrates the detrimental effect of excessive control of doctrinal and strategic thinking on the performance of the force.

About The Author

Dr Sanu Kainikara is a former fighter pilot of the Indian Air Force with 21 years of commissioned service and vast operational flying experience in a number of modern fighter aircraft.After voluntary retirement from the Indian Air Force he worked for four years as a senior analyst specialising in air power strategy and fighter operations as part of a US Training Team based in the Middle East. Currently he is the Strategic Engagement Adviser to the Royal Australian Air Force. He is a regular contributor to defence-related magazines and has published prolifically on air power and defence strategy in the Asia-Pacific Defence Reporter, Australian Defence Forces Journal, Fighter Tactics and The Leading Edge. His book 'Papers on Air Power' was published by the Air Power Development Centre, Australia in May 2007. He has also presented a number of papers on air power and defence strategy in various international professional forums. Dr Kainikara is a graduate of the National Defence Academy, Defence Services Staff College and College of Air Warfare. He holds two Bachelors degrees and a Master of Science in Defence and Strategic Studies from the University of Madras. His PhD in International Politics was awarded by the University of Adelaide.