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Among the most significant aspects of twentieth century military affairs has been how naval and land-based air power have transformed maritime operations Today much of the maritime arena is controlled monitored or exploited by aerospace systems The capital ships of the modern era are the aircraft carrier and the missile-armed submarine both weapons of three-dimensional warfare The worlds sea lanes are monitored by aircraft and helicopters flown from the decks of aircraft carriers and other vessels and especially by long range maritime patrol aircraft operated by the worlds navies and air forces The primary weapon at sea is no longer the projectile hurled by a big gun ship or the torpedo from a submarine rather it is the smart missile fired from aircraft helicopters ships or submarines As precision warfare has transformed land warfare and the worth of the large fielded army so too has precision attack at sea transformed the nature of naval combat and the relative value of large standing fleetsIn the modern era the large surface vessel is more vulnerable than at any previous time to precision attack by weapons launched from tens or even hundreds of miles away At the same time new applications of aerospace technology for the maritime environment promise to enhance and strengthen naval mission such as littoral warfare amphibious operations and maritime transportAll this has come about through about one hundred years of evolution of maritime air warfare This essay will seek to trace the development of maritime air warfare throughout the past century paying particular attention to the Second World War and development after that war The impact and usefulness of maritime air warfare will be explored both in past wars and in the future along with possible alternative naval futuresAs with the worlds more advanced armies the leading navies of the western world were largely supportive about aviation in the years prior to the First World War However navies initially anticipated that the major and
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