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An army aviation unit is an
aviation Aviation is the activities surrounding mechanical flight and the aircraft industry. ''Aircraft'' includes airplane, fixed-wing and helicopter, rotary-wing types, morphable wings, wing-less lifting bodies, as well as aerostat, lighter-than-air ...
-related unit of a nation's
army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on land. In the broadest sense, it is the land-based military branch Military branch ...

army
, sometimes described as an air corps. These units are generally separate from a nation's dedicated air force, and usually comprise
helicopters A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft A rotorcraft or rotary-wing aircraft is a heavier-than-air aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle or machine that is able to fly Flies are insect Insects or Insecta (from Latin Latin (, ...
and light support
fixed-wing aircraft A fixed-wing aircraft is a heavier-than-air flying machine Early flying machines include all forms of aircraft studied or constructed before the development of the modern aeroplane by 1910. The story of modern flight begins more than a ce ...
. Prior to the establishment of separate national air forces, many armies had
military aviation Military aviation comprises military aircraft and other flying machines for the purposes of conducting or enabling aerial warfare, including national airlift (air cargo) capacity to provide military logistics, logistical supply to forces statio ...
units, which as the importance of aviation increased, were spun off into independent services. As the separation between a nation's army and air force led to a divergence of priorities, many armies sought to re-establish their own aviation branches to best serve their own organic tactical needs.


History

Military aviation Military aviation comprises military aircraft and other flying machines for the purposes of conducting or enabling aerial warfare, including national airlift (air cargo) capacity to provide military logistics, logistical supply to forces statio ...
first began as either army or
naval aviation Naval aviation is the application of military air power by navies A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a Nation's armed forces principally designated for naval warfare, naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake-borne, ...

naval aviation
units established as force multipliers to allow armies and navies to better do what they were already doing, this taking mostly the form of
reconnaissance In military operations, reconnaissance or scouting is the exploration of an area by military forces to obtain information about enemy forces, terrain Relief map of Sierra Nevada, Spain Terrain or relief (also topographical Topogr ...

reconnaissance
and
artillery spotting A military artillery observer, spotter or FO (forward observer) is responsible for directing artillery Artillery is a class of heavy military ranged weapons built to launch Ammunition, munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry ...

artillery spotting
, this led to the first fighter aircraft whose purpose was to shoot down enemy reconnaissance and artillery spotting aircraft, and to protect one's own aircraft from being shot down. At this point the purpose of aircraft was still to act as an adjunct to traditional armies and fleets operating in the traditional way. However, as aircraft became more technologically sophisticated military theorists of the interwar period began to think of
airpower Airpower or air power consists of the application of military aviation Military aviation comprises military aircraft A military aircraft is any fixed-wing A fixed-wing aircraft is a heavier-than-air flying machine, such as an airpl ...
as a means in and of itself where the critical blow could be delivered by
strategic bombing after the massive firebombing on Viet Cong The Viet Cong ( vi, Việt Cộng; ), officially known as the National Liberation Front of Southern Vietnam ( vi, Mặt trận Dân tộc Giải phóng miền Nam Việt Nam), was an armed communis ...
, and the experience of World War II confirmed this. Post World War II air forces such as the
Royal Air Force The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for th ...
and the newly established
United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmosph ...

United States Air Force
concentrated on building strategic bomber forces for attack and fighter forces to defend against enemy bombers. Air forces still incorporated a significant amount of tactical missions through
air interdiction Air interdiction (AI), also known as deep air support (DAS), is the use of preventive tactical bombing Tactical bombing is aerial bomb An aerial bomb is a type of explosive An explosive (or explosive material) is a reactive substance th ...
and
close air support In military tactics Military tactics encompasses the art of organizing and employing fighting forces on or near the battlefield A battlefield, battleground, or field of battle is the location of a present or historic battle A battle i ...
missions. In order to acquire a close air support capability armies sought to expand, establish or re-establish their own tactical aviation branches, which are usually composed of helicopters, rather than fixed-wing aircraft. With the development of unmanned aerial vehicles some armies have begun to use small unmanned combat aerial vehicle, battlefield UAVs, not attached to army aviation units, but rather directly attached to artillery battalions as spotters, and with the smallest and lightest drones being deployed by individual infantry platoons to provide real time local reconnaissance.


Tasks

The tasks of each army's aviation units are defined slightly different, depending on country. Some general characteristics include: *Tactical offensive action (anti-tank warfare, air assault, and
close air support In military tactics Military tactics encompasses the art of organizing and employing fighting forces on or near the battlefield A battlefield, battleground, or field of battle is the location of a present or historic battle A battle i ...
) *Intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance, ISTAR (Military intelligence, Intelligence, Surveillance aircraft, Surveillance, Target acquisition, Reconnaissance) * Logistic and battlefield support * Airlift, Tactical transport both internally and externally, of personnel and material * Search and rescue * Medical evacuation * Liaison aircraft, Liaison * Emergency management, Disaster relief


Equipment

In order to fulfill their manifold tasks, army aviation mostly uses helicopters. These helicopters can be classified into the following categories: *Attack helicopters for close air support of ground troops and anti-tank role *Military helicopter#Transport helicopters, Transport helicopters *Military helicopter#Observation helicopters, Observation helicopters *Utility helicopters *Combat Search and Rescue, CSAR, Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC)/Medical evacuation, MEDEVAC helicopters *Military helicopter, Training helicopters In addition to helicopters, some armies also operate fixed-wing aircraft for tactical reconnaissance.


By country

* Argentine Army Aviation (Argentine Army) * Army Air Corps (United Kingdom) (British Army) * Army Aviation Corps (India) (Indian Army) * Australian Army Aviation (Australian Army) * Bangladesh Army Aviation Group (Bangladesh Army) * Brazilian Army Aviation Command (Brazilian Army) * Colombian National Army Aviation (Colombian Army) * French Army Light Aviation (French Army) * German Army Aviation Corps (German Army) * Hellenic Army Aviation (Hellenic Army) * Indonesian Army Aviation (Indonesian Army) * Islamic Republic of Iran Army Aviation (Islamic Republic of Iran Army) * Malaysian Army Aviation (Malaysian Army) * Nepalese Army Air Service (Nepal Army) * Pakistan Army Aviation Corps (Pakistan Army) * Portuguese Army Light Aviation Unit (Portuguese Army) * Spanish Army Airmobile Force (Spanish Army) * Royal Thai Army Aviation Center (Royal Thai Army) * United States Army Aviation Branch (U.S. Army)


See also

*
Military aviation Military aviation comprises military aircraft and other flying machines for the purposes of conducting or enabling aerial warfare, including national airlift (air cargo) capacity to provide military logistics, logistical supply to forces statio ...
* Timeline of military aviation * Naval aviation


References


Further reading

* * * * * *


External links

{{Commons category-inline, Army aviation Army aviation,