Strategies to Tackle Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW): An Aerial Perspective

Air Cmde Arjun Subramaniam is a serving officer in the Indian Air Force (IAF). The views offered are his own and do not reflect the views of the IAF.
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  • September 2010

    The changing nature of warfare, as the twentieth century drew to a close, saw the increased proliferation of conflict between non-state actors and the state. Small wars, wars of liberation, insurgencies, terrorism, proxy wars, sub-conventional warfare and a host of other terminologies emerged that attempted to fingerprint this genre of low spectrum warfare. Initially, it was felt that it was risky to use air power in this kind of warfare and that surface forces were best equipped to fight these wars with only superficial support from air forces. However, as the twenty-first century unfolded, the use of air power in Kargil, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Sri Lanka in diverse roles has sparked off a fresh debate on the effective employment of air power at the lower end of the spectrum of warfare.