Air supremacy

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Air supremacy is a concept in warfare in which one nation's military gains complete control of the opposing enemy's airspace through destruction of the enemy's fighter wing capacity, the airfields and runways, and its air-defensive capability. Although not a war-winning concept in and of itself, gaining air supremacy can give ground forces a decisive advantage, as demonstrated during the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The first country to gain air supremacy over a large area was Japan, during World War II. The Mitsubishi Zero top Japanese aces to claim dozens of victories in air-to-air combat.

  • The Zero-Sen possessed complete mastery in the air over the Pacific until the Battle of Midway in June 1942, which became the actual turning point of the Pacific War, although very few knew it at the time. [1]
  • Due to its light weight, large wing area, low wing loading and big ailerons, the Zero was more agile than any contemporary foreign fighter. The initial climb rate was very good and the Zero could climb at a very steep angle, unmatched by contemporary fighters. The sustained climb rate was good, better than the US fighters in service at the beginning of the war ...[1]
This changed quickly with the deployment of the Grumman Hellcat.
  1. One v One: A6M2 Zero versus F4F-3 Wildcat - Chuck Hawks