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Close Air Support

Close air support (CAS) refers to actions undertaken by aircraft against hostile forces in close proximity to friendly ground units. This requires integration of air missions with ground forces through the use of observers or coordinators to confirm targets and ensure that attacks do not threaten friendly forces. This entry describes the evolution of CAS aircraft and operations from World War I to the present.

History: World War I to Operation Iraqi Freedom

Although the noted theorist Giulio Douhet promoted the development of aircraft for strategic bombing as early as 1921 in Command of the Air, physical limitations of range and payload during the first decades of the age of flight kept aircraft close to the front lines. The outbreak of World War I triggered dramatic innovation ...

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