Home Forums Modern NATO Air Forces Books?

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    Hey all,

    Does anyone know of a book (or books) that addresses the evolution of  the various NATO air forces over the years?  I’m looking for the types of aircraft and when they served.

    Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.



    John D Salt

    For the air forces themselves, I can’t think of anything much, but if you were prepared to dig up the annual “Air Forces of the World” from Flight Interational, that would give a pretty good snapshot of strengths and types in service. The Flight International on-line archive of .pdfs was free last time I looked, but not enormously easy to find your way around. I don’t know how far back the surveys go, but I have some in hard copy from the early 1970s.

    For the aircraft, it may well be worth seeing if you can get hold of some of the “…of the West” books. David Mondey’s “Fighter Aircraft of the West” is not as good as titles by Bill Gunston, of which I have “Bombers of the West” and “Attack Aircraft of the West” (and have just ordered “Early Supersonic Fighters of the West”, as I hadn’t previously heard of it). I don’t think one can necessarily call Bill Gunston’s books exhaustive, but they give an intriguing view of how the bizarre world of aircraft procurement works, from the perspective of a British industry insider who can express himself well, and does not have an enormous amount of time for incompetent politicians and administrators (who feature largely in the story, especially of British aircraft acquisition). The books will, I think, give a fair picture of the changing fads of US and NATO aircraft requirements over the 50s, 60 and 70s, from the preoccupation with intercepting nuclear bombers to the VN-era emphasis on CAS and the rediscovery of dogfighting, the promise of variable-geometry and VTOL designs, and the era of European collaborative projects (G-91, Jaguar, AFVG, MRCA, and to a considerable extent Harrier).

    All the best,


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