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Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA
Modern Military Aviation
The development of more advanced and precise air power after World War II.
Air power came into its own as an indispensable weapon during the Second World War. All the roles and missions emblematic of modern air power were defined during World War I and refined and practiced during World War II. Among them: maintaining air superiority, performing reconnaissance, providing close support for ground forces, ensuring logistical support, and executing strategic attacks.
As aviation technology has evolved, so too has the nature of air warfare. Nations will most likely never again build the kinds of vast aerial armadas seen during World War II. Modern aircraft carry weapons far more accurate than the bombs dropped by the thousands in that war, and far fewer aircraft and weapons are needed to destroy or disable targets. Modern air power can produce precise and deadly effects with relatively few "smart bombs."