RAF Museum Conference: New Thinking in Air Power

The Avro Vulcan was a strategic bomber used during the Cold War to carry conventional and nuclear bombs.

Tickets are now available for Royal Air Force Museum’s ‘New Thinking in Air Power’ conference on  September, 16-17, 2021. The conference will bring together academics and scholars to present Air Power research which challenges the accepted historical consensus. The conference will feature a keynote address given by Professor John Ferris entitled “Revolutions in Airpower, 1903-2021: An Anatomy” and a Round-table session chaired by Professor David Edgerton.

The research presented at the conference will offer critical reflections on, and re-frame the RAF historical understanding of, Air Power and the past. They will overturn the generally accepted view of events in the light of new evidence and modified interpretations. In doing so, this research revises the conclusions of previous works and challenging myths which have developed within the study of Air Power.

The conference represents an important moment in advancing historical knowledge as well an exciting line-up of speakers from around the World assess the current state of the Air Power historiography and the future direction of Air Power thinking.

The Handley Page Victor is a British jet-powered strategic bomber developed and produced by Handley Page during the Cold War. It was the third and final V bomber to be operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF), the other two being the Avro Vulcan and the Vickers Valiant.

The panels hosted at the conference will focus on presenting the latest research on a range of Air Power topics including: The First World War: from East Africa to the Western Front; New Thinking and the Application of Digital Methods to the History of the RAF in the Second World War; Air Power and the Nuclear Paradigm. There will also be panels reconsidering the motivations of individuals and air forces and a reassessment of Air Power Doctrine and Procurement.

The conference will present research and papers relating to Air Power both in Britain and abroad, with research on the Air Power capabilities of African regional powers; the stigmatization of psychological Issues in the US Army Air Forces; training and air forces in the Middle East, American statecraft and transatlantic collaboration on the Joint Strike Fighter; the Luftwaffe and National Socialism; and Soviet strike capabilities during the Cold War.

The conference keynote will be given by Professor Ferris the author of Behind the Enigma: The Authorised History of GCHQ, Britain’s Secret Cyber Intelligence Agency and The Evolution of British Strategic Policy, 1919-1926. Professor Ferris has published over 100 articles or chapters on diplomatic, intelligence, imperial, international, military and strategic history, and strategic studies. His keynote will explore “Revolutions in Airpower, 1903-2021: An Anatomy”.

The Vickers Valiant was a British high-altitude jet bomber designed to carry nuclear weapons, and in the 1950s and 1960s was part of the Royal Air Force’s “V bomber” strategic deterrent force.

The conference will conclude with a round-table, Chaired by Professor David Edgerton, which will explore both the issues raised at the conference and the future direction of revisionist Air Power history. Further information is available in the provisional Conference schedule and program of abstracts and biographies.


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