Air raids (Airstrike / Air-raid) are the dropping of bombs and strafing of targets from the air.
The term air raid is widely used in air operations across strategic, operational, and tactical aspects, depending on the form of the attack: Airborne / Airlift, Raid, special operations, and aviation. It is divided into four types of air attacks.
Bombing is the main method of air raids. Bombing is divided into "tactical bombing" and "strategic bombing" depending on the purpose. Whereas "tactical bombing" aims to hit enemy combat forces on the battlefield directly to gain an advantage in the battlefield, "strategic bombing" may attack enemy territories or occupied territories away from the battlefield. It is often divided into "precision bombing" that destroys facilities such as factories, ports, and oil fields, and "city bombing" that destroys residential and commercial areas and demoralizes enemy people. "Urban bombing" is called variously such as "indiscriminate bombing", "fear bombing", and "regional bombing", and the name "indiscriminate bombing" is the most popular.
Various equipment such as dedicated air strikes, bomb drop devices, sights, and bombers are used for bombing. There are many bombing tactics such as horizontal bombing, swooping bombing, slow descent bombing, and skip bombing. There is also a method called aviation special attack that rams the target with an aircraft.
The air raids on ships were lightning strikes using aerial torpedoes. It was a powerful method of air raids that could damage the waterline during World War II, but was replaced by air-to-ship missiles. As part of the strategic bombing, there is also a method of dropping mines in an attempt to blockade ports and routes to paralyze shipping logistics.
With the advancement of rocket and missile technology equipped on aircraft, it has come to be used as a means of air raids. Unguided rockets are often mounted on aircraft in the form of rocket pods and are used for close air support for tactical targets. Air raids by anti-tank missiles carried by attack helicopters are extremely powerful as anti-tank weapons. Attacks using air-launch-type cruise missiles have a considerably higher accuracy, but have the advantage that the risk of a manned mother aircraft being counterattacked is less than that of bombing. Various air-to-ship missiles are also used as anti-ship attack means. Attacks by surface-to-ground missiles launched from the ground, regardless of aircraft, are also used as air raids in a broad sense. Long-range surface-to-ground missiles are a powerful means of strategic bombing.
Along with bombing, strafing has long been used to attack ground targets with aircraft-mounted machine guns. Machine guns equipped for air-to-air combat can be used as they are to attack, and have been used as a simple means of attacking small moving objects such as vehicles and humans. There are also attack aircraft and attack helicopters that emphasize strafing to the ground. In some cases, not only machine guns and cannons, but also larger caliber cannons were mounted on aircraft. There are B-25s with 75mm cannons and a type of gunship with howitzers.
There is also a leaflet propaganda (promotional leaflet) dropped as a propaganda aimed at the fighting spirit of the other people and the demoralization of soldiers.
Before World War I, balloons, airships, and early aircraft began to be used in military operations. Reconnaissance, search, and command to cooperate with ground operations by utilizing the ability to see far away.