a type of combat aviation designed to strike land or sea targets with aerial bombs and missiles. Depending on the character of the tasks being carried out and the performance data of the planes, bomber aviation is divided into frontline and long-range (strategic) aviation; in the US Army it is divided into tactical and strategic. Frontline bomber aviation is utilized for joint operations with ground forces and in air operations conducted by the air force, whereas long-range (strategic) aviation is used for independent actions against targets in the enemy’s interior; when necessary, it can be enlisted for joint operations with the ground forces and navy. Bomber aviation took shape as an arm of combat aviation during the course of World War I (1914–18), when in almost every belligerent state first medium-sized and then large units of bomber aviation were created. In the operations of World War II (1939–45) the bomber aviation of the belligerents was usually employed in mass on the main operational axes against the most important objectives and in the most crucial periods of an operation.
In present-day conditions the principal weaponry of bomber aviation consists of aerial bombs and guided and unguided missiles.
V. I. SEKACHEV