In the modern age, any nation that wants to ensure its borders are impenetrable, needs a strong and technologically advanced air force. An air force is part of the national armed forces which conducts aerial warfare. An nation’s air force also provides close air support (CAS) to its armed forces and allies.
The various air forces in existance today consist of fighter aircrafts, transport aircrafts, bombers, reconnaissance aircrafts and a number of other types of aircraft. Since WW2 aircrafts have played a pivotal role in the outcome of many battles and wars. Aircrafts played a significant role in World War I & II, the Falklands war, and the Gulf wars.
A nation with air superiority will have control of the skies and hence a major advantage over its opponents. These reasons alone make it essential for a future Khilafah to field the best air force in the world. The head of the air force in the Khilafah will be the Chief of Air Staff (Highest post within the air force) and this post will report to the Ameer of Jihad and the Khaleefah is the Commander in-Chief. The Chief of Air Staff will be responsible for managing and upgrading the air force. There will be various divisions within the air force and each division will have a specific responsibility. For example some divisions will be dedicated to carrying out surveillance whilst other divisions will be dedicated to carrying out aerial warfare; these divisions will primarily consist of fighter jets.
The Khilafah will make use of the current infrastructure that exists within the Muslim world which is used to design and develop aircrafts. The state will also take ownership of the current aircrafts that exist within the air forces of the Muslim world as these assets are the property of the state. The existing aircrafts will be used to defend the Khilafah from its inception. Countries such as Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and Indonesia have made advancements in military aviation.
The Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has been producing fighter aircraft under license and this includes a total of 232 F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft for the Turkish Air Force. Many of the F-16s built by Turkish Aerospace Industries were also exported to other countries. The Turkish Aerospace Industries also manufactures the following hardware:
• Panels for the Airbus 319/320/321 aircraft
• Wing tips and flight deck panels for Boeing 737 aircraft
• Rear doors and engine cowlings for Eurocopter EC135 helicopters
• Nose landing gear doors for the Boeing 747
• UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle)
Pakistan has the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) which assembles and manufactures aircraft for the Pakistani air force. The Pakistan Aeronautical Complex has also developed the MFI-17 Mushshak which is used as a trainer by the Pakistani air force. The facility also carries out maintenance on various fighter jets such as the F-16 and Dassault Mirage 5. Pakistan and China jointly developed the JF-17 Thunder (4th generation fighter jet). Pakistan has also created cruise missiles which are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
Turkish and Pakistani fighter pilots are among some of the best fighter pilots in the world. Pakistani fighter pilots provide training to pilots of other Muslim countries. Fighter pilots from Pakistan participated in the 1967 Arab-Israeli ‘Six-Day’ War siding with the Muslims of the Arab countries.
Iran has developed the Saeqeh-80 single-seater fighter jet. The Indonesian Aerospace Company (IAE) has been designing and developing parts for various aircrafts and it currently produces the NC212 (transport aircraft) under license. Currently a number of Muslim countries possess air defenses and these air defenses constitute various ground-to-air missiles (GTAM), jamming devices, radars and many other aspects which are required for an effective air defence. Air defences are used in conjunction with the air force with the purpose of protecting a nation’s borders.
There airbases are dotted all over the Muslim world and this is an advantage that the Khilafah will have from its inception. The airbases will provide the Khilafah with an opportunity to deploy aircrafts and ground forces anywhere within the Khilafah at a moment’s notice. If there were to be natural disasters, the airbases will also be used for relief operations.
The Khilafah will ensure that it enhances the current infrastructure that exists within the Muslim world so that the state can design and develop both civilian and fighter aircrafts independently without assistance from outside. The air force of the Khilafah will have the following advantages:
• Control over strategic international airspace and naval straits
• Access to large reserves of oil and other natural resources which will be required to develop and power the air force
• One of the largest and technologically advanced air forces in the world
The Muslim world is situated in a strategic geographical position giving the Khilafah control of a strategic airspace. Therefore both military and civilian aircrafts of other nations will have to seek permission from the Khilafah to fly through its air space. Today, the US and its allies have launched air attacks against Muslim countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan due to corrupt Muslim governments giving permission to the US and its allies to fly through their air space and this is the fundamental reason why the US and its allies were successful in the air. Had permission been refused to the US and its allies, it would have been very difficult for the US and its allies to launch an air assault upon Iraq and Afghanistan. For an air force to carry out an assault operation on a country, it requires friendly airspace which is in close proximity to the country that will be attacked. For example an Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) or an air refuelling tanker requires friendly airspace to fly over as these types of aircrafts cannot fly over hostile territory.
Currently Muslim countries lack development in a number of key areas, which are essential for developing a strong air force. The Muslim countries lack development in aircraft carriers (a warship with the primary objective of deploying and recovering aircraft), air to air refueling technology, AWACS technology and many other aspects which are required to gain air superiority. The Khilafah will have policies in place that will drive forward the design and development of the necessary technology that will be required for gaining air superiority. The state will need to set up institutions that will be dedicated to nurturing aerospace engineers. These engineers will be responsible for the design and development of different types of aircraft (military and civilian), aircraft carriers, guided missiles, aircraft engines, helicopters, propulsion units and other related parts. The institutions will also be responsible for producing fighter pilots and pilots for civilian usage. The Khilafah will need to ensure that these institutions provide the best training in the world. To project an image of strength to the world, the Khilafah will provide military hardware to its allies and conduct military exercises with them.
It will take time for the Khilafah to gain air superiority. If we look at the US, it took them decades through trial and error to achieve air superiority. Despite the corrupt Muslim Governments, the Muslim world has had some limited success in the aviation field. If a sincere leadership arises within the Muslim world, this leadership will unite the Muslim world leading to the natural resources, pilots and aerospace engineers of the Muslim world merging together with the aim of developing the best air force in the world. This will aid the state in spreading Islam throughout the world. The main reason why the US has the best air force in the world is due to its vision; which is to dominate the world and be the leading nation. Any nation with global aspirations will succeed in attaining dominance as its vision will push it to acquire economic and technological might allowing it to become a super power.
The Khilafah has a vision which is to spread Islam to the whole world, and this vision will naturally push the Khilafah state to acquire technological and economic strength. At its height the Khilafah had control over large swathes of the world and the majority of the technological advancements of the time emanated from the Khilafah. This was due to the vision of the Khilafah which was to spread the light of Islam to the world.