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Naval Air: Celebrating a Century of Naval Flying (Hardback)

Aviation Maritime > Naval WWII > Battles & Campaigns > Japan & the Pacific Front > Battle of Midway

By Philip Kaplan
Imprint: Pen & Sword Maritime
Pages: 208
Illustrations: 16 pages of black and white plates
ISBN: 9781781592410
Published: 3rd July 2013



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Naval aviation arrived early in the last century in the form of balloons and airships employed by the British Royal Navy for reconnaissance, and interest was stirring in naval circles in a greater aeronautical capacity for the service. Britain's tradition of projecting a global reach through her sea power would, in the view of many, be greatly enhanced by such a capability. Among the first advocates of military aircraft development was British naval minister, Winston Churchill.

Over the course of the last century since this point of inception, huge leaps have been made in the design, development, and performance of naval aircraft. This comprehensive account, brought to us by eminent aviation historian Philip Kaplan, details the journey from origin through early development into wartime deployment. This is carried forward through post-war innovations and into modern conflicts such as the Falklands campaign. Attention is paid to the key landmarks of aviation history, such as Taranto, Pearl Harbour, The Doolittle Raid, the Battle of Midway and the Korean campaign. Reference is also paid throughout to the flying aces; the high points in the combat careers of the greatest naval and marine aviators of the past century.

Kaplan weaves multiple threads in an effort to produce a comprehensive and detailed history. One of these is the part played by women in the history of flight, detailing a journey characterised by ever-closer involvement at the vanguard of aviation development, showing how societal changes have impacted upon this area in tune with others. Bringing the history up to date, there is a section dedicated to the Helicopter, its varying uses, current disposition and status of the various types in the U.S and British navies.

Complemented by a collection of interesting photographs, this is sure to appeal to aviation enthusiasts as well as social historians of the past one hundred years; this isn't just a history of the various aircraft but of the people who got them off the ground and flew them into a new century.

As featured in

Ships Monthly - July 2023

Over the last century, huge leaps have been made in the design, development and performance of naval aircraft. This comprehensive account details the journey from the days of airships into wartime deployment in WWI & II and post-war innovations in modern conflicts such as the Falklands campaign.


Provides a good easy read and is recommended.

Scuttlebutt Edition No51

This well-rounded hardback lifts the lid on 100 years of naval aviation and offers fascinating titbits of information in the process, as well as more detailed examinations of flight operations at sea. A thoroughly absorbing read.

Airfix Model World

A comprehensive and detailed account that takes the reader from the early development through wartime deployment in the words of the past century's greatest naval and marine aviators.

Naval Historical Foundation

About Philip Kaplan

Philip Kaplan is a Californian author and art-director who now lives in Cheltenham with his English wife, also an author. He has a long-standing fascination with aviation and naval history and has had ten previous books published by Abbeville, Cassell, Random House and Aurum. To date his books have sold well over a quarter of a million copies world-wide.

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