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Air Power can assert several different degree of control of the air. There are seven degrees, although the top three (Favourable Air Situation, Air Superiority and Air Supremacy) are usually regarded as the main degrees (the other four are, essentially, the same as these three but with the enemy having the advantage). They are as follows (worst situation first):

    a.    Air Paralysis.  Friendly forces are totally incapable of offering resistance to enemy Air Power.

    b.    Air Inferiority.  Friendly operations are severely limited by the application of enemy Air Power.

    c.    Unfavourable Air Situation.  The extent of Air Power applied by friendly air forces is insufficient to prejudice the success of enemy air, land and sea operations.

    d.    Air Parity.  Efforts exerted by friendly and enemy air forces meet equal resistance from one another.

    e.    Favourable Air Situation.  The extent of Air Power applied by enemy forces is insufficient to prejudice the success of friendly air, land and sea operations.

    f.    Air Superiority.  That degree of dominance in the air battle of friendly forces over enemy forces which permits the conduct of operations by the former and its related land, sea and air forces at a given time and place without prohibitive interference by the opposing force.

    g.    Air Supremacy.  That degree of air superiority wherein the enemy air force is incapable of effective resistance.


    a.    The Iraqi Air Force started the first Gulf War with Air Inferiority, but eventually was degraded to Air Paralysis after the Coalition air forces destroyed Saddam's air force on the ground.

    b.    The Royal Air Force started the Battle of Britain with an Unfavourable Air Situation. It battled its way to Air Parity, and, after Hitler's strategic blunder of ordering the Blitz on London, built itself up until it was able to assert a Favourable Air Situation.

    c.    Coalition air forces started their attacks on Iraq in early 2003 with Air Superiority. After Iraqi air defences were destroyed the Coaliltion had Air Supremacy.

These degrees can be achieved by using all of the different Types of Air Operation.

The definitions were taken from AP3000, British Air Power Doctrine.