School of Politics and International Relations

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Maria Burczynska

Doctoral Researcher, Faculty of Social Sciences



Maria is a PhD Candidate in the School of Politics and International Relations where she is affiliated with the Centre for Conflict, Security and Terrorism. She holds a Masters Degree in National Security from the University of National Defence in Warsaw (Poland). Her main area of interest is the participation of small, European air forces in multinational operations. Her research is funded by Sir Francis Hill Scholarship.

Teaching Summary

M11155 - Understanding Global Politics

M13213 - Airpower and Modern Warfare

Research Summary

Thesis: The potential and limits of airpower in contemporary multinational operations: the case of the UK, Polish and Swedish air forces.


Over the past decade airpower has fundamentally changed the way in which wars are fought and won. Although successful campaigns in the early post-Cold war years (e.g. Gulf I and Kosovo) reinforced the idea that superior airpower can make a country's military unchallengeable and lead to quicker and 'cleaner' victories, this view of airpower is increasingly being criticised. As the recent experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq showed, airpower did not necessarily translate into quick victories. The research investigates and assesses the potential and limits of airpower in multinational operations. While most of the airpower literature is defined as US-centric it examines the role of three European countries, namely the UK, Poland and Sweden.

This project posits that European air power faces several limitations which can be make up for through multinational cooperation. There are various opportunities for developing such cooperation which take place within the constructs of NATO (Smart Defence) and European Union (Pooling & Sharing) as well as outside of these structures. Another example could be multinational exercises, such as Red Flag, Cross Border Training, Arctic Challenge, Swift Response or Baltic Operations (BALTOPS), to name only few which involve the air forces. All of them are built on the idea of pooling and sharing resources but also are promoting and developing the cooperation between different nations. The project explores the extent to which such initiatives are being realised and how British, Polish and Swedish air forces are performing in such ventures. It also looks at the potential challenges and difficulties that such cooperation may pose and the ways the three nations use to deal with the problems. Finally, the objective here is to investigate how such involvement at multinational level could affect (if at all) the specific air force's capabilities.

Recent Publications

School of Politics and International Relations

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