Modern USMC Air Power

Aircraft and Units of the 'Flying Leathernecks'

Joe Copalman

Harpia's newest title covers the transformation of US Marine Corps aviation from a Cold War ‘world police' air arm to a potent, digital-age air combat powerhouse.
Date Published :
December 2020
Publisher :
Harpia Publishing
Illustration :
Fully Illustrated
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781950394029
Pages : 256
Dimensions : 11 X 8.3 inches
Stock Status : In stock


As America’s expeditionary force-in-readiness, the US Marine Corps operates an eclectic mix of fixed-wing, rotary-wing, tiltrotor and unmanned aircraft to support the marine rifleman on the ground. The first two decades of the 21st century have seen an almost complete transformation of the marine air wings, as Cold War-era legacy aircraft yield to digital-age replacements. In Harpia’s first book dedicated to a North American air arm, Joe Copalman explains the significance of each aircraft transition in the Marine Corps over the previous 20 years – community by community – on the Marine Air-Ground Task Force and its ability to conduct amphibious and expeditionary warfare.

While some of these transitions, like that of the KC-130T to KC-130J and AH-1W to AH-1Z, have been incremental, evolutionary steps up, others like the tandem-rotor CH-46 Sea Knight to the tiltrotor MV-22 Osprey and the introduction of the F-35 Lightning II to replace all three of the Marine Corps’ tactical jets have revolutionized the way the service fights. In addition to introducing newer, vastly more capable and connected aircraft into its air wings, the Marine Corps has also invested heavily in keeping its remaining legacy fleets at the cutting edge of lethality and survivability throughout the final days of each type’s service.

Utilizing a before-and-after approach, Copalman guides the reader through every transition in Modern USMC Air Power, examining what each legacy aircraft brought to the fight, and how the service’s newer platforms have improved upon those capabilities, especially when aided by new constructs like precision-guided ordnance and digital interoperability.

About The Author

Joe Copalman lives in Mesa, Arizona with his wife, daughter and son. A lifelong aviation enthusiast, he has been writing about military aviation since 2013 for publications including AirForces Monthly and Combat Aircraft Journal. This is his first book.


"The depth and breadth of Mr. Copalman’s research for this volume are impressive. Based on dozens of personal interviews with active duty, retired and former Marines, as well as publicly available official Marine Corps sources, the book captures the present state and future direction of Marine Corps aviation admirably."

- Naval Historical Foundation

"...Joe Copalman’s solid, 256-page opus superbly surveys the subject’s past two decades in 15 lavishly illustrated chapters."

- Cybermodeler

"Aviation enthusiasts will love them [the images] I am certain, and modellers will also like them for the clear detail they offer as references."

- Military Model Scene

More from this publisher