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Anti-Air

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Anti-aircraft warfare, or air defense, is any method of engaging military aircraft in combat from the ground. Various guns and cannons have been used in this role since the first military aircraft were used in World War I, growing in power and accuracy over the years. Starting in the post-World War II era, the guns were joined by the guided missile, specifically the "surface-to-air missile", and today both are used in combination in most roles.

Adaptations of standard artillery systems were commonly used for most long-range anti-aircraft artillery, starting with standard pieces on new mountings, and evolving to custom guns with much higher performance prior to World War II. Their shells are usually fitted with different types of fuses (barometric, time-delay, or proximity) to send exploding metal fragments into the area of the target. The classic example of a large caliber, long-range anti-aircraft gun is the German 88 mm gun. Long-range weapons of this sort have for the most part been superseded by the effective anti-air missile systems that were introduced in the 1950s; however, because they are relatively inexpensive and easy to manufacture compared to more modern systems, they are still employed in large numbers by many nations.

Fire of anti-aircraft guns deployed in the neighborhood of St. Isaac's cathedral during the defense of Leningrad (now called St. Petersburg, its pre-Soviet name) in 1941.

Fire of anti-aircraft guns deployed in the neighborhood of St. Isaac's cathedral during the defense of Leningrad (now called St. Petersburg, its pre-Soviet name) in 1941.

For shorter-range work, a lighter weapon with a higher rate of fire is required, to guarantee a hit on a quickly traversing target. Weapons of 20 mm, 37 mm, and 40 mm caliber have been widely used in this role. Smaller weapons, typically .50 caliber or even 8 mm rifle caliber guns have been used in the smallest mounts. Unlike the heavier guns, these smaller weapons are still in widespread use today for the same reason that they were originally introduced; the ability to quickly follow the target. Modern systems often use weapons generally known as autocannon, that were originally intended for air-to-ground use. However,

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