is a designated area in a hostile or threatened territory which, when seized and held, allows the air landing of further troops and matériel
via an airbridge
, and provides the maneuver and preparation space necessary for projected operations. Normally it is the area seized in the assault phase of an airborne operation
. It may also be used as a staging or refueling point for less permanent operations.
Typically, an airhead is established by helicopter-landed or paratrooper forces, and often will take place at an airport (to allow conventional transport to land later on) or at a helicopter or glider-accessible area.
Notable airhead operations include Battle of Crete and Operation Market Garden during World War II, and Operation Just Cause in Panama in 1989.