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In 1909 the Islamic State (Ottoman Turkey) became one of the first nations to start a military aviation program. Military attaches from the Islamic State in European capitals studied the development of military air craft and in 1909 the Ottomans sent a delegation to the International Aviation Conference in Paris.


In 1910 Muslims were sent to Europe to be trained as pilots. The Minister of War appointed someone in 1911 to procure balloons, to head the construction of aviation facilities, and to organize the training of pilots. Under the Scientific Research Unit of the Ministry of War, the Aviation Commission was established. Studies were done not only on aircraft but also on anti-aircraft weaponry.
In 1911, Italy invaded part of the Islamic State in modern day Libya. Italy became the first nation in history to employ an air force in war and the Islamic State became the first to employ anti-aircraft weaponry. The Muslim army downed Italian military aircraft and even captured planes. By 1912 there were 15 airplanes bought through public funding and a Flight Training School was opened.
After the Italo-Turkish War, Ottoman aircraft saw action in the First Balkan War where 17 aircraft were used for reconnaissance from 1912-13. When the Islamic State was drawn into World War I the air force grew to 46 pilots, 59 observers, 3 observation balloons, 92 aircrafts (including 14 seaplanes), and a backup of 13 pilot and 22 observer trainees and 21 training aircraft. During the war 450 aircraft were used, flown by 100 Turkish and 150 German pilots.
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