Iraq Attack Not So Successful? ~Glitch cited~ : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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Wednesday February 21 08:52 PM EST

Iraq Attack Not So Successful?

By Barbara Starr

Days after the United States proclaimed a successful attack on radar targets in Iraq, officials now tell ABCNEWS the raid may not have been as on target as intially thought.

Last Friday's surprise raid against Iraq might not have been as successful as portrayed, ABCNEWS has learned.

A glitch in the programming of software that controlled the firing of weapons may have caused some missiles to miss some of the 20 targets near Baghdad that pilots were trying to hit during the evening raid, Pentagon officials tell ABCNEWS.

The supposed mistakes in Friday's raid potentially raise the question of whether the United States will strike again, but those officials told ABCNEWS that a decision on such a repeat attack is a long way off.

In one of the most aggressive attacks in a decade since the Persian Gulf War, U.S. and British warplanes launched the air attack last Friday on targets on the outskirts of Iraq's capital. A strike force of 24 aircraft, made up of Air Force F-15s, Navy F-18s and four British Tornadoes, deployed their bombs at five target areas in the suburbs were. Downtown Baghdad was not hit.

Though critics of President Bush have criticized the move in the days following the raid, Pentagon officials described it as a necessary measure of "self-defense" in response to increased use of anti-aircraft radar on American jets patrolling the "no-fly-zone."

Now, sources tell ABCNEWS that a majority of "bomblets" launched by the Navy's "Joint Standoff Weapons" missed their targets. The official numbers are classified, the sources said, and so the full number of missed targets is unclear.

What is most concerning to Navy officials, however, is that the "bomblets" all missed their targets by the same distance, the sources said.

Bomblets fall in an established pattern or footprint. In the majority of the dropped bomblets, each of these patterns missed their aim point by exactly the same distance, the sources said. Sources said the errors may have been caused by an error in programming the software that controls the weaponry.

The Navy used a number of the "Joint Standoff Weapons" against 20 Iraqi radar sites. The weapon, fired from the Navy's F/A-18s from a safe distance, releases a series of highly explosive small bomblets that fall in a pattern. It is specifically used against "soft" unhardened targets such as radars.

-- Tess (, February 21, 2001



Wednesday, February 21, 2001

Weapon blamed for weak airstrikes By ROBERT BURNS-- The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Results of last weekend's airstrikes on Iraqi air defense sites were mediocre at best -- a senior Pentagon official said Thursday that far fewer than half the targeted radars were damaged. Early assessments indicate a new satellite-guided missile fired by Navy planes was mainly to blame.

"We have detectable damage on 38 to 40 percent of the radars, and we still have some (data) coming in," said the official, discussing the Pentagon's preliminary bomb damage assessment on condition of anonymity.

Most of the misses were by a margin of 100 to 150 feet, he said.

On Wednesday, another senior defense official graded the bombing raids' accuracy at a B-minus or a C-plus.

In northern Iraq on Thursday, Iraqi forces fired anti-aircraft artillery at allied aircraft and the allies fired back, according to U.S. European Command, which manages U.S. air operations over northern Iraq.

In a brief announcement, European Command said the Iraqi fire came from air defense sites north of the city of Mosul while allied planes were conducting "routine enforcement" of the northern "no fly" zone north of the 36th parallel. It did not disclose any result of the allied response.

Thursday's incident in the north was the first involving allied retaliation since Feb. 12, according to European Command.

Last week's U.S.-British attacks were related to enforcement of a "no fly" zone over southern Iraq. Four of the five sites attacked were near Baghdad, between the two "no fly" zones.

The Pentagon has yet to pinpoint the reason for the mediocre accuracy rate, but officials said Thursday that it may be related to computer software used in the missiles' guidance system. The weapon used against the Iraqi radars was the AGM-154, also known as a Joint Standoff Weapon, or JSOW, launched from Navy F/A-18 fighters that flew from the USS Harry S. Truman carrier in the Gulf.

Other weapons, including the AGM-130 missile, were used against Iraqi command and control facilities, which were considered the most important targets because they link elements of Iraq's air defense network.

The military is not releasing detailed public assessments of the attack's effectiveness, because it contends that could help Iraq prepare for any future attacks.


-- Rachel Gibson (, February 22, 2001.

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