Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

JSTARS role in a war with Iraq.

The tactic would allow the 200-250-mi.-range radar to better monitor dispersal of mobile Scud launchers and antiaircraft missiles. The two major Scud launch boxes for attacking Israel during the gulf war were located in far western Iraq. One was centered on the H-3 air base complex near the border with Jordan; the second encompassed the H-1 and H-2 airfields along the Syrian border.

Joint-STARS crews also would be looking for the movement on the ground of L-29 unmanned aircraft that would threaten Israel, Jordan or U.S. facilities in neighboring Arab countries with chemical or biological weapons. While the Air Force is determined to be alert for possible use of the drones, and the British government's recent assessment of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction backed U.S. intelligence's warning of their existence, many U.S. Air Force officials are skeptical of the country's capability to use the aircraft operationally.

Any observed movement of Iraqi forces west of Baghdad would be used to cue other aircraft, like the U-2, orbiting the battlefield, that have synthetic aperture radars with much greater acuity (less than 3ft. versus 12 ft.) for more precise identification and targeting. Saudi Arabia has quietly assented to operation of the ground-surveillance radar-equipped E-8 from its bases, an Air Force official said. The U-2s are operating from the United Arab Emirates and would be joined there again by the Global Hawk UAV--the unmanned aircraft returned to the U.S. last week, completing its Afghanistan assignment largely to save money and allow a buildup of spares that had depleted.

< email | 10/09/2002 12:50:00 PM | link

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