Air Defense: May 6, 2003

Archives

Iraqi air defenses were never underestimated during the 2003 war, and coalition air forces went to great lengths to shut down any widespread use of missiles and guns against coalition aircraft. But the Iraqis had learned much about American SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) methods during the twelve years of low level warfare in the No-Fly Zones. One thing the Iraqis learned well was that U.S. radar detectors and anti-radiation missiles were a lethal combination for any Iraqi radar that switches its power on. So throughout the war, Iraqi radars were rarely turned on. They were attacked anyway, as were any missile launchers caught out in the open. The fiber optic communications system, illegally built over the last few years by Chinese firms, was also attacked, as this system was seen as meant mainly for the air defense system. Iraq fired its anti-aircraft missiles after visually detecting coalition targets, doing so without radar. The thousands of anti-aircraft guns, of course, usually fired without any help from radar. The Iraqis continued, as they had over the last 12 years, to place their missile launchers and guns in residential neighborhoods. These were not often attacked, because most of the coalition smart bombs were dropped from 10,000 feet or higher, beyond the range of most Iraqi anti-aircraft guns. Two helicopters (an AH-64 and a UH-60) and an A-10 were shot down by Iraqi fire. In addition, one British and one American fighter were accidentally shot down by American Patriot anti-aircraft missiles. 


 


Article Archive

Air Defense: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close