TAB F - The Air Campaign Against Al Muthanna

Two types of Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) were used in Desert Storm: TLAM-C, equipped with a conventional 1,000-pound warhead, and TLAM-D.[103] The TLAM D dispenses up to 166 armor-piercing or incendiary bomblets in 24 packages.[104]

Of the 260 successful TLAM launches, 73 percent occurred in the first three days of the Air Campaign, (January 17 through January 19), and none were launched after February 1.[105] This is probably because they were too expensive compared to their relatively small warhead. TLAMs were limited in the type of target they could attack, as they lacked the hard-target kill capability of a 2,000-pound bomb. There are no battle damage assessments (BDA) for any of these attacks.

Manned aircraft attacks against Al Muthanna began January 19, 1991, when six US Navy carrier-based A-6 attack aircraft launched from the USS Kennedy struck Al Muthanna dropping 12 GBU-10 laser-guided bombs and 12 Mk-84 non-guided bombs.[106] There are no BDA from any of these attacks.

Between February 3 and 23, F-117 aircraft from the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing conducted a concerted bombing campaign, flying 70 sorties against Al Muthanna with each sortie delivering GBU-10 or GBU-27H laser guided bombs.

Sometimes the Air Force struck individual targets several times because insufficient BDA prevented knowing at what point a target had been destroyed.[107] Also, mission planners discovered a single 2,000-pound warhead was often insufficient to achieve the desired level of damage against hard targets.

Mission reports are not wholly reliable as to which targets were struck and the degree of damage inflicted. The General Accounting Office found that approximately one third of bomb drops assessed as hits either lacked corroborating video information or conflicted with other information.[108]

Our analysts reviewed the DIA’s Gulf War Air Power Survey database and the Air Force’s Weapons Effects and Performance Data Archival database to determine when Bunker 2 at Al Muthanna was breached.[109] Our analysts also visited the Center for Naval Analysis to review US Navy strike data.

Our analysts determined the US Navy strikes did not damage any of the bunkers and F-117 mission 3323B, delivered the weapon that actually breached Bunker 2.[110] Although the Combat Mission Report for this strike reports its target was Bunker 7, we determined this mission actually struck Bunker 2 by repeatedly rerunning the tapes to compare the background of the film with maps and photographs showing the layout of buildings and roads in the storage area.[111] Our analysis using the air tasking orders determined the strike was early in the morning of February 8, 1991.[112]

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