Did Desert Storm Represent a Revolution or Evolution in Air Power?

3877 WordsJul 7, 201316 Pages
On the morning of 16 Jan 1991 images of precision strikes targeting Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime , brought the employment of airpower to the forefront of global consciousness . Concurrent with images of the attacks, the world’s media were broadcasting press briefings lauding the ‘revolutionary’ achievements of ‘surgical strikes’ conducted by F-117A Fighters; a capability that had only been publically acknowledged for the first time a year earlier . The aim of this essay is to penetrate the superficial media-derived rhetoric, and seek to determine whether Op DESERT STORM represented an evolution or a revolution in the employment of air power. To achieve this it is necessary to examine air power across the entire spectrum of its…show more content…
General Schwarzkopf, in Senate Committee hearings following the war, described that he was often fed heavily caveated reporting or it was not timely enough . An explanation for this is that the collection plan was targeted against the problem sets and compartmented in a hierarchical manner in order to understand the environment against which fielded forces were arrayed. However, there were many issues in the employment of intelligence in this manner, including timeliness, security caveat and collection priorities and battle damage assessment . An analysis of elements that comprised the A2 for Op DESERT STORM suggests that the war represents a continuation on the spectrum of intelligence technological and doctrinal development that occurred post WW2, through Vietnam and through the Cold War. The next area that will be considered is the conduct of operations examining platforms, weapons, and targeting. During Op DESERT STORM whilst there were 34 members of the UN coalition, the practical contribution by nation varied significantly, both in their role, capacity and capability . This is a critical factor to acknowledge, as any discussion about evolution or revolution in airpower has to focus primarily on the US, with the UK, France, Canada and Italy taken into account albeit to a lesser extent, due to their relative contribution. In quantitative

More about Did Desert Storm Represent a Revolution or Evolution in Air Power?

Open Document