How The F-16 Viper Destroyed The Iraqi Army

How The F-16 Viper Destroyed The Iraqi Army | World War Wings Videos

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The F-16 played a key role in the Coalition’s air campaign during Operation Desert Storm. The jet was initially developed as a fighter, but in a twist of fate, it became the primary ground striker platform during the operations against the Iraqi army and Republican Guard. 

American Workhorse

The F-16 soon became the unlikely workhouse of the air campaign in a much different way than expected. 

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During Operation Desert Storm, the F-16 was the busiest aircraft of the whole campaign just after the A-10. Another factor that influenced its ubiquity is its versatility to be effective in a wide array of missions. It can serve as an escort, deliver ordinance as an attacker, and in more specialized roles operate as a SEAD platform. It can also be a reconnaissance asset.

Important Asset

The F-16’s ability to place bombs on target was the one that truly showed its importance to the entire campaign.

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With close to 40,000 bombs delivered, it outstripped any other fighter in the theater. The fact that all of it was unguided makes it even more impressive. 

Accuracy and Precision

F-16s were tasked mostly during the daylight hours to strike airfields, chemical storage areas, Republican Guard locations, military storage facilities, and more. 

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The F-16 was also tasked beyond the forward line of troops with interdiction and thus, the destruction of the Iraqi army support structure became the main focus. 

Effective Accuracy

During a conducted bomb damage assessment, the ratio of “Fully successful to Not fully successful,” in terms of missions provides us with a solid indication that F-16s were credited with positive track records during Desert Storm. 

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A plane initially conceived as a fighter became the most important ground attacker in the entire conflict. It helped erode the Iraqi army’s command, control, lines of communications, logistics, and even morale. 


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