105 missiles in 2 minutes
Regardless of your political views, France, the UK and the U.S. pulled off a remarkable joint effort from a military standpoint in their punitive operation against Syria on Saturday. In short, three aviation task forces from three different countries, a submarine, and four naval surface vessels coordinated an attack against three different and heavily defended land targets, with zero losses to friendlies.
The Russians say most of the incoming cruise missiles were shot down, but bomb damage assessment doesn’t hold up to that, although the kitchen sink was apparently thrown into the air around Damascus and Homs. CENTCOM says they tracked 40~ Syrian SAMs fired into the air, with zero hits on aircraft or incoming weapons.
Five French Rafale jets loaded with a pair of SCALP-EG cruise missiles, covered and supported by five Mirage 2000-5F fighters, two E-3 AWACS, and six C-135FR tankers. The Rafale landed 9 SCALPS, two on the Him Shinshar storage site and 7 on the Him Shinshar CW bunker. This came while the French Navy (Marine Nationale) conducted the first ever operational strike involving the new MdCN (Missile de Croisiere Naval) naval cruise missile (the naval version of SCALP), firing 3 of the weapons from the Aquitaine-class multipurpose frigate Languedoc (D653) at the Him Shinshar CW storage site (west of Homs):
Two B-1Bs, deployed to Al Udeid AB from Ellsworth AFB, S.D., employed 19 Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER), marking the first combat employment of the weapon. The JASSMs were targeting the Barzeh CW research and development center in Damascus
The Navy fired 7 TLAMs from USS Laboon (DDG-58) and 30 more from USS Monterey (CG-61) from the Red Sea while USS Higgins (DDG-76) let 23 TLAMs loose from the Northern part of the Persian Gulf, and the Virginia-class submarine USS John Warner (SSN-785) launched 6 more Tomahawks from the Med. In all, some 66 TLAMs– 57 directed at Barzeh and 9 at the Him Shinshar CW storage site.
The Brits, using aging Tornados, got some Storm Shadow cruise missiles in at the Him Shinshar CW storage site– the only site hit by all three Allied nations.
Four Royal Air Force Tornado’s took off this morning from RAF Akrotiri to conduct strikes in support of Operations over the Middle East, firing eight Storm Shadow missiles
The Tornados, flown by 31 Squadron the Goldstars, were supported by a Voyager aircraft.
At 0200 UK time on 14 April, British forces joined close Allies in a precision strike on Syrian installations involved in the use of chemical weapons.
The UK element of the carefully coordinated joint action was contributed by four Royal Air Force Tornado GR4s. They launched Storm Shadow missiles at a military facility – a former missile base – some fifteen miles west of Homs, where the regime is assessed to keep chemical weapon precursors stockpiled in breach of Syria’s obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention. Very careful scientific analysis was applied to determine where best to target the Storm Shadows to maximize the destruction of the stockpiled chemicals and to minimize any risks of contamination to the surrounding area. The facility which was struck is located some distance from any known concentrations of civilian habitation, reducing yet further any such risk.
As of note, the RAF turned 100 years old on April 1st.