HAWK Missile system
Length: 16 feet, 6 inches
Range: 3 miles
*The HAWK is a medium-range air defense missile developed during the 1960's and improved several times in the last thirty years. Units with HAWK missiles are teamed with acquisition radar, a command post, a tracking radar, an Identification Friend or For (IFF) system, and three to four launchers with three missiles each. A proximity fuse is used to detonate its warhead. The HAWK is used by several of our al lies and was delivered to Iran as part of the Iran-Contra scandal.
The SA-6 Gainful contains three missiles on a tracked vehicle and has an effective range of about 15 miles. In addition, Iraq has a number of U.S. Hawk missiles which is seized from Kuwait when they invaded last August. U.S. planners have made destruction of Iraqi anti-air missiles and their command centers a priority in the initial days of Desert Storm.
Besides missiles, Iraq maintains an incredible array o f anti-aircraft guns numbering as high as the tens of thousands. Although our pilots have little to fear from one or two of these weapons, when hundreds are fired at one aircraft, the amount of "flak" in the air can be devastating. One such system is th e ZSU-23 anti-aircraft gun mounted on a tracked chassis. It has an accurate range is less than two miles and has been used extensively throughout the Third World.
Actions in Desert Storm--
With no Iraqi aircraft operating over friendly positions, allied anti-aircraft was not put to the test in Operation Desert Storm as some had envisioned it would be. The Iraqis on the other hand, used their full armada of anti-aircraft weaponry against American pilots with some allied fighters describing the fla k as the worse they've ever seen. However, much of this was unguided anti-aircraft artillery and missiles launched without the benefit of radar systems. If the Iraqis had turned on the radar, their systems would have been destroyed by F-4 Wild Weasel ai rcraft with High-Speed, Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARM) designed to seek out radars and neutralize them. With one of the first targets of the air war being the air defense system, allied commanders were effective in eliminating coordinated anti-aircraft t hroughout the country forcing Iraq to operate only at the local unit level.
PATRIOT Air Defense Missile
- 17 feet, 5 inches
- 221 lbs High Explosive
- 43 miles
- 78,00 feet
- Mach 3
*The PATRIOT system surrounds many of the air bases and troop locations in the Gulf region to protect them from incoming Iraqi missiles and aircraft. Although there have been some questions about its effectiveness, initi al reports demonstrate that the PATRIOT missile is successful in destroying incoming SCUDs headed for Israel and Saudi Arabia. The system includes radar, command, and launcher all computer connected. Each launcher contains four missiles with six to eigh t launchers per system. Completely computerized, the system is activated when a launch is detected and missiles are launched when the highest probability of a kill is obtained.
No comparable weapon.
Actions in Desert Storm--
No other weapon received more attention than the Patriot during Operation Desert Storm. President Bush, Israel, and the families of the servicemen in the Gulf had great respect for this anti-missile defense system which intercepted and, well, maybe destroyed dozens of incoming SCUD missiles. After the war, several people claimed the system didn't work at all. However, they looked at the weapon in purely military terms: did it entirely destroy the missile. This system, however, served other purposes, including international diplomacy in helping to keep the Israelis at bay and domestic political concerns in calming the fears of many families of servicemen in the Gulf.
Patriots used an elaborate early warning system which gave controllers about six minutes warning prior to interception of the incoming missile. While effective in "intercepting" many of the incoming missiles, the Patriot could not eliminate the debris and unexploded warheads from the falling SCUD which caused considerable casualties and damage.
Shop for other Aviation Products
Other Gulf War Books and Videos
Aircraft Pins and Flight Jackets and other military supplies.