Air forces of the USA and the UK during the aggression against Iraq has taken a new approach to the conduct of air operations. According to the implemented by the U.S. army concept for the formation of the army of the twenty-first century, the actions of the air forces of the coalition are planned on the basis of operational analysis of the situation in the combat area and are shown as "operations on the basis of effects" ("effect-based operations"). This type of operation was worked out during large-scale exercises of "Millennium Challenge 2002", which took place in the summer of 2002, as well as during operations in Afghanistan against the Taliban.
The main goal of operations is to paralyze the activities of the armed forces of Iraq, not destroy them. Plans call aviation coalition in the early days of the campaign will seek to circumvent or avoid the strikes on static targets from among the city buildings and elements of infrastructure whose value does not change for a considerable time and their destruction would be possible to return to the changing situation. For the implementation of this plan is expected to dramatically increase the percentage of precision weapons. Thus, representatives of the American command declares that during the first day of battle used 90% of the precision weapons of the total number of applied tools, in the future it is planned to use not less than 90% of precision weapons in densely populated areas and high-risk areas (e.g. oil fields). In all other cases during attacks by aircraft will not be less than 70 % of precision weapons.
It is assumed that during the planning of air strikes of the air force will seek to avoid purposes among the objects of economy and infrastructure of Iraq, where possible on the basis of the combat situation. It is also planned to avoid impacts on the purposes of historical, religious and cultural value.
This approach to the conduct of air operations forces of the U.S. military is largely to revise the principles for the planning of air operations to avoid or minimize civilian casualties and the accompanying destruction. In addition, there is the issue of the choice of missile warheads and aerial bombs and their guidance in order to use the minimum sufficient funds to end goal functions. Thus, according to experts of the air forces, now air during operation, it is necessary not only to define the goal, but also highlight the critical point, the impact of which will lead to the termination of its functioning. Blows it is planned to apply only to destroy key buildings with minimal collateral destruction.
According to military experts of the Pentagon, the implementation of the new principle of conducting air operations raises the air forces of the coalition a number of problematic issues.
1. The need for change in designation, identifying critical points target and choice of ammunition for its destruction. This, experts say, could be the key to the success of the Anglo-American forces for the implementation of their ability to limit the concomitant destruction and casualties among the civilian population. It is considered that this issue should be addressed through the use of new exploration opportunities in planning and strictly limit the number of goals that will be applied beats. Experts stress that now it is necessary to carefully choose the ammunition appropriate accuracy quite equal weapons, just for a specific critical point of the goal, to destroy only the target's function without its complete destruction.
2. During the operation, you will use new weapons and tactics.Experts say that if new concepts of planning are the key to the effectiveness of air strikes on the basis of the effects, we may underestimate the effect of the use of new types of weapons that will be used during the operation against Iraq. Given the pre-commercial 10 ton bombs MOAB and pulse bombs to defeat management systems possible unpredictable reaction of the Iraqi population.
3. The experts of the air forces believe that by the second day of conflict the plan for the bombing of a static and predetermined array to turn into a dynamic, quickly-changing array of targets. It will be triggered by the detection of new targets, identification of new methods of action of the Iraqi army, and taking into account the maneuver of forces and means of the coalition and the enemy.
4. It is planned that the first days of the war will allow USA and UK to get the necessary experience that will allow you to adjust plans of fighting application of aviation. Experts say that in this war, even small problems or advantages in the efficiency of American and British bombing and planning methods will lead to rapid changes during the operation.
5. A number of experts say that the damage assessment of equipment and structures and in this campaign will be a significant problem. It is an objective assessment of the caused damage allows successful planning of air strikes. However, the level of technology still does not allow prompt analysis of the results of the fire exposure, the civilian casualties and collateral damage.
6. Representatives of the air force note that the United States and Britain plan to strike blows to objects of the Baghdad regime and time-sensitive objectives, reflecting the resistance of the Iraqi army, but not going to bomb the country as a whole. That is why, according to experts, the US and Britain are seeking to paralyze and destroy a regime, not to destroy the country. It is believed that to put missile and bomb strikes on residential quarters of the army of the coalition if it actively threatens personnel and military equipment of the coalition.
7. Unguided weapons are also planned to be used in limited quantities. The American command plans to use unguided weapons in the proportion of not более30 %, in case if there is an immediate threat to personnel and materiel of the army of the coalition. It is planned that in the settlements this percentage will not exceed 10 %.
8. Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and missiles. Pentagon experts say that weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, as well as missiles to the Iraqi army are the goals of the first priority when planning bombing attacks.
9. In the current campaign by the Iraqi army, we should expect large-scale use of asymmetric means of exposure, will also be massively used various means of psychological warfare, including the use of hostages, an exaggeration of civilian casualties, etc.
10. Fighting in urban environments will not pose a serious threat to coalition forces. American experts note that the architecture and the development of cities in Iraq today, allows the use of precision weapons. Most administrative buildings are surrounded by a considerable free area fenced that will allow you to apply for these goals guided missiles and bombs, without prejudice to civil structures. There is an opinion that with the beginning of hostilities a considerable part of the population will leave the combat area, which will significantly reduce the level of possible losses among the civilian population.
Overall, the first days of the anti-Iraqi campaign showed that many plans were developed in the conditions of dynamically changing environment cannot be fully implemented. In addition, substantial importance is the morale of Iraqi troops and mined the people of Iraq: a large part of the population stays in cities, some move in groups armed militia.
However, the experience of conducting air strikes in accordance with the concept of effects subject serious study. The fighting in the North Caucasus has shown that unrestricted use of unwarranted power weapons not only did not allow to achieve the required goals, but also led to large-scale collateral damage, the deaths of the local population and, as a consequence – to the aggravation of the political situation in the Chechen Republic.
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