VC10 tanker

February Gulf War Campaign Diary

February 1st

Attack operations have continued with Jaguars from Muharraq tasked to attack a support site. The pilots reported good hits in the area and a vehicle park. CBUs and 1,000lb bombs were used during this attack. All aircraft recovered safely.

Other Jaguar missions were flown against a SAM site this morning; one aircraft reporting a good hit whilst a second reported hits on an artillery battery near the target. A number of aircraft were also tasked to provide CAPs under the control of HMS Gloucester had nothing to report.

The day also saw further Buccaneers training sorties and these included Jaguars for the first time.

The Hercules undergoing repairs at Al Jubyal is now serviceable.

February 1st/2nd

Tornados were gain in action overnight. Raids began with aircraft from Tabuk loaded with 1,000lb bombs and supported by ALARM-equipped aircraft successfully attacking their target, with a similar package being successful against a second target.

Muharraq GR1s concentrated on storage facilities at two locations. In the first attack hits caused multiple secondary explosions and fires visible from 70nm, whilst the second, although hit, did not produce the same results. Commenting on the first, a supporting USAF F-4G crew stated, 'This one's a real good burner'.

Tornados from Dhahran attacked another storage site with 1,000lb bombs causing explosions and fires.

Reconnaissance flights by Tornado GR1As achieved only one successful search.

Planned sorties for the morning comprise a large number of Jaguar missions and the first Buccaneer/Tornado Pavespike LGB missions.

February 2nd

This morning, Jaguars attacked an ammunition storage area with CBUs with many aircraft reporting hits. A SAM site was also attacked by Jaguars with CBUs and 1,000lb bombs. All aircraft returned safely. Aircraft flying SUCAP were tasked to attack an anti-aircraft site in support of a CSAR mission following the loss of a coalition aircraft. The attack allowed a USN Intruder aircraft to make a low-level reconnaissance pass to search for possible survivors.

The Buccaneers have entered the war, with aircraft flying Pavespike sorties in support of a Tornado LGB attack on a bridge. The bridge was reported as totally destroyed. Other Buccaneers flew training sorties with Jaguars.

All aircraft returned safely.

Today's Nimrod operations directed SUCAPO aircraft and Lynx helicopters in visual identification of radar targets.

February 2nd/3rd

Tornado GR1 missions were mounted against 3 targets. Tornado GR1As also flew reconnaissance missions. All aircraft returned safely, and more information is awaited.

A Nimrod from Seeb acted as a scene of search commander for a coalition helicopter which is missing.

February 3rd

Today was the largest RAF daytime offensive air effort to date with Tornados, Jaguars and Buccaneers all involved.

During the morning, 2 SAM sites were attacked by Jaguars with 1,000lb bombs. All aircraft reported hits with secondary explosions observed. A second raid by more Jaguars reported more hits in the target area. Later in the day, Tornado GR1s attacked a rail junction.

Jaguars were tasked to attack an artillery position and hits were made and fires seen. Haze prevented target acquisition for the remaining aircraft, so a SAM site was attacked as an alternative target. This target was destroyed.

Jaguars also flew SUCAP missions under tactical control of HMS Gloucester, but no taskings were made. A rail bridge was attacked by Tornados with Buccaneers providing laser guidance. Other Tornados successfully attacked an ammunition and SCUD storage site with 1,000lb bombs.

In all sorties, all aircraft recovered safely.

Nimrods were again tasked as scene of search commander aircraft for missing aircraft, this search regrettably ending with the location of the wreckage and discovery of the crew of two dead.

February 3rd/4th

Following a day of intensive allied air activity during which the RAF mounted its biggest daytime offensive since hostilities in the Gulf began, Tornados keeping up the momentum with further attacks last night. GR1s from Dhahran were tasked against an ammunition store. Following the attack, a number of secondary explosions were seen.

Aircraft from Tabuk attacked an ammunition plant with 1,000lb bombs and supporting ALARM aircraft were also in action.

Muhharraq aircraft were tasked against another ammunition store. One aircraft was forced to abort the mission, but the remainder were successful. There was also moderate anti-aircraft fire in the vicinity.

As of midnight the AAR force of Victors, VC10 and Tristars had flown over 900 hours on 244 operational sorties and had dispensed 4,112 tonnes of fuel. The Tristar has been used predominantly to support Tornado F3 CAPs, with the VC10s and Victors concentrating on offensive support - particularly for the GR1s. Over the past week or so, the VC10s and Victors have also provided AAR for US Navy aircraft, including A-6 Intruders, F-14 Tomcats, F/A-18 Hornets and EA-6 Prowlers, normally as part of a Tornado GR1 support package, and such co-ordinated operations are becoming a regular event with 3-4 sorties per day. In addition, AAR support has also been provided for a Canadian CF-18 mission and occasionally for Saudi Air Force Tornado operations.

Since the war began, Nimrod sorties have been flown daily in direct support of the USS Midway group in the Persian Gulf. Their primary task has been to search for, locate and identify surface units. They have met with considerable success, making many of the initial detections and subsequently directing attack aircraft and in particular Royal Navy Lynx helicopters onto their targets. Additionally, Nimrods have played an important role as Airborne Command Centre and Scene of Search Commander during the Combat SAR operations.

February 4th

Today, Tornado GR1s, with Buccaneers from Muharraq providing laser designation, destroyed both arches of a road bridge rendering it unusable. A second LGB attack was carried out on another bridge. Tabuk Tornados carried out a successful daylight raid on an ammunition depot. Dhahran-based aircraft also attacked further targets.

Jaguars, in 2 waves, successfully attacked a large barracks and storage complex. SUCAP operations also continued in support of naval operations and bombing raids against a command post.

On the AAR front, French Mirage 2000 aircraft refuelled from a VC10 for the first time today.

February 4th/5th

There were only a small number of RAF missions flown overnight, all by Tornado GR1As.

Total sorties flown to date:

Tornado F3 - 357
Tornado GR1 - 598
Tornado GR1A - 43
Jaguar - 248
Buccaneer - 8
Nimrod - 39
Victor - 108
VC10 - 141
Tristar - 30
Hercules - 506
Puma - 147
Chinook - 140

February 5th

In the busiest period of daylight attacks so far, the RAF have carried out sorties against a number of military and communications facilities. Tornados and Buccaneers have again combined to destroy bridges. Tornados attacked a power plant with mixed results using a new profile, although considerable damage was reported. A petroleum production/storage site was hit by Tornados with 1,000lb bombs, whilst at another target, aircraft had to take evasive action to avoid medium level SAMs. Two aircraft jettisoned their weapons and 1 aircraft was missed by 10 feet. Despite this, most weapons were delivered on target.

Jaguars tasked to attack artillery positions bombed opportunity targets when no activity could be detected at their original target locations. Jaguars also carried out an attack on a radio relay station achieving at least one direct hit.

February 5th/6th

Tornado GR1As flew successful line search missions.

February 6th

During the morning, Tornado GR1 bombing sorties were undertaken against a wide variety of military targets. Dhahran aircraft carried out a successful medium level attack from above cloud on a military camp and SAM unit. Tabuk aircraft carried out successful diving attacks on their targets whilst Muharraq Tornados found their target obscured by cloud. Jaguars also successfully attacked artillery positions although further Jaguar missions were aborted due to bad weather.

Mixed force LGB missions were also flown, both against road bridges.

The first TIALD capable Tornados arrived at Tabuk during the day.

February 6th/7th

During the late afternoon of 6th February, Tornados attacked a power plant with ALARM aircraft in support. After the attack, smoke obscured the site making battle damage assessment impossible.

Tornado GR1As successfully located more ground targets during missions in the night and two Nimrods were involved in a lengthy anti-shipping operation which resulted in the destruction of a surface vessel by a US Navy aircraft.

February 7th

In the early morning, a large number of sorties were flown against military targets.

Tornado/Buccaneer LGB attacks against road and rail bridges were largely successful, although SAM intervention reduced the effects of raids.

A petroleum storage facility was attacked with 1,000lb bombs by Tabuk and Dhahran-based Tornados. Numerous target hits were observed and large fires started. The same munitions were employed by Jaguars against artillery positions.

In the afternoon, Jaguars followed up with further missions against the gun positions, but haze hampered attack assessment.

Three more Buccaneer aircraft arrived in-theatre from Lossiemouth during the day.

February 7th/8th

Following the large number of sorties flown during the day, Tornado GR1As carried out further reconnaissance sorties with some success.

A Nimrod detected a formation of surface vessels and helicopters, tasking a coalition aircraft which hold the surface unit.

February 8th

Last night's Tornado GR1A sorties were very productive. In one area, numerous towed-artillery/portable storage vehicles and infantry positions were located at two separate positions.

During the morning, attack missions were flown against fuel plants and entrenched positions. All aircraft returned safely.

Dhahran and Tabuk Tornados, the latter with ALARM support, attacked separate petrol production/storage facilities with success. Both targets were left smoking, with secondary explosions observed at one location.

Tornados and Buccaneers from Muharraq flew successful LGB attacks on two major targets.

Jaguars hit artillery targets with 1,000lb bombs. Revetments in the area were observed to be densely populated by troops. Further attacks during the afternoon on additional gun emplacements were also successful.

All aircraft recovered safely.

February 8th/9th

Last night's Tornado reconnaissance sorties produced very good imagery of a radar installation, military bunkers, infantry positions, stores/equipment in scrapes and numerous military vehicles.

Early on February 8th, a large number of attack missions were flown against a variety of military targets. All aircraft returned safely.

Dhahran and Tabuk Tornados, the latter with ALARM support, attacked separate storage facilities with success. Both targets were left smoking, with secondary explosions observed at one location.

Tornados and Buccaneers from Muharraq flew successful LGB attacks on 4 different targets. Three were destroyed and the other heavily damaged.

Jaguars hit artillery targets with 1,000lb bombs. Revetments in the immediate area were observed to be densely populated. Later in the day, Jaguars successfully bombed additional gun emplacements and recovered without incident.

Four TIALD training missions were mounted from Tabuk on 8 February. Two aircraft carried 3 x 1,000lb LGBs.

Nimrods kept radar watch over a hostile coast and detected two small contacts in Kuwait harbour.

February 9th

Early this morning, attacks were flown against an oil refinery and ammunition plant and a dispersed logistic site. Some Buccaneer Pavespike missions were cancelled in the air due to poor weather. All aircraft recovered without incident.

The refinery was attacked by Tornados from Muharraq with 1,000lb bombs. A large petrol storage tank exploded and the balance of the site was observed to be ablaze.

Tabuk Tornados bombed a dispersed ammunition dump. Although some good hits were recorded, no secondary explosions occurred.

Two waves of Jaguars conducted an attack on an entrenched storage area using cluster bombs. A very effective result was achieved in good weather conditions. The afternoon saw Jaguars attack a multiple rocket launcher. Many strikes were seen on the target, but initial indications are that a re-attack will be required.

Total Sorties flown by Tornado F3s now stands at 419.

February 9th/10th

Following yesterday's busy day, two reconnaissance missions were carried out by Tornado GR1As. One aircraft located several revetments, infantry trenches, bunkers, field guns, military vehicles and radio relay masts as well as logistic storage areas.

TIALD operations are due to start today.

One Nimrod detected a small contact and vectored 2 SUCAP A-6s of the US Navy to the point. They were unable to visually identify the target but thought it to be floating hull debris. Otherwise quiet!

February 10th

Operations continue at an intensive rate. An artillery battalion and Silkworm site were successfully attacked by Jaguars. Tornado GR1 aircraft have successfully attacked a storage facility and limited success is reported against a suspect SCUD production facility.

Pavespike missions continue, however, primary targets were not attacked due to smoke obscuration of those targets which could be a deliberate countermeasure. In a later mission, a pontoon bridge was attacked and the bridge seen floating away.

The first operational TIALD missions were flown today with mixed success. In one mission the bombs failed to guide whereas the other mission appears to have been very successful.

Up to 9 February, some 46,310 tonnes of freight have been airlifted into the region.

February 10th/11th

Military, logistic and communications facilities continue to be attacked. Jaguars have carried out successful attacks on artillery and missile units using CBU-87s.

Tornados successfully attacked a suspected SCUD production facility and a further military production facility.

Pavespike missions were carried out with varying results again due to smoke obscuration.

February 11th

Two combined Tornado/Buccaneer Pavespike missions have been carried out so far today. Results from the first were successful with the second still unknown.

Further Tornado missions successfully attacked an Army barracks and SAM support facility. TIALD missions again produced mixed results. One was unsuccessful due to incorrect designation whilst the second scored direct hits on a road/rail bridge and moved it sideways.

Jaguars successfully attacked a multiple rocket launch site, but follow-up missions failed to attack due to smoke obscuring the target.

February 11th/12th

A very limited number of night-time TIALD sorties were flown successfully with the majority of aircraft hitting their designated targets.

February 12th

Jaguar aircraft successfully attacked a multiple rocket launcher artillery park despite a confliction over the target with other allied aircraft which disrupted the attack.

Tornado GR1 aircraft successfully attacked a liquid propellant plant.

Tornado/Buccaneer Pavespike missions destroyed 5 HAS installations.

DMPIs have been successfully attacked by TIALD-equipped Tornado aircraft and radar installations at the same location were also targeted.

February 12th/13th

Two successful Tornado GR1A reconnaissance sorties were carried out in the early evening of 12 February.

Total operational attack sorties: Tornado GR1/1A - 972, Jaguar - 377 and Buccaneer - 60.

February 13th

Jaguars have attacked a communications post and artillery positions with 1,000lb bombs. Results are awaited from post-attack reconnaissance sorties attached to the raid.

Tornado/Buccaneer Pavespike missions have continued with a road/rail bridge being rendered unusable and other targets successfully hit.

Tornado fitted with TIALD attacked DMPIs with support being provided by ALARM aircraft.

Not previously mentioned was a very successful CASEVAC exercise involving heavy utilisation of Puma, Sea King (Royal Navy) and Chinooks of the Support Helicopter Force. Over 700 'casualties' were evacuated and the exercise went well.

February 13th/14th

Yesterday evening, further Tornado TIALD missions were flown against an airfield. One mission achieved direct hits against all DMPIs, but a second wave had only one direct hit due to evasion necessary against a missile threat. The supporting ALARM mission was also successful.

Further Tornado/Buccaneer missions yesterday afternoon against a road/rail bridge and an airfield were successful. A large number of hits were recorded on the bridge and it is reported as unusable. At the airfield, a number of hardened aircraft shelters (HASs) were destroyed by LGBs. During these raids, the Tornados flew their 1,000th sortie.

Tornado GR1As flew a number of successful linesearches.

Tornado F3s continue to mount CAPs, and a total of 489 have been flown since hostilities started.

February 14th

Tornado attacks today concentrated on airfield and hardened aircraft shelters. Tornados and Buccaneers attacked the first airfield this morning with five HASs reported hit. One Tornado was shot down by what was believed to be an optically guided SAM-2 or -3. The aircraft crashed some distance from the target. It is not known if the crew survived.

Aircraft from Tabuk, some with TIALD fitted, carried out further HAS attacks at another target. Two had their doors blown off and were on fire; a third was emitting smoke.

GR1s from Dhahran and Buccaneers hit four HASs at a third target airfield.

This afternoon, Tornados from Dhahran and Buccaneers attacked yet another airfield. One HAS was hit. The first target of the day was revisited later in the day by yet another Tornado/Buccaneer package and three HASs hit.

Jaguars from Muharraq attacked artillery positions, and a further mission, supported by two reconnaissance Jaguars attacked an artillery battery.

February 14th/15th

The missions flown yesterday included an attack by Buccaneers and Tornados against an airfield. One HAS received a number of direct hits, but further battle damage assessment is unavailable. Two waves of Tornados, each including one TIALD aircraft, flew against another airfield yesterday evening. One TIALD aircraft and one bomber aborted, but bombs were successfully delivered on three HASs.

Tornado GR1As were again in action yesterday evening. One aircraft was forced to abort, but the others successfully completed a series of line searches.

Yesterday afternoon, two Jaguar reconnaissance aircraft flew in support of an attack against artillery. The target was obscured by smoke but useful imagery was obtained of the general area.

February 15th

A large number of Tornados, assisted by TIALD and Pavespike Buccaneers, were tasked against military targets early this morning.

GR1s from Dhahran, accompanied by Buccaneers from Muharraq, successfully attacked an airfield, but one aircraft could not release its weapons. Another Tornado/Buccaneer package was forced to abort following problems with AAR. The next package, this time from Muharraq, successfully attacked an airfield. Further Tornados successfully attacked an airfield with TIALD and LGBs, and good hits were reported. This afternoon, a further wave of Tornados were targeted against another airfield. Despite two aircraft having to abort, TIALD worked well and the remaining aircraft scored direct hits on two HASs.

Jaguar operations during the day saw attacks against command posts, command and control vehicles and artillery positions with CBU-87; good hits were reported. Following one attack on an artillery battalion, all aircraft reported hits, and also that this area was 'a target rich environment' which, following attacks by other allied aircraft, was devastated.

February 15th/16th

Late yesterday, RAF Tornados and Buccaneers carried out a series of attacks against HASs at a number of locations. A total of four were hit and an aircraft on the ground was also destroyed. Other HASs were damaged in the attacks. Further TIALD-equipped Tornados attacked DMPIs with some success.

Jaguar reconnaissance sorties located a number of artillery pieces, main battle tanks and a command bunker. Tornado GR1A sorties achieved varying levels of success.

A Nimrod flying in support of naval forces assisted in the attack a surface unit. Battle damage assessment reports the contact destroyed with a large surrounding oil slick.

February 16th

Today, Tornado GR1s, assisted by TIALD and Buccaneers with Pavespike, continued their attacks on military targets but with mixed results.

Tornado GR1s from Dhahran supported by Buccaneers from Muharraq were en-route to their target when one Buccaneer became unserviceable. This forced some of the Tornados to abort and return to base. The remaining aircraft continued with the attack with good results. Later, a further combined Tornado/Buccaneer force attacked the same target scoring three hits.

Tornados from Tabuk experienced a number of problems designating their targets and their attacks were unsuccessful. Further Tornado raids launched from Tabuk were also unsuccessful.

Finally, Jaguars tasked against a number of artillery targets were forced to air abort because of thick smoke in the target area. However, further waves carrying CBU-87s successfully attacked a M46 gun emplacement and command post. Secondary targets were also strafed with explosions and fires observed.

Pumas remain on standby for a Divisional exercise whilst Chinooks have been involved in a US casualty evacuation mission.

February 16th/17th

Yesterday's later missions included Tornado raids against an airfield with TIALD. The weather proved unsuitable for TIALD use and no hits were recorded. Subsequent TIALD missions were cancelled.

Tornado GR1As carried out a number of line searches with success during the latter part of yesterday.

In two Nimrod sorties flown yesterday, five contacts of potential interest were identified but no attacks were initiated.

Further RAF Regiment assets in the shape of No 58 Squadron are due to eploy to the region from Leeming today to Muharraq and assume the defence duties of No 1 Squadron. No 1 Squadron RAF Regiment will then move to join the support helicopter force.

February 17th

Poor weather caused the cancellation of most of today's planned missions. However, some Tornados, including a number with TIALD successfully attacked an airfield. One bomb failed to guide, but the remainder hit their designated targets. Other GR1s, supported by Buccaneers, attacked another airfield, but cloud in the target area caused the bombs to fall unguided. Also, Tornado GR1s were also tasked against a road/rail bridge and reported a number of direct hits. A hole was observed at one end of the bridge, but it was reported as passable. Today also saw the dropping of the 5,000th 1,000lb bomb. The AAR force has now transferred in excess of 8,000 tonnes of fuel to allied aircraft.

February 17th/18th

During the evening (17 February) Tornado GR1As carrying out linesearches reported heavy flooding in some areas north of the Saudi border. GR1s, including TIALD aircraft, attacked a bridge with at least one span and some decking damaged.

During a Nimrod sortie, contact was made with a fast moving target and a SUCAP attack initiated. However, the aircraft tasked had to abort its attack due to a shortage of fuel and the target escaped.

February 18th

Once again, poor weather caused the cancellation of about half of today's planned sorties. That said, Muharraq Tornados and Buccaneer 'spikers' attacked revetted POL tanks with laser-guided bombs. Later, Tornados from Dhahran, again accompanied by Buccaneers, attacked an airfield. Large secondary explosions were observed. Aircraft from Tabuk did not release their weapons during a planned attack against a road/rail bridge due to fog in the target area.

Jaguars from Muharraq successfully attacked a logistics site with CBU-87 and 1,000lb bombs.

All aircraft returned safely.

February 18th/19th

Yesterday afternoon, Tornado GR1s, accompanied by Buccaneers, attacked an airfield successfully and secondary explosions were observed. Another mission attacked a second airfield but cloud cover prevented precise guidance, but because no danger of collateral damage existed, the attack was pressed home with the bombs unguided. In the late afternoon, a further attack against a highway bridge was successfully carried out with damage to both ends observed.

In the evening, Tornados fitted with TIALD returned to one of the airfields attacked earlier and scored three direct hits on communications facilities, missile and POL storage areas.

Overnight, Tornado GR1As carried out linesearches with some good imagery of enemy positions being returned.

Forward operating bases (FOBs) are being established for Pumas and Sea Kings at many field hospitals in the north of Saudi Arabia.

February 19th

A force of Tornados from Dhahran and Muharraq and Buccaneer aircraft attempted to attack an airfield with laser-guided bombs. However, the target was obscured by cloud and haze which prevented effective laser designation. All the bombs dropped however, did land on the airfield.

Tornados from Tabuk with TIALD and LGBs attacked another airfield. A number of direct hits caused very large secondary explosions and an instant mushroom cloud to 15,000ft.

Meanwhile, Jaguars from Muharraq attacked artillery targets. Although there was extensive smoke in the region, the attacks were successful. Reconnaissance sorties flown by Jaguars produced no useable imagery because of haze and cloud.

February 19th/20th

Two Tornado GR1 missions, accompanied by Buccaneer spikers, attempted to attack an airfield but poor weather thwarted the attack. Later, however, a third mission was successful with aircraft achieving direct hits on a hangar.

Tornados, including some with TIALD, attacked another airfield. Some aircraft reported direct hits and another reported hitting the aircraft pan.

Jaguars were prevented from attacking their nominated artillery position by the weather, however they achieved direct hits on a secondary target of enemy revetments.

Tornado GR1As completed a number of linesearches during the night.

Nimrods, operating with naval forces, identified multiple targets, and one was tasked to SUCAP. The target was identified and attacked with LGBs and Rockeye missiles. Two hits were observed but the vessel escaped to a safe area. Possible mines have also been reported in some areas.

February 20th

Once again meteorological influences, worse today than yesterday, played a significant part in hindering air operations.

A large number of Tornado sorties, supported by Buccaneers and armed with LGBs, were tasked to attack targets but all had to air abort because of poor weather.

Similarly, smoke and poor weather prevented Jaguars armed with CBU-87 from attacking their primary target, a rocket battery, but they scored hits on their secondary targets, fuel storage sites and revetments. Later in the day, more Jaguars attacked the original rocket battery. Hits were reported by those aircraft able to attack with possible secondary explosions.

February 20th/21st

Yesterday's poor weather caused all daytime Tornado GR1 sorties to air abort. However, overnight, Tornados equipped with TIALD attacked an airfield and scored direct hits on the runway and a taxiway intersection.

Jaguars also flew a reconnaissance mission but the weather prevented good photography.

During the afternoon and evening Tornado GR1As flew a number of successful linesearches. One search revealed considerable numbers of vehicle artillery and multiple launch rocket systems (MLRSs) on the tri-border area.

Once again, Nimrods located a number of surface vessels, but following visual identification, no attacks were initiated.

February 21st

Poor weather continues to hamper air operations with over 35 Tornado and Jaguar sorties aborted. On one Tornado GR1 mission against an airfield, although his companions weather aborted, one aircraft succeeded in dropping 3 Paveways on the edge of the runway.

A Tornado GR1A flew a lengthy reconnaissance sortie and reported two small tented sites and obtained images of possible electronic vehicles and a group of isolated, but active, buildings.

Self-propelled guns and main battle tanks were pinpointed by a later Jaguar reconnaissance mission.

All aircraft returned safely.

February 21st/22nd

Yesterday afternoon, Jaguars attacked a MLRS with CBU-87s. Results are unknown because of smoke and haze in the target area.

Tornados continued to attack airfields, although with mixed results.

During an airfield attack by Tornados and Buccaneers, bombs were seen to fall short of the target, another did not explode and 1 hung up. A second attack, again by Tornados and Buccaneers, on the same target later in the day was more successful, with 5 known hits on the runway and taxiways.

GR1s from Tabuk successfully attacked a DMPI at a second airfield. Later, GR1s (including two with TIALD) successfully attacked the airfield, scoring direct hits with all 12 bombs.

Last night, another attack, this time by aircraft from Dhahran, carried out linesearches and located defensive positions, vehicle scrapes, towed artillery, a radar, APCs and logistics sites.

During the afternoon, debris from the remains of a SCUD missile hot down by Patriot fell into the vicinity of Pumas and Sea Kings at their forward operating base. There were no casualties and no damage.

Total sorties flown:

Tornado F3 - 601
Tornado GR1 - 1,293
Tornado GR1A - 112
Jaguar - 519
Buccaneer - 148
Nimrod MR2 - 73
Victor - 239
VC10 - 315
Tristar - 61
Hercules - 937
Puma - 307
Chinook - 231
Sea King (RN) - 278
Grand Total - 5175

February 22nd

Last night, Tornado GR1As completed a series of linesearches. One mission located vehicle revetments, a SAM, bunkers and ACVs. A second located 2 MRBLs, a command APC, a probable SCUD trailer without missile, trenches, defensive positions and trucks.

Dhahran GR1s, accompanied by Buccaneers, attacked an airfield; all aircraft achieved direct hits on their target.

Muharraq GR1s, again in partnership with Buccaneers, attacked the same airfield, and again all aircraft reported direct hits.

Jaguars attempted to attack enemy artillery positions but smoke prevented target acquisition and weapon release. A second mission was successful with 12 direct hits on the primary target and four on the secondary reported.

Tabuk-based aircraft, including some with TIALD, attacked a third airfield achieving six direct hits; however, one aircraft with navigation equipment failure attacked its secondary target but its bombs fell short and another aircraft air aborted with equipment failure.

A second wave of Tornados from Dhahran and Buccaneers attacked another airfield and achieved six direct hits. One Buccaneer had two weapons hang up whilst another Tornado air aborted due to equipment failure.

More Tornados and Buccaneers from Muharraq attacked the first airfield visited today achieving 3 direct hits and 5 near misses. A number of LGBs dropped short and one Buccaneer suffered a hang up.

A fourth airfield was attacked by Dhahran Tornados with Buccaneers, this time recording 9 direct hits and 3 near misses. One Buccaneer had 2 near misses and the other results were not seen.

February 22nd/23rd

Tornados continued to attack airfield targets during yesterday afternoon and evening.

A mixed force of Tornados and Buccaneers attacked one airfield with Laser guided bombs. Seven hit their targets which included a taxiway and a building in a revetment; large secondary explosions were observed.

Another attack by Tornados and Buccaneers on a second airfield saw nine LGB hit their target with 3 falling short on open land. A second attack by Tornados on the same location had mixed results.

One Tornado GR1A carried out a successful linesearch.

Hercules ircraft have now flown over 1,000 missions in theatre since hostilities began.

A Nimrod visually identified a barge with was attacked by SUCAP.

A total of over 6,100 personnel are now involved in operations on the Arabian peninsular.

February 23rd

Today's operations were largely unaffected by weather condition despite the smoke from 179 burning oil wells.

The northerly and southerly runway intersections of one airfield were successfully hit by LGBs during attacks by Tornado GR1s supported by Buccaneers this morning.

Later, Tornado GR1s, again supported by Buccaneers, attacked another airfield in two separate missions and further sorties had more LGB success in two separate missions against a third airfield.

In addition, GR1s, using TIALD and LGBs had good hits against a third airfield, returning some excellent video footage of the battle damage.

Meanwhile, Jaguars attacked artillery positions using 1,000lb bombs - some secondary explosions were observed. Later in the day, Jaguars repeated the performance in the same area.

February 23rd/24th

During the late afternoon, Jaguars from Muharraq carried out an area reconnaissance near the Iraq/Kuwait border.

Tornados GR1s attacked an airfield with LGBs scoring 2 direct hits.

Tornados from Dhahran, aided by Buccaneers from Muharraq, successfully attacked an airfield. Later, TIALD equipped Tornados attacked another base with LGBs and scored 11 hits.

Further reconnaissance missions were also carried out by Tornado GR1As.

February 24th

Since the commencement of the land offensive, the air offensive has continued unabated.

Jaguars first attacked enemy positions with all aircraft reporting hits on gun positions, scrapes and vehicles with some secondary explosions observed. A second Jaguar attack mission was unable to attack its primary target because it was too close to friendly troops. A target of opportunity further north was attacked. It contained revetted and storage areas but no battle damage assessment was possible. A further attack was called off because of the proximity of friendly troops. Reconnaissance missions were also flown.

Tornados continued their attacks on enemy airfields although an early mission was aborted due to weather and subsequent missions were hampered by smoke obscuration which interrupted precision guidance, a number of aircraft scored hits on their targets. Most aircraft shelters at one airfield were reported damaged, with additional damage to runways and a briefing facility. At another airfield, a communications site and ammunition bunkers were hit.

The poor weather also hampered AAR operations.

Three SCUD missile lunches all failed to find their intended targets; two were destroyed by Patriot missiles and a third landed short of its target. There were no casualties.

February 24th/25th

During the first day of the land offensive air operations continued unabated with over 150 missions flown; however, only a small number of these were flown overnight.

Tornado GR1As carried out reconnaissance missions in the early evening and later GR1s, including a pair with TIALD, attacked an airfield. Smoke and haze inhibited TIALD acquisition but hits were reported.

February 25th

Element of the Support Helicopter (SH) Force have moved forward in support of land forces, and Hercules transports are actively involved in forward resupply tasks.

Tornados with Buccaneers in the Pavespike role continued to attack airfields with LGBs. However, thick cloud cover has prevented all attacks except one Tornado mission against an airfield. Planned Tornado attacks against bridges suffered similarly because of the weather.

Jaguar attacks against artillery positions have also been aborted due to the poor weather.

As for the ground offensive, all first day objectives have been met or surpassed. Royal Navy vessels continue to support US Navy shore bombardment and HMS Gloucester successfully engaged a Silkworm missile launched against the USS Missouri. Two SCUDs were fired today, one striking US military accommodation, killing 12 and wounding 25.

February 25th/26th

Over the past 24 hours, adverse weather and extensive smoke from burning oil wells hampered the offensive air effort. The only overnight missions were carried out by Tornado GR1As. Two extensive revetted storage areas were discovered, along with numerous AFVs in well camouflaged defensive positions.

Nimrods flew two sorties in support of naval operations, but nothing significant is reported.

February 26th

Further Tornado reconnaissance missions not previously reported produced some sound results.

Today however, severe weather has again disrupted offensive air operations with thick cloud cover preventing successful attacks and causing the cancellation of many missions.

A combined Tornado/Buccaneer mission against one airfield did manage to release their weapons, but the failed to guide. All other aircraft returned with their weapons.

All the Jaguar sorties which did manage to get airborne were unsuccessful due to weather or smoke in the target areas. All returned safely to base.

The RAF tanker force has now flown 2,500 hours since the start of hostilities in almost 700 sorties, passing a total of 3,349,000 gallons to 2,2728 receivers (of which 74% were RAF).

The land offensive continues to proceed well ahead of schedule. Enemy troops appear to be withdrawing from Kuwait. Three more SCUD missile launches reported, one hitting an accommodation area causing 28 deaths and leaving 100 injured. One launch believed to have failed shortly after take-off.

February 26th/27th

Poor weather again interfered with offensive air operations.

Tornado GR1As flew reconnaissance missions ahead of advancing coalition ground forces. Numerous military targets were identified including main battle tanks, transporters, AFVs, and engineer plant and ammunition storage area. A total of nine vehicle convoys were reported moving north, possibly to commence a withdrawal bridging operation. Mission reports for further sorties are awaited.

Overnight attack missions were aborted due to thick cloud and smoke which prevented target acquisition. All aircraft recovered with their weapons.

February 27th

Offensive support operations were successful with attacks against airfields, but other missions were affected by adverse conditions.

The later Tornado GR1A sorties again produced some excellent imagery of radars, infantry defences and a 30 vehicle convoy. Jaguars on area search reconnaissance were unsuccessful due to total cloud cover. Ground operation in the vicinity of their primary target prevented one Jaguar mission from releasing their weapons, and weather obscured their alternative target and the aircraft returned to base.

A combined Buccaneer/Tornado raid on an airfield claimed direct hits with LGBs. A secondary attack resulted in a large secondary explosion.

At another target, a POL store and HAS were successfully attacked by Tornados from Tabuk using TIALD and LGBs. A follow-on mission by Tornado achieved further hits.

Tornados from Dhahran and Buccaneers attacked a third airfield, but no assessment is available, and a fourth airfield attacked by Buccaneers and Tornados hit the runway and also claimed 2 AN-12 'Cub' transport aircraft as destroyed.

Pumas have been involved in moving POW handling teams, casualties and support to ground forces, whilst Chinooks have been involved in mine clearance.

February 27th/28th

Yesterday, poor weather prevented some offensive support and reconnaissance sorties achieving their objectives.

Early last night, Tornado GR1A reconnaissance missions were flown across enemy lines of communication revealing the following: main battle tanks, transporters, towed artillery and AFVs. Some were in the open, but most were moving in convoy, including a number of transporters moving south.

Overnight, Tabuk Tornados with TIALD support bombed an airfield with direct hits being claimed and a number of significant secondary explosions being reported.

February 28th

Attack operations ceased at 0300 hours London time today. Crews are being held at 2 hours readiness.

Air defence Tornado F3s continue to fly CAPs and maritime, air transport and SH aircraft continue to fly support missions.

On the ground, coalition forces have achieved their objectives. Enemy forces continue to retreat in disarray.

Total sorties flown to date:

Tornado F3 - 710
Tornado GR1 - 1,531
Tornado GR1A - 140
Jaguar - 617
Buccaneer - 212
Nimrod MR2 - 84
Victor - 288
VC10 - 383
Tristar - 72
Hercules - 1,226
Puma - 382
Chinook - 316
Sea King (RN) - 339
Grand Total - 6,367

RAF personnel in theatre - 6,205

March Campaign Diary

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