The United States might face a hard road in its war
against Iraq. But U.S. technology has already won a victory over
Russian-origin military systems in the arsenal of President Saddam Hussein.
U.S. officials said the American military has prevailed over Russian
systems and technical expertise provided to Iraq. They said the Russian
supply of satellite jamming and other electronic warfare systems has not
affected allied operations against Iraqi forces.
Moreover, officials said, the widespread use of airborne precison-guided
weapons has been influential in ensuring stand-off attacks against Iraqi
Revolutionary Guard divisions, Middle East Newsline reported.
The officials said the use of such weapons as the
Joint Direct Attack Munition has allowed for air strikes in poor weather.
U.S. technology also succeeded in locating and destroying
Russian-origin GPS jamming systems. In all, six systems were eliminated on
Sunday and Monday nights in bombings by GPS weapons, officials said.
"We have noticed some attempts by the Iraqis to use a GPS jamming system
that they obtained from another nation," Air Force Maj. Gen. Victor Renuart
told a briefing in Qatar on Tuesday. "We have destroyed all six of those
jammers in the last two nights' airstrikes. I'm pleased to say they had no
effect on us."
So far, officials said, 80 percent of the bombs hurled toward Iraqi
forces have been precision-guided weapons. They said dumb bombs were first
employed only this week.
To date, more than 2,500 precision-guided weapons have been fired.
The weapons are guided by lasers, radar, satellites or video cameras.
"We used essentially 100 percent precision-guided [weapons during the
first few days of the war]," Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, said.
Officials said the use of PGMs, such as JDAM, has enabled the military
to target Iraqi anti-aircraft missiles batteries and facilities of the
ruling Baath Party without significant collateral damage. They said Iraqi
surface-to-air missiles deployed near a water treatment plant were destroyed
without damage to the civilian facility.
"Our precision all-weather weapon systems and an aggressive integrated
operations plan by our air and land components have allowed coalition forces
to maintain and increase pressure on the regime on all fronts," Air Force
Maj. Gen. Victor Renuart, chief operations officer for the U.S. Central
Command, told a briefing in Qatar on Tuesday.
So far, it is not clear how effective the PGMs have been. Pentagon
sources have acknowledged that the U.S. Air Force has failed to destroy
The PGMs used by the United States include the Tomahawk cruise missiles,
about 1,000 of which were fired on late Thursday in a massive attack on
Baghdad. The JDAM is said to cost $20,000 per unit, while the Tomahawk is
valued at $600,000.
"We judge effectiveness not just by whether there's a hole in the roof
of a building," Maj. Gen. Stanley
McChrystal, vice director for operations with the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
said. "We can achieve much shock and awe by hitting just critical points."
Officials, however, have expressed concern over glitches in the PAC-3
missile defense system deployed in Kuwait. They acknowledged that the system
has mistaken supersonic jets for incoming Iraqi Scud missiles in what
appears to be a software failure.
On Monday, a PAC-2 Gem+ battery locked on to a U.S. F-16 multirole
fighter near the Iraqi city of Najaf. The F-16 responded and fired a missile
that destroyed the Patriot's radar dish.
On Sunday, a PAC-2 missile shot down a British Royal Air Force Tornado
GR4 fighter near the Kuwaiti border. Both crew members were killed.
Russian experts said U.S. technology has yet to demonstrate that it can
defeat Iraqi irregular forces. They said that so far the U.S. military has
not realized its war plans.
"Iraqi tactics are effectively countering the coalition's technological
advantage," Gen. Andrei Nikolaev, the chairman of the Russian parliament's
Defense Committee, said.