U.S. war technology easily takes out Russian systems

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

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 Iraqi television.

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.

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