January 1993 airstrikes on Iraq

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During January 1993, numerous coalition airstrikes occurred against Iraq in response to actions by the latter predominantly due to the No-Fly Zone in Southern Iraq.

January 1993 Air Strikes on Iraq
Part of Iraqi no-fly zones conflict and the Persian Gulf Conflicts
DateJanuary 13 1993 - January 22 1993
Southern Iraq
Result Indecisive (Operation Southern Watch Continues)

 United States
 United Kingdom

Iraq Iraq
Commanders and leaders

United States George H. W. Bush
(Before January 21)
United States Bill Clinton
(After January 21)

United States Colin Powell
Iraq Saddam Hussein

1 Kitty Hawk Class Carrier
3 Cruisers
1 Frigate
71 Carrier Aircraft

Numerous Land Based Aircraft

Numerous AAA and SAM defenses

MiG-23 Flogger (Iraqi Air Force)
Casualties and losses

January 13 Air StrikeEdit

On the evening 13th of January, in response to the moving of SAM sites into Southern Iraq in the No-Fly Zone, 75 Coalition along with 35 aircraft from CVW-15 on the USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) took off to attack the sites, making a total of 115 aircraft in all.[1][2][3] The USAF aircraft included six F-117As from the 49th FW, eight F-16C Block 42 aircraft from the 33rd FS (363rd FW), four F-111Fs, three EF-111As, six F-4Gs, ten F-15Es from the 335th FS (4th FW) and eight F-15Cs from the 1st FW flying escort. They were joined with six RAF Tornado GR.1 aircraft (four had FLIR designators) as well as six French Mirage 2000 aircraft for Combat Air Patrol and numerous support aircraft like AWACS.[1][4]

There were also around 35 aircraft from the Kitty Hawk including eight A-6E SWIP aircraft from VA-52, eight F/A-18As from VFA-27 and VFA-97 (including CDR. Kevin J. Thomas, Commanding Officer of VFA-97 who led the air strike as well as two of the F/A-18As for escort and four providing SAM Suppression), four F-14As from VF-51 and VF-111, three EA-6B Prowlers from VAQ-134, an S-3B from VS-37 for ESM support, and two Hawkeyes from VAW-114.[1][2]

Targets included Radar Stations and Integrated Air Operations Centers at Tallil Air Base (known to house MiG-29s[5]), Al Amara, Najaf, Samawah and four mobile anti-aircraft SAM/AAA sites.[1]

At around 6:45PM, the Air Strikes began.[3] The results of the strike were considered poor with many targets being missed. The Aerospace Daily claimed that of four mobile missile batteries, only one was destroyed. Of the six F-117As, two lost laser lock, one failed to get a positive identification of the target, and one F-117 hit the wrong target. An F-15E also returned back to base with its ordnance due to cloud cover preventing a laser-guided drop.[1]

Action on January 17Edit

An USAF F-16C block 50 #91-0415 aircraft from USAF's 23rd FS operating as SEAD support in 1992.

A cruise missile strike was launched by the Kitty Hawk Battlegroup on the 17th on the Zafraniyah Nuclear Fabrication Facility, 8 miles or 13km southwest of Baghdad. Around 44 to 45 TLAMs were launched with 37 hitting their intended targets.[6] 1 Tomahawk was hit by AAA and crashed into the Rasheed Hotel in Baghdad, killing 2 civilians.[1]

On that same day, a formation of F-16Cs along with F-4Gs were to conduct reconnaissance operations, provide SAM suppression for British Jaguars investigating a newly discovered SA-6 SAM site, Combat Air Patrol operations until being relieved by another F-4/F-16 Wild Weasel team and return to base. Total sortie length was scheduled for just under five hours.[7] During the phase that required the taking out of SAM sites, an F-16C Block 30 of the 23rd FS (52nd FW) piloted by 1st Lt. Craig Stevenson saw the unmistakable radar return of an enemy aircraft rolling down the runway, heading in his direction, about 30nm away. With the help AWACS, he shoot down the enemy aircraft with an AIM-120 AMRAAM (the second air to air kill for the AMRAAM and the F-16) which was originally believed to be a MiG-29B Fulcrum-A (later confirmed to be a MiG-23 Flogger).[1][8][7] Originally, the first AMRAAM didn't fire and stayed on the left wing requiring Stevenson to fire his second one. The live missile on the left wing was a concern for him, posing a risk to when he required to refuel from a KC-135 tanker.[7]

January 19 IncidentEdit

On the 19th, an F-4G fired an AGM-88 HARM at an Iraqi SAM after a 14 nm lock-on east of Mosul. 1 hour later, an F-16C was fired on by AAA but not hit. 2 hours later a section of F-16C's were fired on and dropped cluster bombs on guns north of Mosul. Iraq then later called a cease fire to celebrate Clinton's inauguration which took place on the 20th of January.[1]

January 21/22 IncidentEdit

Around 17 hours after President Bill Clinton took office, a hunter kill team of 2 F-4Gs and 2 F-16Cs struck an Iraqi SAM site at on the 21st of January 1993 at 5:09AM EST (January 22 1993 - 1:09AM). The two Wild Weasel (F-4G) aircraft were escorting French Air Force Mirage F1 aircraft configured for Reconnaissance.[1] These Mirages were on a "routine monitoring mission" north of the 36th Parallel near Mosul when the aircraft attacked by ground fire. The aircraft were then painted by an Iraqi SAM radar and in return, one of the F-4Gs launched an AGM-88 HARM missile 12 miles or 19 km north of Mosul.[1]

January 23 IncidentEdit

On January 23, 1993, Iraqi AAA allegedly (flashes were reported from the air) fired at an Intruder from VA-52 as well as two F/A-18As (all from the Kitty Hawk). In retaliation, the Intruder dropped a GBU-16 Paveway II LGB, destroying it.[1][2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Gulf War Chronology: 1993 Operations after the war". web.archive.org. 2006-09-25. Retrieved 2021-02-20.
  2. ^ a b c "Kitty Hawk II (CVA-63)". public1.nhhcaws.local. Retrieved 2021-02-20.
  3. ^ a b Jr, R. W. Apple (1993-01-14). "RAID ON IRAQ; U.S. AND ALLIED PLANES HIT IRAQ, BOMBING MISSILE SITES IN SOUTH IN REPLY TO HUSSEIN'S DEFIANCE (Published 1993)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-02-20.
  4. ^ "1993: Allies bomb Iraq". 1993-01-13. Retrieved 2021-02-20.
  5. ^ "Colours of the MiG-29. Mikoyan & Gurevich MiG-29 camouflage and painting schemes. European countries, Russia, Asia. MiG-29, MiG-29UB, MiG-29SMT, MiG-29K/KUB, MiG-35". www.mig.mariwoj.pl. Retrieved 2021-02-21.
  6. ^ "Al Nida Establishment / Zaafaraniyah - Iraq Special Weapons Facilities". fas.org. Retrieved 2021-02-20.
  7. ^ a b c "Fighter Pilot University: Cleared to Lead and Kill MiGs". web.archive.org. 2010-09-29. Retrieved 2021-02-20.
  8. ^ "Airframe Details for F-16 #86-0262". www.f-16.net. Retrieved 2021-02-20.