The Gulf War Essay

2864 words - 11 pages

The Gulf War

The Gulf War was much more than a fight to liberate Kuwait. It was the first non-conventional war; in which new, fairly new, or even experimental weapons were used. The Gulf War displayed much new technology that you will learn lots about in this paper. This paper may sound very technical, but that is what it is about, the new weapon technology vs. the conventional types of weapons used in previous wars. This paper is about the advancement of weapon technology, and how the military changed the tactics used before.

TOMAHAWK MISSILE and the F-117 Nighthawk (Stealth Fighter)
The Tomahawk cruise missile is a computer-guided missile fired from U.S. combat vessels carrying either 1,000-lb. warheads or a cluster of 166 soda-can-sized ‘bomblets’. The warhead can hit within a few feet of its target. This is one of the backbone attacks of the war. This weapon allowed allied forces to destroy buildings in a very populated area without harming any civilians.
The Tomahawk cruise missile (the BGM-109) is a 20-foot-long weapon costing $1.3 million. A booster rocket shoots the missile off a ship or submarine. Then the small turbofan engine takes over and the missile jets toward land, directed by its “internal guidance system” which uses sensors and gyroscopes to measure acceleration and changes in direction. Once the missile crosses the shoreline, a more precise guidance method, TERCOM takes over. TERCOM scans the landscape at set checkpoints, taking altitude readings and comparing them to map data in its own computer memory. The missiles moves at about 550 miles per hour, and can make twists and turns like a radar evading fighter plane, all the while skimming over the land at 100 feet to 300 feet.


After covering up to 1,500 miles, the Tomahawk closes in on its target and a third
guidance system then takes over, DSMAC (Digital Scene Matching Area Collator). DSMAC snaps a picture of the target area and compares that data to a version in its own memory. The computer then gives the wings and tail fins a final adjustment and takes the warhead to its target.
The Tomahawk and the Tomahawk Antiship missile (TASM) are fitted on Iowa-class battleships, cruisers of the Virginia, Long Beach, and Ticonderoga classes, and destroyers of the Arleigh Burke and Spruance classes.
“Desert Storm was the first combat test of the cruise missile system. It also marked the first coordinated Tomahawk and manned aircraft strike in history. Within the first few minutes of Operation Desert Storm, Tomahawk missiles launched from battleships Missouri and Wisconsin struck with accuracy at Iraq’s presidential palace,” (Hersh, Press, 1994, p.137).
“During the war, 297 Tomahawks were fired, of which 282 began their mission successfully, nine failed to leave the tube and six fell into the water after leaving the tube. At least two, and possibly as many as 6 were shot down, most or all of them in a single mission profile most of the way to its...

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