22 September 2014

Oh Crap, the Balloon has Gone Up

We are now bombing ISIS targets in Syria:
The United States stepped up its war against the Islamic State militant group, launching air strikes on targets in Syria for the first time.

The Pentagon press secretary, rear admiral John Kirby, confirmed that the US and allied nations sent fighter jets, bomber aircraft and Tomahawk missiles in an operation against Isis that he described as “ongoing”.

A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, indicated that Raqqa, a Syrian stronghold of Isis, was among the targets of the operation, which began in the early hours of Tuesday morning local time.

The first wave of strikes finished about 90 minutes later at around 10pm EDT (2am GMT), but the operation was expected to continue for several more hours,

Airstrikes against Isis targets in Iraq, which began on 7 August, now occur daily. Of Syria, the official said: “If we need to go daily, we will.”

The US was joined in the Syria operation by Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, an official said.
This will be going on for months before we see any meaningful impact in Iraq.


It appears that F-22s were used in a combat role for the first time, which means one or two things:
  • The USAF is itching to show off their latest bling.
  • The Syrian Foreign Ministry's claims that they were notified about the strikes (no link, I heard it on Maddow) is not true, and the F-22s were used because of their radar evading capabilities.
I'm pretty certain about the first point, and less so about the second.  Basic physics would have the F-22 more vulnerable to longer wave (VHF) radars than the B-2, which does not appear to have flown sortees, and the Syrians do have VHF radars.

Also, despite the USAF trying to kill the aircraft for the past 30+ years,  A-10s Warthog close support aircraft are being deployed to the Middle East. (So not a surprise)


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