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The Independent Online
The spectacular pictures of laser-guided bombs falling down air vents in the Gulf war were highly misleading and the weapons were not nearly as effective as claimed, says a classified report by the United States General Accounting Office to be released tomorrow.

The report on air operations in Desert Storm says the post-war claims about the precision-guided weapons were "misleading, inconsistent with the best available data, or unverifiable", and that this was especially evident with the most sophisticated weapons such as the Tomahawk cruise missile and the F-117, a Stealth fighter.

Based on interviews with more than 100 pilots who flew in the war, the report concludes that the high-altitude bombing tactics used by the US meant loss of accuracy, even with supposedly high- precision weapons, and inferred less sophisticated aircraft may have offered better value for money.