UK's base in Indian Ocean used for strike
ATTACK ON IRAQ THE RAID
Wednesday 04 September 1996
They are believed to have launched their cruise missiles from over the Indian Ocean 700 miles from Iraq and refuelled in flight before returning to the Pacific. British support is thought to have consisted of allowing the planes to land and refuel at the British-owned but US-operated base at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.
The only longer raids, both more than 4,000 miles, involved RAF Vulcans flying from Britain to attack Port Stanley airport during the Falklands conflict in 1982 and B-52s flying from Louisiana to attack Iraqi forces during the Gulf war in 1991.
In the latest attack, two US ships in the Gulf also launched missiles, at $1.2m (pounds 800,000) a shot, at Iraqi targets. The US said 27 cruise missiles were fired in all, 14 by aircraft, the rest by ships. Experts said the missiles were used rather than manned aircraft for two reasons: firstly, to minimise the risk of US casualties, which could embarrass President Bill Clinton in an election year; secondly, because Turkey and Saudi Arabia were loath to allow US planes to fly from bases on their soil.
Use of B-52s from Guam was probably intended to conserve ship-based cruise missiles in the Gulf for more possible raids, the experts said.
The B-52 bomber used in the attack on Iraq traces its history back to the early 1950s, when the US needed a long-range aircraft capable of delivering nuclear weapons against the Soviet Union.
Since 1982 the B-52, used to drop conventional weapons during the Vietnam war, has been able to carry air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs). The conventional ALCMs launched by the two B-52Hs in the Iraqi attack have a 750-mile range, enabling the planes to "stand off" from enemy territory and possible anti-aircraft fire. They have a 2,000-lb warhead.
- 1 Avengers: Age of Ultron: Nearly 700 German cinemas refuse to show movie
- 2 Donald Trump decides that Baltimore riots are Barack Obama's fault
- 3 X Factor in crisis as numbers of people auditioning plummets
- 4 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
- 5 Baltimore riots: Furious mother marches her son home live on TV
Bali Nine executions live: Indonesian firing squad shoots dead eight drug offenders despite outcry around world, but a ninth is spared
Keith Harris dead: Orville the Duck ventriloquist dies aged 67 following battle with cancer
The four utterly contradictory polls that tell the story of this election and why it is pointless trying to predict the outcome
Donald Trump decides that Baltimore riots are Barack Obama's fault
General Election 2015: Prospect of Labour-SNP coalition makes one in four voters less likely to support Ed Miliband, says survey
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm of accountants based ...
£30000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a financial services c...
£30000 - £32000 per annum + car allowance and on call: Ashdown Group: A succes...
£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Well established small company ...