F-16 Desert Storm Paveways?

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tobias.ehn

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Unread post04 May 2021, 15:35

Hey Guy’s,

in the last few days I’ve been doing quite some research on Operation Desert Storm and, as is so often the case, bought my self a new kit ;)

In General, while LGBs were very popular, the F-16C could not yet carry them (no LANTRIN yet) and so often carried either Mk.84 LDGP bombs or cluster Bombs.
My question is: Where there any F-16C Squadrons that used Paveway Laser Guided Bombs (GBU-10s would be especially interesting to me) during Desert Storm? 388th Tactical Fighter Wing eg. Was the first to use the LANTRIN system during DS, but I couldn’t find any more loading info on it

If it couldn’t, do you know of some „bomb-truck“ F-16 loadouts?

thanks for answering in advance :)
Tobias
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basher54321

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Unread post04 May 2021, 16:25

Hello - there has been a lot of research over the past 30 years and thus far if they were used in DS I have yet to see it.

AFAIK LGBs could be carried from the outset on F-16s but don't seem to have been. F-16s do not need a targeting pod to carry or use LGBs - another aircraft or someone on the ground can provide the laser.

This thread might be of interest regarding that time period:


I never practiced "buddy lase" in either the F-4 or F-16, nor do I know anyone who did during that period.

--

We(Arizona Air National Guard)flew LGBs on blk 15s in the early 90's. Fac had to lase the target. Can't remember when software was upgraded to allow loading LGB's in SMS. Delivery off jet was not complicated, no smart 1760 bus or smart racks required like a JDAM

--

I don't remember if we had a SMS code for GBU-10/12 but if we ever had a reason to buddy lase I am sure we could have loaded them as Mk-84/82 as they had close enough ballistics. But buddy lase was not a big option prior to TGPs and not required much after.

viewtopic.php?f=18&t=52915&p=365038#p365038




LANTIRN was carried by Block 40s in DS however they only had the AAQ-13 NAV pod and NOT the AAQ-14 TGP.

"Vipers In the Storm" author Keith Rosenkranz (388TFW Block 40s) listed the ordinance they used years back - no LGBs and no AAQ-14.
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tobias.ehn

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Unread post04 May 2021, 19:07

Thank you very much for that info!

The probably didn’t carry AMRAAMS either then right?
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Boman

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Unread post04 May 2021, 19:10

No to AIM-120 Amraams. The F-15C's started flying with them at the end of ODS, but not used in anger.
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Niels
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basher54321

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Unread post04 May 2021, 21:45

1991 Comment from Dan Hampton from his time in Block 30s with the F-4G hunter killer team in DS.


We were prepared, if the need had arisen, to load out with Mavericks. Also, in the last days of the war, the Air Force sent into the theater four F-4Es equipped with Pave Tack. Had the war not ended, the Weasel F-16s would have carried and dropped laser guided bombs.

https://www.airforcemag.com/article/0791weasels/


(Should say that some F-16 units did use AGM-65Ds towards the end of the conflict.)

Biggest DS bomb loads were probably:

2 x CBU-87 on each TER 3/7
or
3 x Rockeye on each TER 3/7
or
4 x MK-84s 4/6/3/7
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edpop

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Unread post04 May 2021, 22:46

FROM an Air Force study on guided bombs during Desert Storm:

The smallest U. S. Air Force contributors to the guided bomb effort were the F-15E and
F-16. Unfortunately, the F-15E had only 6 aircraft equipped with LANTIRN laser designating
pods and these aircraft concentrated on attacking the mobile SCUD launchers. The F-15E
synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and the IR capability of LANTIRN uniquely qualified the F-15E
for this difficult and demanding mission. Some F-16s were equipped with LANTIRN navigation
pods but not targeting pods with the laser designator. They were however, able to team up with
F-1l1Fs and provide additional carrying capacity for LGBs during the armor busting campaign.
The USAF was only one member of the coalition guided bomb capability during Desert Storm.
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h-bomb

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Unread post04 May 2021, 23:09

edpop wrote:The USAF was only one member of the coalition guided bomb capability during Desert Storm.


That must be news to the RAF Blackburn Buccaneer crews who were buddy lasering for RAF Tornados...

https://web.archive.org/web/20121016003311/http://www.raf.mod.uk/history/GulfWarBuccaneerOperations.cfm
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edpop

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Unread post05 May 2021, 22:23

h-bomb wrote:
edpop wrote:The USAF was only one member of the coalition guided bomb capability during Desert Storm.


That must be news to the RAF Blackburn Buccaneer crews who were buddy lasering for RAF Tornados...

https://web.archive.org/web/20121016003311/http://www.raf.mod.uk/history/GulfWarBuccaneerOperations.cfm


WHAT ???
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h-bomb

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Unread post05 May 2021, 22:58

I was at Lakenheath during the Gulf War. The RAF got hammered by Parliament as the Tornado's could not self designate and had to use the Blackburn Buccaneer to designate targets for them. The Bucs themselves dropped a few dozen bombs. They flew over 200 sorties providing laser targeting for the Tornado fleet. The RAF employed the CPU-123 kit (ie Paveway II) attached to the RAF 1,000 lb bombs.

So the US was not "The USAF was only one member of the coalition guided bomb capability during Desert Storm."

Also the French employed the Matra BGL "Bomb Guided Laser".
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basher54321

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Unread post05 May 2021, 23:33

Adding the following paragraph the context is clearer:


The smallest U. S. Air Force contributors to the guided bomb effort were the F-15Es and
F-16s. Unfortunately, the F-15Es had only 6 aircraft equipped with LANTIRN laser designating
pods and these aircraft concentrated on attacking the mobile SCUD launchers.

The F-15Es synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and the IR capability of LANTIRN uniquely qualified the F-15E
for this difficult and demanding mission. Some F-16s were equipped with LANTIRN navigation
pods but not targeting pods with the laser designator. They were however, able to team up with
F-111Fs and provide additional carrying capacity for LGBs during the armor busting campaign.
The USAF was only one member of the coalition guided bomb capability during Desert Storm.

The U.S. Navy contributed to the guided bombing effort with GBU-16s and Walleye IIs
with data link. The RAF provided Buccaneers with laser designating capability for the British
version of Pave way II LGBs, the Mk 13/18. Finally, the French and Saudi Arabian air forces
both have laser guided bomb capability.

(Maj Blackwelder DI, 1992, The long road to Desert Storm and Beyond: The development of precision guided bombs)



He seems to imply F-111s did some buddy lasing which could be a lead to something on the F-111 side if that was the case.
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madrat

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Unread post06 May 2021, 01:24

So neither A-6 nor F/A-18 dropped LGBs during ODS? I have a hard time believing Skipper or Paveway II never got deployed by the same aircraft that could designate its own target. F-117A, F-111, and A-6 all obviously could. The claim is not supported in history.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post06 May 2021, 06:55

h-bomb wrote:
edpop wrote:The USAF was only one member of the coalition guided bomb capability during Desert Storm.


That must be news to the RAF Blackburn Buccaneer crews who were buddy lasering for RAF Tornados...

https://web.archive.org/web/20121016003311/http://www.raf.mod.uk/history/GulfWarBuccaneerOperations.cfm


I read it as USAF was "only" one of several members of the coalition who had guided bomb capability. I don't think it meant that USAF was the only member with such capability. Of course USAF was the biggest one.
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basher54321

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Unread post06 May 2021, 21:16

madrat wrote:So neither A-6 nor F/A-18 dropped LGBs during ODS?


A-6s did - Rick Morgan flew combat in EA-6Bs during Desert Storm and also wrote Ospreys A-6 Units in combat (2017) including photos.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post07 May 2021, 10:44

basher54321 wrote:
madrat wrote:So neither A-6 nor F/A-18 dropped LGBs during ODS?


A-6s did - Rick Morgan flew combat in EA-6Bs during Desert Storm and also wrote Ospreys A-6 Units in combat (2017) including photos.


According to this A-6s did, but F/A-18s didn't due to not having laser illumination capability. F/A-18s could've dropped if other aircraft lased for them but this doesn't seem to have been practiced.
https://www.gao.gov/assets/nsiad-93-204.pdf

A-6:
Of the 425 Navy and Marine attack aircraft deployed in Desert Storm, only 115 A-6Es had FLIR systems with built-in laser illuminators, and air-to-ground radars. This equipment enabled A-6 crews to locate, identify, and more precisely attack targets from a high altitude and in bad weather. These aircraft dropped nearly all of the laser-guided bombs dropped by the Navy and Marines in Desert Storm.


F/A-18:
Pilots said the shortage of FLIR.S limited their ability to regularly use and train with the system and to fully optimize the effectiveness of their aircraft. Navy and Marine Corps after action reports criticized FLIR shortages, supported pilots’ statements, and cited a need for a laser target illumination capability. The absence of this capability in Desert Storm essentially precluded the F/A-18 from dropping precision laser-guided bombs.
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Unread post07 May 2021, 10:54

Dessert Storm proved the worth of precision guided munitions, and in the wake of it just about all allied nations moved towards implementing the capability to drop guided bombs. Firstly laser guided, then GPS guided or a mix of the two targeting methods.
Best regards
Niels
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