The Failure of Third World Air Power: Iraq and the War with Iran
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL SCHOOL OF ADVANCED AIRPOWER STUDIES
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The Iraqi Air Force failed to live up to its prewar billing during Operation Desert Storm. Touted by many sources as an experienced, aggressive power before the war, Saddams air force turned out to be quite the opposite. This paper explains why the Iraqi performance in Desert Storm was predictable Nonindustrialized, third world nations are incapable of fielding a decisive, conventional air force. To illustrate the point, this essay studies Iraqs performance in the war against Iran. During the conflict, the Iraqi air force obtained all the equipment and training money could buy, but after eight years of combat experience it still made only minor contributions in a war effort against an equal foe. Each country is unique, but the same vulnerabilities that restrained Iraqs forces affect every other nonindustrialized nation. The in- ability of third world nations to independently organize, train, and equip air forces to decisive levels is inevitable. Avoiding large, wasted sums of money fielding a force of questionable value should lead these countries to alternative forms of aerial warfare.
- Military Aircraft Operations
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics