20%


The US cruise missile strikes on Syrian aircraft in revetments destroyed about 20% of the aircraft.

EDIT: Per my comment #5: This posting has problems; I misinterpreted what Mattis was reporting. Some of the point still stands, your mileage may vary, void where prohibited, etc.

Please, Pentagon brass, keep those numbers in mind when you talk about a “precision decapitation strike” against North Korea that will eliminate the leadership and preemptively destroy their strike capability. Even if you do twice as well, that means reducing the strike capability by less than half.

In Gulf War II there were a lot of special forces, satellites, and A-10s hunting Iraq’s collection of Scud missiles. As it happened, more missiles were fired later in the war than earlier; I guess that the hunting wasn’t very effective.

I hope there is serious thinking going on about this stuff, right now, because I am very worried that the military’s “can do!” wing are going to convince our Laughably Ignorant Leader that they can deal with North Korea easily. Oh, North Korea will lose – no question there – but military hubris has a way of convincing itself that everything will be OK.

Comments

  1. johnson catman says

    The military “intelligence” should read a little history about the previous conflict in Korea that the US was involved in. And perhaps check out the quagmire in Vietnam that we were involved in. We may spend 40% of the money spent on military goods in the world, but it won’t make the slog through another Korean war any easier. And The Orange Idiot agreeing to send an aircraft carrier within range of NKs weapons just to provoke their tiny tyrant is not a good thing.

  2. says

    johnson catman@#1:
    The Orange Idiot agreeing to send an aircraft carrier within range of NKs weapons just to provoke their tiny tyrant is not a good thing.

    Yeah, it’s gotta suck to be on the Carl Vinson and realize that you’re the chip that’s on Trump’s shoulder, “I dare you to knock this off.”

  3. Nomad says

    That’s not entirely an honest use of the statistic, it looks like there’s a reason why you didn’t link to any sources on this. You appear to be implying that the strike only destroyed 20% of the aircraft they had targeted.

    The full quote from Mattis is this:
    “The assessment of the Department of Defense is that the strike resulted in the damage or destruction of fuel and ammunition sites, air defense capabilities, and 20 percent of Syria’s operational aircraft,”

    There’s a wee bit of a difference between 20% of all of their aircraft, and 20% of the aircraft attacked. Given that Syria has 20 other airbases, I’m a little puzzled how you expected a strike on a single base to “do twice as well”. I mean, a single Ohio SSGN could certainly have launched a strike over twice that scale against multiple airfields, there’s no doubting we have the capability. But that was never the intention.

    So let’s not pretend that the strike on Shayrat represents the limit of our precision attack capability. It was an attack intentionally limited in scale because the goal was retribution or punishment, rather then outright destruction.

  4. John Morales says

    As Wikipedia has it:

    Syrian Air Force launched airstrikes against the rebels from the base only hours after the American attack. The ability to continue to use the base for these attacks has been attributed to the advance warning the US gave to Syria’s ally, Russia, prior to the missile strike.[14]

  5. says

    Nomad@#3:
    This is embarrassing. I wasn’t trying to be sneaky and spin the story – I flat out misunderstood it. I thought Mattis was referring to the effectiveness of the strike that was launched.

    So, um. “Everything about this posting is wrong” – sort of.

    I think that part of how I made that mistake is because 20% is pretty good, so I read Mattis statement and thought, “Oh, not bad! But let’s look at the big picture…” Mattis’ observation is sort of vacuous if you look at it from the perspective of “since we only bombed 20% of the planes, Syria still has planes.” Looking at that through the lens of the Pentagon, that makes sense because, of course, they want to be able to impose a “no fly zone” which means turning Syria into a free-fire airspace.

    I’m a little puzzled how you expected a strike on a single base to “do twice as well”

    Well, I hope my comment makes sense now.
    Bombing isn’t really as deadly as the US military likes to make it sound. They’ve gotten tremendously better at it, but it’s not 100% effective or even close. When you bomb an airfield you’ve got the hard targets like the planes in their revetments, and the ordnance, and then the other stuff like fuel trucks, control towers, flight control radar, etc. A bomb damage assessment like “we got 20% of the planes and 80% of the soft targets” is a pretty good airstrike.

    Unrelated to anything: I’m surprised they didn’t use any runway cratering munitions. Maybe they don’t keep that stuff on hand, or it’s not configurable to deliver via a cruise missile.

  6. militantagnostic says

    Marcus @5

    Unrelated to anything: I’m surprised they didn’t use any runway cratering munitions. Maybe they don’t keep that stuff on hand, or it’s not configurable to deliver via a cruise missile.

    As I recall from the First* Gulf War, cratering involved dropping bombs from low flying aircraft and most of the coalition aircraft that were shot down were shot down on these cratering missions, probably by old fashioned Anti-Aircraft guns. Unsurprisingly this dangerous task was performed primarily by the RAF rather the USAF.

    *The preceding Iengthy Iran – Iraq war doesn’t count because reasons.

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