In February, U.S. and British aircraft struck Iraqi air defenses covering the "no-fly" zone. In recent months, the Iraqis had fired many more missiles at allied aircraft enforcing the zone. Moreover, Chinese engineers were installing fiber-optic cables linking different sites. It seemed likely that once this work had been completed, allied attacks would become far more difficult, as the air-defense system's integration, destroyed during the Gulf War, would be restored. Weapons used in the February strike included the Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW, AGM-154) glide missile, as well as laser-guided bombs and AGM-130 electro-optically guided missiles. Reportedly, more than half of the JSOWs missed their aim points. The raid illustrated a new approach to defense suppression, and the possible failure of JSOW suggests problems with an important class of guided weapons.
World Naval Developments: A Problem with Precision?
By Norman Friedman