For these key attacks on the Iraqi dictators private transportation infrastructure and hardware, pairs of aircraft each had a single target, and two weapons would be used against each. As the eight Strike Eagles became airborne, it immediately became obvious that the mission was not going to go according to plan. Of the four Chiefs aircraft, No 2 experienced an AGM-130 failure while still on the ground. No 1 launched its weapon successfully but the missile exploded moments after leaving the aircraft, possibly due to AAA fire. No 4 pickled the weapon but the release sequence failed and the battery squib did not fire the rocket motor, leaving the aircraft with a hung bomb. Only No 3 had a successful guide to target. The Rocketeers were even less successful, and all four of their weapons failed to destroy their targets. The author understands that the 336th FS jets suffered a command data link problem, the AGMs beaming back their seeker images well enough but the command signals necessary for the WSOs to guide the weapons failing to work. There has been some speculation that nearby EA-6B Prowler jamming aircraft may have interfered with the command frequency, although some dismiss this out of hand due to the extensive coordination before the AGM-130 strikes. The AGM sorties had been meticulously planned but the AGM-130 had a reputation for being less reliable than desirable. These missions served to reinforce this perception.
F-15C/E Eagle Units of Operation Iraqi Freedom
Title: F-15C/E Eagle Units of Operation Iraqi Freedom
Author: Steve Davies
Illustrator: Chris Davey
Publisher: Osprey Publishing, Military History Books
Date Published: May 2004
Paperback; 96 pages;