Pentagon investigation finds F-16s did detect Iraqi radar
November 8, 1996
Web posted at: 4:15 p.m. EST (2115 GMT)
From Military Affairs Correspondent Jamie McIntyre
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Pentagon sources Friday verified signs of
hostile radar signals in the Iraqi no-fly zone, which U.S. F-
16 pilots last weekend had cited to explain their act of
firing radar-seeking missiles at an Iraqi mobile missile
According to the Pentagon, an investigation of two incidents
in which U.S. F-16 jets fired the missiles while on patrol
over Iraq determined that the planes did in fact detect
hostile radar signals before firing.
After the first incident on November 2, the Pentagon issued a
statement saying that "further analysis has not substantiated
initial indications of Iraqi radar activity," and suggesting
that the planes acted on a false alarm. However, officials
are now saying the signals have been confirmed. The Pentagon
began its investigation after the second, November 4
Both incidents occurred over southern Iraq's no-fly zone.
Pentagon officials say their investigation shows that in both
cases, cockpit warning indicators in the F-16s went off after
detecting radar signals from an Iraqi mobile surface-to-air
One source told CNN that the planes detected a French-made
"Roland" Mobile Anti-Aircraft Missile system, which was
indicated by an "R" in the cockpit's warning instrumentation.
In each case the U.S. pilots fired HARM (High-Speed Anti
Radiation) missiles at the missile radar. It is not known
what the missiles hit, although in the November 2 incident,
after the missile was fired the radar apparently stopped.
The U.S. says it has seen no other evidence of provocative
activity by Iraq.
Iraq strongly denied that either incident had occurred, and
accused the White House of spreading false reports to bolster
U.S. President Clinton's re-election campaign. Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein added that Iraq was committed to a
decision reached in September not to fire at U.S. or Allied
jets patrolling no-fly zones in southern and northern Iraq.
If true, the incident would be the first challenge to U.S.
air patrols since early September when, following the U.S.
cruise missile attacks, Iraq briefly used radar to target
U.S. planes and fire missiles at them.
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