The Winning of Air Supremacy in Operation Desert Storm

by Benjamin S. Lambeth

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Air superiority operations took place throughout the entire six weeks of the 1991 Persian Gulf war. Allied control of the air over Iraq was achieved, however, for all practical purposes during the earliest hours — and even minutes — of combat. This article considers the main characteristics of the multinational coalition's campaign for air superiority; the campaign's effect on the subsequent course and outcome of the war; aspects of the campaign that were unique to the Gulf; aspects that may be generalizable to future wars; and the question of whether the prompt achievement of air superiority — and the air war more generally — heralded the arrival of a new "military-technological revolution."

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