WMD Consequences: 13-14 April air attacks on Syria’s Chemical Weapons facilities

Many have asked me over the recent weeks about the logistics involved during the airstrikes on the chemical weapons facilities in Syria. Until recently, I had never heard of CIGeography and their incredible artwork. David Cenciotti’s The Aviationist and Tyler Rogoway’s The War Zone at the The Drive are two of my favorite websites to spend time and they turned me onto CIGeography. To answer the question about what it takes to strike targets in Syria, I thought I would use CIGeography’s graphics to show you the participants in the 13-14 April attacks on Syria’s chemical weapons infrastructure.

Graphics showing the air breathing participants of the 13-14 April airstrikes courtesy of CIGeography

F-15C Eagles burn 8000 pounds an hour at tactical speeds. The F-16CM consumes about 3200 pounds per hour. Now you can understand the need for a large air refueling fleet across the Mediterranean Ocean to keep all of these fighters full of gas.

This graph also shows the number of air launched missiles such as Lockheed’s Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile used for the first time in combat on the Science and Research facility near Damascus.

The video below shows the two B-1 bombers armed with AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM) leaving their base in Southwest Asia. 

The second CIGeography graphic below shows the surface ships and submarine involved in the attack.  US warships fired sixty Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles from The Med at Syrian targets.

Graphic illustrating the number of surface ships used in the attack courtesy of CIGeography

It is getting harder and harder to hide military operations from flight aware and aircraft spotter websites. The long train of KC-135 and KC-10 tankers throughout the night were being flight followed on several awareness websites. The first picture shows the tanker train across the Mediterranean Ocean, flowing from and to their bases.

Tankers crossing the Mediterranean Ocean on the night of 13-14 April courtesy of The Aviationist.

The second picture shows the RC-135 Rivet Joint electronic intelligence aircraft circling off the coast of Port Said Egypt. 

RC-135 Rivet Joint FIXX74 during the 13-14 April air attacks courtesy Aircraft Spots twitter page

The Israeli Air Force attacked fifty Iranian targets in Syria on the night of 9 May.  Targets included Russian supplied SA-22 Panstir air defense vehicles shown in a spectacular IAI Delilah missile strike.

In the coming weeks there may be more air attacks on Iranian and Syrian targets by Operation Inherent Resolve coalition and IAF aircraft. Standby for another update when that happens. 

About the author, Mark Hasara

Author of Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit, Mark Hasara is a retired US Air Force pilot with 24 year in the KC-135 airborne tanker. He is a speaker and aviation industry consultant in campaign planning and cockpit architecture. Follow his weekly newsletter “On the Nations DIME”.