March 17th, 2016

Любителям порассуждать про хамсин

Из опыта морской авиации ВМС США в ходе иракской кампании в 2003 году.

By the end of the war’s sixth day on March 25, a heavy sandstorm slowed the pace of allied ground operations considerably. The sandstorm also severely affected carrier air operations in the Persian Gulf. Aboard Abraham Lincoln, desert dust penetrated aircraft inlets and orifices, caused damage to canopies and engines, and occasioned some harrowing aircraft recoveries. Carrier-landing approaches into whiteouts occurred more than a few times, with cockpit videotapes showing eye-watering arrested landings that were performed flawlessly in less than a half-mile visibility. Landing signals officers (LSOs) would talk each aircraft down the centerline of the carrier’s recovery area, sometimes with the aircraft becoming visible to the LSO only seconds before it trapped. Air-wing tanker squadrons flew twice their normal number of sorties to refuel fighters that were orbiting overhead waiting for openings through which they might penetrate and recover aboard ship. These recovery tankers transferred fuel in turbulence at altitudes as high as 30,000 ft, where inflight refueling operations would not normally take place. In all, six launch and recovery cycles on the three carriers in the Persian Gulf had to be cancelled because of persistent airborne grit, lightning, and wind shear.

The shamal, as it was called in Arabic, continued for three days, with sustained winds of 25 knots gusting to 50 and visibility often less than 300 ft. The Navy did not dramatically reduce its overall sortie rate during the sandstorm, however, and the coalition continued to fly as many as 2,000 sorties a day. As columns of Republican Guard vehicles attempted to move under what their commanders wrongly presumed would be the protective cover of the shamal, allied air strikes destroyed a convoy of several hundred Iraqi vehicles that were believed to be ferrying troops of the Medina Division toward forward elements of the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division encamped near Karbala, about 50 miles south of Baghdad. Air Force and Navy aircrews used satellite-aided JDAMs for these attacks, since LGBs would not guide in those prohibitive weather conditions.