Anyone who has been trawling the internet in a search for information on the suppression of air defences during the first Gulf War might be well served by this article. In particular, it goes into a lot of detail about the location, identification, targeting, and destruction of Iraqi RADAR installations using weapons like the American AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) and the British ALARM (Air Launched Anti-Radiation Missile). The article highlights how the use of Soviet equipment by Iraq made this a kind of test situation for NATO versus Warsaw Pact air defence and attack equipment.
What this suggests is that the NATO-Warpac central European air battle would have probably followed a similar course, leading to the defeat of the Communists’ IADS within a week or so, in turn leading to air superiority in the following week, as the Communist air forces would have withered under the fire of the Allied counter-air campaign. Fortunately this never had to happen and the world has been spared the inevitable nuclear response to the lost air battle and hence total conventional defeat through attrition by air.
Not a very comforting conclusion for the world at large, though no doubt gratifying for all the companies that built American planes and missiles and things.
One interesting tactic was the use of Brunswick Tactical Air Launched Decoys. These simulated the appearance of incoming aircraft, causing Iraqi RADAR installations to ‘light up’ in order to target them. Sometimes, they would draw fire from surface-to-air missile batteries. Often, this would leave the former temporarily defenceless at a time when their position – and that of their supporting RADAR – had been revealed. Both could then be targeted by NATO aircraft. The ruse was apparently so effective that the Iraqi armed forces maintained the false belief that they had destroyed several hundred British and American planes.
There is also a fair bit of information about jamming and other forms of electronic countermeasures. All in all, it provides an interesting glimpse back into a period when conventional warfare against standing armies was something NATO still did.