British Military Aviation in 1991

14 January
A reconnaissance detachment consisting of six Panavia Tornado GR1As drawn from
No.II (AC) and No.13 Squadrons RAF, is established at Dhahran.

16-17 January

The Coalition air assault on Iraq, Operation Desert Storm, begins. During
the opening phase of the assault, airfield attacks are carried out by
Panavia Tornados of the Royal Air Force armed with the Hunting JP233 airfield
denial weapons and 1,000 pound (454 kilo) bombs.

A Royal Air Force Tornado was shot down during low altitude toss-bomb
attack an Iraqi airfield just after dawn, the crew ejected and were taken

17-18 January
Attacks by Royal Air Force Panavia Tornados on airfields and other key installations
continues, supported by aircraft fitted with ALARM defence-suppression
missiles. On 18 January, one Tornado was shot down and the crew killed.

18 January
SEPECAT Jaguars of the Royal Air Force and the Armee de l’Air attack Iraqi
munitions depots in Kuwait and Ras-al-Qulayah.

19 January
Royal Air Force Panavia Tornado GR1A reconnaissance aircraft carry out their first
operational sortie. The Tornado reconnaissance detachment joined the Coalition
air search for Iraqi mobile Scud missile launchers, particularly those
located in Western Iraq.

20-22 January
The air offensive continues, with particular emphasis placed on the location
and destruction of Scud missile sites. Two further Panavia Tornados were lost
during these missions.

23 January
Panavia Tornado GR1s, armed with 1,000 pound bombs, carry out medium level attacks
on Iraqi airfields. One Tornado was lost when one of its bombs exploded
prematurely, the crew ejected and were taken prisoner.

January – 8 February

Following the end of low-level airfield attacks by Royal Air Force (RAF)
Panavia Tornado GR1s, using the Hunting JP233 airfield denial weapon,
Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer S2Bs from No.12 and No.208 Squadrons RAF and
No.237 Operational Conversion Unit deploy to Muharraq in Bahrain.

From Muharraq, the detachment would provide a laser designation capability
for the Tornado force using the Pave Spike laser-designating pod. The
first operational sortie was flown by the Buccaneer detachment on 2 February.

30 January
Royal Air Force (RAF) SEPECAT Jaguars and United States Navy (USN) Grumman
A6Es attack three Polochny-class tank landing craft. One vessel is sunk
by the Jaguars using Bristol CRV7 high-velocity rockets.

1-2 February
Royal Air Force Panavia Tornado GR1s attack the oil refinery at Al Azzizyah, causing
extensive damage and large fires.

5 February
The first of eight United States Air Force (USAF) Strategic Air Command
Boeing B52 Stratofortress bombers deployed to the United Kingdom to participate
in Operation Desert Storm, arrives at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

6 February
A detachment of Panavia Tornado GR1s, modified to carry the Thermal-Imaging And
Laser-Designating pod, is established at Tabuk.

10 February

Panavia Tornado GR1s equipped with Thermal-Imaging And Laser-Designating (TIALD)
pods carry out their first mission, an attack on Hardened Aircraft Shelters,
thought to contain mobile Scud launchers at the H3 Southwest airfield
in Western Iraq.

11 February
Four Panavia Tornado GR1s from Muharraq armed with 1,000 pound bombs, carry out
a high level attack on the Al Jarrah barracks west of Kuwait City.

13 February
During an attack on the Fallujah highway bridge by Panavia Tornados using laser-guided
bombs, one weapon suffers a guidance failure and explodes in a built-up
area, killing 130 people and injuring a further 78.

14 February
A Panavia Tornado GR1 is shot down by a surface-to-air missile during a medium-level
attack on Al Taqaddum air base. The pilot ejected and was captured and
the navigator was killed. This was the sixth and last Tornado GR1 to be
lost during hostilities.

15-23 February
Attacks on Iraqi troop concentrations in and around Kuwait intensify with
the approach of ‘D-Day’ for the land offensive. As a result of Coalition
air attacks upon bridges, highways and rail communications, the battlefield
was now virtually isolated.

24 February

The Allied coalition air forces undertake an intensive bombing campaign before
ground forces begin the 100 hour war to liberate Kuwait.

28 February
On the orders of United States President George Bush, offensive operations
against Iraq end at 0500hrs local time. During the conflict, Coalition
forces lost 68 aircraft due to a combination of Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery
(AAA) surface-to-air missiles (SAM) and accidents. Iraqi Air Force losses
were estimated to be 141 aircraft, of which 42 were destroyed in air combat.

1 March
The Royal Air Force’s first female navigator (multi-engine), Flying Officer
Anne-Marie Dawe, graduates from No.6 Flying Training School, RAF Finningley.
Flying Officer Dawe was subsequently posted to No.242 Operational Conversion
Unit, RAF Lyneham.

1 April
The Royal Aerospace Establishment, Farnborough, becomes the Aerospace
Division of the Defence Research Agency.

14 April
Operation Haven: Royal Air Force Boeing Chinooks participate in an airlift
of humanitarian aid to Kurdish refugees sheltering in Turkey.


Flight Lieutenant Julie Ann Gibson becomes the first female regular officer
to graduate as a Royal Air Force pilot. Flight Lieutenant Gibson was awarded
her wings as at No.6 Flying Training School, RAF Finningley.

3 September
Operation Warden: SEPECAT Jaguars of No.54 Squadron begin to patrol the
airspace over Northern Iraq in an effort to reassure Kurdish refugees
sheltering in ‘Safe Havens’.

16 December
A press release is issued to announce that the restriction on female fast
jet aircrew had been lifted. From this point, fast jet places became open
to female pilots and navigators.