GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13220 posts, RR: 77
Reply 2, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 4214 times:
Guam94, I remember that footage, as well as some others, from reportage at the time.
They did train extensively at low level, as things turned out, the Iraqi AF barely operated after not long after the conflict started, thus negating the need for a lot of low flying, as well as the RAF effort to destroy the huge Iraqi airfields with JP223 runway destroying and other mines.
After decades planning a war in Europe at low level, it was expected that the Soviet style structured Iraqi air defence would be a much more potent force than it turned out to be.
The Buccanner was slated to leave RAF service before the conflict blew up, despite upgrades a few years before to carry BAe Sea Eagle anti ship missiles, but the end of the Cold War took away their main potential 'trade.'
But they had a secondary role since the mid 70's, laser designating for laser guided bombs carried by other types.
Using the US Pave Spike system.
Six were sent intially to the Gulf, as the focus switched to more medium level bombing, 6 more were sent.
Later on, Buccaneers carried their own LGB's too, the lack of the Iraqi AF freeing up a pylon for a bomb once the AIM-9L Sidewinder was removed.
One memorable piece of footage of a raid on an airfield had through the Pave Spike, an An-12 transport was spotted, so a bomb was directed on to it with the Navigator exclaiming 'got the bastard!'
After the war, the Buccaneer left RAF service, as planned before, in 1994.
Pave Spike was an aging system by then, clear weather only.
A designator for Tornados (and later other types) was in prototype form at the time, the Thermal Imaging And Laser Designation system, TIALD.
The two prototype pods were sent out to the Gulf, (named 'Sharon' and 'Tracy' - 'The Fat Slags', after the Viz adult comic characters), providing a huge leap in capability.
(Not shown in this footage, but other Viz characters featured in aircraft nose art, including 'The Fat Slags', 'Johnny Fartparts', 'Buster Gonad And His Unfeasibly Large Testicles' and others).