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EL TORO AIR SHOW : THE WINGS of War

April 25, 1991

Most of the major aircraft used in the Gulf War can be seen up close in the show's display area.

F/A 18 COST: $31.9 million (FY 91) TOP SPEED: Mach 1.8+ GULF ROLE: The fighter version kept the skies clear above Marine ground troops while the fighter-bomber hit targets such as missile defenses and radar sites as far north as Baghdad. The Navy's F/A 18 combat patrol shot down two MIG-21s.

F-14A TOMCAT COST: $38 million (FY 91) TOP SPEED: Mach 2.34 GULF ROLE: The fighters from "Top Gun" patrolled air space around allied ships to fend off attack, knocking down a helicopter in one of the Navy's three air-to-air kills. They also conducted combat air patrol over Iraq and Kuwait to protect bombers.

F-4 PHANTOM COST: $15.7 million (FY 89, for F-4G, out of production) TOP SPEED: Mach 2+ GULF ROLE: Older Marine fighter. Pictured is the F4-G Wild Weasel, which is loaded with electronic radar detection equipment and knocked out air defense systems in Iraq and Kuwait with missiles.

F-15C/E EAGLE COST: $30.7 million, (C, FY 89) $32.2 million, (E, FY 89) TOP SPEED: Mach 2.5+ GULF ROLE: The fighter version patrolled against enemy aircraft and made all of the Air Force's fixed-wing kills. The fighter-bomber F-15E hit such targets as command-and-control centers, armor and electrical facilities. It also hunted Scud missile sites at night.

A-6E INTRUDER COST: $22 million (FY 91) TOP SPEED: 644 m.p.h., at sea level, unladen. GULF ROLE: Carrier-borne heavy attack bomber used against targets in Iraq and Kuwait, such as bridges, hangars, airfields and chemical weapon sites. Also used against Iraqi patrol boats.

EA-6B PROWLER COST: $32 million (FY 91) TOP SPEED: 651 m.p.h, at sea level, unladen GULF ROLE: Electronic warfare version of the A-6 used to jam or destroy enemy surface-to-air missiles and SAM sites, antiaircraft radar.

FB-111 AARDVARK COST: $39.5 million (FY '89, out of production) TOP SPEED: Mach 2 GULF ROLE: The F-111F version attacked chemical, biological and nuclear sites, airfields, bunkers and air defense systems. Only one plane was damaged in over 4,000 sorties. Plane on display Saturday only.

CH-46E SEA KNIGHT COST: $6.9 million (FY 91, out of production) TOP SPEED: 150 m.p.h. (cruising, 5,000 ft.) GULF ROLE: Ferried troops, equipment and supplies. Brought prisoners back from the battlefield.

A-7 CORSAIR COST: $12 million (FY 91, out of production) TOP SPEED: 691 m.p.h, at sea level. GULF ROLE: Carrier-borne light-attack bomber used against targets in Iraq and Kuwait, such as bridges, hangars, airfields and chemical weapon sites. Also used against Iraqi patrol boats.

KC-130R HERCULES

COST: $25 million (FY 91) TOP SPEED: 408 m.p.h. GULF ROLE: Served as a "flying gas station" for Marine jets and helicopters in the Gulf. It can transfer up to 11,000 gallons of fuel.

B-52G BOMBER COST: $54.6 million (FY 89, out of production) TOP SPEED: 595 m.p.h., at high altitude. GULF ROLE: This veteran Air Force bomber was used during the Gulf War to continually pound Iraqi regular and Republican Guard troop positions. Also hit were airfields, storage areas and industrial targets.

F-16C/D FALCON COST: $13.7 million (FY 89) TOP SPEED: Mach 2+ GULF ROLE: The Air Force's small, light Falcon attacked ground targets such as military and chemical production facilities, airfields and Scud missile launchers.

AV-8B HARRIER COST: $24.8 million (FY 91) TOP SPEED: 0.91 Mach (at altitude) GULF ROLE: The Harrier hit targets in the front-line areas that Marine ground troops later breached and used its ability to hover above the ground to provide close air support for Marine land troops.

CH-53E SUPER STALLION COST: $19.9 million (FY 91) TOP SPEED: 196 m.p.h, at sea level GULF ROLE: The largest helicopter outside the Soviet Union was used to ferry troops, weapons, equipment and supplies and return prisoners back from the battlefield.

CH-53D SEA STALLION COST: $9.2 million (FY 91, out of production) TOP SPEED: 171 m.p.h. (cruising) GULF ROLE: Ferried troops, equipment and supplies. Brought prisoners back from the battlefield.

A-10 THUNDERBOLT II COST: $8.7 million (FY 89, out of production) TOP SPEED: 439 m.p.h., at sea level, clean GULF ROLE: The "Warthog" used its powerful 30-millimeter cannon and Maverick missiles to kill tanks, as designed. The heavily armored plane also took action against Scuds in western Iraq and knocked down two helicopters with its guns.

OV-10 BRONCO

COST: $9.3 million (FY 91, out of production) TOP SPEED: 281 m.p.h., at sea level, without weapons. GULF ROLE: The Bronco was used for observation and to help artillery hit targets.

KC-10A COST: $73.6 million (FY 89) TOP SPEED: 564 m.p.h (at 30,000 feet) GULF ROLE: Air Force tanker used to keep fighters and fighter-bombers in the air.

AH-1W SUPER COBRA COST: $9.6 million (FY 91) TOP SPEED: 175 m.p.h. (sea level, fully loaded) GULF ROLE: Provided close air support for Marine ground troops using its 20-millimeter gun and its TOW missile system to destroy tanks, armored personnel carriers and other armor.

NOTES: Listed are unit flyaway costs, which do not include costs of research and development, maintainance and storage. FY stands for fiscal year. Some systems are out to production and value is shown in current dollars. Roster shown subject to change.

SOURCES: Jane's All The World's Aircraft; individual military services; Forecast International/DMS; Los Angeles Times; Center for Defense Information.

Researched by DANNY SULLIVAN and CARY SCHNEIDER

Illustrations by: SANDY KAY, MICHAEL HALL, JUAN THOMASSIE, DAVID PUCKET, PAUL GONZALES

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