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Crisis in Yugoslavia

Kosovo Airstrikes: The Next Phase

April 02, 1999

As the terror against ethnic Albanians continues, NATO is shifting to a greater emphasis on aircraft with ground-attack capabilities to go after tanks, armored personnel carriers and artillery of Yugostlav troops in Kosovo. NATO forces have moved slowly into this phase of the fighting, in part because of Yugoslavia's large remaining surface-to-air missile capabilities, and in part because of bad weather, which has made visibility poor

Tactical Tricks

Th job of wiping out small concentrations of Serbian equipment is slow, and entails risk from surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery when the attack planes fly at low altitudes.

The Apache: NATO officials have indicated that they may also deploy Apache attack helicopters.

The A-10: The low-flying, armored A-10 "Warthog," which was effective in the Persian Gulf War, will be part of this new phase.

1. A Boeing 707 outfitted with JSTART radar detects motion or radar emissions from enemy missiles as they prepare for launch and radios location to A-10.

2. The A-10 flies low toward targets--below 100 ft. --to avoid radar detection.

3. Pilot ascends and fires a Maverick missile or a burst from 30-mm cannon at the missile.

4. A-10 makes 2,700-foot-radius turn--tighter than a pursuing aircraft could make--flying close to the ground toward its next target.

Sources: Janes All the World's Aircraft; Compiled by TRICIA FORD / Los Angeles Times

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