April 2018 Coalition Air Strikes Against Syria – the nations of United Kingdom, France, and the United States launched missile and aircraft strikes against military targets associated with Syria’s chemical weapons manufacturing capability. The attacks took place at 4:00 am (Syria time), Saturday, April 14th against three main targets. The attacks were a response to the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons on April 7 and April 13 that killed at least 45 people and sickened hundreds of others.
Successful Operation. The Pentagon briefed reporters on Saturday, April 14th on the air strikes. The Department of Defense says the operation was successful and that there were no allied casualties. The air strikes were designed to limit civilian casualties with little collateral damage.
Targets. Three military chemical weapons targets were hit – which were fundamental components of the Syrian’s chemical weapons warfare capability. Struck were a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs, a chemical bunker facility, and a research, development and production center for chemical and biological weapons.
Strike Platforms and Weapons. A total of 105 weapons struck the targets. Missiles were fired from platforms (sea and air) of the French, American, and British military from the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, and Mediterranean.
Maritime Assets. A U.S. guided-missile cruiser and destroyer fired a total of 37 Tomahawk missiles from the Red Sea. A U.S. submarine and French frigate ship fired missiles from the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. A U.S. destroyer fired 23 Tomahawk missiles from the North Arabian Gulf.
Air Assets. The U.S. air package consisted of B-1 Lancer bombers with the support of tanker, fighter, and EW aircraft. The B-1s fired 19 Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM) and / or JASSM-ER (extended range). British fired 8 storm shadow missiles from Tornado and Typhoon jets. The French fired 9 SCALP missiles from Rafales and Mirages.
Enemy Response. While the Russian air defenses in Syria were ‘active’ they were not ’employed’. The Pentagon reports that the Syrians responded with surface to air missiles (about 40) but they were fired after the last Coalition munition impacted. Russia claims that 71 of the missiles were intercepted by Syrian forces.
Mission Results. The Department of Defense says that the operation was a success and accomplished its goals of degrading the Syrian chemical weapons manufacturing capability and sent a message to President Assad and the Russians. The DoD is hoping that the air strikes will discourage future employment of chemical weapons by Syria. President Trump tweeted “Mission Accomplished”.
Edits: It appears that the JASSM-ER was not used after all. The Pentagon corrected their briefing. In addition, the F-22 Raptor was part of the flight package.
April 14, 2018. Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Briefing Transcript, DoD News. Joint Staff Director LTG Kenneth McKenzie and Pentagon Chief Spokesperson Dana White brief reporters in the Pentagon Briefing Room on the April 2018 Coalition air strikes against Syria. The video of the briefing is below.
April 13, 2018. Briefing by Secretary Mattis on U.S. Strikes in Syria, DoD Press Operations.
April 14, 2018. Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Briefs Pentagon Reporters, DoD News (38 mins)
April 14, 2018. Mattis Explains Strikes on Syria, Department of Defense (1 min)
April 14, 2018. B-1 Crew Stepping / Take Off, DoD News. A maintenance crew and B-1 flight crew prepare for takeoff before launching for the April 2018 Coalition air strikes against Syria.
April 14, 2018. SSN TLAM Launch, DoD News. The Virginia-class fast attack submarine USS John Warner launched Tomahawk missiles from the Mediterranean Sea in the April 2018 Coalition air strikes against Syria.
April 14, 2018. USS Monterey Launches Syria Missile Strikes, DoD News. A guided-missile cruiser fires Tomahawk land attack missile in the April 2018 Coalition air strikes against Syria.
Photo Credit. Graphic by DoD, April 14, 2018.