THE WORLD FIGHTS BACK: CAVE BUSTERS WILL BLITZ BIN; Super Weapon Heads Awesome Arsenal That Can Find and Destroy Terror Boss in His Lair

The People (London, England), September 23, 2001 | Go to article overview

THE WORLD FIGHTS BACK: CAVE BUSTERS WILL BLITZ BIN; Super Weapon Heads Awesome Arsenal That Can Find and Destroy Terror Boss in His Lair


Byline: ALEXANDER HITCHEN

THIS is the awesome firepower ready to be let loose on terror chief Osama Bin Laden during Operation Infinite Justice.

The deadly American and British arsenal includes state-of-the-art "cave buster" bombs that can fly deep into tunnel systems and explode their 4,500lb warheads at specified depths.

The laser-guided bombs, known as GBU-28s, are deployed from F-15E fighter jets.

It will also be the first time a new spy satellite system, the pounds 22million WarFighter, is used. It is so sophisticated it can "read" footprints in the sand, penetrate 200 layers of camouflage, and easily detect Bin Laden's fleet of Toyota Land Cruisers from 300 miles away in space.

The CIA's favourite spy-in-the-sky, the I-GNAT unmanned plane, has been upgraded to detect items just 4ins wide even through cloud. Flying at 25,000ft, it takes photos accessed by ground troops using computer laptops.

Troops will also be able to locate the enemy's computer monitors and recreate whatever words or images are on them.

A propaganda war will be waged from the EC-130J Hercules, the airplane also dubbed Commando Solo. It will broadcast pro- Allied messages over television and radio waves.

Traditional weapons such as Tomahawk cruise missiles, launched from US Navy warships, will carry 1,000lb warheads but can also, if necessary, be fitted with 200-kiloton nuclear devices.

The flagship for Infinite Justice is USS Theodore Roosevelt, the mighty aircraft carrier that is a quarter-mile long, the equivalent to a 24-storey building below decks, and home to 75 warplanes and 15,000 Marines.

The largest British contingent in Infinite Justice was taking part in exercises in Oman last week.

It includes seven RAF Harrier GR7s, eight Sea Harriers and 70 Sea King and Lynx helicopters.

Supporting them are more than 20,000 troops, 400 armoured vehicles and 66 Challenger 2 tanks.

Aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, with a 643-strong crew, was also involved in the Oman manoeuvres as were the submarines HMS Superb and HMS Fearless.

Apache attack helicopters and RAF Tornados can take part in action alongside the US. On the ground, elite SAS soldiers will be vital in a bid to capture Bin Laden.

The Taliban has 45,000 troops and 100 old Russian T54, T55 and T62 tanks as well as elderly Scud missiles. Soldiers can use shoulder-launched SAM missiles and rely on anti-aircraft artillery.

In the air, it has just 25 MiG 21 and Sukhoi fighter-bombers, but many are poorly maintained.

AMERICA'S FIRE POWER

300 M1A1 ABRAMS

TANKS

21 STEALTH BOMBERS

3 AIRCRAFT CARRIERS, EACH WITH 75 AIRCRAFT

24 A-10 TANKBUSTERS

25 F-16 FIGHTERS

HERCULES TRANSPORTERS

8 DESTROYERS

3 SUBMARINES

10 B1 BOMBERS

4 CRUISERS

10 U2 SPY PLANES

15 B-52

BOMBERS

F-117 STEALTH FIGHTERS

25 F-15E FIGHTERS

34,000 TROOPS

500 PATRIOT MISSILES

1,000 TOMAHAWK MISSILES

BRITAIN'S FIRE POWER

6 TORNADO F3s

7 HARRIER GR. …

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