Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

American and British Firepower - and the Targets

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

American and British Firepower - and the Targets

Article excerpt

BRITISH and American forces used a variety of ships, submarines and bombers for the first strikes against the Taliban and Osama bin Laden.

Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from submarines and smart bombs dropped by US aircraft, including the B2 Stealth Bomber and B52 Stratofortress, struck targets in and around Kabul and other strategic cities from their bases at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

Warships also played a key role - the USS Carl Vinson, Enterprise and Kitty Hawk sent F14 and F18 fighter bombers.

C17 Lift Transport aircraft dropped more than 37,000 food packages.

DIEGO GARCIA is the small British Indian Ocean Territory from which British and American air strikes are being launched against the Taliban.

Location: 436 miles south of the equator in the Chagos Archipelago, near Mauritius.

Size: Approximately 17sq miles.

History: The horseshoe shaped coral atoll was discovered by the Portuguese in the 16th century.

Between 1814 and 1965 it was a dependency of Mauritius.

The small indigenous population was moved to Mauritius in the Seventies so that the island could be turned into a military base.

Military significance: It was developed as an air and naval refuelling and support station during the Cold War. Its location in the middle of the Indian Ocean made it an ideal location for keeping an eye on the Soviet Union.

The island was critically important as a refuelling base during the 1991 Gulf War.

During Operation Desert Fox it served as a base for American B-52 bombers which launched nearly 100 long-range cruise missiles aimed at Iraq on 17 December 1998.

Since Saudi Arabia does not permit America to launch attacks from its territory, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and Diego Garcia are the closest locations from which US forces can launch their campaigns.

USS Vincennes

Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser

Launched:1984.

Displacement: 9,590 tons

Speed: 30 knots plus

Range: 6,000miles

Length: 173m

Crew: 358

Armament: Tomahawk cruise missiles and Harpoon anti-ship missiles. 2 fiveinch guns capable of firing guided munitions. 2 20mm Vulcan Phalanx guns.

USS Enterprise Aircraft carrier.

Launched:1960 - the world's second nuclear powered warship. …

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