A recent analysis has proclaimed that the recent cruise missile strikes in Syria were likely not worth the high price of admission, but that it is impossible to tell without intimate knowledge of the value of the targets destroyed.
From Free Market Shooter: fmshooter.com
Just over one year after President Trump launched a cruise missile attack against a Syrian airfield believed to be responsible for a chemical attack, Trump launched another cruise missile attack, this time designated at three specific targets allegedly tied to the use of chemical weapons.
While many reactionary right-wing “personalities” declared themselves “off the Trump train” following the strike, myself and the rest of the FMShooter team decided to take a more nuanced and reasonable approach, choosing to investigate the strikes with another “cost-benefit” analysis focusing on the military utility of both the weapons used and targets struck.
So from a military perspective alone, was the “cost-benefit” of the 2018 strike in Syria worth it? The simple answer is – probably not – but that answer comes with caveats, some of which will likely never be revealed to the general public.
It is pertinent to begin by investigating the weaponry and delivery systems used, as they were far more substantial than last year’s strike. Last year, the US solely used 60 BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles fired from Navy vessels. This year, the US fired 66 Tomahawks from Navy vessels and 19 AGM-158 JASSM (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile) cruise missiles fired from B-1B bomber jets, ostensibly launched from out of range of Syrian (and Russian) air defense systems. However this time, the British and French chipped in to the tune of 20 Storm Shadow / SCALP-EG missiles, with 17 launched from various attack aircraft and 3 of the MdCN Naval variant being fired by French frigates.
By using previously noted calculations, the US used approximately 1.7% of its Tomahawk inventory in this strike – a very small overall number. As previously noted, the Tomahawks are very much a dated delivery system that needs to be used before they become obsolete:
So the Navy used 1.5% of its Tomahawk missile inventory in this strike, and the Navy already plans to replace the entire inventory the next 10-20 years. While the price tag of $60 million sure wasn’t cheap, it certainly seems that the Navy doubts the future efficacy of the Tomahawk platform, and likely views the missiles as a “use them or lose them” sunk cost that only “cost” so much, in terms of available capability.
Furthermore, the Navy has used about 2,000 Tomahawks since they were introduced in Desert Storm, a campaign where the Navy used just under 300 of the missiles. So whether you agree with spending defense dollars on cruise missiles or not, the fact of the matter is, the current US Navy inventory of Tomahawks is double what was used in the last 20 years. The money has already been spent, so expending a tiny percentage of the inventory is hardly a setback.
However, the same cannot be said about the JASSM – a far newer and presumably stealthier system – which has a lower unit cost than its Tomahawk cousin, in spite of the missile’s costly development problems:
Read more: fmshooter.com
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Syria is claiming that some targets were missed during the air strike.
Satellite images paint a different story.
cnn.com reports: The Syrians say some targeted sites didn't receive any damage. Satellite images given to CNN appear to show the contrary -- extensive damage.
The US Department of Defense early Saturday released a map that it says shows their three Syrian airstrike targets. CNN provided that map to two satellite imagery companies, DigitalGlobe and Planet.com.
Satellite images from those companies appear to show extensive airstrike damage to facilities allegedly involved with Syria's chemical weapons program.
more @ cnn.com
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A video has been released showing one of the targets hit by the strike on Syria.
The target was the Center for Scientific Research in Damascus, which was part of the chemical weapons network in Syria.