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Al Sahra Airfield

Al Sahra Airfield is located near Tikrit in northern Iraq, approximately 170 kilometers North of Baghdad and 11 kilometers west of the Tigris River. The airfield is served by 2 main runways measuring 10,000 and 9,600 feet long with an shorter runway measuring 7,200 foot. The 2 main runways had at least 8 alert hardened aircraft shelters as of 1991.

Al Sahra was protected by 25 kilometers of security perimeter. Within the perimeter, vegetation growth highlights drew attention to the base. Vegetation planted to obscure the base from ground observation had the opposite effect when viewed from overhead.

Two large hangars located in the center of the airfield were struck during Operation Desert Fox in December 1998. DoD released Bomb Damage Assessment imagery showed cratering of the 2 hangars. Also in the imagery were 11 straight-wing single engine aircraft that were possibly associated with Iraqi biological weapons delivery.

A joint United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) missile and biological team inspected the Al Sahra Airfield on 1 March 2003.

On 11 April 2003, for the first time in combat history, a B-52 Stratofortress used a LITENING Advanced Airborne Targeting and Navigation Pod to target facilities. A crew of reservists from the 93rd Bomb Squadron out of Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, and active duty airmen from the 23rd Bomb Squadron out of Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, flew the bomber from a forward operating location to successfully drop one laser-guided GBU-12/B munition on a radar complex and one on a command complex at the Al Sahra Airfield northwest of Tikrit using the LITENING system.




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