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H-3 Airfield

In response to recent Iraqi hostile acts against Coalition aircraft monitoring the Southern No-Fly Zone, Operation SOUTHERN WATCH Coalition aircraft used precision-guided weapons today to strike an air defense command and control facility at a military airfield 240 miles west and slightly south of Baghdad, at approximately 2:30 a.m. EDT on 05 September 2002. Aircraft dropped precision-guided bombs on the H3 airfield. The strikes were carried out by nine American F-15 Strike Eagles and three RAF Tornado GR4 ground attack aircraft flying from Kuwait. The attack on the air defence command and control facility was the first time that a target in western Iraq had been attacked during the patrols of the southern no-fly zone. According to press reports, about 100 US and British aircraft took part in the attack, making it the biggest single operation over the country in four years. [COALITION FORCES STRIKE AIR DEFENSE COMMAND AND CONTROL SITE]

The H-3 Southwest airfield is one of three dispersal airfields in the H-3 base cluster located 435 kilometers from Bagdad in western Iraq. The main H3 airfield was originally built to support the H-3 oil pumping station. H-3 Main is supported by two dispersal airfields, H-3 Southwest, and H-3 Northwest, and a Highway strip, 42 kilometers to the west. H-3 Southwest is served by a single 9,700 foot runway and has a parrallel taxiway that could be used as an alternate runway. There are at least 6 hardened aircraft shelters, and 6 revetments.

Chemical weapons were stored at the H-3 airfield (main) during Desert Storm according to declassified U.S. intelligence reports which describe Iraqi efforts to disperse chemical weapons by truck to other locations. The S-shaped bunker located at H-3 airfield (main) and the four at the H-3 ammunition storage facilty were damaged or destroyed during Desert Storm. Of the 22 S-shaped bunkers located across Iraq, 10 had been destroyed as of 8 February 1991. It is not known whether the rest were subsequently destroyed.

NIMA CIB imagery as well as Ikonos browse imagery taken as of November 2000, reveal no apparent change to the airfield since 1995.

Imagery of H-3 Airbase (Main)
Click on the small image to view a larger version

Overview of the Middle East with Iraq in the center

CIA Map of Iraq

Tactical Pilotage Chart of the H-3 Base Cluster

Russian 1:200,000 scale map of H-3 Airbase (Main)



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