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Desert Cats (ePub)

The RAF's Jaguar Force in the First Gulf War

Aviation > Royal Air Force Colour eBooks P&S History > By Century > 20th Century Photographic eBooks

By Danny Burt
Imprint: Air World
File Size: 45.4 MB (.epub)
Pages: 232
Illustrations: 100 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781526782465
Published: 4th July 2023


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On 2 August 1990, Saddam Hussein’s armed forces invaded and occupied Kuwait. A swift international response followed, which, led by the United States and the United Kingdom, saw the formation of a coalition that formed the largest military alliance seen since the end of the Second World War.

Among the many RAF units deployed under Operation Granby, the codename given to the British military operations during the conflict, was 41 Squadron, with elements taken from 54 Squadron and 226 OCU, which was equipped with the ubiquitous Jaguar GR1 single-seat all-weather tactical strike and ground-attack fighter. In late 1990, the squadron duly despatched a total of twelve aircraft, which soon became known for their distinctive desert pink camouflage, and twenty-two pilots from their base at RAF Coltishall.

Initially conducting low-level strikes, for which the Jaguar Force had always been intended, over the weeks that followed 41 Squadron switched to more unusual medium-level missions. In total, the men and machines of 41 Squadron conducted a total of 617 sorties during Operation Granby.

To complete this remarkable description of 41 Squadron’s part in the liberation of Kuwait, the author has interviewed a number of these pilots. As well as these veterans’ personal reflections, Danny Burt also explores the Jaguars’ record on air-to-ground combat and its performance in theatre, the various upgrades the type receive, and the unique nose art that each aircraft carried. Many of the pictures in this highly illustrated publication have never been published before.

The story is completed by the recovery by the author of one of the Jaguar GR1s flown in the Gulf War Rescued from an Army range in South Wales, the aircraft was moved to RAF Coningsby where its restoration, including the return of its Operation Granby camouflage, is underway.

As featured by

Air Fan - February - March 2024, No 490

As featured in

Flypast - March 2024

"...this 240-page illustrated hardback is a comprehensive, well produced and thoroughly readable account."

RAF Historical Society Journal

"Very well done and well worth the cover price."

Aviation News

Of the RAF fast jets employed during the 1991 Gulf War in Iraq, the bulk of the published material thus far has covered the Tornado which was far more numerous. Thus, Desert Cats is very welcome to set the record straight – all the more in that it is a comprehensive, well produces and thoroughly readable account. The author has adopted a novel approach starting with a short overview of Operation Granby followed by an in-depth description of systems upgrades and enhancements to improve the aircraft’s performance. The author then presents the reader with the daily entries to the unit’s Operational Record Book for each day of war operations that provided the officially recorded facts. The bulk of the book then comprises personal accounts by the pilots and ground crew and therein lays the true value of this book to both the general reader and historian alike. The trials, tribulations, triumphs and fears of flying a single seat fast jet in a high intensity operational environment are laid bare. Much is relatively mundane: ‘Checked in with AWACS, picture clean…’, and some high octane: ‘Missile! I think it was a handheld missile. I flared, broke left and I remember thinking, I am not turning very fast…..’ Finally, the author presents a dozen very useful appendices ranging from the sorties flown by individual pilots to the citations for gallantry awards. Very well done and well worth the cover price.

The Aviation Historian

Review as featured in

Highlight: 'There are detailed stats, surviving aircraft and a nice section on Jaguar nose art. It's an excellent, well-rounded effort.'

The Armourer - October 2023

As Featured In

Model Aircraft Monthly, August 2021

About Danny Burt

DANNY BURT joined the British Army at the age of 18. As a Fire Support Team member in the Royal Artillery he served in Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, completing two tours in the latter theatre. Living in County Durham, having served nearly 23 years in the military, Danny has recently completed his MSc (Hons). In his spare time, Danny collects and restores Second World War British military motorbikes and equipment.

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