Operation Instant Thunder, the Coalition Air Campaign Against Iraqi Forces, Begins

A day after the deadline set in Resolution, the coalition launched a massive air campaign which began the general offensive codenamed Operation Desert Storm with more than 1,000 sorties launching per day.

It began on January 17, 1991, when Task Force Normandy (eight U.S. AH-64 Apache helicopters led by two MH-53 Pave Low helicopters) destroyed Iraqi radar sites near the Iraqi-Saudi Arabian border at 2:38 A.M.

Operation Instant Thunder was the preliminary name given to a planned air strike by the United States during the Gulf War. Designed by Colonel John A. Warden III, it was planned to be an overwhelming strike which would devastate the Iraqi military with a minimum loss of civilian as well as American life. The planning of the operation made use of Warden's Five Rings intellectual model. The name is a nod to Operation Rolling Thunder of the Vietnam War.