Gulf War mission markings on EP-3E 157320/26, “Evelyn”. See third image below for a picture of the bearer. Photo © M. Hopper.
The initial buildup of Navy forces during Operation Desert Shield (the preparations for Operation Desert Storm) drew upon the normal forward-deployed posture
of the fleet. On 2nd August 1990, the ships of Joint Task Force Middle East were put on station in the Persian Gulf, the USS Eisenhower battle group in the central Mediterranean (on the last month of a scheduled six-month deployment) and the USS
Independence battle group near Diego Garcia, in the early stages of a scheduled Indian Ocean deployment.
With the invasion, both battle groups moved
toward the crisis area and by 8 August were on station and ready to conduct air strikes - Eisenhower in the Red Sea and Independence in the Gulf of Oman; Independence would have been able to launch long-range strikes as early as 5 August if
Thus, on 'C-day', 7 August - the day that President Bush committed U.S. forces to the protection of Saudi Arabia - naval presence in
the crisis area consisted of two carrier battle groups with more than 100 fighter and attack aircraft plus a surface action group and a command ship in the Persian Gulf. Those forces were later reinforced by no less than four additional carrier battle
groups and a pair of battleships.
There followed a constant build up of ground, air and sea forces, culminating in Operation Desert Storm itself, which began on 17
January 1991. When Operation Desert Storm commenced, the Navy had a total of six Carrier groups operating in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea.
Our Malcolm Hopper has assembled
this series of images from several visits to various locations after the cessation of hostilities. They are meant to convey the variety of aircraft involved and we thank 'Choppa' for his efforts, which hopefully will suitably enthuse you as there are
plenty of subject kits out there! This first part covers aircraft involved in Electronic Warfare to support, protect or attack.