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Phillips: Operations aboard the USS Lincoln

Aircraft aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln Thursday.
Aircraft aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln Thursday.

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SPECIAL REPORT
•  Commanders: U.S. | Iraq
•  Weapons: 3D Models

ABOARD THE USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CNN) -- Shortly after the U.S.-led strike on targets at dawn on Thursday in Baghdad, CNN's Kyra Phillips reported from one of the five U.S. aircraft carriers operating in the Middle East region.

PHILLIPS: We have the integration of a number of squadrons, the first to go on mission were the F-14s, now the F-18s are starting to get into the mix. A very interesting thing I might want to point out here on the F-18: the so-called Bunker Buster bombs. There has been a lot of talk about the weaponry used in the conflict with Iraq. There is a lot of concern about so-called collateral damage, therefore a lot of effort has been put into JDAMs and GBUs and "bunker busters."

There is a concentration on precise weaponry, so that pilots will hit their targets and the explosion will be more contained instead of a wider type of explosion with the risk of hurting innocent civilians.

That's why you're seeing the "bunker busters" -- a type of weapon on the F-18 that can explode deep within the earth.

On the F-14, the strike fighters they've got JDAMs -- satellite guided bombs -- this is a new asset to the F-14 Tomcats here on the USS Abraham Lincoln.

Those bombs can be dropped thorough any type of weather, haze, dust anything that can affect a laser-guided bomb -- the other type of weapon that the F-14s have.

Now, as the F-18 squadron gets ready to integrate with the strike fighters that are already out there I can tell you we may be able to see more than a hundred aircraft in the air -- depending how the tempo of the operation progresses.

We're all surprised this happened so quickly and is happening in a manner that none of us really expected. Even the squadrons here are learning by the minute how this campaign is unfolding. I can tell you U.S. strike fighter pilots are looking out for Iraqi SAMs -- surface to air missiles. They also are keeping an eye out for old Soviet fighters -- Iraqi MIG 25s.

Another concern of first strike fighter pilots is what they call triple A fire -- or anti-aircraft artillery -- a dangerous threat that they will be on the lookout for once they're airborne.

EDITOR'S NOTE: CNN's policy is to not report information that puts operational security at risk.


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