14/3/03 Coalition aircraft attack Iraqi radar sites south west of Baghdad - in response to Iraq firing on coalition aircraft in the Southern No-Fly Zone - and three unmanned, underground military communications sites near the Iraqi towns of Ad Diwaniyah, Dabnuni and Mamia. In the north 120,000 leaflets are dropped near Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery batteries at Ayn Zalah airfield, warning against shooting at the coalition aircraft.

17/3/03 US President George Bush delivers ultimatum to Saddam Hussein and his sons to leave Iraq within 48h.

19/3/03 Coalition aircraft drop almost 2 million propaganda leaflets over Iraq for the second time in two days. Coalition aircraft bomb communications, air defence and artillery sites in response to anti-aircraft artillery firing on the allied aircraft patrolling the Southern No-Fly Zone. Also hit is an air traffic control radar near Basra. Allied aircraft target long-range artillery on the Al Faw peninsula, long-range artillery positions near Az Zubayr and a surface-to-surface missile system near Basra.

20/3/03 US Navy launches 39 Raytheon BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles and US Air Force sends two Lockheed F-117s to attack a leadership compound in south-east Baghdad. The F-117s each drop two 2,000lb GBU-27 bunker- busting precision-guided weapons. Seven hundred coalition aircraft fly missions against more than 100 targets in Iraq. Other US and UK Navy vessels launch 50 Tomahawks on targets in Baghdad.

21/3/03 Iraq launches surface-to-surface missiles at Kuwait. Some intercepted by Patriot missiles. US 3rd Division strikes through western Iraq towards Baghdad. The US air campaign begins with attacks on military targets in Baghdad, Kirkuk and Mosul. Operation Iraqi Freedom is fully under way. USAF confirms Northrop Grumman B-2 stealth bombers are operational at a deployed location - thought to be Diego Garcia. Special forces seize western Iraqi airfield and secure border positions in key locations.

22/3/03 More than 1,000 sorties flown against several hundred targets across Iraq. More than 400 Tomahawks launched. About 100 air-launched cruise missiles also fired and 700 PGMs dropped.

23/3/03 Sortie number tops 6,000, with more than 1,000 flown today. The coalition has 1,600 aircraft at bases worldwide, including more than 30 bases in the Middle East. US space assets comprise 50 DoD satellites to aid weather forecasting, communications, surveillance and missile-launch warning. 120 tactical airlifters on standby to deliver humanitarian relief and assistance. Tomahawks go astray and land in Turkey. Large Iraqi airbases reported under control of coalition special forces.

24/3/03 Coalition aircraft fly more than 1,500 sorties. Coalition aircraft strike to suppress ballistic missile threats, degrade Republican Guard units, support special operations forces and strike targets of opportunity. Tankers fly about 15% of the total sorties. B-52s attack frontline positions. Number of PGMs used tops 2,000

25/3/03 B-52s pound Republican Guard targets outside Baghdad. Iraq launches surface to surface missiles into Kuwait. Patriot destroys some. Over 1,400 sorties planned against Republican Guard and surface-to-surface missile sites.

26/3/03 Coalition aircraft fly about 1,500 sorties including 600 strike missions. Baghdad market explosion kills 15.

27/3/03 Around 1,000 paratroops from 173 Brigade, US Army, drop into Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq from Boeing C-17s. Elements of the Ist Infantry division airlifted into northern Iraq on C-17s and C-130s.

28/3/03 US military says air strikes and cruise missiles take out communication centre and command-and-control facilities in Baghdad.

Source: Flight International