IAF: 99% Accuracy in 'Cast Lead'

IAF post-war analysis shows near-perfect accuracy in attacks on Gaza. There was not a single instance of IAF ‘friendly fire’ hitting ground troops.

Gil Ronen,

IAF munitions
IAF munitions

The Israel Air Force achieved near-perfect accuracy in its attacks on targets in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, a post-war IAF analysis has found. Formal IAF statistics show that fully 99 percent of the fire carried out by the IAF hit its targets accurately, the IDF website reported Monday.

For the first time ever in a large-scale IDF operation, there was not a single instance of ‘friendly fire’ by the IAF against ground troops. This degree of accuracy was achieved despite the fact that more than 2000 warheads were fired within range of ground troops and dense urban population. 

Several IDF soldiers were killed in 'friendly fire' accidents by ground forces.

Eighty percent of the bombs and missiles that the IAF used in the operation are of types considered accurate, which meaningfully reduce collateral damage and danger to civilians. This is more than twice the proportion of such munitions in the Second Lebanon War. In that war, only 36 percent of the ordnance dropped by the IAF was defined as accurate.

The IAF is also pleased with what it says was its success in decreasing the rocket fire and shelling of Israel during the operation, by destroying rocket launch pods and weapons stores. Terrorists fired a total of 650 rockets and mortar shells at Israel during the operation – a much smaller number than pre-war estimates had predicted.

Another factor making Cast Lead unique was the tight cooperation between the IAF and ground forces during the operation. This was especially true as regards unmanned aircraft (UAVs). Every regiment had its own UAVs readily available at all times, and these accompanied its movements at altitudes that were often lower than those of a combat helicopter.

The UAVs assisted in obtaining intelligence, directing ground forces and directing attack aircraft to targets that had been identified by the ground forces. UAV sorties made up a significant proportion of the IAF’s flight hours during the operation.