Beyond the messages written on bombs and the noses of Jordan's second-hand F-16 fleet, most making declarations against ISIS's ideology as well as proclamations of vengeance, what was most noticeable in the video was all the dumb bombs (Mk82, Mk83, Mk84) loaded onto the aircraft. In other words, few jets appeared to have precision guided munitions loaded onto their weapons stations, and those that did were equipped only with a pair of relatively small and older, but still effective, GBU-12 laser guided bombs, which are more suited for taking out small buildings and vehicles than large fixed structures.
Even when deployed from an advanced fighter jet with digital avionics, dumb bombs are much more accurate the lower they are released. As the altitude of their release increases so does their Circular Error Probability (CEP), in quite a drastic manner. Using this method of weapons delivery from over 15k feet, above most man portable air defense systems (MANPADS) and anti-aircraft fire, makes hitting individual structures very problematic. One way to overcome this issue is to throw more sorties at each target, but for each attack made the risk to aircrew making follow-on attacks increases. In fact, every extra minute over enemy territory increases the risk to aircrews. Additionally, and even more importantly, these bombs end up exploding somewhere regardless of if that somewhere is playground or an ammunition dump full of enemy fighters and their use greatly increases the chances of unintended causalities.
On the other hand, if Jordanian F-16s are flying at low altitude, right into the heart of the MANPADS, anti-aircraft and even small arms fire envelope, in order to more accurately deliver their unguided weaponry, then that is a very poor and dangerous decision, both for Jordan and the coalition. Bravery aside, doing so could puts many more coalition warfighters at risk as the chances of an aircraft being brought down are quite high. This means a combat search and rescue (CSAR) mission would most likely be launched, which is another low altitude and even riskier affair that could result in an Osprey or Black Hawk full of pararescuemen being downed as well. The startling possibility that Jordan may be putting aircrew at high risk due to the possible lack of adequate guided munitions also comes as US CSAR assets are now confirmed to be operating out of northern Iraq, a move that seems extremely overdue.
What the widespread use of dumb bombs by Jordan equates to is a set of puzzlingly simple tactics being used, ones that are highly ineffective or highly risky, while trying to obtain a very complex outcome. If Jordan hit all high-priority targets on a targeting list, they are either doing so at great peril to any innocent people nearby, or to themselves and the coalition, or they are creating a target list based on their limited weapons stores and capabilities.
This would mean that they could be selecting a few high-priority urban targets for precision guided munitions and the rest of the targets would be those in rural areas with little potential for unintended casualties when dumb weapons are applied. Either way, dictating what targets you hit, especially on the first day of a highly invigorated air campaign, based on the limited munitions you have at hand is a poor way to fight a modern air war in 2015 and it could usher in either a large loss of innocent life, which could dangerously erode support for the operation as whole in the region, or Jordanian forces are mainly hitting very low priority targets that are located literally in the middle of nowhere.
What This Video Of Jordanian F-16s Striking ISIS Tells Us Is Alarming*