Operation Desert Storm was launched to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait on January 17, 1991, and resulted in complete success on February 28. Most of the operation took place in the skies over Kuwait and Iraq, as air bombardment took out Iraq's armor and air defenses in preparation for the second phase. Once ground forces engaged Iraq's army, the war was over within 100 hours.
Operation Desert Storm was a resounding success for coalition forces, resulting in a complete defeat for the forces of Iraq. The primary cause of the devastating rout was the coalition's air superiority. American fighters and bombers were able to dominate the skies over the battlefield, outmaneuvering and destroying Iraqi air defenses almost before they could fire a shot. As a result, after the first few days of the war, the skies belonged to the coalition forces. The mere sight of an aircraft could cause Iraqi convoy drivers to abandon their vehicles in preparation for the inevitable destruction from above. The coalition forces also enjoyed a similar advantage on the ground. The few Iraqi armor units not destroyed from the skies were older Chinese and Russian models that ultimately proved inferior to the modern American and British armor units they faced on the battlefield.
In the end, a cease-fire was signed that restored Kuwait's autonomy while leaving Saddam Hussein in power in Iraq.