RAF Doctrine and the JP233
Lewis is referring to the RAF low level airfield attack doctrine which caused the decimation. As you pointed out all of these casualties were operating against Iraqi airfields. RAF doctrine at the time was that this was the RAF speciality (air force versus air force was (is) much more in vogue than air support for pongoes). In fact without this form of operation the entire existence of the RAF was in doubt. The RAF couldn't compete with Stealth or Cruise Missiles. That meant that the USAF could do most things better, with more people, more often.
So the RAF chose a speciality that the USAF would not compete with - if only because the USAF has stealth and cruise missiles and doesn't need to throw people away in order to strut like peacocks. The RAF aim was to drive fast (600 MPH) and low, drop the bomb, and run. In the 1980s rather a lot of pilots turned themselves into pizza practising this in Wales. They still do train this way, as its kind of fun, but like the Horse Guards practising in shiny breastplates on real horses its completely impractical for war.
Sadly for the pilots who died in practise the entire thing was a failure. It turns out that in real life, somewhere in the middle of the low-level airfield attack, loads of people armed with everything from rocks to AK47s and SAMs are going to try to kill you.
So the RAF lost six aircraft out of forty five Tornado aircraft. That's the literal meaning of decimation all right, no question. Five of these aircraft were lost in the first seven days against people with no real air force at all. The only anomaly is the one on the 24th January when a bomb popped prematurely. The remaining casualty (number six) was lost in a mid-level shootdown / crash. These numbers are quite grim - the RAF Tornadoes took 10 per cent casualties within seven days of their anti-airfield operations. The rest of the Coalition air force? 0.05 per cent casualties per sortie in the entire Desert Storm operation (and that includes the massive RAF casualties). The two numbers are frightening when compared. Fly RAF and die, it makes Aeroflot looks safe.
The net result was that the RAF doctrine from the 1970s died in 1991. Bear in mind this doctrine was intended to go against a real Soviet air defence mobilised for World War 3 in East Germany, not some second-rate, dirt poor, 3rd world nation listed under "where?". The RAF casualty rate was unacceptable even against the Iraqis - against the Russians the RAF would have been combat ineffective within hours.
Today, in 2007, the RAF justifies this kind of operation after the event by claiming, more or less, that it paralysed Iraqi air operations. This didn't stop the Iraqi airforce in 1991 flying to Iran. Still, details, eh? The alternative would be to say that the RAF high command, for nearly 15 years, were living in a dream-world. That would be cripplingly embarrassing so it'll have to wait another 30 years or so to be confirmed.
Post Gulf War 1 the RAF went heavily into medium and high altitude smart weapons as seen in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq 2. The Storm Shadow, a second rate Cruise Missile, is part of this new realism. The entire low level doctrine was dumped, along with everything to do with it. Its quite rare now to hear of an RAF plane splattered along a Welsh valley.
With the doctrine went its trinkets - the JP233 was canned because frankly it was, in a world in which Cruise Missiles exist, suicidally worthless. It joins a long line of similarly impractical British inventions such as the Sticky Mine where, within about 5 minutes of combat time, everyone brighter than a chinchilla realises that its worthless - except the taxpayer that bought the damn thing.
The Aviation Myths website is right in strict detail, but utterly wrong in its spirit.
Of the 5 aircraft shot down all were on low-level anti airfield attacks. Its just that the JP233 was so specialised that not all the planes needed it. The JP233 cannister was intended to slow down the bulldozers repairing the big holes in the runway from the 1000 pounders. Basically the aim was to use submunitions to make it take a half a day, rather than an hour. The plane that took 3 minutes to auger in did so because it took that long for the entire flight system to sieze up. It took the missile hit on the way out of the target area. Saying that it was 3 minutes later is more than a little sly - the proximate cause was the low level airfield attack.