Skip to comments.Attack Helicopters Boost NATO Air Ops over Libya
Posted on 07/18/2011 12:08:24 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar
Recent briefings in Brussels and London on Operation Unified Protector reveal that attack helicopters provided by France and the UK are now making key contributions to NATO-led operations over Libya, which has been extended until the end of September.
British AH-64 Apaches plus French Tigers and Gazelles have destroyed more than 300 targets since their introduction on June 4. Flying at night, they have provided a valuable psychological and cognitive effect, according to one British Army officer. The helicopters mix of weapons (Hellfire or HOT missiles, rockets and guns) might be more suited to attacking light vehicles and control points employed by Libyan regime forces in concealed and urban areas than the combat aircraft operating from higher altitude.
Nevertheless, fast jets continue to strike a variety of targets. UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Tornados and Typhoons have demonstrated an incredible 99-percent success rate against fixed targets, and 98 percent against moving targets, according to a senior officer who recently returned from the Combined Air Operations Center in Italy.
By early last week, the forces had flown some 15,000 sorties and struck nearly 3,000 targets. We have degraded Ghadhafis military capacity to the point that he is no longer capable of running any major offensive operation, said a NATO spokesman. Numerous senior civil servants and military commanders have defected from the regime.
However, NATO has not been able to prevent rocket attacks on the beseiged enclave of Misrata from continuing, and skirmishes elsewhere. And there is no sign of a rebellion against the regime in Tripoli and other heartlands.
Other noteworthy aspects of the campaign include:
Officials still insist that NATO has no forward air controllers or special forces operating on the ground in Libya. This has led to increased reliance on persistent surveillance from intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) assets, sometimes for many days, to ensure that potential targets can be verified and the risk to civilians can be assessed properly.
France claims to be flying 25 percent of total sorties, using Rafales, Super Etendards, Mirage 2000D/N/-5s, E-2C Hawkeyes, E-3F AWACS and KC-135 tankers. French Air Force Rafale operations have now moved from Solenzara to Sigonella.
NATO has acknowledged only one incident in which civilians were killed in an airstrike. Unconfirmed reports reaching AIN suggest that the incident, in Tripoli on June 18, was caused by the guidance failure of tailfins on a French AASM weapon.
The deployment of RAF aircrew onboard U.S. Air Force RC-135 Rivet Joint sigint (signals intelligence) aircraft, in a co-manning arrangement. The RAF withdrew its last Nimrod R1 sigint aircraft from the Libyan operation last month, and retired the type from service. A NATO spokesman hinted that NATO has identified dissention in the ranks of the Libyan regime forces through sigint reporting.
The U.S. continues to provide Predator UAV patrols. The Italian air force now has its first two Reaper UCAVs (unmanned combat air vehicles) operational at Amendola, from where they could provide 12- to 14-hour coverage over Libya per flight, if authorized by Rome.
And then will come boots on the ground. Days and not weeks baby...
reveal that attack helicopters provided by France and the UK are now
/// now? this was reported weeks ago.
the UN authorized only a “no-fly” zone, to protect “civilians” from the “powerful” Libyan A.F.
but NATO has dropped over 2,000 smart bombs alone,
and has been running attack helicopters in direct support of ground operations for weeks.
NATO has acknowledged only one incident in which civilians were killed in an airstrike.
/// right here at FR i’ve seen multiple incidents admitted (and many others reported) at least one in which NATO ADMITTED it killed children.
(not to mention admitting non-military targets were bombed, including a christian church. )
Officials still insist that NATO has no forward air controllers or special forces operating on the ground in Libya.
/// 2,000 smart bombs dropped, without any control?
and a few weeks ago, NATO ground troops were reported being seen.
(and again, all this is just from articles posted here at FR).
even Al-Jazeera has reported that the rebels are Al-Queda and Islamists.
and remember Sudan? who killed literally millions of Christians and non-mulsims in the past decade?
(and the West did NOTHING...)
Guess which side they are on...?
Sudanese army seizes southern Libyan town (Sudan invades Libya - 400 miles inside Libyan territory)
Obama supports Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and replaced Mubarak, and now is giving them ANOTHER 125 M1 Abrahms.
(added to the 1000 they already have. WHO will the M.B. use them on ?)
I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction,
whatever side Obama is on, i am on the other.