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Libya No Fly Zone


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From The Guardian

 

Libya_Coalition_Sorties1200.jpg

 

Libya operations details (Google docs)

 

NATO Libya attacks (Google docs)

 

The Guardian stats are a bit out / over simplified. For example, has the Royal Navy contribution down as three ships. Reality was a lot more, but, to be fair, a lot of rotation. The list below is the comprehensive RN involvement:

 

In February and early March, during the evacuation of entitled pax:

HMS Cumberland

HMS York

HMS Westminster.

 

York was off station by the time military intervention started on 19 March.

 

First week of April, HMS Liverpool deployed specifically to join NATO maritime ops, Cumberland and Westminster now off station.

 

Liverpool then stays on task until end of Op Unified Protector as primary UK DD/FF asset (finally came home this Monday). However, she had a scheduled maintenance period programmed in over the summer, so while she was in Taranto, Iron Duke and Sutherland, on their way to and from the Gulf, each stood in for her, and each fired at least one naval gunfire support mission vs shore targets. French and US MPAs providing spotter role.

 

So, that is the DD/FF role taken care of.

 

Brocklesby was the RN minehunter on station for the first half of the campaign, and the first on scene when Qadhafi's SF laid the three mines off Misratah using sacrificial Zodiacs. Quickly joined by a Dutch MCMV (Haarlem I think) to clear them. Brocklesby was relieved during the summer by Bangor. So one MCMV on station the whole time. As the rebels secured more and more of the ports, Bangor and US MPAs conducted surveys and dealt with at least two legacy unexploded mines and torpedoes (presumably left over from Libyan navy exercises in the past?) off Tobruk.

 

Triumph was the SSN in TLAM and surveillance role. Turbulent, en route to the Indian Ocean, covered for a few days while she replenished TLAMs. Triumph apparently went off station without replacement at some point over the summer, presumably once TLAM targets had dried up. But at least one French submarine was also around, on surveillance tasks.

 

Ocean assigned from beginning of June, with Apache AH1 and Sea King ASACS, plus US MH-60s in CSAR role embarked. Fort Rosalie kept her supplied with Hellfires, etc, as well as topping up the DD/FF with 4.5", including illumination rounds - a surprising number of the shells fired were illum rather than HE, for good psy-ops reasons: a nice star shell over a bunch of conscripts manning a check point on the old Via Balba being a good "soft kinetic" way of issuing a final, final warning: first the leaflets, then the star shell, then, if need be, HE or an air strike.

 

So, in one sense, the Guardian chart is right as showing three ships at the end of the op: Ocean, Liverpool, Bangor, (plus Fort Rosalie, but you cannot expect the media to pay attention to an RFA... :o ) But eleven ships in all had played some part or other in the op, and that is just the RN. The French similarly swapped over their helo carrier half way through. Their army helicopters, by the way, seem to have done a cracking job despite their age, with a rather different (not necessarily better, but different) approach to the Apaches: basically Gazelles with HOT doing the execution, backed up by two armed Pumas for immediate CSAR, and a Tiger (still lacking Hellfires, so cannon and rockets only) escorting the Pumas and possibly acting as an armoured scout.

 

Single biggest threat to the warships, leaving aside the wildly optimistic rocket and artillery fire from the shore? Probably the booby-trapped zodiac (with a LOT of explosives packed in) left behind when Liverpool, Courbet and Charlottestown intercepted yet another RHIB attack on Misratah. Luckily, Charlottestown (I think) smelt a rat and got just close enough to see that it was not as empty as it should have been, and was then dealt with at a safe distance. But a good effort one has to admit from the Libyan SF. If you watch the RAF footage of the Al Khums harbour attack, you will see the Tornados plinking the two Combattantes with 500lb Paveway IVs, but then a Typhoon dropping 1000lb Paveway IIs onto a quayside hangar/warehouse - apparently that was the RHIB base, and indeed some of the RHIBs are in the water nearby. Probably the most important target of the three, if the least sexy looking for the media...

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For context, the pretty graphic covers only an early portion of the war (a couple of weeks if memory serves but I can't find the reference I remember).

 

Excellent write-up though David, keep em coming!

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  • 5 weeks later...

From Air Force Times

 

[excerpt]

 

Board: Maneuver resulted in Libya F-15E crash

By Jill Laster - Staff writer

Posted : Wednesday Dec 14, 2011 17:57:19 EST

 

An F-15E crashed in Libya earlier this year because the pilot conducted a maneuver at untested altitude and angle, U.S. Air Forces in Europe announced Tuesday.

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From DefenseNews

 

[excerpt]

 

Italy Gives Bombing Stats for Libya Campaign

By TOM KINGTON

Published: 14 Dec 2011 16:37

 

ROME - In their first official breakdown of facts and figures about Italy's air campaign over Libya this year, officials said military aircraft deployed 710 guided bombs and missiles during sorties. Italian Air Force Tornados and AMX fighter bombers deployed 550 bombs and missiles, while Navy AV8s deployed 160 guided bombs, the officials said during an event at Trapani Air Base in Sicily to honor military personnel involved in the conflict.

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