News Article

UK operations over Libya continue

A Military Operations news article

14 Oct 11

Royal Navy ships and Royal Air Force aircraft have continued operations this week to help safeguard the Libyan people as part of NATO's Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR.

A Royal Air Force Tornado GR4

A Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 aircraft lands at Gioia del Colle air base in southern Italy having expended its entire payload of Brimstone missiles and Paveway IV bombs
[Picture: Corporal Babs Robinson, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

Yesterday afternoon, an armed reconnaissance patrol of RAF Tornado GR4s was alerted by another NATO surveillance platform to the presence of three former Gaddafi regime armed trucks hidden beneath trees to the east of Bani Walid.

The vehicles were successfully engaged by our aircraft, using Paveway guided bombs, and destroyed.

On Wednesday, RAF aircraft formed part of NATO's continuous armed reconnaissance presence over the disputed cities of Sirte and Bani Walid.

During the course of the afternoon they succeeded in identifying a pick-up truck, armed with an anti-aircraft artillery piece, in use by Colonel Gaddafi's remaining troops in Bani Walid. A Brimstone missile, launched from a Tornado GR4, scored a direct hit on the vehicle and left it ablaze.

Three hours later, a similar patrol over Sirte was tasked to engage a second such armed vehicle which a NATO surveillance asset had spotted. Once again, a direct hit from a Brimstone missile destroyed the vehicle outright.

In the early hours of Monday morning, two formations of RAF Tornado GR4s mounted a strike on a missile depot still held by Colonel Gaddafi's forces near Bani Walid. Our aircraft dropped seven Paveway laser and GPS guided bombs, scoring direct hits which inflicted very severe damage on the facility.

At sea, HMS Bangor is currently conducting maritime security patrols off Misurata, helping maintain confidence in the safe movement of merchant vessels to and from Libya's ports as the new authorities work hard at restoring normal commercial operations.

With her advanced minehunting equipment, Bangor is very well suited to identifying and neutralising any legacy threats from Colonel Gaddafi's regime, such as the abandoned mine and torpedo which she located and destroyed on the seabed off Tobruk earlier this month.

UK missions over Libya are undertaken as part of NATO's Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973 and protect Libyan civilians at risk of attack.

UK forces currently deployed on this operation include:

  • RAF Tornado GR4 aircraft based at Gioia del Colle in Italy
  • RAF VC10 and TriStar air-to-air refuelling tankers based in Sicily and the UK
  • RAF Sentry and Sentinel surveillance aircraft based in Italy
  • HMS Liverpool (Type 42 destroyer)
  • HMS Bangor (Sandown Class minehunter)

RAF air transport aircraft provide extensive logistic support to the deployed bases in Italy, Sicily and the Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus.





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