Ominous Warning: Russian Air Power in Ukraine

A Spade is a Spade for Odyssey Dawn

[Footnote 2015: Since the time of this original writing, Libya has descended into chaos. Our views are evolving on military intervention, particularly regarding regime change, no matter how well-executed or intended. Will one get a desirable outcome?]

Royal Danish Air Force Badge. Arabic writing is incorporated into the falcons head-body that reads: "Peace for the People of Libya."

31-Oct 2011: As of midnight today Operation Unified Protector will have officially concluded. For all the operational issues encountered by Allied, NATO, and rebel NTC forces - on balance, this has been a remarkable operation. We would emphasize that over, over, and over Allied aircrews returned from sorties with their weapons unused and munitions intact - illustrating the immense care and professionalism that Allied pilots displayed to target Gadhafi elements only – to attempt to avoid non-combatant casualties.

And so we say to all the member States which acted directly, or indirectly, in full view, or out of view - in this endeavor - We Thank You.

To all Allied aircrews – God Bless You.

To the Libyan people – it is your country now – and Godspeed to you.


(20-Mar, 2011) Operation Odyssey Dawn is now underway as authorized by UN resolution 1973. Over 100 American Tomahawk and other cruise missiles struck Gadhafi regime targets. We now know three American B-2A bombers also hit LARAF targets in conjunction.

(02-Mar, 2011)"Let's just call a spade a spade. A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses ... and then you can fly planes around the country and not worry about our guys being shot down," - U.S Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

We might also simply remind the reader that: the situation within Libya is no longer simply “an internal matter” as the Gadhafi regime attempts to artificially influence events within Libyan borders by the introduction of large numbers of regime-backed (and financed) foreign mercenaries. To those nations that cast an abstaining-vote on UN resolution 1973, we would hope that all would respect this decision, and thank the members for not casting a “no” vote. 

Our hope for an authentic ceasefire has long since passed...the fighting is not yet over - but Gadhafi is finished and has been removed from power.

Latest updates [ACIG and elsewhere]:

31-Oct 2011: This will be our last entry. As of midnight, today's operation Unified Protector will have officially concluded.  For all the operational issues encountered by Allied, NATO, and rebel NTC forces - on balance, this has been a remarkable operation. We would emphasize that over, over, and over Allied aircrews returned from sorties with their weapons and munitions unused and intact - illustrating the immense care and professionalism that Allied pilots displayed to target Gadhafi elements only – to attempt to avoid non-combatant casualties. We are also gratified that there has been a strong Russian-drafted UN Resolution 2017 (2011) adopted unanimously: “to stem the proliferation of portable surface-to-air missiles and other arms from Libya.”

And so we say to all the members States which acted directly, or indirectly, in full view, or out of public view - in this endeavor - We Thank You.

To all Allied aircrews – God Bless you.

To the Libyan people – it is your country now – and Godspeed to you.

20-Oct 2011: Muammar Gaddafi was captured alive in Sirte around noon today after being found unceremoniously hiding in a drainage pipe. His large vehicle convoy was attempting a breakout through rebel lines when it was hit by Allied airpower (French Mirage jets) that destroyed many of them. The rest of the convoy was cut down by rebel fighters. Gaddafi died shortly after his capture either from his wounds or due to a gunshot. Son Mutassim was also killed yesterday in Sirte. Muammar Gaddafi seized power in 1969 and abolished the Libyan Constitution of 1951.

16-Oct 2011: South African Khadija Magardie narrates this footage of fighting:

25-Sep 2011: Rebels push into Sirte.

24-Sep 2011: Fighting for Sirte.

21-Sep 2011: New photo has appeared of the rebel MiG-23ML shoot down over Benghazi. From this angle, we can also see the loadout, which appears to be UB-16 or -32 blocks, so it was heading out to attack regime 32nd advancing on Benghazi.

21-Sep 2011: It appears the KLu (Royal Dutch Air Force) F-16AMs have flown no (zero) armed sorties, except Combat Air Patrols (CAP).

21-Sep 2011: RDAF (Royal Danish Air Force) goes South! In the past 24 hours, the RDAF F-16AMs flew 1 mission (2 aircraft or more) in the area of Hun and Waddan. 8 bombs were dropped on depots and vehicles.

20-Sep 2011: [Below] Captured regime T-72 tank from Sirte covered in sheepskins. Definitely lowers the IR signature of the tank from NATOs FLIR systems, and might avoid detection if the engine is not running. Very good visual camouflage, plus lowers significantly the temperature inside, making it more comfortable for the crew; very smart and effective low-tech solution.

19-Sep 2011: Fighting for Sirte:

18-Sep 2011: Rebel assault on the town of Bani Walid collapses (again) in confusion.

18-Sep 2011: Defecting LARAF Mirage F1 pilots return:

18-Sep 2011: Listen to USAF EC-130J PSYOPS messages over Libya, airing on GMMRA frequencies. Transmission in Arabic then in English:

15-Sep 2011: Rebels have begun to attacking regime loyalists dug-in around Sirte. Fighting is heavy. The Guardian is reporting no less than 900 'technicals' attacking from three sides.

31-Aug 2011: Gadhafi loyalist surrounded in Sirte. The outcome of negotiations for unconditional surrender to NTC (rebel) Free Libyan forces - is unknown at this time.

30-Aug, 2011: Fighting in Tripoli reportedly has completely quieted down now.

29-Aug: The names of what are reportedly five (5) Serbian mercenaries arrested by rebels near Tripoli IAP, have been published on the Internet. To date, who these invidious are precisely, remains unclear.

28-Aug 2011: Fighting in Tripoli continues at this hour - Rebel clearing of regime Tripoli tunnel network underway.

26-Aug 2011: Excellent footage of Mitiga AB, accompanied by some 'thinly-informed' Western reporting and commentary. LARAF Tu-22 is also shown:

Mitiga was the least secretive AB in Libya. Not only that it was well-known to the West, but it was also a regular USAF base until 1979. In recent years it was also home to the LAVEX air show and visited by large numbers of foreign aviation observers. Nearly all of the aircraft and helicopters seen in the video (almost all the MiG-25s still stored there, and most of the L-39s) have already been photographed. The fact that locals are insertion as to  Mitiga, is simply emblematic of a Gadhafi regime. From the video, it also appears that NATO did not bomb the base. It shows that MiG-23MLs of No.1023 Squadron, CH-47Cs of No.1347 Squadron, most of An-74s, and obviously great many of Mi-8s, Mi-14s, and more, have survived intact. Many appear to be well-covered/protected from the elements.

[Below] Second Airbus burning at the Tripoli IAP after being hit by Q-loyalists. 3 other planes have been damaged to date.

26-Aug 2011 [ACIG]: - 11:00: NATO planes targeting Gadhafi forces in Bani Walid hiding inside a school building.

- 12:16: Huge underground ammo depot was found inside the Nasser Forest, where the Q-thugs entrenched until yesterday, near Rixos Hotel and Zoo.

- 13:28: al-Arabiya reports that after losing a firefight nearby, Q's thugs have rocketed Tripoli IAP again. One aircraft was damaged this time.

Afriqiyah Airbus burnt-out in the battle for Tripoli airport. One aircraft was set on fire and another hit by Q forces, purposefully targeted on 24 August 2011

- 13:29: the RAF Tornados are in the process of attacking targets inside Sirte. Apaches operating from HMS Ocean are also being used. Tornados from RAF Marham have hit a "large command bunker" inside Syrte with "a salvo of Storm Shadow PGMs" and a formation hit a "command and control node south of Tripoli".

- 13:32: power is down in Sirte and in a circle of 100km around it.

25-Aug: The Guardian is reporting several regime Scud-missile launches from Sirte on Misrata, which reportedly fell into the sea. Further details on this, are murky right now.

24-Aug: From AJE, the best description by international media to date, of the battlefield in Bab al-Aziziya (Tripoli):

21-Aug 2011: Rebels units from the west have entered Tripoli itself.   Fighting continues in parts of the city. As of 21-Aug 2011: The Gadhafi regime is finished.

17-Aug: Out of ammo, a Gadhafi T-55 or T-72 attempts to run (doing around 60km/h) with rebel technicals in pursuit. The tank could be a member of the 32AB.

14-Aug: LARAF fleet of L-39 class attack jets have about 10 working examples, and have been out of the fight since March 2011.

13-Aug: [below] RDAF F16s. The aircraft in the background appears to have fired its gun!

14-Jul: Increasing reports of female foreign nationals (Colombian/Nigerian) brought in as snipers, fighting for the Gadhafi regime.

13-Jul: The regime appears to have launched a counteroffensive south of Tripoli. The scale of the this attack is unknown but the rebels report that the village of Qawalish has been retaken by the enemy.

13-Jul: Three FLAF MiG-21s [below] photographed over Benina airport on 11-July. Two are single-seat MiG-21bis and one is a two-seat MiG-21UM. This would confirm the defection of four MiG-21s (one crashed - or was shot down - near Benina AB, on 17-Mar 2011).

22-Jun: Libyan state television showed what appears to be the wreckage of an MQ

19-Jun: NATO airstrike hits Tripoli apartments; 9 dead - 18 injured. As we have repeatedly warned: continued use of (and belief in) 'precision munitions' on high-density population areas - will (will) eventually kill non-combatants (read: civilians).

13-Jun: [Below] Gadhafi command bunkers in Tripoli under NATO air attack.

10-Jun: New terrifying footage of heavy fighting during NLA advance from Dafniya to Naimah - a village just outside Zlintan, where the regime had deployed a fresh battalion-sized (500 men) force. NATO jets can clearly be heard overhead at playback point 11:42. We suggest viewers watch and listen to the entire clip. It is frightening:

[Above] ADA Mirage 2000 660 133-JF at Souda Bay 26-May.

RAF Tornado with EPWIII BLU-109

Excellent Hungarian link of NATO armaments over Libya, including JAS 39C ‘Gripen’with IRST.

 [Above] Apache helicopters on carrier HMS Ocean.

 [Above] IMA AV-8B on Italian carrier "Garibaldi" of the Libyan coast.

29-May: New video(s) of rebel fighting with Gadhafi forces returning fire.

 [Above] 5 Qatari Mirage 2000-Mk.9s, four French AF Mirage 2000Ns and three Mirage 2000-Mk.5s
AdA Mirage 2000N 343 116-AH w GBU-31

  • 01-Jun: Two AdA Mirage 2000s make an emergency landing at Malta (presumably one aircraft had problems and wingman landed together.)
  • 01-Jun: The Guardian is reporting that SAS veterans are helping NATO identify Gadhafi targets in Misrata.
  • 31-May: For the fourth time in May, two AdA Mirage F.1CRs run out of fuel and had to divert to Malta after a mission over Libya, yesterday. The reason was a fuel transfer failure on one aircraft, the pilot and his wingman declared an emergency and landed in Luqa IAP. 
  • 31-May: the RAF began deploying Enhanced Paveway III LGBs - with BLU-109 (?) warheads (causing reports of "bunker-busters") in Libya. 
  • 24-May: French and British attack helicopters: according to French sources, Tonnerre has no less but 12 Gazelles on board (at least seven with Viviane night-vision systems), and 3 Tigers, plus specialists for guiding naval artillery from 11e Regiment d'artillerie de marine (RAMA).
  • 13-May Aircraft of unknown origin [below] is shown operating at very low altitudes over (or near) the battlefront in full view of western cameras in daylight. Aircraft is an L-39 (L-59) class light-attack jet. These aircraft are all known to be operated by the LARAF, Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt.
  • 12-May [Below] Reconnaissance image of Mitiga AB, released by the Swedish MOD (taken by SwLM JAS-39 Gripens, which now fly up to 50% of daily reconnaissance sorties over Libya), showing ten (10) LARAF MiG-25s. Aircraft are likely inoperable.

  • 08-May: It appears the LARAF is down - but not out. They reportedly attacked fuel 
    storage tanks at night at Qasr Ahmed with Aermacchi SF.260s light attack/trainers (pictured below) being the most likely culprit. The aircraft could be operating out of (or near) Misurata, hidden in hangers or other structures. More LARAF activity with this aircraft is expected. Also reports (06-May) of an unknown helicopter dropping mines in 
    Misurata harbor flying in Red Cross markings. 

  • 07-May: Rebels in Misurata reported the regime used "small aircraft, typically used for spraying pesticides, to drop bombs on four oil storage tanks in Qasr Ahmed", near the Misurata's port. The bombs started a fire which spread to four other main storage tanks. These storage tanks are Misurata only source of fuel storage. Reportedly the fire is still burning at the local fuel terminal and smoke is rolling over the city.

  • 03-May: "Unofficial" sources within the USAF reportedly now admit that the USAF F-15E that "crashed" near Benghazi in the night from 19 to 20 March this year, did so due to "lead ingestion" into the engine. (read: was hit and downed by ground fire.) It remains unknown what exactly hit "Mud Hen", but the column of the 32AB the F-15E was likely attacking, was known to have been protected by ZSU-23-4s, SA-8s and SA-24s. (this would also explain reports of the US-Marine V-22 rescue-package engaging in some sort of weapons fire during the rescue). 
update: "Mud Hen" hit and downed by SA-24 'Grinch' MANPAD.

The GBU-31VB3 similar to what was dropped on Gadhafi compound. Carried only by the USAF F-15E?
  • 01-May: Reports that a variety of NATO munitions being dropped are going unexploded.
  • 29-Apr: This morning reportedly "around 12" regime technicals appeared" in the center of Dehiba
UAE Mirage 2000 out of Sigonella, with port side PGM-500.
  • 28-Apr: NATO is gone back to hit regime G-2 light-attack aircraft at LARAF Academy at Misurata. There has been no aircraft movement at Misurata since 24-March, but reportedly there is now renewed ground fighting at the airfield.
  • 27-Apr: UAEAF F-16E overshot/veered-off the runway after landing at Sigonella and its pilot ejected. Why it was landing at Sigonella is unclear. The UAEAF presently has six F-16s (now five) and six Mirage 2000s assigned to the NATO.
AdA Mirage 2000D at Solenzara 27-April 11
  • 27-Apr: Growing concern that NATO not doing enough to pressure regime forces because of Gadhafi bombardment causing non-combatants casualties in Misurata. The UN will need to watch this carefully.

23-Apr: Gadhafi T-72 being hit by RPG at point-blank range. This is the classic example of what can occur when attempting to operate armor and vehicles in urban fighting.

  • 22-Apr: Global news services are reporting American armed MQ-1 'Predator' series drones are now operating over Libya. This should allow a persistent loiter ability over traditional fast-jets, and also verify the true threat status of whatever remaining Gadhafi antiaircraft defenses (if Predators are not brought down). MQ-1s will fall in the presence of more sophisticated air defense.

21-Apr: [Below] Rebels training with possibly the French "MILAN" anti-tank weapon,

  • 22-Apr: More and more Internet video producing overwhelming evidence of Gadhafi foreign mercenaries conducting hostile armed actions within Libyan borders.
Rebel video of what appear to be regime tanks:
  • 15-Apr: Gadhafi claimed 2 Chinook helicopters were downed over Brega. All Libyan Chinooks operate from Mitiga No.1347 Squadron - and no rebels acquired or fly the Chinook.
  • Fierce fighting continues west of Ajdabiya as heavy shelling continues against Misrata. Regime officials deny they have used cluster munitions.
  • 09-Apr: (CNN) Reports bodies of three Gadhafi army soldiers killed in Ajdabia today had IDs from Syria, Algeria, and Chad. 
  • 09-Apr: According AJE reports: NATO warplanes intercepted a rebel MiG-23 fighter and forcing it land. An unnamed NATO official said the jet took off from an airfield near Benghazi and was intercepted within minutes. No aggressive action was displayed by FLAF MiG-23 and the NATO fighters proceeded to escort land back at the Benina airfield. See here.

10-Apr: (CBS-News TV screenshot) FLAF MiG-23ML with 4 fully loaded rocket pods, formerly flown by No.1023 Squadron from Mitiga AB. This apparently confirms reports about two MiG-23s being flown by defectors to Benina, on 16-Mar in which the other was lost, three days later.
  • 09-Apr: A military helicopter with the Libyan rebel flag reportedly seen flying very low around Ajdabiya on Saturday despite UN-imposed no-fly zone, the AFP new agency said. The military helicopter had the rebel flag painted on its side was seen flying very low near Ajdabiya [AFP].
FLAF (Free Libyan Air Force) Mi-24 gunship, note the unusual warlord of three UB-32-57 pods and one drop tank. The aircraft was lost shortly after these images were taken due to its repeated attacks on regime positions (hence repeated exposure to enemy fire and SA-24s) and to exhaustion of FLAF stockpile of defensive expendables (defensive flares) for the Mi-24 gunship.
  • 09-Apr: (Reuters): NATO said its aircraft have destroyed 25 tanks belonging to Gaddafi’s forces. 11 of those were hit near Ajdabiya and have helped break up an assault on the city. Aircraft hit 6 vehicles transporting pro-Gaddafi soldiers to Ajdabiya, killing at least 15. On the outskirts of Misrata, 14 tanks were destroyed. NATO airstrikes have also sought to take out ammunition bunkers and lines of communications and other logistical facilities.

Remarkable Tornado video of a tank hit, note the regime technicals fleeing the scene. There has been controversy that NATO was unaware of rebels using captured regime heavy armor. More likely it is simply IFF issues - which are a constant concern.

08-Apr: Two SwLM Gripens proceed on their first sortie over Libya from NAS Sigonella at 18:42 hrs local time. An turbo-prob Atlantique is in background.

It appears this is the first forward combat-deployment by the Swedish Air Force in over forty (40) years.
  • 08-Apr: IFF issues are ever-present and resulted in two Allied attacks on rebel hardware.
  • 08-Apr: NATO mounted no less but 164 sorties on Wednesday (compared with 150 on Monday), and is likely to mount even more today: the Canadians may have hit some Scuds.
  • 07-Apr: Allied jets reportedly attacked regime tanks and artillery near Bin Jawad, around midnight, yesterday.
  • 07-Apr: Ada yesterday reported they disabled a SAM-site near Zintan.
  • 06-Apr: Reuters: Jordan has sent fighter jets to assist in enforcing the no-fly zone. They will be offering logistical support and aid flights.  
  • 05-Apr: RDAF (Royal Danish Air Force) attack video is released:
  • 05-Apr:  (Reuters) A Libyan-owned ship carrying imported petrol has docked at the regime-controlled port of Zawiyah to relieve fuel shortage, a Gadhafi official said. They did not say where the ship had come from, or how the vessel had been able to get through NATO warships patrolling offshore. 
  • 04-Apr: American AC-130s, A-10s, as well as KC-135s, E-3s, E-8s and other support aircraft are planned to stay on. 
  • 03-Apr: USAF AC-130 (direct fire) multi-engine turboprop aircraft, A-10 Thunderbolts and US Marine AV-8B Harriers will continue to attack Gadhafi units and other sites through Monday (04-Apr) evening.
  • 03-Apr: Eight (8) Swedish JAS 39C ‘Gripen’ fighters arrive in Sicily. This appears to be the first forward combat-deployment by the Swedish Air Force since the mid-1960s.
  • 03-Apr: Allied fighter jets (French or Danish?) reportedly hit Gadhafi position(s) near the vegetable market in Misurata (RDAF reporting target acquisition has been difficult on some missions).
  • 03-Apr: Reuters: Gadhafi forces (mercenaries) have shelled the town of Zintan, southwest of Tripoli
  • 02-Apr: Reportedly a force of approx 1300 Gadhafi mercenaries heading towards Zintan.
  • 02-Apr: Increasing reports of larger numbers of trained rebel army officers and trained soldiers appearing on rebel front lines.
  • 02-Apr: (Reuters) Allied air hit a group of rebels on the eastern outskirts of Brega late on Friday, killing at least 10. The circumstances of how unfolded is not yet clear. Potential IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) issues will remain inherent here - as it is in any armed conflict.
  • 02-April: Increasing reports of Gadhafi forces switching to rebel-looking "technicals" to confuse Allied airpower. We would simply remind the reader that: this will cause inherent IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) issues for - all combatants -  including (new) IFF issues for Gadhafi regime forces as well. Current rebel weaponry can knock-out a Gadhafi "technical" more easily than a regime tank or APC - so we'll need to watch this carefully. In effect Allied air power pressure is prompting this shift by regime tacticians?
  • 29-Mar: (AP) USN P-C3 knocked out a Gadhafi naval vessel operating near the port of Misrata, and vessel was forced to beach near the port. American A-10C anti-tank aircraft attacked two smaller regime vessels traveling with the larger ship, and report: one destroyed - one abandoned.
  • 29-Mar: Sweden is sending 8x SwLM JAS-39 Gripen fighters plus support aircraft.

BAF F-16s hit Okba Ibn an-Nafi AB and destroy a LARAF Su-22 "Fitter' left out the the open.

QEAF Mirage 2000 at Souda Bay 30-Mar11

AdA Rafales and Mirage 2000D 28-Mar 2011

AdA Rafale B 118-EC 19-Mar 2011

Newest update (events moving quickly and information may change):

  • 01-April: The regime troops apparently by-passed Ras Lanuf and Brega, and brought themselves into a position south and south-east of Agedabia. A major attack is now expected there.
  • Gadhafi naval vessel operating near the port of Misrata, and vessel was forced to beach near the port. American A-10C anti-tank aircraft attacked two smaller regime vessels traveling with the larger ship, and report: one destroyed - one abandoned. (AP).
  • 29-March: Sweden is sending 8x SwLM JAS-39 Gripen fighters plus support aircraft.
  • 29-March: CAF Hornets destroyed an ammo depot 92km south of Misurata.
  • 26-March: two flights of AdA Rafales and two flights of Mirage 2000D, as well as two mixed flights of Rafale and Super Etendard, destroyed at least five G-2 "Galebs" and at least two Mi-35 gunships, all hit on the ground.
Concentration of LARAF G-2As light attack aircraft and two Mi-24, at the central apron of the Air Force Academy AB in Misurata, on 23-Mar11. Some of G-2As have been hit by Coalition airstrikes, and are burning. (GeoEye’s IKONOS)

The infamous Super Etendard returns to the world stage for the UN. The aircraft and her "Exocet" missile became a household name during the Falklands-Malvinas conflict.

RAF Tornado, and below using "Brimstone."

    Radar site destroyed in a residential suburb of Tajura, 32 km (20 miles) east of the Tripoli on 25-Mar11

      USAF B-1B w/ "Sharpshooter" pod at starboard.

      A few of key points here:
      • IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) issues will be a constant concern - for all combatants.
      • Libyan rebels are not using proper "tactical separation" between their vehicles. 50m to 100m would be a good start.
      • UN planners must remember that all manner of smart-munitions will only have a certain accuracy rate. Assuming an accuracy rate of ninety percent (90%) if one drops a hundred (100) weapons - then ten (10) weapons do not hit their intended target.
      • With the use of our most sophisticated primary strategic assets like the B-2: there is one glaring exception in all of this: the F-22 Raptor. With its US $62-$77 Billion program cost – where on earth is the F-22 Raptor ?!? Is it waiting to be introduced in-theater after Libyan era air defenses and other threats can be attributed down by our "older less capable" 4th generation assets?
      • We've so far been very impressed with the speed and application of Allied combat power. Heavy regime armor, and 155mm self-propelled howitzers outside Benghazi, appear to have been hit first by French and then additional Allied aircrews - in the nick of time. 
      • So far Allied aircraft are also returning from sorties with unspent ordinance - another good sign.
      • Sweden has authorized eight of her JAS 39 Gripen fighters to support the Libya operation. This appears to be the first forward combat deployment by the Swedish Air Force since the 1960s - remarkable.
      [Above] The French Air Force Rafale. Rafales were apparently responsible [together with F-15E below, and AV-8B] for shattering Gadhafi armored units south of Benghazi, the night/morning of 19/20-Mar.
      [Below] This B-2A returns to the continental US after hitting regime hardened aircraft shelters at Ghardabiya Airfield, in conjunction with Navy TLAMs.
      [Below] Post strike USAF B2 / Navy TLAM reconnaissance/damage-assessment of Ghardabiya shown during Pentagon briefing 20-Mar, 2011. All targeted shelters appear either damaged or flattened. Expect UN strikes on Mitiga and Sebha AB.
        [Below] RAF Tornado GR4 during in-flight refueling carrying the Storm Shadow attack missiles en route to Libyan targets on 19-Mar.
        [Below] Regime ‘Palmaria’ 155mm self-propelled howitzers outside Ajdabiyah 16-Mar.
        [Below] Unit of ‘Palmaria’ 155mm howitzers shattered by Allied aircraft 20-Mar, south of Benghazi.

        According to Reuters, the destruction of 32AB south of Benghazi, during the night from 19 to 20 March, as follows: 
        • 14 "Tanks" (4-5 Palmaryas, rest T-72s). 
        • 20 IFVs and APCs. 
        • 2 BM-21s. 
        • "dozens" of pickups/technicals. 
        • Total: around 70 vehicles. 
        Apparently, the F-15Es and AV-8Bs caught the 32AB while this was in a night camp, following 32’s unsuccessful first attack on Benghazi (where it lost six T-72s, one T-62, and at least three other armored vehicles).[Above] Unit of ‘Palmaria’ howitzers shattered by Allied (French) aircraft/munitions 20-Mar, south of Benghazi.
        [Above] USMC AV-8B on Kearsarge.
        Regime SA-8 "Gecko" class, low-altitude, all-weather, mobile SAM - ablaze - 20-Mar, south of Benghazi.

         [Above/Below] Ammunition 'coking off' and exploding from knocked-out regime units.

        IFF issues may have caused rebel defenses to down rebel MiG-23ML'D' over Benghazi on 19-Mar. Note second additional faint diagonal smoke-trail on the upper-right of image.

        Danish F-16s based at the Sigonella (Italy). F-15Es in background (Getty Images).

        AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missile rounds being loaded to F-16 at Birgi AB, Sicily (Reuters).

        RAF Tornado 20-Mar.

        TR-1/U2S with data-link package on spine departs RAF Akrotiri airbase (Cyprus) 20-Mar.

        Norwegian F-16s on tarmac of a NATO military base in Souda on the island of Crete 22-Mar.

        RAF Typhoon FGR4 22-Mar.

        CAF CC-150 w/ CF-18s

        French AF E-3F AWACS

        AdA Mirage 2000-5F Solenzara 24-Mar

        Rafale M on Charles de Gaule 24-Mar.

        Qatar Air Force Mirage 2000 Mk5 EDA fighters at Souda Hellenic AFB, on Crete 27-Mar (AP).

        Allied Order of Battle 
        [ACIG] as of 02-Apr:

        Air Bases in Italy
        Aviano AB
        • 40x USAF F-16C/D Block 40 of 31FW (consisting of 555FS and 510FS)
        • 6x A-10C(A?) of 81FS  
        • 14x USAF F-15E of 48FW/494FS; (minus LN 91-0304 from 492FS, which crashed on 21-Mar11, crew OK) 
        • 15x USAF F-16CJ Block 50/52 of 52FW/480FS 
        • 5x USN E/A-18G of VAQ-132 
        • 1x USAF C-17A of 62AW 
          Note: 31FW F-16Cs were armed with AIM-120Cs and AIM-9X when on CAP over Libya; at least a pair was seen taking off from Aviano equipped with AGM-88Cs too. 52FW F-16Cs are most often seen carrying AGM-88Cs.
              Decimomannu ("Deci")
              • 4x EdA EF-18M of Ala 12 
              • 1x EdA B707-331B(KC) of 471 Escadron 
              • 1x EdA CN.235MPA of Ala 48 
              • 6x KLu F-16AM of 322/327 Squadrons 
              • 1x KLu KDC-10A (T-264) of 334 Squadron relocated to Cagliari Elmas 
              • 6x UAEAF F-16E/F 
              • 6x UAEAF Mirage 2000-Mk.9DAD
              • 8x SwLM JAS-39 Gripen 
              • 1x SwLM C-130 
              • 1x ERIEYE (?) 
                Gioia del Colle
                RAF 906 Expeditionary Air Wing
                • 10x RAF Typhoon FGR.Mk.4 of 3, 11, 29 Squadrons 
                • 10x RAF Tornado GR.Mk.4 of 2, 9, 15, 31 Squadrons  
                • 1x RAF Globemaster C.Mk.1 
                NAS Signonella
                • 2x USAF RQ-4B of 9W, Det.4 
                • 1x USAF AC-130U of 1SOW
                • 1x USAF AC-130U of 4SOS/16SOW in action 25-Mar11) 
                • 2x USAF HH-60G  
                • 6x RDAF F-16AM of Eskadriller 727  730 (i.e. Fighter Wing Skrydstrup)
                • 1x RDAF C-130J of Eskadriller 721 
                • 1x KC-130J USMC
                • 1x USAF E-3B of 552AEWCW 
                • 1x USAF E-3B of 552AEWCW 
                • 3x NATO E-3A (all without their German crews, which have been withdrawn from ops over Libya on 23-Mar11) 
                • 8x CAF CF-18A (or CF-188) of 425 Sqn
                • 2x CC-117 of 429 Squadron 
                • 4x AMI F-16ADF of 18° Gruppo 
                • 8x EF-2000 of 4° Stormo  
                • 8x AMI Tornado ECR RET7 & IDS of 155° Gruppo 
                • 4x AMI Tornado IDS of 6° Stormo from Ghedi;
                • 1 x KC-130J of 46 Brigata Aerea  now operating out of Pisa 
                • 1x VC.10T-1/1K of 101 Squadron 
                • 2s AMI HH-3F 82°Centro 
                Air Bases in France
                • 2x AdA E-3F of EDCA 01.036  
                • 6x AdA C-135FR or GRV 02.091 
                • Capitaine Preziosi AB, Solenzara 
                • 8x AdA Rafale B/C of EC 01.007 
                • 6x AdA Mirage 2000C Mk.5 
                • 6x AdA Mirage 2000D of EC 02.003 / 03.003
                • 2x QEAF C-17A  
                Air Bases in Greece
                • 7x BeAF F-16AM of 10th Wing  
                • 1x BeAF F-16BM of 10th Wing  
                Souda Bay
                • 1x USAF EC-130J 193SOS 
                • 1x USAF EC-130H 193SOS 
                • 1x USAF RC-135V 
                • 1x USAF RC-135W 
                • 2x USAF KC-135 
                • 5x QEAF Mirage 2000-Mk.5EDA of No.7 Squadron 
                • 1x QEAF Mirage 2000-Mk.5DDA of No.7 Squadron 
                • 4x AdA Mirage 2000-5F of (unit?) 
                • 6x RNoAF F-16AM 
                • 1x RNoAF C-130J-30 
                  Air Bases on Cyprus
                  RAF Akrotiri
                  • RAF 907 Expeditionary Air Wing 
                  • 1x RAF Nimrod R.Mk.1 of No.5 Squadron 
                  • 3x RAF E-3D Sentry  
                  • 2x RAF Sentinel R.Mk.1 
                  • 1x USAF U-2/TR-1 (80-1079) 
                  Air Bases in the UK
                  RAF Marham
                  • 4x Tornado GR.Mk.4 (flew one raid the last night) 
                  RAF Mildenhall
                  • 2x USAF MC-130H in action 25Mar11 
                  • 1x USAF OC-135 of 55W 
                  • 1x USAF RC-135B 55W 
                  • ?x USAF KC-135R/Ts
                  RAF Brize Norton
                  • 5x VC.10T-1/1K of 101 Sqn
                  • 2x Tristar T.Mk.4 of 216 Sqn 
                    Air Bases in Spain
                    NAS Rota
                    • 2x USN P-3C UII (at least one now in Souda) 
                    • 2x USN P-3C AIP (at least one now in Souda) 
                    • 1x USN EP-3 Aries II of VP-2 (several flights along the southern Libyan borders undertaken the last week) 
                    • 3x USAF E-3B 
                    • 1x E-8C of 116ACW (92-3289, in action 25Mar11) 
                    • 1x E-8C of 116ACW 
                    • 1x E-8C of 116ACW 
                    • 1x E-8C of 116ACW 
                    • 1x E-8C of 552ACW (80-0138, apparently underway to Rota) 
                    • 1x E-8C of 552ACW (another apparently underway to Rota) 
                    • 1x E-8C of 552ACW (two of these aircraft are definitely stationed at Rota AB, two possibly elsewhere; 1 arrived 25-Mar11, 1 arrived 26-Mar11) 
                    • 4x USAF E-3C 
                    Air Bases in Chad
                    N'Djamena IAP/Camp Kossei
                    • 3x AdA Mirage 2000C RDI 
                    • 3x AdA Mirage 2000D 
                    • 1x C-135FR 
                    • 2x AdA C.160 Transall 
                    • 1x AdA CASA CN.235 
                    • 4x ALAT Puma 
                    • 1 or 2x AN Atlantique 
                    Abeché/Camp Croci
                    • no reports about deployments.
                    (Note: 4x additional Mirage 2000D + 1x C-135FR deployed "sometimes between 14 and 19 March"; apparently not in connection to Op Epervier, since there are already three Mirage 2000-RDYs there, deployed relatively recently; exact status of the former temporary AdA AB in Faya Largeau some 600km north of N'Djamena remains unknown, but this airfield could probably be used for ops over Libya as well)
                      Air Bases in CONUS
                      Ellsworth AFB
                      • 2x USAF B-1B (one acted as spares) 
                      Bangor ANGB
                      • 3x USAF KC-135s
                      Aircraft Carriers in the Mediterranean

                      MNFS/PA Charles de Gaule (R91) (operates as part of TF.473, together with destroyer Forbin D620, frigates Jean Bart D615, Dupleix D641, and Aconit F713, tanker Meuse A607, and a Rubis-class SSN)
                      • 8x AN Rafale M of 12F 
                      • 6x AN Super Etendard NG of 17F 
                      • 4x AN E-2C of 4F
                      • 2x AN Dauphin 
                      • 1x or 2x SA.316B Alouette III 
                      • 2x AdA Carcal 
                      • 1x AdA Puma 
                      ITNS Garibaldi (C551)
                      • 6x AV-8B of I GrupAer (WOLF; Home base Grottaglie) 
                      • ?x EH.101 
                      • 2x AB.212 
                      USS Kearsarge (LHD-3), with 26MEU on board; all units officially assigned to VMM-266 ("reinforced")
                      • 6x USMC AV-8B of VMA-542 
                      • 5x USMC MV-22A 
                      • 4x USMC CH-53 (23) 
                      • 4x USMC AH-1W (164587) 
                      • 3x USMC UH-1N (31) 
                      • 1x USN MH-60S of HSC-12 
                      • 1x USN MH-60R of HSC-12 
                      USS Ponce (LPD-15)
                      • 2x USN MH-60R/S of 56RQS 
                      HMS Cumberland
                      • 2x Lynx Mk.8 
                      HMS Westminster
                      • 1x RN Merlin HM.Mk.1
                      HMCS Charlottetown
                      • 1x RCN CH-134 Sea King 
                      SPNS Mendez Nunez
                      • 1x SN SH-60B of 10 Escuadrilla 
                      On the Way in/Planned for Deployment
                      • 8x SwLM JAS-39 Gripen 
                      • 1x SwLM C-130 
                      • 1x ERIEYE (?) 
                      USS Bataan (LHD-5), with 22MEU
                      • 6x USMC AV-8B of VMA-542
                      • 10x USMC MV-22A of VMM-263
                      • 4x USMC CH-53 (?) 
                      • 4x USMC AH-1W 
                      • 3x USMC UH-1N 
                      • 1x USN MH-60S/R of HSC-28 
                      USS Whidbey Island
                      • 2x USN MH-60R/S 
                      USS Mesa Verde
                      • 2x USN MH-60R
                      LARAF loss/claims to date 21-Mar, 2011 - currently count closed  - [ACIG]:
                      • 17 February, An-26, captured by protesters in Kufra, after bringing 2000 rifles and US18 Million there.
                      • 20 February, Mi-8 or Mi-24, reported as shot down during the uprising in el-Beyda.
                      • 20 February, Mi-24 "853", destroyed on the ground at Benina AB.
                      • 20 February, Mi-24 "854", captured at Benina AB.
                      • 20 February, Mi-24, captured at Benina AB.
                      • 20 February, Mi-14 "1406", captured at Benina AB.
                      • 21 MiG-23BNs, 10 MiG-23MFs, and at least four G-2/J-21s, as well as several helicopters, have been captured by the rebels at Benina, al-Abrak and Misurata ABs; most in inoperable condition.
                      • 21 February, unk. transport aircraft, claimed as shot down by ground fire while attempting to land at Gamal Abdel Nasser AB, south of Tobruq.
                      • 21 February, unk. helicopter claimed as shot down by demonstrators.
                      • 21 February, unk. helicopter claimed as shot down by demonstrators.
                      • 21 February, Mirage F.1ED "502", flown to Malta by defecting pilot.
                      • 21 February, Mirage F.1ED "508", flown to Malta by defecting pilot.
                      • 23 February, A.109, claimed as shot down by local protesters.
                      • 23 February, Su-22UM-3K, crashed after pilot activated ejection of the crew (WSO arrested for resisting defection; pilot evacuated to Egypt).
                      • 23 February, Su-22M-3K, crashed after pilot activated ejection (pilot evacuated to Egypt with severe burns and several broken limbs).
                      • 23 February, SF.260 "5A-DME", crushed by T-55 MBT during the fighting for Misurata AB.
                      • 27 February, Mi-8 or Mi-24, reportedly shot down by Manpads during attack on local radio station; crew of five captured.
                      • 2 March, Mirage F.1ED, claimed as shot down during fighting for Mersa el-Brega airport, (possibly only damaged, but this report by the Toronto Star indicates it was indeed shot down, and that the wingman made at least one turn around that area, looking for what was going on).
                      • 3 March, unknown fighter jet, claimed shot down during the fighting in Misurata.
                      • 3 March, Mirage F.1ED, claimed as shot down during fighting in Mersa el-Brega, (Most likely a re-report of the same plane claimed on 2 March).
                      • 4 March, Mi-8MT "2119/Air Ambulance", captured in abandoned condition at Ras Lanoof airfield.
                      • 5 March, unknown. helicopter, claimed shot down during fighting in Ras Lanoof.
                      • 5 March, Mi-8 or Mi-24, shot down by ZPU-4 during fighting in Ras Lanoof.
                      • 5 March, Su-24MK "38", shot down by ZPU-4 during fighting west of Ras Lanoof, crew KIA, one was Syrian (claims about the Mirage with serial "538" supposedly shot down on the same day are definitely wrong, and based on pieces of wreckage from the Su-24MK "38").
                      • 6 March, Mi-24, claimed shot down by ZPU-4 during fighting in Bin Jawad area, crew KIA, one of pilots was Syrian.
                      • 6 March, Su-22, claimed shot down by ZPU-4s during attacks in Ras Lanoof area, pilot KIA; variously said to have been Sudanese or Syrian.
                      • 6 March, Su-22, claimed shot down by ZPU-4s during attacks in Ras Lanoof area, SyrianBenghazi ever since).
                      • 7 March, unknown fighter jet, claimed shot down by ZPU-4s during attacks near Ras Lanoof.
                      • 13 March, MiG-21bis, flown to Benina AB by defecting pilot (Col. Ali Atiyya), this same MiG-21 now flying for FLAF was lost while scrambling from Benina AB, on 17 March fate of the pilot unknown.
                      • 14 March, MiG-23ML, flown to Benina AB by defecting pilot. This MiG-23ML was lost after scrambling from Benina AB, on 19 March, during possible air combat with LARAF MiG-23s)
                      • 14 March, unknown fighter aircraft, reportedly flown to Benina AB by defecting pilot.
                      • 17 March, Su-22M-3K, shot down over Benina AB, pilot ejected safely and captured; said to be Algerian, (if true then without official sanction by Algeria, so true mercenary. Algerian AF has no pilots qualified on Su-22s, and denies having any pilots flying for LARAF).
                      • 17 March, unknown fighter aircraft (possible MiG-23), claimed shot down near Solluch, 50km south of Benghazi, fate of pilot unknown.
                      • 17 March, unknown fighter aircraft, claimed shot down over Benghazi around local, but apparently came down south of the city.
                      • 19 March, unknown fighter aircraft, claimed shot down near Agedabia.
                      • 19 March, around 13:30hrs, unknown fighter aircraft, claimed shot down near Fawayhat (suburb of Benghazi).
                      Balance of the LARAF as of 21-Mar, 2011:

                      Mitiga AB
                      • 1012 Squadron with Mirage F.1EDs (probably 4-6 aircraft).
                      • 1023 Squadron with 7 MiG-23MLs and 1 MiG-23UB (at most).
                      • 1024 Squadron with 4 MiG-23MS', at least, 2 MiG-23MFs and 2 MiG-23UBs (i.e. what's left of that unit after its withdrawals from Benina and Misurata).
                      • 1039 Squadron with L-39s.
                      • 1226 Squadron with An-26s.
                      • 1230 Squadron with C-130s.
                      • 1314 Squadron with Mi-14s (other sources cite this unit as "1014" Squadron).
                      • 1328 Squadron with Mi-8s.
                      • 1347 Squadron with CH-47s.
                      • Police Aviation Squadron with 9 A.109s.
                      Tripoli IAP
                      • 1236 or "Green Squadron" with An-26 and An-32 (fire-fighters).
                      • 1276 Squadron with Il-76s.
                      Ghurdabiya AB (hit by B-2s on 20 March)
                      • 1021 Squadron with MiG-21s (what's left of that unit after at least two defections).
                      • 1022 Squadron with Su-22s.
                      • 1032 Squadron with Su-22s.
                      • 1121 Squadron with J-21s (probably including remnants of No.1020 Sqn from Misurata).
                      • 1124 Squadron with Su-24s (there should be four of these now).
                      • 1308 Squadron with Mi-8s.
                      • 1335 Squadron with Mi-24s.
                      Sebha AB (apparently untouched by airstrikes)
                      • al-Fattah Squadron with SF.260s.
                      Latest LARAF operations:
                      • Reported yesterday in the late afternoon, when at least one "helicopter gunship" was reported in attack on Misurata.
                      Libyan passenger aircraft are still active over southern Libya and neighboring countries. In the last four days, the following flights are known to have occurred there:
                      • Two B737s returned from Mauritania
                      • A Malian Presidential B727 arrived from Mali
                      • G.550 flew from Ounianga Kebir in Chad to somewhere in southern Libya.

                      In turn, the Libyan State TV by now reported the following claims for allied aircraft:

                      1 "French jet" shot down on the evening of 19 March
                      2 "French jets" shot down yesterday, 20 March
                      1 "Qatari jet", shot down yesterday, 20 March
                      1 "Qatari jet", "joined the victims of the great Libyan people

                      Summary for the FLAF to date 20-Mar, 2011:
                      • 15-Mar: 6 combat sorties flown: two vs. warships; two vs Agedabia; two vs. Ghurdabiya AB. 1 MiG-23BN fighter lost: reported suicide attack on Bab Azizia barracks in Tripoli; pilot Muhammad Mokhtar Osman KIA. 
                      • 16-Mar: 3 combat sorties flown; two by Mi-24s and one by Mi-14, no losses.
                      • 17-Mar: 1 MiG-21bis crashed after a take-off from Benina AB, due to technical malfunction; pilot apparently KIA (?) 
                      • 19-Mar: at least two combat sorties flown; 1 MiG-23ML shot down after take-off from Benina AB, around 07:30 local, possible air combat with LARAF MiG-23s; pilot KIA; it is possible that one LARAF fighter was shot down during the same air combat and crashed south of Benghazi, shortly later.
                      - Information may change -

                      #libya, #NATO, #odysseydawn

                      -- All media found here is for scholarship and research purposes and protected under U.S. Internet ‘Fair Use’ Law -


                      1. One wonders about the current situation regarding Gaddafi's ADS. Even assuming that they are in working condition, what are the chances that the Gaddafi regime's remaining IADS operators have sufficient training to counter incoming aircraft using ECM and kinematic maneuvers to evade and then destroy?

                      2. Hi Anonymous,

                        Typically what happen in these situations is when faced with vastly superior airpower, SAM system operations attempt to stay quiet/undetected until relatively larger numbers of opposition aircraft are operating – this can be days or even weeks later – then SAMs suddenly become active in an attempt to catch roving opponent aircraft off guard. When SAM and CGi radars go quiet in the beginning of a conflict – unless their hunted down, you can be sure they won’t stay that way. Allied pilots will need to stay very wary.

                        - The Boresight

                      3. Any news on the F-15E that crashed?

                        Also, Al-Jazeera reported that one of Ghadaffi's warplanes was shot down by coalition aircraft. Any news on that?

                      4. Hi Patrick,

                        Allied F-15E Strike Eagle from 48FW serial 91-0304/LN (48FW/492FS) was lost 38 km (24 mi) east of Benghazi, near Bu'Mariem on the night of 21-Mar (local time). It appears the aircraft came down in a flat spin, pancaked the ground intact, then caught fire. Both aircrew ejected safely and have been recovered. No evidence due to hostile action.

                        We’ve heard rumor, but as of yet no details on this. Do you have some details?

                        - The Boresight

                      5. Some speculation as to the reasons for the F-15 crashing:


                      6. Only other source I've found is a german newspaper, claiming it was a libyan transport aircraft. Until I find a more official source of this info I'm pretty skeptical right now.

                        Source is in German, so you'll have to use google translate.


                      7. Hi Patrick,

                        Ok great find - we're trying to verify now. Also Allied aircraft may have now hit the downed F-15E with bombs to protect sensitive information the Strike Eagle may have contained. We’ll be doing another update cycle our whole Odyssey Dawn post soon - as well. Thanks in the meantime!

                        - The Boresight

                      8. Here's a confirmed one!

                        French Rafale shot down a Libyan G-2 Galeb today. Unclear if it was an Air Force or Navy Rafale.


                        Considering the quick confirmation of this one, it would seem to make the previous claim even less likely.

                      9. Dramatic escalation of air war over libya: USAF AC-130's and A-10's are now confirmed to be in the fight.


                      10. Hi Patrick

                        Good find!! Probable A-10C from the 81 FS.

                        B-1B Lancers with air-tankers apparently were in rout over Atlantic yesterday. Keep an eye out for an overall INCREASE in U.S. sorties and increased assets despite what the press has been told of overall “decreased” US presence/involvement. Also watch for Liwa Haris al-Jamahiriya Brigade (Gadhafi own Revolutionary Guard) that may deploy soon.

                        - Boresight

                      11. With regards to Pro-Government troops switching from tanks to technicals, it may also be likely that many of their armored vehicles have been destroyed, and many of the operators of said vehicles killed.

                        Another factor: there are likelt not many Libyan troops willing to drive into open desert in a tank right now, which is probably resulting in defections amongst Gaddafi's armored units.

                        Finally, Libya has thousands of tanks, mostly T-54/55's, in storage, but these storage depots have likely already been pulverised by allied aircraft, depleating their armored reserves.

                        In short, a big reason they're switching to technicals may not be just to confuse coalition airpower, but also because they don't have any other type of equipment to choose from.


                        "Al Jazeera's Laurence Lee, in Benghazi, says reports are emerging that it might not have been NATO that hit a rebel armoured unit outside Brega. He says it might instead have been a light plane used by Gaddafi forces, suggesting that they are getting arms from outside."

                        This better not be true. There is an air armada of fighter aircraft over Libya right now. How the hell could they permit a Gaddafi aircraft to conduct strikes in that sort of enviroment!? Maybe the U.S should rethink pulling its combat aircraft out of the op, ever since NATO took over things have gone to hell in a hand bag over there.

                      13. Hi Patrick,
                        IFF issues are one of the cornerstones of armed conflict - and effect all (all) combatants. An American Apache recently mistook a group of children for targets in Afghanistan.

                        Even thought NATO is “running” the operation, NATO is effectively an American entity. We’ve debated whether to start a new “Operation Unified Protector” post – let’s wait and see.

                        - The Boresight


                        At 32 seconds into the video you can clearly see a Libyan Air Force L-39 in flight.

                      15. Great find Patrick!

                        Uh oh!


                        - The Boresight

                      16. Maybe a Tunisian L-59 too ...

                        MiG-21 8 april


                      17. Captured Mi-24 and SF.260 at Kufra AB at 2:03


                      18. Hi NonoD44.

                        Great find(s)!!!

                        thank you!!

                        - The Boresight

                      19. French Mirage 2000 sinks Libyan missile boat.



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