5 juin 2011 7 05 /06 /juin /2011 06:00



04 Jun 2011 By Patrick Hennessey, Political Editor THE TELEGRAPH


Britain pledged to step up attacks on Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s forces on Saturday as Apache attack helicopters joined the battle for the first time.


Two £40 million Apaches, launched from a ship off the Libyan coast, pounded ground defences in a devastating show of strength.


They fired laser-guided Hellfire missiles to destroy a radar installation to the west of the oil port of Braga, then blew up an anti-aircraft gun before their two-man crews returned safely, despite coming under enemy fire from AK47s.


Meanwhile, in a carefully timed move, William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, declared rebel leaders to be the “legitimate representatives of the Libyan people” as he and Andrew Mitchell, the International Development Secretary, became the first British ministers to visit the country since the military operation began in March.


It also emerged that Britain is likely to send a fifth Army Air Corps Apache to help the campaign, to join the four already there.


The Apache attack, launched 15 miles off the coast from the Royal Navy’s biggest warship, the amphibious assault ship HMS Ocean, was the first time in the 10-week campaign that allied helicopters had combined with fast jets.


Both Apaches were flown by veterans of the Afghanistan campaign. They fired six missiles at the radar base and then destroyed the gun emplacement using their powerful 30mm underslung cannon, in an operation lasting just 90 minutes.


Behind them, Nato fixed wing bombers attacked separate targets in a carefully synchronised attack, while French Gazelle helicopters launched from the carrier La Tonnerre sought out a further set of targets.


During the assault early yesterday, RAF ground attack aircraft destroyed another military installation in the same area, and another RAF mission successfully attacked two ammunition bunkers at the large Waddan depot in central Libya.


Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, denied the use of Apaches had been taken because the original military campaign was not working well enough.


“It’s not plan B at all,” he said, speaking at a security forum in Singapore. “The use of the attack helicopters is a logical extension of we have already been doing. We already have fast jets in action, this gives us a chance to target new targets in a way we weren’t able to do.”


Mr Hague and Mr Mitchell touched down by helicopter in the rebel-controlled stronghold of Benghazi, where they met rebel leaders and key members of Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) including its head, Mustafa Abdul Jalil.


The Foreign Secretary praised the NTC and repeated the demand of Britain and its western allies for Col Gaddafi to be removed.


He said: “We are here today for one principal reason – to show our support for the Libyan people and for the NTC, the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.


“Britain remains a strong and true friend of Libya. We could not and did not turn a blind eye when Gaddafi turned his forces against innocent civilians. For as long as Gaddafi continues to abuse his people, we will continue and intensify our efforts to stop him.


“The UK is committed to this task. Col Gaddafi is isolated internationally and domestically. He has lost all legitimacy, continues to abuse human rights without mercy or compunction. He must go.


“We are here together as part of a coordinated and strategic approach to Libya – ensuring that our military, diplomatic and development actions are aligned.”


The UK already has a joint team from the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence in Benghazi, advising the NTC on its long-term plans. Communications equipment, bullet-proof vests and uniforms have also been provided to the civilian police authorities, while the NTC has been invited to set up a formal office in London.


The rebel-led campaign against government forces has been bogged down in recent weeks amid fears of a stalemate. Last Wednesday, Nato extended its Libyan mission by 90 days.


The decision to send four Apaches to Libya was taken by David Cameron just over a week ago, as he talked of the need to “ratchet up” the campaign. The low-flying capacity of the attack helicopters - dubbed “mosquitos” by the Taliban in Afghanistan - makes them more accurate in attack, leaving less chance of civilian casualties than in missions flown by Tornado and Typhoon aircraft.


However, the decision also brings a greater threat to crews, as the Apaches, with a maximum speed of about 200mph, could be more easily targeted by Libyan government forces loyal to Col Gaddafi, which still have access to thousands of surface-to-air missiles.


The commanding officer of 4 Regiment Army Air Corps, Lt Col Jason Etherington, said: “This is an escalation in support of the civilians whom Gaddafi is persecuting. We will be given targets that perhaps fast jets cannot target because of the risk of collateral damage.”


Graham Allen, the Labour MP, claimed the introduction of Apaches was “mission creep” and said there needed to be a fresh debate in the House of Commons on Libya.

Partager cet article

Published by RP Defense - dans Africa & Maghreb
commenter cet article



  • : RP Defense
  • RP Defense
  • : Web review defence industry - Revue du web industrie de défense - company information - news in France, Europe and elsewhere ...
  • Contact


Articles Récents

  • All Saints break - back in November
    RP Defense on Twitter : @RPDefense RP Defense on Facebook : RP Defense Page
  • La 1re BL à l’entraînement
    28/10/2014 Victor POULAIN - Armée de Terre Du 29 septembre au 24 octobre, plus de 2 500 militaires de la 1re brigade logistique (1re BL) ont manœuvré dans le cadre de l’espace d’entraînement brigade (EEB), au camp de La Courtine. Durant cet EEB, les sections...
  • Euronaval - Le Rafale Marine
    28/10/2014 Economie et technologie Le RAFALE de la Marine nationale est un atout décisif dans la conduite des opérations. Ses missions : pénétration, attaque au sol et à la mer par tout temps. Défense et supériorité aérienne ; Reconnaissance tactique...
  • Le marin sort son Spécial navires militaires 2014
    source Philippe Chapleau - Lignes de Défense A l'occasion du salon Euronaval, mes collègues du marin ont sorti un numéro spécial sur les "bateaux gris" (5 €). Comment maintenir sa puissance navale quand les budgets sont contraints ? C'est l'équation à...
  • LPM & cybersécurité des OIV : quel bilan 10 mois après ?
    octobre 2014 par E mmanuelle Lamandé Dix mois après la promulgation de la Loi de Programmation Militaire (LPM), quel bilan peut-on faire de la cybersécurité des OIV ? Qu’en est-il des décrets d’application de la Loi ? Quels impacts la LPM aura-t-elle...
  • Sonar : La DGA inspirée par Muse
    28/10/2014 DGA Le prototype du sonar 3D Muse, appelé également FLS60, est le couteau suisse des sonars à haute fréquence. Capable de mesurer la vitesse d’un bateau, il peut explorer le fond sous-marin tout en détectant des obstacles. Développé en coopération...
  • Le missile anti-navire léger : un atout de poids pour la marine
    28/10/2014 DGA À besoin opérationnel partagé, programme commun. La France et le Royaume-Uni conçoivent un missile destiné à neutraliser en mer les embarcations rapides et légères depuis un hélicoptère. Baptisé ANL (anti-navire léger), cet armement, complémentaire...
  • Grande-Bretagne : perpétuité pour une cyber-attaque ?
    24 oct 2014, par Reynald Fléchaux, La Grande-Bretagne veut renforcer les sanctions contre les auteurs de cyber-attaques. Avec des peines allant jusqu’à la prison à vie. Une façon déguisée de mettre la pression sur les lanceurs d’alerte, soupçonnent les...
  • Le BCR Marne participe à l’entraînement OTAN Noble Mariner
    28/10/2014 Marine nationale Du 16 au 26 octobre 2014, le Bâtiment de commandement et de ravitaillement (BCR) Marne a participé à l’entraînement OTAN Noble Mariner au large des côtes espagnoles. L’objectif majeur était de valider la capacité de l’état...
  • Initiative "5+5/Défense": réunion de la Vlème Conférence des Chefs d'Etat-Major Air du 28 au 30 octobre à Rabat
    27 Octobre 2014 AtlasInfo Le Maroc doit accueillir du 28 au 30 octobre à Rabat la sixième Conférence des Chefs d'Etat-Major Air des pays membres de l'Initiative "5+5/Défense". Selon un communiqué de l'Etat-Major Général des FAR, ce meeting régional s'inscrit...


Partager cette page Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest
Suivre ce blog