Suivre ce blog
Editer l'article Administration Créer mon blog
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

  • Solidarité Défense prépare le Noël de nos soldats !
    26.10.2016 Ingrid LAMRI - Présidente de l'ANAJ-IHEDN Chers amis, Notre partenaire Solidarité Défense prépare le Noël de nos soldats, venez l'aider ! Tous les ans, Solidarité Défense confectionne environ 12 000 colis de Noël destinés aux militaires en...
  • La version illustrée de Berezina de Sylvain Tesson
    17.10.2016 par Thomas Goisque Sur la trace des spectres de 1812 Septembre 1812, Napoléon entre dans Moscou. Les Russes ont mis le feu à la ville, bientôt elle sera réduite à un tas de cendres. L’Empereur tergiverse, se décide à rebrousser chemin. Il donne...
  • Chronique culturelle - 17 Oct.
    Henri de La Rochejaquelein au combat de Cholet, 17 octobre 1793, peinture de Paul-Émile Boutigny. 17.10.2016 source JFP 17 octobre 1748 : échec du siège britannique de Pondichéry (Inde). Les habitants de la ville de Pondichéry et les français œuvrant...
  • Chronique culturelle - 14 Oct.
    Charles Yeager - photo USAF 14.10.2015 source SHD 14 octobre 1066 : bataille d’Hastings (Angleterre). Guillaume, duc de Normandie a débarqué depuis deux semaines dans le Sussex et a fait construire une place forte dans l’urgence afin d’attendre le retour...
  • Chronique culturelle - 13 oct.
    La prise de Constantine, par Horace Vernet 13.10.2016 source SHD 13 octobre 1307 : arrestation des Templiers en France . Par ordre du Roi de France, Philippe IV le Bel, Guillaume de Nogaret (Garde du sceau) fait arrêter et confisquer leurs biens aux membres...
  • Contribuer à la politique de formation de la Brigade de sapeurs-pompiers de Paris (BSPP)
    source BSPP Grande unité de l’armée de Terre mise à la disposition du préfet de police pour emploi, la Brigade de sapeurs-pompiers de Paris (BSPP) est chargée d'assurer la protection des personnes et des biens dans Paris et dans trois départements de...
  • [Euronaval 2016] Avion de patrouille maritime Atlantique 2 rénové
    12 oct. 2016 Ministère de la Défense Missions : • Sûreté et soutien de la Force océanique stratégique (escorte des sous-marins nucléaires lanceurs d’engins) • Lutte anti-surface et lutte anti-sous-marine à long rayon d’action • Sauvegarde maritime (sauvetage,...
  • [Euronaval 2016] Bâtiment de projection et de commandement (BPC)
    12 oct. 2016 Ministère de la Défense Missions : • Commandement et conduite d’opérations interarmées nationales ou multinationales • Projection de forces par voies aérienne et maritime • Soutien des forces déployées • Assistance aux populations • Evacuation...
  • [Teaser] salon Euronaval 2016
    12 oct. 2016 Ministère de la Défense Le salon Euronaval 2016 se déroulera du 17 au 21 octobre au Parc des expositions de Paris-Le Bourget. Dans le cadre de sa mission de soutien aux exportations des équipements militaires, le ministère de la Défense présente...
  • [Euronaval 2016] Embarcation commando à usage multiple (ECUME)
    12 oct. 2016 Ministère de la Défense Missions : • Intervention de lutte contre la piraterie • Libération d’otages • Lutte contre les narcotrafics • Raids nautiques à partir d’un port, d’un bâtiment porteur (frégate, bâtiment amphibie) ou d’un avion. Atouts...