Coalition of nations take action in Libya

21st March 2011, Comments 0 comments

A coalition of nations including Britain, France and the United States are taking part in military action against Moamer Kadhafi's forces in Libya. Here are details of their contributions:


France, which has about 100 warplanes -- mainly Rafale and Mirage 2000 jets -- was the first country to overfly the rebel bastion of Benghazi on Saturday, mobilising 20 warplanes for air strikes after the go-ahead for a no-fly zone.

The planes took off from bases in France, including Solenzara in Corsica and Saint-Dizier in the north-east.

The Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier cast off on Sunday from the large military harbour of Toulon in southern France, headed for the Libyan coast and is to start operations on Tuesday.


A British submarine in the Mediterranean launched Tomahawk missiles at targets in Libya on Sunday, the Ministry of Defence said.

Britain is also contributing to the military operation with Typhoon jets based in the Gioia del Colle air base in south-east Italy, as well as Tornado jets and surveillance planes.


Washington has F-15 and F-16 fighter jets in Sicily, while the USS Barry and the USS Stout, both destroyers equipped with sea-to-ground Tomahawk missiles, are in the Mediterranean.

F-15 and F-16s stationed at the Sigonella air base in Sicily, in southern Italy, have been deployed against Kadhafi's forces, while three B-2 stealth bombers flying over from the US attacked an airport close to Misurata city in northwestern Libya.

The USS Bataan, a helicopter-carrying amphibious assault ship, and two other vessels have also been deployed to relieve the USS Kearsarge and the transport docking ship USS Ponce in the Mediterranean.

The US also has three submarines in the Mediterranean capable of firing Tomahawk missiles.


Italy has assigned eight combat aircraft including Tornado jets and F-16 fighters to help the international mission.

Four Tornado bombers carried out a two-and-a-half hour mission on Sunday evening, accompanied by two F-16 fighters, to seek and destroy missile-launchers using high-tech radiation sensors.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has offered the use of Italy's seven air bases. Trapani and Signonella in Sicily, Gioia del Colle in Puglia, Decimomannu in Sardinia and Aviano in the Venice region are already being used by the coalition.

Italian forces have three AWACS radar planes ready, as well as Italian Tornado ECR and IDS fighters and twin-engine Eurofighter Typhoons.


Seven CF-18 jets and a C-17 Globemaster transport plane have arrived at Decimomannu base in Sardinia, with another C-17 due to be sent later.


AWACS planes have been flying 24 hours a day in the region for the past week as part of a NATO anti-terror mission. The alliance also decided last week to deploy three ships to the area.

The 28-nation alliance is still discussing whether to participate. NATO will be ready to back up the international coalition intervening in Libya within "a few days", French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Monday.


Belgium said Friday it would deploy six F-16 fighter jets.

Norway deployed six F-16 fighter jets on Monday. Initially headed for the Sigonella airbase, they changed direction in flight for a base on the Greek island of Crete, according to a Norwegian army spokesman. Oslo later suspended its participation in the Libya mission pending a command decision.

Denmark has contributed four F-16 fighter jets, two reserve planes (also F-16 fighter jets) and a transport plane, based at the Sigonella airbase in Sicily.

Three Danish fighter jets took part in an overnight mission in Libya early Sunday under US command, while four Danish F-16s took part in a mission in Libyan air space later in the day.


Spain has deployed four F-18 fighter planes, an air-to-air refuelling plane a warship and a submarine. The F-18s and refuelling Boeing 707 arrived at Decimomannu air base in Sardinia on Saturday.

Two F-18s and the Boeing were sent on a "secret mission" at midday on Monday.


Greece volunteered the use of the island of Crete, which lies northeast of Libya, and two bases in the west: Aktion, used by NATO and the Hellenic Air Force Command, and Andravida.

Four American warplanes are already stationed at Souda, Crete as well as a French C-160.


Six Mirage fighter jets sent by Qatar were expected to arrive at the Souda base in Greece on Monday.

© 2011 AFP

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