RAF Tornados and Typhoons have been in action once again this weekend over Libya, with support from HMS Liverpool, as part of NATO's Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR.
On Thursday morning, Royal Air Force Tornado GR4s destroyed a staging post near Zlitan which NATO intelligence had discovered was being used by mercenaries fighting for Colonel Gaddafi.
HMS Liverpool was on patrol off the coast nearby, and overnight Thursday to Friday once again fired star shells to illuminate targets for other NATO missions. In the course of this, she came under inaccurate fire from the shore.
Liverpool followed up her illumination tasking with a prolonged barrage of high explosive rounds from her 4.5-inch (114mm) gun, which destroyed at least two military vehicles and forced a large number of other pro-Gaddafi vehicles and troops to disperse.
Pressure on Gaddafi’s forces in the Zlitan area was maintained throughout Friday, with a successful attack on a command and control facility, and concerted strikes by Tornados and Typhoons on a military vehicle depot that had been established in the east of the town; it was struck by over a dozen precision guided Paveway bombs.
In the early hours of Saturday morning, HMS Liverpool fired more illumination rounds to facilitate NATO air missions over Zlitan, including an RAF patrol which destroyed an armed pick-up truck. In the east, at Brega, an RAF patrol destroyed seven military vehicles during the afternoon.
Footage has also now been released of the mission on Wednesday night, 10 August, which saw RAF Tornado aircraft, launched from RAF Marham in Norfolk, conduct eight-hour round trip missions over Libya. See the video footage on our YouTube channel.
Armed with Storm Shadow missiles, the six GR4 aircraft flew long-distance sorties from the Norfolk base to target elements of Colonel Gaddafi’s military command and control facilities and air defence infrastructure.
The jets, some from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland and some from Marham, were playing a crucial role in protecting Libyan civilians as authorised under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973.
The Tornado squadrons have played a leading role in the military operations over Libya since operations began in March, carrying out precision strikes, making use of the GR4’s advanced Litening 3 targeting pods and a variety of high-precision guided munitions.
Group Captain Pete ‘Rocky’ Rochelle, Station Commander at RAF Marham, said:
This mission has, once again, proved the GR4’s capability at long range. The engineers and crews comprised of personnel from Marham and Lossiemouth.
I feel great pride in having the opportunity to command such an adaptable and capable Tornado force that proves its agility time and time again.
Since the start of military operations on 19 March, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Army Air Corps precision strikes have damaged or destroyed over 850 former regime targets which posed a threat to the Libyan people.