Announcement

UK troops continue to destroy Gaddafi assets

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

UK Armed Forces were again in action yesterday over Libya, with RAF Tornado and Typhoon aircraft destroying four of Colonel Gaddafi's main battle tanks near Zlitan.

To the south, near Bani Walid, the RAF aircraft also attacked a tank transporter, and another patrol engaged a self-propelled gun near Gharyan.

Major General Nick Pope, the Chief of the Defence Staff’s Strategic Communications Officer, said:

Off Misurata, HMS Ocean launched British Army Apache helicopters to attack a regime military communications installation and multiple rocket launcher which had been identified by NATO surveillance operations.

Both targets were destroyed and the helicopters returned safely to Ocean.

Earlier in the week, British aircraft took part in a precision strike against a major military vehicle depot in Tripoli.

Having refuelled from a NATO tanker aircraft on Tuesday 7 June 2011, they joined with other allied aircraft in a co-ordinated attack on the depot, which is located within Colonel Gaddafi’s vast Bab al-Azizia compound in Tripoli.

The strike was just one of a number which NATO successfully launched against regime military and command and control facilities in and around the Libyan capital during the course of the day.

Other RAF aircraft, including VC-10 and TriStar tankers, and Sentinel, E-3D Sentry and Nimrod R1 surveillance assets, continue to provide vital and widespread support to UK and NATO operations over Libya, while Royal Navy vessels maintain their surveillance patrols off the coast with a capable helicopter force, including British Army Apaches, embarked.

An RAF Typhoon pilot enters his cockpit as the sun sets over Gioia del Colle, southern Italy
An RAF Typhoon pilot enters his cockpit as the sun sets over Gioia del Colle, southern Italy [Picture: Sergeant Pete Mobbs, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

At the beginning of the week, Royal Air Force Tornado and Typhoon aircraft mounted attacks on one of Colonel Gaddafi’s secret police headquarters in the heart of Tripoli, and a major military installation on the outskirts of the city.

General Pope said:

The missions were flown as part of a co-ordinated series of precision attacks throughout the day and night by NATO aircraft targeting intelligence and military facilities in the Libyan capital. Our jets used Paveway guided bombs to attack the military base situated in the south west of the city yesterday evening.

A further RAF strike was then conducted, again with Paveways, against the headquarters of the domestic intelligence service, located in central Tripoli, during the early hours of the morning. Previous RAF attacks had been successfully conducted on 16 May 2011 against secret police facilities in neighbouring buildings.

Further information received since that date allowed the target attacked last night to be firmly identified as an intelligence headquarters actively engaged in the brutal repression of the civilian population and therefore to be a legitimate focus for NATO action to enforce UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1973.

Once again, the UK and NATO have demonstrated their ability to bring a sophisticated and precise application of force to bear on those elements of Gaddafi’s regime which refuse to recognise the will of the international community and continue to inflict violence on the Libyan people.

Since the start of military operations to enforce UNSCR 1973, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Army Air Corps personnel have successfully attacked over 430 regime targets involved in Colonel Gaddafi’s persecution of the civilian populace.