Yes, The U.S. is Still Bombing Libya

In case you didn’t see this yesterday, six U.S. Air Force F-16CJ Wild Weasels and five Navy EA-18G Growlers have been flying “defensive” strike missions against Moammar Gadhafi’s regime in Libya since NATO took charge of the air campaign there.

So, what qualifies as “defensive” missions? Why suppression of enemy air defenses, so yes, technically the Weasels and Growlers are helping protect allied aircraft from Gadhafi’s antiquated air defenses even though they’re hitting air defense targets targets with 500-pound bombs to pave the way for more strikes by NATO jets. Wait, how does Gadhafi have any air defenses left, at this point? And interestingly, it sounds like the Growlers didn’t use their HARM anti-radar missiles.

Anyway, according to the New York Times, we’ve still got operating in or near Libya:

One guided-missile destroyer; one P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft; one EP-3E signals reconnaissance aircraft; 22 KC-135 tankers; six F-16CJ aircraft; five EA-18G attack aircraft; two E-3 command and control aircraft; two EC-130 signals and communications aircraft; two RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft; one U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft; one E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System; two MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicles; and one RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle.

  • blight

    Sounds like the United States is doing the logistics and supporting NATO (if NATO is up to the task).

  • jamesb101

    would be

  • Oli

    The airforce is having trouble not killing women and children: Idea: men women and children give off a different infrared signature or heat signature. The current technology just has to be modified to be more sensitive to detect this difference. This approach won’t be 100 % but when incorporated in the overall picture of the battlefield it should increase the percentage drastically.

    • JdX

      The use of hybrid system that combines laser with

  • brian

    This is getting silly! A single battalion of marines with air support could win this war by simply doing an amphibious landing behind gadaffi’s only battalion trapping them in a pincer between them and the rebels. the rebels could then march right into downtown tripoli unopposed and we could make sure that no al quaeda operative took over.

    • blight

      And if a foreign occupation galvanizes Libyan support for Gaddafi…?

      The Iranians used Saddam’s attack as an excuse to clean house and go hardline. Is this what we want/need in the South Med?

  • STemplar

    Politicians try to make war as painless and palatable as possible and all they do in the end with that effort is render it ineffective. The best way to make these decisions clean is to make them. Use decisive force to achieve a goal and be done with it. Difficult for anyone to galvanize support for Qaddafi if he is removed from power quickly. Instead we implement these halting half measures and use non sense like NFZs and such. If we would have just made a decision to remove him from power and followed through this would be over already. It wouldn’t have required ground forces, just an overwhelming series of air strikes on command compounds. Now we are in this confusing state of no one seeming to be very clear of what to do. I won’t say quagmire or anything like that, because with some simple decisions to end this it could still be over quickly, but not unless we are willing to move about 3 or 4 hundred tactical aircraft into theater and get this done.

  • jamesb101

    sun tzu, Eh ST?

  • Uncle Bill

    I think the slowness of the revolution may be allowing time for the rebs to define themselves politically and when they do, to the West’s satisfaction, the additional help will be forthcoming. Lesson’s learned from the power vacuum in Iraq perhaps.

    As for targeting individuals from the sky, “sensor integration” will allow us to identify those carrying weapons, and to follow and attack the weapons, as we do now with big weapons. But we cannot yet shoot an individual. Smart bullets that hit the weapon aren’t here, yet.