Sunday, March 20, 2011

Gaddafi's Forces In Crosshairs, Rafales Crank Up Op Experience

Armée de l'Air Rafale fighters began striking tanks, armoured carriers and convoys of Gaddafi's forces outside the port town of Benghazi. According to sources, two Rafales departed a French base in Corsica earlier on Saturday, and while one remained on combat patrol, the other engaged with ground targets outside the rebel stronghold town.

Hours after reports came in yesterday that Gaddafi had announced a cessation of all military operations against the rebels, I spoke to my Libyan contacts in Benghazi -- the people I've spent over two weeks with in Eastern Libya this month -- and all confirmed reports that military activity was far from over, and that Gaddafi's forces had laid siege just kilometers from the town. It is not clear yet what weapon the Rafale deployed against the Libyan armoured vehicle it destroyed. Am expecting photos of the attack tomorrow, so stay tuned.

The no fly zone and foreign air force intervention doesn't come a moment too soon. Benghazi, while regarded as the rebel heartland, is not as adequately defended as most people may imagine. I travelled extensively within and around the city, and it became pretty clear that ground and air defences were rudimentary at best, with most assets mobilised towards the west in places like Ras Lanuf and Ben Jawwad. And it is not like Gaddafi's jets haven't been within striking distance of Benghazi. On the night of March 5, we felt the tremor of an explosion in a building near Mediterranean esplanade -- it was the sound of an ammunition and anti-aircraft gun warehouse in a nearby town called Rajma being bombed to oblivion by a Libyan Air Force Su-24. We visited the site the next day. Two fire-engines had been bombed too. Nothing could have kept those Libyan jets from flying more missions except for a no-fly-zone. The Rafales have drawn blood. The rebels did manage to shoot down a fighter yesterday near Benghazi [AWESOME video here]. Not clear if this was a government or rebel controlled fighter.

On another note, some much needed time in the heat for the Rafale as the MMRCA competition winds down. F/A-18s and F-16s also standing by to pound Gaddafi's air defences.

34 comments :

Mr. Ra said...

US begins assault against Libyan air defenses:

WASHINGTON – The U.S. military has launched a missile attack against Libya's air defenses.

A senior U.S. military official says the strike was aimed at sites along the Libyan coast. The missiles were launched from U.S. Navy vessels in the Mediterranean.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110319/ap_on_re_us/us_us_libya_military

rohan mohan said...

I find it quite funny that most of the countries that are taking the lead such as France and UK dont let minorities from that country any economic freedom.

I know this as I live a western country where ethnic minorities are given very little opportunities. In france, arab minorities, are not given any opportunities for job, public office etc.

Perhaps it is a disguised attempt to control the oil supply - after all what about all the noise raised over Zimbabwe.

It is a pity that journalists like you seem to support western imperialistic initiaitves.


Perhaps MMRCA competition needs to include a social criteria - treatment of indian minorities in their own country. After all India has been benefitting from the foreign currency that these NRI have been sending for decades.

I would appreciate your response into why you would think this incursion by western forces are justified as it seems uni dimensional - for economic control of oil

Udiit Lamba said...

BBC says that the plane that was shot , belonged to the rebels...and there r slim chances of survival for the pilot after the kind of ejection he made...

Anonymous said...

All the MRCA participants will show their target practise skills in Libya which does not have a high tech air defense system.
Why grippen & MIG-35 are not paricipating in this target practise. Is it only for a select few.
Anyway we have to judge by accuracy of target hiting and civilian casualities

Anonymous said...

I notice how the "Omnirole" Rafale with by Dassault proclaimed awesome abilities in being able to conduct strike, air and sea attack in a single sortie is actually escorted to the Libyan battle by Mirage 2000 jets.

Anonymous said...

Just one Word....WHY ?

Ravi Khanna said...

Good for MMRCA Selection for India..

Uditt Lamba said...

@rohan mohan
they dont give opportunities to minorities coz most of these minorities r illegal immigrants...
If this wouldn't have been the case then was it ever possible to have Laxmi Mittal, Vinod Dham etc???

Anonymous said...

Its become a fad to blame the US and her allies. Its damn funny to see people still vouch for a semi lucid lunatic despot.
Gadaffi may have been pro India but that simply isnt reason enough to support an autocrat and deny people of Libya their legitimate right to self governance.

~~ANONYMOUS

Anonymous said...

pictures:

http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?195631-Weekend-Photos-19th-and-20th-March-2011&p=5537100&viewfull=1#post5537100

Mr. Ra said...

Rafale can not move without Mirage 2000 and EFT is a showpiece without Tornado. The limited applicability of F-16/18 are well known. Such is appearing to be a scene on the tiny tot war front of Libya.

It would be very favorable for the MMRCA if this is whole exercise is extended to engulf the Papistan and Sino. Then the MMRCA contenders would be in best position to be tested under the more stringent requirements of the purchasers in conjunction with the practical conditions.

MUKESHINSAS said...

Libya is small country. so UN play their roll for peace in Libya but why not in China and others... when tiananmen square like many incident...done....WELL FRENCH RAFALE IS GOOD FIGHTER PLANE. THIS IS SMARTEST FIGHTER PLANE. MY CUT OFF LIST IS- (1)FRENCH RAFALE (2) GRIPPEN (3) EUROFIGHTER TYPHOON. OK

Anonymous said...

So telling... the Spaniards are keeping their Typhoons home and sending Hornets to the fray.

Anonymous said...

Uditt Lamba: I agree 100%.

@rohan Mohan>..India has made great progress in past several decades in reducing discrimination.... but the fact is we are no where close to some of these countries yet. In parts of India, it's still not uncommon for people of so called "lower cast" to be killed if even only alleged to have worshiped in a temple where the so called "upper cast" frequents. My father has put many years of efforts in raising awareness, and he is not sure if his efforts have paid-off a bit. My point is no one is perfect, so stop picking on others when our record on discrimination is not on par with some of the ones you are criticizing.

Anonymous said...

NIIIIICE !!!

The complete RAFALE deployment over Libya : https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-Duc_pl4EHac/TYTwUXiLHsI/AAAAAAAAAmQ/7eadCAAQaCY/s1600/Rafale_over_Libya2.jpg

Atlanta Roofing said...

The bottom line is this effort needs to be short and swift. Now that the UN and Arab League have decided this is the way to go Gaddafi must be deposed. The multilater¬al effort must wrap this up very quickly then let the opposition counsel set up their own interim government¬. That is the only way to avoid a long term war. This effort was requested by the Arab League, those countries should bear most of the expense.

Anonymous said...

The best MMRCA contenders are in Libya right now !
It' obvious Sweden is really an insignificant player, they have not been involved in operation Odyssey dawn at all.
The Swedes learned about this on TV !
Gripen is the only western aircraft which has not participated. Now they are desperately trying to send a few Gripen to Libya for a photo op.

RAT said...

ONLY THING THAT I CAN MAKE FROM THE FOLLOWING IS NOT IN REGARDS TO MMRCA BUT INCREASED OIL PRICES MORE ATTACKS ON CARGO SHIPS AND UNSTABILITY WICH IS SUITABLE FOR GROWTH OF TERRORISM

Michael said...

The US should take a secondary role in this operation and let other powers shine.

buddha said...

why ..... this can be solved through round table talking...

bullseye said...

Ah! we have missed an opportunity, should have sent our fighters too good target practice in a real war setting what more could you ask for. We left out a fine chance of putting some goals on a goalkeeper less goal post. All those idle sitting SU30 mki's, mirage's and even we could have tried our own Tejas'to see how they respond when its ass-kicking time.

Atlanta Roofing said...

We fight for those who cannot fight for themselves¬, regardless of what god they believe in, because we are able to, because we see what wrong is being done to them, because we are The United States of America, and because it is the right thing to do. No mistakes there.

Anonymous said...

"It' obvious Sweden is really an insignificant player, they have not been involved in operation Odyssey dawn at all."

You only follow the bombs then I suppose? Sweden used C.130's to evacuate refugees and western citizens out Libya so there wouldn't be any hostage crisis once France/US/UK began airstrikes.

And where's India in Odyssey Dawn? Sweden is unaligned like India and don't follow every step France or US do.

Anonymous said...

Sweeden wants to participate but they need a green light from France and UK. They said there are able to send Gripens to Libya within 10 days... But just like Italia they need NATO to be involved because they don't have the necessary material support to participate to such operation.

Anonymous said...

"You only follow the bombs then I suppose? Sweden used C.130's to evacuate refugees and western citizens out Libya so there wouldn't be any hostage crisis once France/US/UK began airstrikes.

And where's India in Odyssey Dawn? Sweden is unaligned like India and don't follow every step France or US do."

The fact is Sweden has zero importance for its western neighbors, Sweden's voice simply doesn't matter in the West...
Last but not least, the best MMRCA contenders have done the brunt of the work. For several days ! And now the Swedes want desperately to send a few gripen for a publicity stunt !

Anonymous said...

"The fact is Sweden has zero importance for its western neighbors, Sweden's voice simply doesn't matter in the West..."

It matters more than you think.

Anonymous said...

"Last but not least, the best MMRCA contenders have done the brunt of the work. For several days ! "

Just for the record, the F-15E, B-2 bomber and GR4 Tornado is not in the MMRCA. Rafale dropping a token number of bombs on old pieces of artillery whilst Eurofighter is limitd to Air2air patrol duties hardly equals to "the brunt of the work".

Anonymous said...

"It matters more than you think.
"

I don't remember Sweeden playing a role in any major crisis of this past 20 years. Can you provide exemples?

Anonymous said...

"I don't remember Sweeden playing a role in any major crisis of this past 20 years. Can you provide exemples?"

You're only showing your ignorance.

Not that I really know why France or Britain "bombing" (TBH it's 95%+ a US show) a defenceless Arab country has anything to do with the importance of the MMRCA-countries per India's benefits.
India is strong enough to not care about old declining powers.

Anonymous said...

Kind of hard to see your logic here... is Germany (the actual vendor of Eurofighter in India) also totally insignificant because they are not taking part in the Libyan operations?

And their recent 20 yr combat history is actually even less than that of Sweden. What's your logic on that and why would India care?

Anonymous said...

Well, there are no examples of major crisis where sweden played a role. ANd what the EF, Rafale and Superhornet have done in Libya is still more credible than the grippen and the swedish airfarce pedigree.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:41 pm

Are you joking?? I live in europe, i have some very educated sweedish friends and none of them has ever pretend that Sweeden has played any role in any major conflict! I never heard a sweedish guy trying to compare sweeden with england or france on a military point of vue!

I'm still waiting for your examples of Sweedish political/military leadership...

"India is strong enough to not care about old declining powers."

What can i say? just go back to school boy!

Jith said...

Saw the news about F-15 crash at Libya???
Wow thats interesting

Anonymous said...

Officially the f-15 had a mechanical failure but it might have been shotdown like the Mig-23 a few days before........