Air Assault Libya
March 20, 2011 by USA Post
Air Assault Libya, (AP) – American and British ships and submarines launched the first phase of a missile attack on Libyan air defenses, firing 112 Tomahawk cruise missiles Saturday at more than 20 targets to open the coastal road for patrols Air Ground Air Force Libya.
In announcing the mission during a visit to Brazil, President Barack Obama said he was reluctant to use force, but was convinced it was necessary to save the lives of civilians. He reiterated that he would not send U.S. ground troops in Libya.
“We can not sit idly by when a tyrant said to his people, there will be no mercy,” he said in Brasilia.
It was clear that the United States to limit its role in Libya’s intervention, focusing initially on or off the Libyan air defense silent, and then leaving for European countries and perhaps to meet an Arab no-fly zone in the North African nation.
Navy Vice Admiral William E. Gortney, director of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, told reporters the attack cruise missile was the “tip” of a coalition campaign dubbed Operation Dawn Odyssey. His goal: to prevent the forces of Muammar Gaddafi to inflict more violence against civilians – particularly in and around the rebel stronghold of Benghazi – degrading the military capacity to challenge a Libyan-fly zone.
“This is not an outcome the United States or one of our partners sought,” Obama said from Brazil, where he began a five-day visit to Latin America. “Our consensus was strong and our commitment is clear. The people of Libya should be protected, and in the absence of an immediate end to violence against civilians of our coalition is prepared to act and act urgently. ”
A primary target of Saturday’s attack cruise missile has been a Libya SA-5 anti-aircraft missile, which is considered a moderate threat to some allied planes. Libya defenses overall air are based on Soviet technology, but more capable and Gortney called a potential threat to allied planes.
More targeted: early warning radars and unspecified means of communication, Gortney said. The U.S. military has extensive experience in recent combat missions such, U.S. Air Force and Navy aircraft repeatedly attacked air defense of Iraq in the 1990s while running a zone air in the Kurdish north of Iraq.
Cruise missiles are the weapon of choice in such campaigns, they do not endanger the drivers, and they use the navigation technologies that offer a good accuracy.
The first Tomahawk cruise missiles struck at 3 pm EDT, Gortney said, after a one-hour flight from the United States and British ships on station in the Mediterranean.
They were fired from ships in five Americans – the guided-missile destroyers USS Barry and USS Stout, and three submarines, the USS Providence, USS Florida and USS Scranton.
The United States has at least 11 warships in the Mediterranean, including three submarines, two destroyers, two battleships and amphibious USS Mount Whitney, a command ship and control is the flagship Fleet-sixth of the Navy. Also in the area are marine and P-3 surveillance aircraft EP-3, officials said.
Gortney said it would take as long as 12 hours to assess the effectiveness of the strike on Saturday. Then, a high-altitude Global Hawk unmanned surveillance aircraft would fly over the target areas to obtain a more precise, the admiral said. He did not say how long the attacks against Libyan air defenses last, but he stressed that the attack on Saturday with cruise missiles was the first phase of a multi-step task.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who was flying to Russia on Saturday afternoon to begin a weeklong trip overseas, has postponed his departure for 24 hours. The press secretary Geoff Morrell from the Pentagon said Mr. Gates decided he should remain in Washington to monitor Libya at the beginning of the strike by the United States.
Gates had been skeptical of getting involved in the civil war of Libya, said the Congress earlier this month that taking to the air defense of Libya would amount to war. Others feared that the mission could put U.S. on a slippery slope that leads to deeper involvement in another Muslim country – in addition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A few hours after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton attended an international conference in Paris, which approved military action against Qaddafi, the U.S. and Britain launched their attack.
At a news conference in Paris, Clinton said Gaddafi had left the world no choice but to intervene urgently and decisively to protect further loss of civilian lives.
“We have every reason to fear that, left unchecked, Gaddafi would commit unspeakable atrocities,” she told reporters.
Clinton said there was no evidence that forces were Kadhafi on alleged cease-fire they declared and the time to act is now.
“Our assessment is that the aggressive action by the forces of Qaddafi continues in many parts of the country,” she said. “We have seen no real effort on the part of Qaddafi’s forces to respect a cease-fire “.
In addition to the three submarines and two destroyers, the U.S. Navy ships in the Mediterranean region are two amphibious warships, the USS Kearsarge and USS Ponce, and a ship command and control, the USS Mount Whitney.
Associated Press writer Llita C. Baldor contributed to this report.
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