No-fly Zone in Place, But Danger Remains, Admiral Says

WASHINGTON, March 20, 2011 — While the attacks on Libya’s inte­grat­ed air and mis­sile defense sys­tem have been suc­cess­ful, thou­sands of anti-air­craft artillery emplace­ments and portable mis­sile launch­ers still pose threats to coali­tion air crews, the direc­tor of the Joint Staff said today.
On the sec­ond day of Oper­a­tion Odyssey Dawn, Navy Vice Adm. William E. Gort­ney said the coali­tion cruise mis­sile strikes against select­ed air defense sys­tems and facil­i­ties were suc­cess­ful, and that coali­tion ships and sub­marines launched 124 Tom­a­hawk mis­siles against these tar­gets.

Operation Odyssey Dawn
Navy Vice Adm. William E. Gort­ney, direc­tor of the Joint Staff, updates reporters on Oper­a­tion Odyssey Dawn at the Pen­ta­gon, March 20, 2011.
DOD pho­to by Air Force Mas­ter Sgt. Jer­ry Mor­ri­son
Click to enlarge

“We judge these strikes to have been very effec­tive in degrad­ing the regime’s air defense capa­bil­i­ty, to include their abil­i­ty to launch many of their SA-5s – their long range mis­siles – their SA-3s and SA-2s,” Gort­ney said dur­ing a Pen­ta­gon news conference. 

Moam­mar Gadhafi’s regime has not launched air­craft, and the coali­tion has not detect­ed any radar emis­sions from the air defense sites tar­get­ed, the admi­ral said.

“There has been a sig­nif­i­cant decrease in the use of all Libyan air sur­veil­lance radars,” he added. “These seem to be lim­it­ed to the areas around Tripoli and Sert.” 

Air Force B‑2 bombers also attacked Libyan air­fields, flat­ten­ing the hard­ened shel­ters Libyan fight­er-bombers use, Gort­ney said. Coali­tion tac­ti­cal fight­ers also hit Gadhafi’s ground forces on the out­skirts of Beng­hazi, where 15 U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, French and British air­craft par­tic­i­pat­ed in the action about 10 miles south of the oppo­si­tion strong­hold. “We judge these also to have been high­ly suc­cess­ful at halt­ing the regime ground move­ment in this region,” Gort­ney said. 

Libya’s fixed sur­face-to-air mis­sile threat and ear­ly warn­ing radars are gone. The threat that remains comes from mobile sur­face-to-air mis­siles — SA‑6 and SA‑8 sys­tems – as well as thou­sands of shoul­der-fired SA‑7 mis­sile launch­ers, the admi­ral told reporters. 

The coali­tion has not direct­ly tar­get­ed anti-air­craft artillery, Gort­ney said, because many are near homes and there are thou­sands of these guns. 

The coali­tion has grown and will con­tin­ue to increase, Gort­ney said, not­ing that it includes the Unit­ed States, the Unit­ed King­dom, France, Cana­da, Italy, Qatar, Bel­gium, Nor­way and Den­mark. More nations will direct­ly par­tic­i­pate in the coali­tion, he said, and oth­er nations will pro­vide over­flight rights, bas­ing and logis­tics. Gort­ney said those nations will make their announce­ments at their own times. 

The Unit­ed States leads the coali­tion effort now, but that will change, the admi­ral said. 

“Our intent is to be a part of the coali­tion through­out, and trans­fer the com­mand to a coali­tion com­mand,” he said. The Unit­ed States would shift to more of a sup­port func­tion that would include aer­i­al tankers; elec­tron­ic war­fare air­craft; intel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance and recon­nais­sance air­craft; and logistics. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →