With more than 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles target Muammar Gaddafi’s military, military officials are said to be assessing the damage done. After French jets resume Libya air strikes, the Royal Air Force also have a great role to play in it. Tornado jets based in Norfolk took part in a series of air strikes, making it the RAF’s longest-range bombing mission since the Falklands war.
But unlike the Falklands war the air strike scenario for the RAF pilots was completely diverse in Libyan territory of Benghazi. It was time for the RAF’s Typhoons and Tornados to carry out deep interdiction air strike missions against Gaddafi’s forces, along with the French Rafales. The Royal Air Force pilot who carried out the first operational Typhoon aircraft strike on a ground target has been describing the mission. The first strike was made against a Libyan regime main battle tank during a mission on Tuesday, 12 April. As described by the pilot he left Gioia Del Colle in a mixed pair with a Tornado GR4.
“We’d been tasked to Misratah in the West of Libya, which is pretty much a city under siege, with significant numbers of attacks against the civilian population from pro-regime forces.” Their mission was to look for main supply routes in Misratah and came across a compound with around 10 – 15 main battle tanks in.
After the findings been reported to the command and control asset they worked with they were cleared to engage. At that point they generated coordinates for the targets and dropped weapons. “It was a precision attack from a significant altitude.” That’s what the pilot said.
He was also quoted saying “To be honest, I was a little bit nervous but you just revert to the training you’ve done before. I’ve dropped a significant number of weapons from the Typhoon in training. It felt no different from that, only this time I was even more relieved to see the bomb go exactly where it should have done, in the Lightening III image displayed in my cockpit.”
The enormous capabilities which make these Jets enduring as said by the pilot “They can carry weapons a long distance, drop them accurately, land and get pumped full of fuel, reloaded with weapons and go and do it again, day in day out.”