Attack helicopters will change face of Libyan war

The Irish Times
28 May 2011

THE ARRIVAL of British and French attack helicopters in the war in Libya is confirmation that Nato intends to inflict a decisive defeat on Col Muammar Gadafy, and that keeping within the UN safe fly zone mandate may come a distant second.

British prime minister David Cameron confirmed yesterday that four Royal Air Force Apache helicopters will join 12 French machines already embarked in the Mediterranean on the assault ship Tonnerre .

Together they will provide the alliance with the one weapon it has so far lacked – killing power surgical enough to kill Libyan soldiers while leaving nearby civilians alive. It is this imperative that has halted rebel troops pushing out the frontline from the besieged city of Misurata, despite the use of fixed-wing jets to pound Libyan armour and artillery.

Nato’s bombers were in action yesterday hammering army positions west of the Misurata pocket, with more than 100 detonations reverberating through the city. And rebel commanders say their troops in the pocket have been given a “red line” not to advance past – giving Nato free rein to destroy anything beyond it.

But for all the destruction rained down, Nato has until now lacked the precision to winkle out the positions that Col Gadafy’s forces have established among the homes of the town’s inhabitants.

The Apache, in theory, changes the equation…

The article continues at The Irish Times.

H/T Michael Yon, who wrote on Facebook,  A handful of helicopters in Libya mean practically nothing except that they might get shot down.

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