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UK Apaches offered to Libyan mission

31st May 2011 - 17:37 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


Four of the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) Apache attack helicopter will be made available to NATO should it need them during its Operation Unified Protector mission in Libya.

The availability of the aircraft was announced by the MoD on 30 May, and the Apache will be used to support UN Security Council Resolution 1973, which serves to protect Libyan civilians from the regime of Libyan leader Col Gaddafi.

On 26 May UK ministers agreed in principle that the aircraft would be deployed, and this was in line with France’s reported decision to deploy its Tiger attack helicopter to the mission as a result of discussions held at the G8 summit on 26-27 May in Deauville, France.

Decisions regarding when and how the aircraft are utilised will be the responsibility of NATO commanders, and it is considered that the Apaches will provide ‘additional flexibility’ to the mission.

The four AH1s operate from HMS Ocean, the Royal Navy’s largest warship and where the Army Air Corps’ (AAC’s) attack helicopter force at sea is based.

NATO forces have been present in Libya since March, during which some 25 ships and submarines as well as more than 50 fighter and surveillance aircraft have been deployed by ten allied nations to monitor and enforce an arms embargo mandated on Libya by the UN.

‘The Apache has shown how effective it is in Afghanistan, and its use in Libya would only increase the pressure on the regime to end its persecution of the Libyan people,’ an MoD spokesperson said in a statement.

Meanwhile the MoD also announced on 26 May that its Apache fleet had amassed 100,000 flying hours, a third of which having been flown during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The 3 and 4 Regiments AAC that fly the helicopter have provided a ‘continuous presence’ in Afghanistan since 2006 on rotation.

The Shephard News Team


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