Royal Navy Provide The Platform to Use Apaches in LibyaPosted: May 25, 2011
In what originally started out as an exercise, the Army Air Corp’s AH-64s have been sped through re-qualification to provide further air-power to the region and further help rebels in the area of Misurata in their fight against Libyan government forces.
Only three Apaches are deployed on HMS Ocean, but the government has apparently authorized at least one more to be dispatched there with two more on standby, as reported by the Daily Telegraph.
The move is an obvious stopgap to project some carrier launched air power where the recently decommissioned Ark Royal would have been providing fighter support. It is also seen as a big escalation for the British after weeks in which sustained attacks on Libyan government positions and Col. Gadddafi’s leadership compounds failed to generate any major breakthrough.
Speculation is that these birds are part of the Anglo-French force of attack helicopters that could be set to strike targets belonging to Gadhafi’s government in Libya. Apaches mark a new phase in Libya that could provide much more flexible Close Air Support, coming on the heels of some of the heaviest NATO air strikes yet against Gadhafi.