The Royal Air Force has released a series of images showing operations at the Gioia del Colle airbase in southern Italy.
RAF Typhoon and Tornado aircraft are deployed to the base as part of Operation ELLAMY, the UK’s contribution to NATO’s operations in Libya.
The images show aircraft operations as RAF jets continue to take part in a wide range of missions, carrying out precision strikes against Qadhafi regime targets and gathering intelligence to help NATO direct its campaign. Their missions include dynamic targeting, where they are tasked while in the air to investigate and identify possible targets and – if necessary – destroy targets that have been positively identified. Many of these missions have intervened in situations where civilians were directly threatened by, or even under attack from, Qadhafi regime forces. Those forces have been destroyed, or have fled when one or a number of vehicles in a group has been targeted.
There are also deliberate targeting operations, where pre-planned targets are attacked by a pair or a group of aircraft. As NATO increases pressure on the Qadhafi regime, both Typhoon and Tornado are involved in increasing numbers of strikes against targets such as command and control sites, communications nodes, storage areas, or ammunition bunkers. Every one of these attacks degrades the Qadhafi regime’s ability to attack and threaten civilians, demonstrating its vulnerability and encouraging regime supporters to distance themselves from Qadhafi and his fear-based tactics. Reconnaissance missions, using a Tornado equipped with RAPTOR1, provide vital intelligence to the NATO coalition. The images from the pod are fed into a process that also uses information from the RAF’s other intelligence gathering aircraft, Nimrod R1 and Sentinel R1 to find, fix and track regime forces. The result is that those forces are finding it extremely difficult to conceal themselves from NATO aircraft and their precision strike capabilities. The RAF has flown more than 500 missions, releasing more than 300 precision weapons to attack a full range of targets across the breadth of Libya. Some missions will be tasked on one side of the country and then another, crossing hundreds of miles to deliver the required effect to support the multi-national NATO mission.