Apache cleared for Libya ops
The UK is to deploy the Army Air Corps’ Apache AH1 as part of Operation Ellamy.
Gary Parsons - 24-May-2011
Image courtesy Mike Kerr
May 24: The UK is to deploy the Army Air Corps’ Apache AH1 as part of Operation Ellamy, the British contribution to Operation Unified Protector, the NATO no-fly zone over Libya.
The Apaches will operate from HMS Ocean where 656 Squadron from 4 Regiment, normally based at Wattisham Airfield in Suffolk, is currently embarked. In a significant milestone on May 13, the Apache was cleared to operate Hellfire missiles from the sea during Exercise Cougar 11, a long-planned exercise near Gibraltar. In total, 550 30mm machine gun rounds and nine radar-guided Hellfire missiles were fired, achieving a 100% strike rate.
Major Mike Neville, who commands 656 Squadron, said "We proved that Apache can operate effectively from a Royal Navy ship, transporting munitions from the ship's magazine, aircraft upload, launch, firing and then recover.”
It is expected that four Apaches will be deployed aboard HMS Ocean for operations in the Mediterranean.
mike yates said on the 24-May-2011 at 15:04
Hooray, and not before time, but trials are important I suppose. This could be a turning point in a campaign beginning to get bogged down by the strangling effect of not allowing "boots on the ground".This still leaves the problem of Sams and A-A fire though, to which the Apaches are more vulnerable than the Tornado/Typhoon.
dan thompson said on the 24-May-2011 at 16:00
So we needed a carrier after all!?....Think people forget that HMS Illustrious is still available! Lets just hope they realise the decision to do away with the Harriers was the WRONG ONE!
michael said on the 24-May-2011 at 18:57
This will be a turning point if we are not carefull and this could be the thin end of the wedge.
This is the inevitable 'mission creep' and as for getting bogged down,thats where we will be if it carries on.
'Boots on the ground' NO.
The French have already admitted to having special forces doing targetting for the air assets,so we can assume that UK special forces are in situ as well.
We cannot afford to get any further involved than we already are or we will end up with our forces even more financialy crippled.
All this is now is a face saving exercise that will bleed us even further,how the hell we got suckered into this is beyond belief.
mike yates said on the 24-May-2011 at 22:44
In answer to your first 5 points, I think we`ll have to wait and see. In answer to your last question, the cynics will say its OIL. I firmly believe Cameron (For all his many faults) saw the desperation of the people of Benghazi and Misrata and had to re-act. These people were going to die and their towns brutaly wiped out,and I watched it on the news, horrified by their plight, every night for 2 weeks before we made a move, of course with the French and Americans. I cannot even think of the costs in pounds and pence, to be honest I don`t care, I`m just very glad we stopped Gadaffi destroying those people. By the way, I`m all for troops on the ground HERE, till Gadaffi has gone and no longer, rather than in A-stan simply cos the Libyans asked for our help and their gratitude has already been shown.
michael said on the 25-May-2011 at 08:46
Sorry but I entirely disagree with your reading of this fiasco.
No one actually knows who these so called rebels are,they have without doubt been infiltrated by militant Islam and to what degree we won't find out until it's probably too late.
Neither are they as blameless as they are painted,they started this rebellion in response to what happened in Tunisia thinking no doubt it would be as easy to overthrow the government as it was there.
They also took up arms against Gadaffi expecting an easy victory,and if you remember correctly as they did so they put up banners stating quite distinctly that they did not need western help.
'We can do it ourselves' was there motto.
That was until Gadaffi fought back (which was always going to happen) then they saw the writing on the wall and cried out for western assistance.
Your statement re troops on the ground is completely unacceptable and illogical,we can hardly hold our heads above water in Afghanistan without getting more involved in Libya.
By all means give them assistance as in advice and weaponry,but let them fight and die for their country and not British troops. They have all they can cope with at the moment and the majority of the British public would not want to see our troops fighting another war in another god forsaken hell hole.
Remember in future your remark in regards to financing this folly,'to be honest I don't care'.
Well I and thousands of others,do care.!!!!
mike yates said on the 25-May-2011 at 10:08
Calm down dear...The troops on the ground I spoke of would have been a small contingent, as you say to give guidance (not an occupation) to what obviously, in the case of Misrata, was groups of civilians, much as you and I who were fighting for their and their families lives. Ordinary people stuck in the crossfire between the rebels and Gadaffis troops firing A-A rounds into the streets and houses where they lived, an anhialation. These were Libyans living in a Libyan town being killed by their leaders army of thugs, who they hated because of the oppression he brought to them. When I saw on the news the weight lifted off their shoulders and the gratitude shown to US for buying them a life then I repeat,I PERSONALLY don`t care how much THAT has cost ME. We as a country are throwing cash about all over the world on campaigns that I don`t agree with, but I thought this was a worthy cause. Also I don`t believe that our government DON`T know who they are dealing with, they have had representatives from the rebel leaders in Benghazi in dialogue, outlining their position. They have made such a good case of it that they have been recognised as a state by the French as well as us, they seem to be fair and democratic and honest. As you say we won`t KNOW for quite a while, if we HAVE been duped,then maybe it would be time to call it a day on trying to police the world, to be honest I`m all for THAT too..The folly as you call it is A-stan. Twice as long as WW2 for what, a minority of people we tried to help are grateful, the majority want to fight, anybody, all the time, it suits the Taliban this way, and we`ll never put it right. Iraq although hard was worth it I think, there is a peace of sorts and a semblance of normal life, no oppression from an elected government, this is what I hope for in Libya, hope it comes soon.
Peter Bos said on the 25-May-2011 at 10:26
I agree with mr Yates in this being a cause worthy of pursueing for several reasons.
1 It's near. With immediate ramifications for Europe and it's combined economies no matter what we do or do not do.
2. It's a grass roots movement. This means that there is at least a reasonable chance that somewhere in the future there will be a friendly and secular government.
3. Humanitarian reasons.
The regime was brutal and nearly any change will be benificial to the average man in the street. Even if the next government will not be as secular as we in the west are comfortable with we should at least end up with a more reliable neighbour.
That's about it. Apaches welcome to smoke out snipers, take out armoured vehicles and provide more CAS to anyone battling Ghadaffi.
michael said on the 25-May-2011 at 12:22
'Calm down dear' rather condescending don't you think.
Your whole post is media driven,and if you believe half of what you have written then you are living in a fools paradise.
(1) If as you say that no matter what we do or do not do,then why are we doing it? Your statement makes no sense.
(2) It may have started off as a grass roots movement but I'm afraid events have overtaken it,and it is now very political.
(3) The regime has been brutal for decades,autocratic regimes are the norm in the middle east.These people saw and opportunity for change and took it,now they have to fight for it.
As far as being a more reliable neighbour I very much doubt it. Remember Gadaffi was coming into line and being courted by the west,don't you even recall the photo of Tony Blair embracing him. What a bunch of hypocrites we are.
I welcome the Apaches but NO NO NO to troops on the ground. This country has seen enough coffins arriving fighting other peoples battles for them.
Peter Bos said on the 25-May-2011 at 19:51
I salute your dark and pessimistic view on things. They tend to be true. Just to clarify my first remark. Change is happening. It will affect Europe. Better get involved to try and influence the outcome in the best possible way. Perhaps one could try to help organize the "rebels"so that no one faction among them will get the upper hand and kill democracy before it even got a chance to start. Some well organized fanatical groups spring to mind.
Get Apaches in, show force now and get everyone, current and future players to see that diplomacy is their best (most cost effective) bet
michael said on the 25-May-2011 at 20:25
Peter, I hadn't thought of my views as being 'dark' but if thats how you see them so be it.
They certainly are pessimistic,I don't see how they can be otherwise when the defence of our country is in such incompetent penny pinching hands as our government(s).
I certainly agree with your remark re 'organising the rebels so that no one faction gets the upper hand' As we have seen in Iraq once the main fighting is over that is just the start on the path to democracy.
No doubt that Militant Islamic groups will already be scheming on how to take over this insurection to their own advantage,and as you say they are very well organised.
I hope that we have 'someone' embedded in the rebel council who can help weed them out,else all we do is help the enemy.
See,I am still pessimistic and I will remain so until I am proven wrong,and I hope I am.
mike yates said on the 25-May-2011 at 20:36
Because I don`t live in Misrata my views are media related perhaps but not driven. But I glean my info from many places not just News at Ten or wiki. I understand that the National Transitional Council is recognised by a Few countries and the Arab states in general. It is made up of lawyers- doctors- teachers and such high level professionals, and more importantly many of Gadaaffis ex- military generals and soldiers who refused to open fire on the rebels and in fact joined with them against the Tyrant. It was thought that there was an al-queda element but the perentage is insignificant according to NATO and the rebels have denied any al-queda ties. Also I am nobodies fool and you in fact have a contradiction in your post saying NO to boots on the ground and then admitting they are already there, which is true. CIA SAS, and even MI6 operatives as well as many others are there now organising the rebels. The calm down dear comment was a salute to the recent Cameron comment in the House and should be taken lightly, I`m not the condescending type.
michael said on the 25-May-2011 at 22:51
No contradiction,you know very well when I say boots on the ground that I mean in force.
As far as your assertion re the various covert groups operating,apart from a general acceptance this is happening what is your source of info.
The Cameron comment in the house was not taken lightly by those to whom it was aimed.
Your ex military generals and soldiers who joined the rebels are the ones who are looking to the future and to save their own skins,likewise his ministers who are deserting him. They were all happy to hold important posts under him until things started to warm up a bit and I wouldn't put my trust in any of them.
Al-queda is not my main worry in that area,you have hezbolah (sorry for the spelling) and Hamas who are the real fanatics,apart from the political aspect like the Muslim Brotherhood who are trying to make us think they are quite liberal in outlook,I don't think so.
Your faith in the make up of the National Transitional Council does you credit,but do you really think that just because it is made up of members of the professional classes that they have no hidden agenda.
The leaders of the groups of terrorists I have mentioned are not common street thugs,but people of intelligence and education as well just with different motives.
mike yates said on the 26-May-2011 at 00:44
This is too much, but in reply:
1- I cannot KNOW what you mean. Do you not count a few SAS units as a force. I made it clear, No occupation as in Iraq or A-stan, but help organising ordinary Libyans to fight an army intent on murdering civilians.
2- We can all accept, or not, info that we see or read or hear of. There is no other way of gaining knowledge. My info comes from world defence/military weekly`s,-monthly`s, political statements from USA. and UK. Russian News.- documentaries about covert ops. NATO reports, NGO statements- all in the public domain, and yes also BBC news and wiki. If you are into wiki, look up "Libya Conflicts" and read it ALL. Take note of Composition of Rebel Forces in particular.
3. They really need to GROW UP. It was a JOKE!
4. This can`t be true of all of them, some were brave enough to find a conscience.
5. We can only wait and see.
6. The professionals point I made because you seemed to think those fighting against the regime were people unknown. It is a matter of FACT now that it was Gaddafi who hired in paid mercenaries because his own soldiers would not willingly shoot their own people. I have more faith in the NTC than the old regime, and importantly this council is there for the Libyan people to be able to democratcally CHOOSE a ruling party in a majority vote,no hidden agenda.
6.The groups of (other) terrorists seem to have gone quiet for a while. Maybe there will be an attempt to overthrow the NTC if Gaddafi IS defeated we cannot yet know. Maybe not. Thats all folks, its only MY opinion, and I don`t ask anyone else to agree. Up to them.
michael said on the 26-May-2011 at 08:25
Says,'Thats all folks,it's only MY opinion,and I don't ask anyone else to agree. Up to them'
mike yates said on the 26-May-2011 at 13:42
What no remark about the two section 6`s in my post above, now then lets shake hands and agree to disagree on some-things. I`m off for me cuppa.
Oh did you note that we only have THREE, count `em,THREE, marinised versions of Apache to field over Libya. (Source RAF spokesman on C4 News 25-5-11). Somehow this seems a little shortsighted, hope they get some more sorted.
michael said on the 26-May-2011 at 14:30
We will not agree on those points,so yes I agree to disagree.
I seem to remember reading (can't think of where at the moment) that three more Apaches were on the way out to join Ocean.
Then again another report a couple of days ago said she was carrying twelve. I think they must have got mixed up with the numbers she can carry and what she is carrying.
dan thompson said on the 26-May-2011 at 19:08
regardless of how many apaches the UK sends, question it how long do we expect this campaign to take and how long is it really gonna take. Lets be honest if we haven't stopped Gadaffi's army now with all the technology and firepower at NATO's disposal, it is highly likely that we won't be abale to stop him.
I feel the only way we are going to guarentee gadaffi out is by ground troops. I hope i'm wrong of course.
mike yates said on the 26-May-2011 at 22:08
It was Sky news that reported 12 Apaches on Ocean heading for Libya. I think the confusion is because the helo`s are from 4 Reg AAC. Can`t figure why they haven`t sent Lynx in numbers.The French ARE sending 12- Tigres and a similar amount of Lynx apparently.
PMM said on the 27-May-2011 at 23:14
Gents, this has all got very animated.
regarding the 'Whether we should be there'
Air support only for a limited time - yes.
Training and technical/weapon support -yes
SF involvement SBS/SAS - yes
Troops - absolutely not.
Regarding use of Apache - no
The only way we could use this asset without ground troops and or close air support, would be to lob missiles from behind 'friendly' lines. Without reasonable fast jet cover and a reasonable level of SAR cover, any other use would be very high risk (in my opinion)
For me, if an apache went down, I would want to be able to get fast air cover there in minutes followed by SAR by helo. The SAR could be done from Ocean, but the air cover relise on jets from Italy. I've stated before, the harrier could be located just off the coast and respond in a completey coordinated effort to support SAR ops for forward operated Apache. Unfortunately, the SDR has screwed this up. i just don't think we have all the necessary jigsaw peices here. Apache is an excellent platform, but it's supposed to be one element of a combined force.
Personnaly, I would't like to be a downed Apache pilot relying on planes CAPing from Italy to cover my rescue. Maybe the French could cover using Rafales - that might work.
UK Gov - Stop being dogmatic and put harriers back on Illustrious before you get more of our people killed in your half arsed attempt to pretend you know what you're doing. You were lucky that those unprotected Hercules didn't get hit, so please come to your senses.
if we are to use Apaches just to lob missiles, why not send the 200 Challenger 2 MBTs that are going to be withdrawn. The crews would be better protected and they can advance with rebel ground forces.
For me, just carry on bombing and CAP to give the rebels a chance. Use the cheapest munitions and planes that we have and stop after another 6 months. If they haven't managed to sort it out by then, tough.
i don't remember anyone helping us to overthrow tyranny at home. You can't have freedom for free. All we are doing is helping, we are not abliged to guarantee a result
Liam Fox should consider that this is 'over seas' aid and go and get the money that's being given to bribe Pakistan to pay for this op. (0.7% GDP in overseas aid - how many brits would vote for that?)
mike yates said on the 28-May-2011 at 00:36
Yep PMM, a lot can happen to a downed aircrew in a half hour and another Apache cannot really instigate a rescue, this is why I suggested the Lynx, even with a door gunner there would still be room for a rescue. Fast jets would be just as useless for a downed crew dodging Gaddafis troops on the ground. If Cameron can`t see he`s left us shorthanded by cutting the Ark and its Harriers by now he never will. We still need A10 types for this job though, something between Apache and Tornado...
PMM said on the 28-May-2011 at 00:50
It's nice to write stuff again, I've recently bought a data pad, which is good for reading stuff, but a bitch to write any entries.
I'm currently spending time modelling Ark Royal for the game Arma 2, so I've not been on the Key aero site much. There seems to have been some heated discussions above.
I agree with many of your comments, but I think we should either go in all together with overwhelming force or stay in the skies. Using the apaches adhoc is just going to get our lads killed. What's in it for the UK, yes they needed help and I think we did well to give it, but as I wrote above, we are not obliged to finish this for them, that's their job and if they can't do it, we shouldn't spill blood and treasure to do it for them.
In the research that I've done for the Ark Royal, I got a great picture of an Osprey landing on one of our carriers.
I now have a fully fledged Invincible class anorak, I can tell which carrier is which and date photos by the upgrades - I need to get out more -Cheers have a good weekend :)
mike yates said on the 28-May-2011 at 20:56
The Apaches are part of the Response Task Force Group being set up by the UK. Exercise Cougar 2
proved the Apache could be utilised from any carrier. An invaluable asset when we don`t have Harrier, although slower of course. Now it proved the (Task Force) is a good idea but it involves ships, other helicopters, troops and artilary working together. This use though means the Apaches are vulnerable, at least use them with Lynx for extra firepower and evac if needed, or some deal will have to be done with Rebel forces to help downed aircrew. Lusty with 15 Gr9`s though, just the job!
PMM said on the 29-May-2011 at 01:09
Tactically - i agree
Strategically, it's still mission creep with compromise.
If we are going to do this thing, let's do it properly. We still have a good Marine assault capability. Let's give Gadaffi 6 weeks to stand down or we go in properly; the full nine yards.
Lots of tanks, attack helicopters, troops - the works.
But it will be Iraq all over again and this just isn't our war, we're just trying to lend a hand. The more we do, the less the Libyans will do for themselves. Why fight for your freedom when some bloke from across the sea will come and give you it for nothing. It's their country and their revolution and they will value the resulting freedom much more dearly if they have achieved it through their own efforts. They may even be grateful that we lent a hand without taking over.
If we get involved, it will be the 'Christians' fault for every detail that doesn't suite during the time that we are setting up a new democracy. Our presence will be a catalyst for the Mad Islamists. However, if they win it themselves, islam will be fully part of the solution and the nutters won't be able to use it to divide the populous. They will have a much better chance to build something decent and long lasting. Libyan bloodshed would at least have been justified against a democratic Libyan future.
Libyan freedom isn't worth a single British life. How many Libyans would come to our aid if we were in a jam. None.
The yard stick has to be; would I go and risk life and limb for this cause.
The Falklands - yes in a second. Defend against naked aggression toward a British protectorate, populated by Brits. US response was a little poor. The rest of Europe sat on their hands as well.
I would have helped the Americans stove in A-stan, but I wouldn't have put a boot on the ground for nation building. A-stan was a principle issue - our key friend and ally had been attacked and we had to stand with them.
Iraq - Gulf war 1 yes a clear and unambiguous breach of international law,
Gulf war 2 Kick out Saddam -yes nation building no chance.
Bosnia - we got that one about right, if a little later than we should have. The performance of some other NATO nations on the other hand was a disgrace and resulted in avoidable massacres.
mike yates said on the 30-May-2011 at 00:13
President Kharsi??? A-stan. Given US/NATO final warning. Stop indiscriminate shooting or else... Taliban fired on troops, troops fired back, civilians hurt. I think its about time we gave him this warning. Get yer own army sorted in 2 months cos then we`re gone. Leave them to themselves, just pull out, do the same in Libya,same time limit and conditions, and then, Cameron, are you listening, promise NEVER to meddle in the running of any two bit pox hole that we know nothing about. Stay a part of NATO but take a back seat. Only send troops when asked but keep a low profile for the whole decade. If the majority rule that intervention is not viable, then go with the flow and not against. Learn to live with it like the rest of NATO countries. See, this is against everything I believe in, but enough is enough. We are not appreciated no matter how we help, lets just leave it. Defend our own borders, keep illegals out, make life difficult for foreigners to come here,live here, sponge here. Known terrorists here should be shipped back to the country they ally themselves to regardless of "human rights". Use our soldiers to police our borders here, not abroad. In other words, defend our people by defending our country, only. Won`t have to worry about sending Apaches anywhere then will we?