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A-10s Tag Team with P-3s to Savage Libyan Coast Guard

by Ward Carroll on March 29, 2011

More good Libya NFZ gouge from our new favorite AFA cadet Patrick Casey via the “Tell DT” link.  (Use it early and often, folks.)

The Information Dissemination blog reports the following:

A U.S. Navy P-3C Maritime Patrol aircraft, a U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt attack aircraft and guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG-52) engaged Libyan Coast Guard vessel Vittoria and two smaller crafts after confirmed reports that Vittoria and accompanying craft were firing indiscriminately at merchant vessels in the port of Misrata, Libya, during the evening March 28, 2011.

The P-3C fired at Vittoria with AGM-65F Maverick missiles after multiple explosions were observed in the vicinity of the port rendering the 12-meter patrol vessel ineffective and forcing it to be beached.

Two small crafts were fired upon by an A-10 using its 30mm GAU-8/ Avenger gatling cannon, destroying one and forcing the other to be abandoned.

Barry provided situational awareness for the aircraft by managing the airspace and maintaining the maritime picture.

So along with being a no-fly and no-drive-your-armored-vehicle zone, Libya is also a no-sail-your-combatant zone.  Not judging; just wanna keep track of the picture as it develops.

Oh, and Military​.com is reporting that the rebels are now losing Misurata, but that’s probably okay because Adm. Stavaridis (EUCOM) has indicated that some of the rebels have ties to al Qaeda.  (Are you getting all of this?)


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{ 91 comments… read them below or add one }

Zap March 29, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Did anybody really believe the propaganda that this is a humanitarian intervention ?
Its been a set up from the start – Libyan army massacre hundreds of pro-democracy demonstrators – Libyan air-force dropping bombs on pro-democracy protests – remember all that ? , it never happened , all pretexts ,not reasons, for the military operations that are going on now .
And there are loads of innocent anti-Gaddafi pro-Democracy civilians in Surt right ?
That need us to protect them from their own military by bombing and supporting armed rebels who are firing rocket artillery indiscriminately at them?

And notices how the mainstream media conveniently now overlooks the fact that a very large percentage of those armed rebels , sorry i mean freedom fighters , happen to be Egyptians

Some journalist should write a book titled "How Western Democracies Go To War "
do a blog post on Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi while you are at it


yousuck March 30, 2011 at 6:01 am

go away


blight March 30, 2011 at 8:44 am

If they were mostly Egyptians, then the Libyan Army would likely have repelled them. However, it seems that someone doesn't quite have their finger on the will of the people anymore…


msufalcon March 29, 2011 at 5:45 pm

I feel like the air strikes in Libya are one great weapons expo…here's the Rafale blowing up tanks (2 for 1 special if you buy in the next fifteen minutes) and here's an A-10 strafing ships, bet you didn't know you could do that..


Nadnerbus March 30, 2011 at 1:01 am

Sunday Sunday Sunday, in Lib Lib Libya! It's air power MADNESS! Featuring GRAVE DIGGER! Followed by Strike Eagle attacks against hardened IADS targets!


Bman March 30, 2011 at 4:00 pm

The antiship maverick must be absolutly worthless. It has a 300lb penetrating warhead and it couldnt even destroy a 38 ft boat with 2 direct hits! At $160,000 per missile it cost more to disable the boat than it cost to build it! It would have been cheaper and more effective to hit it with a Hellfire missile!


William C. March 29, 2011 at 5:49 pm

So if the rebels are losing and that isn't a bad thing what are we doing here again? If these are hardcore Islamists we might as well leave tomorrow and let Gaddafi and them fight back and forth for however long they let.


SJE March 29, 2011 at 6:06 pm

As I said in an earlier post, the real story is the importance of TRAINING. The US can provide all sorts of great air support, but the rebel fighters are untrained and undisciplined. No development of defensive works to hold captured territory allows the Ghaddaffi forces to roll right back over them.


Valentina March 29, 2011 at 6:10 pm

The U.S. military base at Camp Lejeune (North Carolina) over 2200 marine are preparing to be sent off the Libyan coast.

The soldiers belong to the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, a task force specializes in ground fighting and air. The task force is able to carry out humanitarian missions or evacuation of civilians. The Marines were to be sent in the Mediterranean at the end of 2011 but their departure was accelerated by the events in Libya. The Marines are aboard the warship Bataan in the coming days that will sail the Mediterranean at a time for a mission that could last ten months.
Alla conquista della Libia


Valentina March 29, 2011 at 6:39 pm

The 22nd MEU is a Marine Air Ground Task Force comprised of Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; and the Command Element.

si si specializzati in missioni umanitarie


Darrel Kemble March 30, 2011 at 9:20 am

The group you refer to are MARINES not soliders.
Thank you
Doc Kemble


marine6172 March 30, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Thank you for clarifying that Doc…it gets old after the first ten thousand times. Semper Fi!


Anthony March 30, 2011 at 12:25 pm



marine6172 March 30, 2011 at 4:20 pm

What OPSEC dude? Like it's not open source news…


DualityOfMan April 1, 2011 at 1:46 am

"To the shores of Tripoli."


Valentina March 29, 2011 at 6:11 pm

from the newspaper Unione Sarda and google translate


Valentina March 30, 2011 at 3:56 am
Benjamin March 29, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Is it wise to carry a Maverick on a slow moving plane like a P-3? This type of missile puts them in range of the majority of non short range SAM's.


blight March 29, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Probably intended for maritime roles, like blowing up Somali pirate speedboats. Though I thought America had some extended range missiles (not ALCMs, but extended range missiles…). Unfortunately I forget their designation.


TLAM Strike March 29, 2011 at 7:01 pm

The P-3 can also carry the Harpoon for naval attacks and for land attacks the SLAM and SLAM-ER. ;)


blight March 29, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Found it. Apparently it was called the AGM-130. Never figured out what happened to the thing…?


blight March 29, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Anyhow, the P-3 carries what TLAM mentioned. The AGM-130 reference is just as curio reference to a weapon system that labors in obscurity, but can be carried by F-15E's…

STemplar March 29, 2011 at 9:02 pm

It's got a 15 nmi range, so it was probably pretty far from the coast when it fired.


Curt March 30, 2011 at 2:50 am

They have a variety of weapons they can carry . There are plenty of ships and boats that carry "non-short range" SAMs that you would like to take out without wasting a Harpoon. Additionally, for things like a submarine on the surface or other low RCS targets, like say a Libyan 12m patrol boat, a Maverick is better since it is more precise.


Guest March 30, 2011 at 7:09 am

Don't let it's looks fool you, P-3s can haul when they need to…


Engineer March 30, 2011 at 1:07 pm

My Dad was a P-3 Pilot. You are right – it has short stubby wings and it can really move when it has to.


Brandon March 29, 2011 at 7:00 pm

It would make the most sense to assume this whole operation is about scaring Qaddafi out of power while preserving his bureaucratic and military infrastructures for another leader — one more in line with NATO preferences — to take command of. How could they possibly propel themselves headlong into a scheme to destroy the military and current government after the Iraq lesson? I really think that's why no one is overly concerned with whispers of an Al Qaeda presence among the rebels. The rebels are simply a catalyst the promote regime change, not Libya's new leaders. Once Quadaffi is gone the new government will suppress the rebels under NATO's watchful eye… call if the Egyptian model.


DColin March 29, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Didn't Obama pre election promise that he would get us out of Afgan and Iraq, close the prison on Cuba and not start any wars? I guess that's what we get for electing a guy that might not have even been born in America.


orly? March 29, 2011 at 8:28 pm

He's slowly becoming republican.


blight March 29, 2011 at 10:13 pm

To the repubs, he will never be a Repub. However, he hasn't completely abandoned working with The Other Side, unlike certain un-named Republicans…


Ilive inbizarro world March 29, 2011 at 7:15 pm

hum, we are helping al-qeada in Libya and fighting them in Iraq/Afghanistan?!

pretty ****** up…

Oh and if you dont believe me the UN chief admitted this fact.

and “Humanitarian war” – what a fkn oxymoron. Yes we drop bombs to save lives, lol…

War is Peace anyone?!


blight March 29, 2011 at 10:16 pm

We also helped the Kosovo Liberation Army, which had some tenuous AQ links. Kosovo did not improve under their rule…


Razor6a March 30, 2011 at 4:24 pm

thrid line is true. to bad our elected officals don't tell it the way it is. Now we are helping al-qeada, muslin brotherhood, hamas and other terrorist. And these are the bas—– who are killing our troop in Afgan.


new scenario March 29, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Perhaps P-3 should be re-designate F/A-3?


SJE March 29, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Well, the F-22 is too precious to actually USE.


blight March 29, 2011 at 10:15 pm

I had briefly envisioned some Oerlikon 20's or Bofors 40…until I realized it was very much the wrong year for that kind of armament.

It doesn't look like it would have much. Maybe a heavy mortar of some kind to shell ground targets, or a deck mounted artillery piece? Rockets wouldn't go very far in terms of reloads, but they would pack a serious sting.


@kilowat March 29, 2011 at 10:22 pm

you ppl need to go and look up how many of the chicken hawks GOP congressmen have served in the military? you want find many LOL


STemplar March 30, 2011 at 12:05 am

Aren't the GOP the ones being critical this time? I read Pelosi singing Obama's praise, I guess it's ok to topple dictators as long as its the right party getting credit to her.


Chris March 29, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Historic Day! First time a P-3C has ever fired a missile in anger. The Warpig will live on.


Thrust March 29, 2011 at 11:03 pm

No it isn't….is it? Haven't P-3's Harpooned Iranian or Iraqi naval craft in the past?

Perhaps I'm thinking of the S-3….


Curt March 30, 2011 at 3:01 am

As far as I know, the previous air-launched Harpoon shot in anger was from an A-6.


Michael March 30, 2011 at 9:40 am

Not true. Check the Kosovo records and you'll see this wasn't the first time for a P-3C


will March 29, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Why are we involving ourselves.The europeans have handled this kind of involvement in the past.Do we really need to involve ourselves?


orly? March 30, 2011 at 1:26 am



Steve K March 29, 2011 at 11:20 pm

I used to operate acoustic detection equipment on P-3's back in the eighties. We were trained to load Harpoon missiles back then. I never thought I'd see the day when ANY type of missile was actually fired from a P-3 except for training. THE WAR PIG LIVES ON!!!


devildog7885 March 29, 2011 at 11:29 pm

nothing like a 3 front war. but wait nato is doing the show!. but hell the U.S. makes up 3 fourths of the manpower and materials. go figure.


blight March 30, 2011 at 1:04 am

We have to justify spending more than every other country on our military at some point…?


devildog7885 March 30, 2011 at 4:47 pm

spend more? we do not spend more than others actually we spend less. you have to figure in the money like pound versus the dollar just as an example. 90 percent of spending is on R&D like the joint fighter for example. cut that out of the budget and you will see we spend way less than anyone else. most of those R&D projects never reach fruition and thus is money spent and gone!. due to congress abanding the project for the most part with nothing to show for it but paper and no tangable product to show for the money spent. as far as pay Canadaand the European Countries pay there Troops alot more money than Americans ever had. there combat rations are a hell of alot better as well.


blight March 30, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Not really. Sixty percent of the DoD budget goes to payroll and infrastructure, not R&D. R&D is notorious, but it's expensive to send C-17's to Tashkent, resupply Diego Garcia, the Pacific Islands, have troops in South Korea, Kosovo, Japan, McMurdo, Greenland, Djibouti and Europe.


devildog7885 March 31, 2011 at 1:25 am

there are currently a little over 2 million airmen,soldiers,sailor's and Marines serving so 60% is way to high of a figure as compared to dod's budget.__ infrastructure well that depends on who is paying to keep the bases i believe that go's to the state Departments budget. got to admit those two man apartments are quite expensive to build unless there is alot more being built I do not know, so must of that type of sending was from previous years. R&D is where most of it goes things like the joint fighters, skunk works and naval ships and subs. if you look at all the hands reaching into the DOD's pockets most goes out to various research and congress's pet project's.


Drake1 March 30, 2011 at 12:32 am

I'm getting it. Our President and many in Congress (from both parties) are idiots.


STemplar March 30, 2011 at 12:53 am

Operation Bingo has commenced……


WoundedKnee73 March 30, 2011 at 1:04 am

Drake1: Yep! You're right. This is getting really old!


USMC1-5 March 30, 2011 at 3:21 am

We should be dropping our liberals and progressives over there…they'll know exactly what to do…they are the most intelligent people in the world..they pushed for Obama, Obamacare, cash for "xyz", Unions to get more power…Seriously, they know better than anyone what to do…they love chaos…let them have it over there and leave us alone here…send the president to relocate there for a "new world order" country to head up there…we'll back fill his ex-fil..


theman March 30, 2011 at 3:39 am

The fact is that, at present, the United States has relatively little to lose by supporting these rebels (besides our pilots and any SOF personnel, of course). Looking toward the future, it is far more difficult to try and placate a diverse group of errant democratizers than a single dictator. If we turn our backs on the rebels, and they win, then we end up looking like hypocrites…again. If we turn out backs on Gaddafi, as we have, and he wins, then what is he gonna do–not deal with us? No. It is far easier to apologize and make amends to a small cadre of autocrats that to a mob seething with anger. I think Obama made that calculation in Egypt, and he is doing the same here. If we remain involved in a support role, and the rebels lose, then who cares? We are back to square one: dealing with a nutjob. But if the rebels win, we can for once be proud that we carried a genuine democratic revolution to its fruition.


Jay March 30, 2011 at 9:25 am

democratic? are you joking?


theman March 30, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Tell me why they do not have democratic aspirations. They may not, but most indicators suggest that they do.


Valentina March 30, 2011 at 5:17 am
Valentina March 30, 2011 at 5:22 am

there is no doubt that is different
where are the intellectuals and artists in Libya ?


Valentina March 30, 2011 at 5:48 am

the dove (colomba) that is free from the bars is a strong universal image
the artist is always the first revolutionary


Valentina March 30, 2011 at 5:59 am

processo della rivoluzione: lo ha bloccato quando ha soppresso i valori per favorire gli interessi (il sostegno dei dittatori, la mano messa sul petrolio e le risorse naturali, la ricerca dei mercati, la dominazione economica, la vendita di armi); lo ha aiutato con lo sviluppo dei mezzi di comunicazione, strumenti di avvicinamento dei popoli e delle culture

This is very important …it's true !


Ruger 61 March 30, 2011 at 8:29 am

I'm sure our Navy has Lamps helos on all the frigates in the area and the helos can fire Hell fire missiles, looks like thees small helos would be the weapons of choice to be used against costal boats etc.


blight March 30, 2011 at 8:43 am

Marine Cobras would work nicely too.


Crash1001 March 30, 2011 at 8:47 am

Obama needed a made up war to help his 2012 presidential run, he has to display that he has kahonas to order a military action. Remember Afgan and Iraq is the Bush conflict not Obama. Of course this goes against his far left base. My personal belief is that we should have let the French and the English to leash their dog and get him under control.


Josh March 30, 2011 at 9:13 am

Although I was a part of the program that added all the new ground attack capability to the P-3 I still think it's funny to read a headline stating that P-3's are "savaging" anybody's coast line.


Darrel Kemble March 30, 2011 at 9:13 am

Savaged !!!??? sounds like some kind of reporter hype.
CNN reported this morning that the "rebels" are being hammered again.
What about all the reports saying how quadaffi's forces have been neutralized ?
I love it when the news stations say how "they don't hype the news"


Riceball March 30, 2011 at 11:00 am

I haven't heard of Khadaffi's forces being described as being neutralized, his air and some of his armor, yes, but that's about it. But the rebels are definitely getting hammered again after a couple days of gains. I'm getting the impression that the rebels are getting ahead of themselves and have been pushing too far too fast and not taking the time to consolidate what ground they gain in a mad dash effort to push to Tripoli. Until/unless they manage to get their act together this no-fly, drive, sail zone won't do any good unless we start saying that any the rebels go on the offensive they are really civilians rushing to reclaim their homes so we can run CAS missions for them.


wxgesr March 30, 2011 at 10:20 am

I think it is a setup for the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) One World Govt. people to attack Israel. They are exercising their doctrine now, ever gumby for the next operation. I am pretty certain there will be at least one more foray into this type of concept before they decide to act with R2P for the innocent Palistenians, dontcha know.


EJinVA March 30, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Reminds me of the epic battle for Haiti, everyone wants in on the action for that coveted combat action ribbon….when dingle-Barry hands over the reigns (if he doesn't declare himself president for life first) will he be investigated for war crimes?

I predict K' daffy will survive, and will bide his time until he can take a cheap shot back at the U.S. May be months, may be years, but it's coming.


Michael March 30, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Of course the retreating rebels would love to have U.S. Apache gunships and A-10 Warthogs (even IL Sturmoviks and Luftwaffe Stukas from WWII would be welcome) to strafe and take out Gaddafis' rockets and tanks! So far I have not read anything about the rebels concerning their NC0s and jr officers who have had anything beyond basic training. All I see are scattered 'freedom fighters' with no discipline, let alone training in most weapons.


Guest March 31, 2011 at 3:32 pm

What NCOs and JOs? They look like the Keystone Cops out there…


roland March 30, 2011 at 12:40 pm

This is just another expensive long war. We are fighting for Libya's civil war. We are siding to the oposition from whom we dont know who. LKadhafi have 1000 tanks to name a few of his armaments. We are spending infinitely on this wars.Where are the good lining on this events?


Ronnie Watley March 30, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Talk about pulling out all the stops. A missile from a P3. Guess we need to keep the aircraft in use near the same age group


Imustbeterrorist March 30, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Why no disscussion about coast gurd Libyan, US military's. Motohiro Japan, what it is?


blight March 30, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Here's a fun Bush Senior quote to keep things in perspective.

"What is at stake is more than one small country, it is a big idea — a new world order, where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause to achieve the universal aspirations of mankind: peace and security, freedom, and the rule of law."

However, this spirit died shortly after election season.


devildog7885 March 31, 2011 at 3:01 am

Anyone Getting the feeling that Our Military is being sold to fight to the highest Bidder?. Lately it seems Our Government has been using Our sons And Daughter's as a Merc Force shuffled at the whim of the U.N. and Corporations.



Infidel4LIFE April 1, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Its a mess but Col Q is on the ropes. Get this over with. France could send troops, Italy too. Its THEIR problem.


LittleDragon2 April 2, 2011 at 12:20 am

excuse me but it seems our first concern is to support our troops in harms way. saying stuff like we can't afford this must be disheartening to our troops. we must support them in this and all their endeavors and leave all politics outside the warzones. is it possible that these politcal comments could lead to hesitation and distraction that could cause our brave troops to get hurt or even killed: please depoliticize this and support our troops!


blight March 29, 2011 at 6:52 pm

Bigger than the Mk V SOC, which is in turn larger than the WW2-era PT boat which seems to still be the standard of small boats. Hmm.


Zap March 29, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Don't forget this bit
"after confirmed reports that Vittoria and accompanying craft were firing indiscriminately at merchant vessels in the port of Misrata, Libya, during the evening March 28, 2011."
interesting because the entire port of Misrata is 100%under the control of government troops .
so why would they possibly be firing on merchant vessels in the port ?
more BS


STemplar March 29, 2011 at 7:51 pm

How can you be 100% sure of anything? That isn't possible. You don't have clue one who is in charge of what except the key board you are typing on. I don't think the whole OP is particularly worthwhile but I'm not certain of anything on the ground there. It's ok to be a skeptic but ease up on the conspiracy mentality a bit.


blight March 29, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Could be firing on suspected Libyan rebels or a defecting merchant vessel. Never know….?


Curt March 30, 2011 at 2:58 am

So quickly you forget. In Kosovo (I know, that was sooo 90s), we bombed the Serbs for what, four days right… well OK 77days (without a UN Mandate) and "forced" them to agree to a settlement that was exactly the same one that the US had rejected at Dayton (and the Serbs agreed to) before we started bombing in the first place. So this isn't much, if any, worse.


Valentina March 30, 2011 at 4:19 am

Nouri Mesmari went in France in october 2010

Do you know this?


blight March 30, 2011 at 8:42 am

It's not unlike watching the news and hearing anchors who sound so…clueless about the meat of how things work.


Tom March 30, 2011 at 4:00 pm

The French have the bomb btw.


DualityOfMan April 1, 2011 at 1:52 am

France has a larger military than Germany and more nukes than China or the UK. Turkey also has a very serious military although they are unfortunately unwilling to use it in this situation.


STemplar March 30, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Ummm, Dayton was Bosnia, not Kosovo, and the Rambouillet Agreement was Kosovo. It was proposed by the Kosovars ala NATO and rejected by the Serbs. Just to get the history correct.

The principle difference between then and now was that NATO was unified, organized, and had a plan, before bombs started falling.


theman March 30, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I think the hope is that showing our support for democratic movements (you can disagree with how democratic the rebels are) really undermines Al Qaeda's narrative and allows the US to co-opt moderate Muslims throughout the world. That would be a strategic victory.


Guest March 30, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Kind of like the comments section of this website sometimes…


Guest March 30, 2011 at 3:55 pm

United States Ship.


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