In case you didn’t see this yesterday, six U.S. Air Force F-16CJ Wild Weasels and five Navy EA-18G Growlers have been flying “defensive” strike missions against Moammar Gadhafi’s regime in Libya since NATO took charge of the air campaign there.
So, what qualifies as “defensive” missions? Why suppression of enemy air defenses, so yes, technically the Weasels and Growlers are helping protect allied aircraft from Gadhafi’s antiquated air defenses even though they’re hitting air defense targets targets with 500-pound bombs to pave the way for more strikes by NATO jets. Wait, how does Gadhafi have any air defenses left, at this point? And interestingly, it sounds like the Growlers didn’t use their HARM anti-radar missiles.
Anyway, according to the New York Times, we’ve still got operating in or near Libya:
One guided-missile destroyer; one P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft; one EP-3E signals reconnaissance aircraft; 22 KC-135 tankers; six F-16CJ aircraft; five EA-18G attack aircraft; two E-3 command and control aircraft; two EC-130 signals and communications aircraft; two RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft; one U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft; one E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System; two MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicles; and one RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle.