Saturday, June 04, 2011

NATO begins using attack helicopters in Libya

Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopter

NATO has dramatically stepped up pressure on Muamar Qadaffi to leave office in recent days by employing attack helicopters over Libya. The helicopters in question are British and French and are being staged from British and French amphibious assault vessels off the coast of Libya. Great Britain uses a license-built version of the U.S. Apache attack helicopter, while the French use the Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopter. Both are highly lethal ground attack helicopters capable of engaging targets at low level with guided missiles and 30mm automatic cannons.

The use of these helicopters is a demonstration of NATO's determination to drive Qadaffi from power. They are higher risk weapons systems in that these helicopters could potentially be vulnerable to ground fire, but they are also potentially more effective due to their ability to close with and identify more targets. They can also take out smaller targets and even individuals with their 30mm cannon at a lower cost and with less potential for collateral damage.

French landing ship Tonnerre

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