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By Caroline Cameron, Great North News Services
OPERATION Ellamy is the UK's contribution to NATO forces enforcing UN Resolution 1973 to protect civilians in Libya. Elements of the RAF carry out patrols and strikes from bases in Malta and Italy. The Royal Navy is patrolling in the Mediterranean.
Overnight, RAF jets successfully bombed a Libyan frigate in Tripoli harbour. The ship had been damaged previously by NATO air strikes, but careful battle damage assessment indicated that the ship retained an offensive capability.
The RAF strike inflicted further serious damage and left the vessel taking on water. British aircraft also attacked a command and control node and a weapons depot in Bir al Ghanam in the Djebel Nafousa, and a staging post in Zlitan.
An RAF patrol returned to Zlitan overnight and conducted a precision strike on a
barracks and military staging post.
Meanwhile, an armed reconnaissance patrol identified and destroyed an armed truck at Az Aziziyah, near Tripoli.
UK aircraft were again in action over Libya, as part of NATO's mission to protect civilians at risk of attack from Colonel Qadhafi's former regime.
Tornado GR4s launched from RAF Marham in Norfolk. Supported by VC10 and Tristar tankers, they flew south across Europe and the Mediterranean to launch a large salvo of Stormshadow precision guided missiles at command bunkers near Sebha, 700 kilometres south of Tripoli, out in the Sahara. They landed at Gioia del Colle after a mission lasting seven hours.
These and other NATO operations were supported by a large force of essential support aircraft, including RAF VC10s, Tristars, Sentries andSentinels, and the Fleet Air Arm's Sea King ASAC helicopters.
In the early hours of the morning, Royal Air Force Tornado and Typhoon aircraft conducted precision strikes on an ammunition and vehicle depot, and a military communications facility, both near Zlitan.
An armed reconnaissance patrol over Brega, in the east of the country, identified and destroyed two armed pick-up trucks.
While NATO maintained air patrols across Libya, the tasking for the Royal Air Force's Tornado and Typhoon aircraft saw them focused particularly on the area around Zlitan.
Two formations conducted a concerted strike on a former regime barracks and ammunition depot near the town, as well as a headquarters.
Subsequent missions attacked two command and control facilities and a military staging post in Zlitan and Al Khums, while in the east of the country, another RAF patrol successfully engaged a tank and a Grad multiple rocket launcher near Brega.
At sea, HMS Bangor continued her long-standing mine countermeasures patrol off Misratah, where Colonel Qadhafi has repeatedly made unsuccessful attempts to deny the port to humanitarian shipping, while HMS Liverpool once again fired a barrage of illumination rounds to support NATO operations in the Zlitan area. Fleet Air Arm Sea Kings from HMS Ocean used their Searchwater radar to augment NATO's fixed wing surveillance capabilities.
In the early hours, Apache helicopters from the Army Air Corps, flying off their carrier HMS Ocean, penetrated deep into Libyan airspace to conduct a strike on a troop concentration at Al Watiyah, 40 miles south of the coast at Zuwarah.
Hellfire missiles and cannon fire accounted for one headquarters and 12 military vehicles, including at least one armed with a surface to air weapon system, with
another four vehicles left seriously damaged.
Fleet Air Arm Sea Kings provided radar cover, whilst RAF Tornado GR4s flew as overwatch. The Tornadoes were also able to prosecute successfully a target of their
own, destroying a military staging post further south at Tiji.
A precision strike was conducted against a location, near Bir al Ghanam in the Djebel Nafousa, which was supporting multiple rocket launchers.
This was followed up by successful attacks on two ammunition stores and a headquarters in the same area, our aircraft employing Paveway guided bombs to destroy their targets.
The Royal Navy was in action off Zlitan, while Royal Air Force and British Army aircraft took action against Colonel Qadhafi's troops in the western highlands of the Djebel Nafousa.
NATO taskings saw RAF aircraft maintaining frequent patrols throughout the day over the Djebel Nafousa. One such patrol attacked a building used by artillery teams firing into Yafran, whilst another patrol struck a staging post for the former regime forces which have been concentrated around Gharyan.
Further east, HMS Liverpool took action, successfully engaging, with her 4.5" gun, a Grad multiple rocket launcher positioned on the coast near Zlitan.
Liverpool remained in the area and, after darkness had fallen, fired star shells to provide illumination for NATO operations in the area.
All three of the UK Services again saw action against Colonel Qadhafi's former regime in Libya, as NATO's Operation Unified Protector continued.
Royal Air Force Tornado and Typhoon aircraft struck two locations in Zlitan which intensive NATO surveillance and analysis had shown were being used by Qadhafi's troops.
A Grad multiple rocket launcher system, concealed under trees, was also destroyed. Similar missions were also flown against targets identified in the Djebel Nafousa, including two buildings used by artillery teams firing into Yafran, and a headquarters and camp for troops mustered at Gharyan.
HMS Ocean launched her Apache helicopters against a pair of buildings near Zlitan being used by Qadhafi's men.
One of the buildings was a former hotel which had been commandeered by the former regime for use as a military base.
The British Army helicopters coordinated their strike with RAF Tornado GR4s, combining Hellfire missiles from the Apaches and Paveway guided bombs from the jets to destroy their targets. Fleet Air Arm Sea Kings from Ocean provided radar overwatch for the strike mission, which was also well supported by other allied aircraft. HMS Liverpool was also close at hand, firing a barrage of illumination rounds to facilitate NATO operations against other targets in the Zlitan area. Qadhafi's troops fired a number of rockets very inaccurately back out to sea.
HMS Liverpool closed in to fire a number of salvos from her 4.5" gun against a mortar and rocket position near Zlitan.
Following up on reconnaissance information provided by the RAF and other NATO air patrols earlier in the day, British Army Apache helicopters launched from HMS Ocean.
Supported by Fleet Air Arm Sea Kings providing radar overwatch, the Apaches attacked a pair of vehicle check points used by Qadhafi's men to prevent the free movement of civilians in the area.
Five military vehicles were destroyed in and around these positions. Meanwhile, RAF jets conducted a precision strike against the Bin Ghasir missile depot in Tripoli; 10 Paveway guided bombs were dropped.
Tornado GR4s successfully attacked another of the former regime's tactical headquarters near Yafran. Last night, RAF Tornados and Typhoons conducted a precision strike on a large military base at Tajura, on the eastern outskirts of Tripoli.
As ever, these and other allied air operations were made possible by the large fleet of NATO combat support assets, including RAF VC10 and Tristar tankers, and Sentry and Sentinel surveillance aircraft.
Royal Air Force Tornado and Typhoon aircraft conducted precision strikes on two buildings near Zlitan which NATO surveillance analysis had confirmed were being used as command and control facilities.
One of Qadhafi's main battle tanks was also destroyed during the attack. A follow-up mission attacked a third such headquarters, which was specifically being used to support multiple rocket launchers.
The same RAF patrol was also able to destroy two military staging posts in the area of Yafran, 110 miles to the south-west in the western highlands of the Djebel Nafousa.