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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.
HMS Bangor remained on patrol off the port of Misratah, as she and other NATO warships help ensure the safe passage of shipping. This morning an armed reconnaissance patrol comprising RAF Tornado GR4s, identified an armed truck near Bani Walid, in use by Gaddafi's men. A Brimstone missile, employing laser and radar guidance, destroyed the vehicle with a direct hit.
NATO continued to sustain intensive overwatch missions around Sirte and Bani Walid. Yesterday afternoon, an armed reconnaissance patrol of RAF Tornado GR4s was alerted by another NATO surveillance platform to the presence of three former regime armed trucks hidden beneath trees to the east of Bani Walid. The vehicles were successfully engaged by our aircraft, using Paveway guided bombs, and destroyed.
At sea, HMS Bangor is currently conducting maritime security patrols off Misratah, helping maintain confidence in the safe movement of merchant vessels to and from Libya's ports as the new authorities work hard at restoring normal commercial operations.
With her advanced minehunting equipment, Bangor is very well suited to identifying and neutralising any legacy threats from Colonel Gaddafi's regime, such as the abandoned mine and torpedo which she located and destroyed on the seabed off Tobruk earlier this month.
Royal Air Force aircraft formed part of NATO's continuous armed reconnaissance presence over the disputed cities of Sirte and Bani Walid, and during the course of this afternoon, our aircraft succeeded in identifying a pick-up truck, armed with an anti-aircraft artillery piece, in use by Colonel Qadhafi's remaining troops in Bani Walid.
A Brimstone missile, launched from a Tornado GR4, scored a direct hit on the vehicle and left it ablaze. Three hours later, a similar patrol over Sirte was tasked to engage a second such armed vehicle which a NATO surveillance asset had spotted. Once again, a direct hit from a Brimstone missile destroyed the vehicle outright.
RAF jets were again tasked by NATO to conduct a precision strike on a vehicle supply point in Sirte and struck their target accurately with four Paveway guided bombs.
Our aircraft also continued to play an active part in the patrols over Bani Walid, and on Sunday morning they spotted two armed pick-up trucks being used by former
regime forces to fire on a civilian compound. Brimstone missiles were able to destroy both vehicles without risking collateral damage to surrounding property. A follow-up patrol later in the day located a third armed truck in the vicinity of Bani Walid and destroyed it with a Paveway bomb.
During the course of Friday afternoon, two formations of RAF Tornados conducted
strikes against a firing position and supply point which had been located by NATO surveillance analysis within the area of Sirte.
Eight Paveway guided bombs were successfully dropped by our aircraft on the
NATO's Operation Unified Protector has maintained a continual air presence in recent days over those areas of Libya where conflict continues, particularly Bani Walid and Sirte, with Royal Air Force aircraft continuing to make a significant contribution.
On Thursday evening, an armed reconnaissance patrol of Tornado GR4s identified one of Colonel Gaddafii's main battle tanks near Bani Walid, and destroyed the vehicle with a Brimstone precision guided missile.
Royal Air Force aircraft yesterday struck Colonel Gaddafi's forces in Bani Walid.
NATO aircraft remained vigilant over the two primary pockets where Gaddafi's troops continue to pose a threat to their fellow Libyans, around Sirte and Bani Walid, as Operation Unified Protector continued.
At Bani Walid, reconnaissance succeeded in identifying two command and control locations being used by the former regime's forces.
During the course of Wednesday morning, RAF Tornado GR4s were therefore tasked to attack both targets. The strikes, which employed 500lb and 1000lb Paveway laser and GPS guided bombs, proved successful, inflicting severe damage.
In recent days, the mine-hunter HMS Bangor has conducted exhaustive surveys of harbours in eastern Libya, helping to ensure that the waters are safe for merchant shipping, since there remains a residual threat from mines and other unexploded ordnance left behind as a legacy from the former regime.
In the course of this work, her advanced sonar successfully detected both a large 2000lb mine and a torpedo, heavily corroded and lying on the seabed off the port of Tobruk. Bangor was able to destroy safely both of the weapons using demolition charges dropped in place by her Seafox remotely controlled underwater submersible, working at a depth of 475 feet in the case of the mine.
Our aircraft identified one of Colonel Gaddafi's multiple rocket launchers. The
threat the vehicle posed was swiftly removed by a direct hit from a Brimstone missile.
Allied reconnaissance operations had been able to identify within Sirte a supply base for some of Colonel Gaddafi's anti-aircraft artillery weapons, so often used by his troops against civilian areas during the conflict.
A formation of Royal Air Force Tornado GR4s was tasked with the destruction of the position on Saturday afternoon, and four Paveway precision guided bombs were successfully dropped on target.
Later, during the evening, another formation of GR4s, conducting an armed reconnaissance patrol over Sirte, sighted an armed pick-up truck being used by former regime forces; our aircraft destroyed the vehicle with a direct hit from a Brimstone missile.