Sunday, May 12, 2019

LNA uses an Il-18D belonging to a foreign company to transport ammunition from Benina to Gharyan

On May 12th, 2019, a Russian journalist - Alexander Kots - embeded with LNA forces published the three photos below on his Twitter account revealing that LNA uses a former Moldovan Sky Prim'Air company Il-18D - serial ER-ICS - in an aerial bridge to transport, notably, ammunition from Benina to Gharyan. Kots deleted his tweet later realizing probably that he was revealing touchy information on LNA.




This Il-18D is flying in the Libyan sky for at least three years. On September 15th, 2016, it flew from Tobruk to Zintan, transporting participants to the Nalut Reconciliation Conference. On November 25th, the same Il-18D flew from Tobruk to Benina air base loaded with equipment and, supposedly, medical supplies for hospitals and clinics in and around Benghazi. According to the LNA, the consignment of medicine and health equipment had arrived the day before at Tobruk on a flight from Germany.


On December 15th, it hauled 60 million dinars from Libya’s central bank to Birak Al Shati.


The same aircraft landed at Zintan on January 1st, 2017 with Libyan military officers on board. The officers had recently graduated from training in Jordan.


On August 24th, 2017, it was seen at al-Jufra airbase and was used to transport LNA soldier bodies killed by ISIS in an attack the days before.


Sky Prim'Air like Oscar Jet belonged to a Moldovan family, the Ghilan. Their fleet carried out cargo flights toward, from and inside Libya in profit to the LNA which have only old aircraft from Kadhafi period - an Il-76TD and a C-130. In June 2017, United Nation Security Council Panel of experts report on Libya revealed that this Il-18D was spotted on satellite imagery at the UAE airbase of al-Khadim in eastern Libya. According to the report, the plane with Moldovan registration numbers does not have an official owner and is not registered in any country. However, until July 2015, it belonged to Moldovan company Grixona SRL, which in the meantime changed its name twice: initially - in Sky Prim Air SRL, and in 2016 it is renamed Terra Avia SRL. The company belongs to Moldovan Grigore Ghilan. A week before the aircraft was removed from the Republic of Moldova's airline, the businessman was decorated by President Nicolae Timofti with the "Labor Glory" order for merits in civil aviation.


In November 2017 RISE Moldova investigated about suspected flights of Moldovan immatriculated aircraft in Libya. RISE Moldova learned that Grigore Ghilan had as business partners two Russian citizens of Arab origin who were involved in a scandal over Armenia's illegal arms transport to Libya. It's about Malik Bilal and Mukhammad Amir. Several years ago, the two owned nearly half of the share capital of Grixona SRL. And now, Malik Bilal, along with Vladimir Ghilan, is the founder of Oscar Jet SRL.

On April 11th, 2019, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Republic of Moldova reported that restrictive measures were imposed on certain air carriers operating flights outside the Republic of Moldova (Middle East, Asia and the Pacific) by prohibiting the operation of an aircraft (Oscar Jet) and the suspension of Air Operator Certificate (AOC) for Terra Avia - former Sky Prim'Air renamed in 2016 as mentioned above - and Fly Pro. Despite this suspension , it seems that Il-18D serial "ER-ICS" still fly and has changed hands and is now owned by a Kazakh unknown company.


Monday, April 29, 2019

Remains of Chinese made missiles found in Tripoli points to Wing Loongs airstrikes

As part of Operation Taoufane al-Karama, the accuracy of night air strikes has become unusually high for at least a week. The past days, many pictures of remains of missiles were sent to me for identification pointing they could have been launched by foreign air forces during night airstrikes around Tripoli. The photos have been taken in fighting in Wadi Rabe on April 17th and in Aziziya and comparison with Chinese made Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) LJ-7, also known as 'Blue Arrow-7', confirmed that this type of missiles was used in the two air strikes. Some Blue Arrow 7 missiles fragments were found following night air strikes on :

- Wadi Rabe' south of Tripoli on April 17th
- Al-Hira on April 20th
- El-Azizia on April 20th
- Ain Zara on April 21th


The LJ-7 missile is an ATGM derivative of a semi-active laser guided HJ-10 for export market. The missile has been displayed at Eurosatory 2012 as the Blue Arrow 7. It is also used for armor penetration is up to 1400 mm; it is achieved by increasing the warhead and reducing the fuel, resulting in the reduction of the maximum range.


On April 19th, 2018, a LJ-7 missile shot from a drone was used by the Saudi-led coalition to assassinate the president of Houthi Supreme Political Council Saleh Ali al-Sammad.


The LJ-7 missile can be loaded on Wing Loong 2 UAV, in service notably with United Arab Emirates Air Force which deployed some of them at al-Khadim airbase in eastern Libya and with Egypt Air Force.


Al-Khadim is a former airport located in al-Marj province in eastern Libya. Since June 2016, Emirates IOMAX AT-802 “Air Tractor” turboprop aircraft and Chinese-made Wing Loong UAV have been deployed on this airbase on which extension works started to increase its capacity. The existing parking area was equipped with a dozen of shelters, half of them used to house aircraft and drones.


This small fleet was engaged in airstrike and reconnaissance missions in support of Libyan National Army troops fighting islamist groups in Benghazi, in particular the Islamic State et the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council, or BRSC - a group with ties to Al Qaeda. A second parking area was under construction since September 2016 in the base’s southeast corner. A dozen of large shelters were built and half of the new tarmac was achieved on February 2017. The size of these infrastructures is large enough to host fighter jets like F-16s, Mirage 2000s or even Rafales.

Tripoli is far from this UAE-built airbase, so the Wing Loongs might be operated from an alternative runway close to the Tripoli front in order to stay longer in the air for carrying out Close Air Support (CAS) to LNA.


Friday, November 30, 2018

The loss of a Night Eagle drone in the Bani Walid area confirms the presence of US forces in this area where IS is thriving

The loss of a Night Eagle drone in the Bani Walid area confirms the presence of US forces in this area where IS is thriving
Version : November 29th, 2018
Number of pages : 7 (750 words)

9,99€

Footage of a US made Night Eagle UAV reportedly crashed in Wadi al-Mardum located 20-30 km eastern Bani Walid appeared on Libyan social media on November 28th. The front part of the drone that contains all the sensors and camera is missing probably destroyed in the crash or removed by its "discoverers". The aircraft has significant cracks on the underside of the fuselage, indicating that the impact on the ground was hard, but not too violent to keep the structure almost intact. The Night Eagle is a US-made UAV based on a modified Boeing Insitu ScanEagle Block E equipped with an infrared camera for night operations. In the past, the Bani Walid area was often targeted by unidentified aircraft. Already, on February 28th, 2016, a convoy of fifteen vehicles was attacked by unidentified aircraft in the Shimikh Valley near Bani Walid, the United States and the LNA denying any involvement in the attacks.






Saturday, November 17, 2018

Publication in November 2018


This month, Air Forces Monthly magazine published my latest "Flashpoint" about the Burkina Faso Air Force. The air arm of Burkina Faso has had different titles over several years, gaining combat experience in the process. Today it’s part of the multinational ‘G5 Sahel Joint Force’, as I explain.


Saturday, November 10, 2018

Marshall Haftar air power capacity could increase as UAE airbase in Libya is now ready to host fighter jets

Marshall Haftar air power capacity could increase as UAE airbase in Libya is now ready to host fighter jets
Version : November 10th, 2018
Number of pages : 8 (1430 words)

9,99€

Satellite imagery taken on November 10th, 2018, shows that al-Khadim airbase is now operational to receive a fleet of fighter jets. Indeed, the parking area under construction for two years is now “opened” on the runway. The expansion of the al-Khadim airbase which had been paused for more than half a year suddenly accelerated since October 2017. Al-Khadim is a former airport located in al-Marj province in eastern Libya. Since June 2016, Emirates IOMAX AT-802 “Air Tractor” turboprop aircraft and Chinese-made Wing Loong UAV have been deployed on this airbase on which extension works started to increase its capacity. The existing parking area was equipped with a dozen of shelters, half of them used to house aircraft and drones. This small fleet was engaged in airstrike and reconnaissance missions in support of Libyan National Army troops fighting islamist groups in Benghazi, in particular the Islamic State et the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council, or BRSC - a group with ties to Al Qaeda.






Friday, October 19, 2018

The Libyan National Army: assessment and mapping of the ground forces

The Libyan National Army: assessment and mapping of the ground forces
Version : October 2018
Number of pages : 13 (3200 words)

19,99€

More than four years after the split of the two governments that brought East and West Libya into a civil war and almost three years after the signing of the UN-brokered "Libyan Political Accord" (LPA) in Skhirat, Morocco, which has confirmed the House of Representatives (HoR) as an internationally recognized parliament in Libya, and institutionalized a Government of National Accord (GNA) with a Presidential Council (PC), Libya is still not a stabilized state and most warring factions are fragmented each with their own agenda.  The LPA was supposed to expire two years after a vote of confidence by the House of Representatives, but since the agreement has not yet been approved by the HoR, some consider it still in force. The armed wing of the HoR is the so-called Libyan National Army commanded by Marshal Khalifa Haftar. It is actually a group of militia around a regular army nucleus representing a force of around 25,000 men. It does not form a solid and coherent block. Each militia has its agenda and its ambitions.


L'Armée Nationale Libyenne : évaluation et cartographie des forces terrestres

L'Armée Nationale Libyenne : évaluation et cartographie des forces terrestres
Version : Octobre 2018
Nombre de pages : 13 (3470 mots)

19,99€

Plus de quatre ans après la scission des deux gouvernements qui a amené la Libye orientale et occidentale dans une guerre civile et près de trois ans après la signature de « l'Accord politique libyen » négocié par l'ONU (LPA) à Skhirat, au Maroc, qui a confirmé la Chambre des Représentants (HoR) en tant que parlement internationalement reconnu en Libye, et institutionnalisé un gouvernement d'accord national (GNA) avec un Conseil présidentiel (PC), la Libye n'est toujours pas un état stabilisé et la plupart des factions belligérantes sont fragmentées chacune d'entre elles ayant leur propre agenda. Le LPA était censé expirer expiré deux ans après un vote de confiance par la Chambre des représentants, mais l'accord n'ayant pas encore été approuvé par le HoR, certains considèrent qu’il est toujours en vigueur. Le bras armé du HoR est la soi-disant Armée Nationale Libyenne commandé par le Maréchal Khalifa Haftar. Elle n’est en fait qu’un regroupement de milices autour d’un noyau d’armée régulière représentant une force de 25 000 hommes environs. Elle ne forme pas un bloc solide et cohérent. Chaque milice a son agenda et ses ambitions.


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

My publication in July 2018


Dans son n°136 du mois de juillet, DSI Magazine publie mon dernier papier sur "l'utilisation des appareils de transport dans des missions de frappe". Le concept n'est pas nouveau et est intéressant sur le plan opérationnel et prend beaucoup de sens dans l’environnement budgétaire des armées d’aujourd'hui. La conversion d’avions de transport en bombardiers, si cela est réalisable, pourrait améliorer la flexibilité et offrent un meilleur rendement sur un investissement coûteux.

In its July issue, DSI Magazine publishes my latest article on "the use of transport aircraft in strike missions". The concept is not new and dates back to the Second World War. Nevertheless, it is operationally interesting and makes a lot of sense in the budgetary environment of today's armies. The conversion of transport into bomber aircraft, if operationally and technically feasible, could improve flexibility and provide a better return on a costly investment.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 28 June - 4 July


Last week, Khalifa Haftar had ordered the all ports ‘liberated’ by LNA to be handed over to the Benghazi-based National Oil Corporation (NOC). U.S., UK, France and Italy in a joint statement demanded Libyan oil terminals be returned to UN-backed government. France, which has previously been seen as sympathetic to Haftar, is said to be furious with him, warning him he faces a political backlash if he continues on the current course. Following the coming of Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini on June 25th, Rome wished to open migrants sorting and detention centers in southern Libya. Despite Italian Ambassador to Libya, Giuseppe Perrone denied that Italy was planning to establish a military base in southern Libya, it seems that GNA planned to re-habilitate al-Wigh airbase positioned in the south near smuggling routes from Niger and Chad and used by thousands of migrants attempting to reach the African coastline. On the humanitarian side, almost 1350 people were rescued by Libyan Coast Guards and NGO ships off Libyan coast while at least 170 died or are presumed missing. In Derna, clashes continued in the urban center, despite Marshal Haftar announced the complete liberation of the city from DPF/DMSC on June 28th. In the Oil Crescent, most the brigades that came in reinforcement following the attack by the Benghazi Defend Brigade and Ibrahim Jadhran’s militia returned to their home camps in Ajdabiya and Benghazi. The death toll for LNA in Derna increased to 89 killed for June (53 in May) and 45 killed in the Oil Crescent operations. Security Forces of Sirte announced a state of alert after receiving information about suspicious movements of ISIS militants in the valleys southern of the city. Patrols were conducted and checkpoints set up in anticipation of any attack.

This report includes :
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in western Libya
- Situation in southern Libya
- Humanitarian situation (refugees/migrants)
- Political aspects
- Demining activities
- Foreign military flights

3,99€



Thursday, June 28, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 21 - 27 June 2018


Fighting are still going on in the urban center of Derna city. Remnants of DPF/DMSC harassed LNA units with SVBIEDs. 10 LNA members were killed in the city as a result of the final operations to control the city increasing the death toll to 80 killed for June in LNA ranks in Derna (53 killed in May). In the Oil Crescent, Marshall Khalifa Haftar ordered the launch of a counter-offensive operation against the ‘Benghazi Defence Brigades’ (BDB) backed by tribal fighters led by Ibrahim Jadhran and Chadian mercenaries. In one day, LNA forces retook the control of the oil infrastructures thanks to UAE support and probably France with ISR. Marshall Haftar lost 25 of his men due to clashes in the Oil Crescent bringing the total number of killed to 44. In Tripoli, tension is still high. The fear of confrontation between armed forces possibly the 301st Brigade and Abdul Ghani Al-Kikli's (“Ghneiwa”) militia on the airport road increases. On the political aspect, LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari stated that Khalifa Haftar had ordered the all ports ‘liberated’ by LNA to be handed over to the Benghazi-based National Oil Corporation (NOC). U.S., UK, France and Italy in a joint statement demanded Libyan oil terminals be returned to UN-backed government. Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini came in Tripoli to discuss migration with Interior Minister, Abdel Salam Ashour.

This report includes :
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in the Oil Crescent
- Situation in western Libya
- Situation in southern Libya
- Humanitarian situation (refugees/migrants)
- Political aspects
- Demining activities
- Foreign military flights


3,99€



Friday, June 22, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 14 - 20 June 2018


On June 14th, forces of the so-called ‘Benghazi Defence Brigades’ (BDB) backed by tribal fighters led by Ibrahim Jadhran and Chadian mercenaries attacked Libya’s Oil Crescent Region. As-Sidra and Ras-Lanuf oil terminals were seized. Three oil reservoirs took fire after being hit by shell, one in As-Sidra and two in Al-Harouj oil storages of Ras-Lanuf. At least, 30 LNA members were killed in the fighting. In the early hours of the attack, LNA Air Force hi back with multiple airstrikes. The rapid progress of Haftar's troops in the Derna campaign has allowed half of the thirty brigades to be disengaged and reassigned immediately in the Oil Crescent. LNA claimed its air force performed between 10 to 15 air raids per day between Ras Lanuf and Sirte. Some of them were very accurate. The number of strikes (days and nights), as well as their precision suggests that they were not only due to the LNA, probably by UAE. Moreover, U.S. Air Force conducted a new precision airstrike near Bani Walid this time against al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The latest was carried out on June 6th by a drone 30 km southern Bani Walid against ISIS members including one leader of Islamic State in Sirte. In Tripoli, pro-GNA units are under pressure. RADA Special deterrent Forces as Nawazi Brigade were deployed many times close to the airport and on the road to Tajoura.

This report includes :
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in western Libya
- Situation in southern Libya
- Coast guards activities
- Demining activities
- Foreign military flights


3,99€



Tuesday, June 19, 2018

My publications in June 2018


Dans son numéro Hors-Série du mois de juin spécial Eurosatory, DSI Magazine publie mon dernier papier qui dresse une cartographie des forces terrestres de l'Armée National Libyenne du Maréchal Khalifa Haftar constituée d’un regroupement de milices autour d’un noyau d’armée régulière représentant une force de 25 000 hommes environs et ne formant pas un bloc solide et cohérent. Côté historique, Avions de Combat publie un récit concernant l'Opération Mount Hope au Tchad en 1988 qui avait pour but la récupération d'un hélicoptère de combat Mil Mi-25 abandonné par les forces libyennes sur la base de Ouadi-Doum.

In its June Special issue dedicated to Eurosatory, DSI Magazine publishes my latest article which draws a map of the ground forces of the Libyan National Army led by Marshal Khalifa Haftar, consisting of a group of militia around a regular army nucleus representing a force of about 25,000 men and not forming a solid and coherent block. On the historical side, Avions de Combat publishes a story about Operation Mount Hope in Chad in 1988 aimed at recovering a Mil Mi-25 combat helicopter abandoned by Libyan forces at the Ouadi-Doum base.


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 7-13 June


The rapid progress of Haftar's troops in the Derna campaign has allowed a third of the thirty brigades to be disengaged. Nevertheless, the operations are not completed since fighting persists in the urban center. DPF militants have launched several suicide missions via SVIEDs on LNA positions in eastern Shiha neighbourhood. At least 20 LNA members were killed this week in Derna increasing the death toll to almost 87 since the beginning of the offensive. Part of the units that left the area were reassigned to other fronts, notably in the Oil Crescent which have been put on state of emergency on June 11th following reports claiming Saraya Defend Benghazi militants (also called Benghazi Defend Brigade) were prepared an attack on the oil terminals. Air strikes were carried out 60km south of Sirte city on 12th. Foreign aerial activities close to Libyan coast and over the country suggest that the threats on the oil infrastructure were taken very seriously. Indeed, French and US Boeing C-135 tankers performed refuelled missions the day of the strikes. Moreover, CAE Aviation’s King Air 350 ISR aircraft based at Al-Khadim is used to monitor the area. This aircraft was previously engaged over Derna the past month. The threat was confirmed on Thursday 14th when ‘Benghazi Defence Brigades’ (BDB) backed by tribal fighters led by Ibrahim Jadhran attacked As-Sidra terminal which was closed. In Western Libya, Grand Mufti Sadiq al-Gharian condemned France and UAE support for LNA in Derna and called for Jihad and rising money against them.

This report includes :
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in southern Libya
- Situation in western Libya
- Coast guards activities
- Foreign military flights
- Demining activities


3,99€



Friday, June 8, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 31 May - 6 June


The battle for the liberation of Derna is still going on. Fighting intensified this week. LNA forces have progressed rapidly in several neighbourhoods in the urban area. According to LNA spokesman, 75% of the city has been captured to DPF militants. In southern Libya, armed groups believed to belong to Chadian opposition and Benghazi Defend Brigade attempted to storm Tamanhint airbase in the hand of LNA. LNA and local forces in Brak al-Shati are on high alert after suspicious military movements were reported in the area, to anticipate a possible attack on the military infrastructures by Chadian and other foreign militias. In western Libya, a US Air Force drone carried out an air strike 30 km southern Bani Walid targeting a car and killing four people including Abdul Ati Ashtewi Abustah, one leader of Islamic State in Sirte. Two Sirte residents were killed between Waddan and Zillah by presumed ISIS militants. Many ISIS movements have been reported toward Haruj and Tmassah. In the Oil Crescent area, ISIS members carried out an attack on police station in Qanan.

This report includes :
- Situation in southern Libya
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in western Libya
- Coast guards activities
- Foreign military flights
- Demining activities


3,99€



Thursday, May 31, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 24 - 30 May


On 29 May, French President Emmanuel Macron hosted a summit in Paris about Libya designed to bring together GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj, President of the HoR Agilah Saleh, President of the HCS Khaled Mishri, and Commander of the LNA, Marshal Khalifa Haftar. After the summit, it was announced that an agreement was found to hold parliamentary and presidential elections on December 10th, 2018. On May 24th, a VBIED detonated on Jamal Abdel Nasser Street beside the Kashafa Park and near Tibesty Hotel in Benghazi killing eight people and wounded 20. This attack is the second VBIED explosion in less than 18 months and the fourth in Benghazi this year. In Derna, LNA took control of al-Fatayah neighbourhood, western entrance of the city and Temsket. At least 13 LNA members were killed and 21 wounded this week increasing the death toll to about 45 killed in four weeks of fighting. Seven civilians were killed by a landmine while trying to get out of the city.

This report includes :
- Situation in southern Libya
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in western Libya
- Coast guards activities
- Foreign military flights
- Demining activities


3,99€