Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Confirmed : Libyan cadets graduated in Egypt in July 2016 now fly for Marshall Haftar

On 20 July 2016, 110 cadets were graduated from the Egyptian air force academy after three years of study. Among them, thirty-five were Libyan as I revealed on War Is Boring. Egyptian president Abdel Fattah Al Sisi awarded medals to the first graduates from Egypt and the State of Palestine, Kuwait, Libya, Sudan and South Sudan. And on July 29, 2016, the Libyan military attaché in Egypt honored the top Libyan officers graduating from the Egyptian army, navy and air force academies. Egypt supports Haftar’s Tobruk government, thus it seems logical that the 35 new pilots have joined the Libyan National Army Air Force. New photos published on Libyan Army social media now confirm that some of these cadets fly for the LNA/AF in Benina airbase.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Libyan National Army MiGs and helicopters blasted convoys attacking the Oil Crescent

On the night of Dec. 6 to 7, 2016, a convoy of around 150 vehicles left Al Jufrah in central Libya and headed toward the country’s sprawling Oil Crescent — specifically, its vital oil terminals. The various armed technicals belonged to the Saraya Defend Benghazi — also known as Benghazi Defense Brigade — an Islamist militia group that formed in June 2016 to oppose the dominant Libyan National Army and its popular leader Gen. Khalifa Haftar. The offensive came just a day after pro-government forces liberated the Islamic State stronghold of Sirte. Members of the Petroleum Facilities Guard — Ibrahim Jadhran’s own armed group — claimed to have joined the convoy, which split into two sections as it approached the Oil Crescent. Not long after, many of the vehicles were wrecked and in flames.

When Militants Attacked Libya’s Oil Region, Regime Aircraft Struck Back Hard

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Impressive video of an airstrike performed by a UAE AT-802 in Benghazi

The video below was published on Libyan social media on 10th December. The footage show the impact of a guided bomb on a sniper position in Ganfouda district in Benghazi. From 01:00, the noise of a turbo-propelled engine (like the IOMAX AT-802) can be hear until the explosion. The guided bomb seen on the screenshot seems to be a GBU-12 or GBU-58. This is the second video showing the clear engagement of United Arab Emirates Air Force in support of Libyan National Army operations against Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries (or SCBR) and Islamic State (IS).

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Libyan cadets graduated in PAF Academy will join the LNA Air Force

On 8th December, Libyan cadets studying in Pakistan Air Force Academy for four years were graduated during an official ceremony. According to Libyan social media, all of them will join the Libyan National Army Air Force.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

No new 'Hind' helicopter for Libyan National Army

On 29 November, photos of supposed new overhauled Mi-35 gunship helicopters located at al-Marj airbase and grounded since 1994, were shared on Libyan social media. It appeared that this information is completely wrong.

One of the supposed three new Mi-35s overhauled at al-Marj airbase (via Oded Berkowitz)

New photos acquired by Aero Histo blog confirmed that this chopper was already in service in Libyan National Army Aviation. Serial number '619' seen below was acquired in April 2015 together with two other units. Indeed, United Arab Emirates purchased three Mil Mi-35Ps (serial numbers '301', '353' and '619') from Belarus, and then delivered them to the LNA/AF on 26th in Marj airbase. On 11 August 2015, serial '301' and '353' were seen in flight in GANAB near Tobruk.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Libyan An-32P Firekiller returned to service

Photos appeared on Libyan social media confirmed that a new Antonov An-32P was overhauled by technician and engineer at Misrata airbase. This "Cline" (serial '3507', code '5A-DRE') was built in 2005 and delivered to the Libyan Air Force on 1st September of the same year. it was previously used as firekiller and was seen during LAVEX airshow in october 2007. Since this period, it was stored at Mitiga airbase near Tripoli. This aircraft is the second An-32P in service with the ex-LDAF (Libya Dawn Air Force). The first one was seen operated on 28th August 2016 during the evacuation of wounded fighters in the battle of Sirte.

Monday, December 5, 2016

UAE warplanes are killing civilians in Benghazi

Twice in November 2016, the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council, or BRSC — a group with ties to Al Qaeda — published photos of United Arab Emirates Air Force AT-802 and Reaper-style drones in the sky over the Ganfouda area of Benghazi in eastern Libya. On Nov. 2, 2016, an S-100 Camcopter drone performed a reconnaissance mission over this district two hours before a Reaper or similar unmanned aerial vehicle carried out an air strike on a residential area. Ten days later, an Air Tractor belonging to the UAEAF struck the same area, killing at least four civilians including two children — and injuring another child. Drones launched four others air strikes in Ganfouda later the same day. Evidence is mounting that the UAE is indiscriminately bombing militant strongholds in Libya. And civilians are caught in the crossfire.

Guess Who’s Bombing the Crap Out of Libya - UAE warplanes are killing civilians in Benghazi

Saturday, December 3, 2016

My publication in December

In December, I publish, in collaboration with Tom Cooper, an article in DSI special issue No. 51 about the "Aerial military transport in the Syrian and Libyan civil wars" with a focus on Iranian and Russian air-bridge.

En décembre, je publie, en collaboration avec Tom Cooper, un article dans le HS N°51 de DSI Magazine à propos du "Transport aérien militaire dans les guerres civiles syrienne et libyenne" avec un focus sur le pont aérien iranien et russe.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Libyan airstrikes Situation Report : 7 - 30 November 2016

On 26 November, an airstrike was performed on Kilinja checkpoint some 350 kilometres south west of the Tebu village of Rebyana, itself 150 kilometres from the desert oasis town of Kufra. Some sources claimed this bombing mission was carried out by an Emirates AT-802 aircraft but the location of the attack is too far from al-Khadim where are based the "Air Tractors". But, this strike could have been realized by one of the three Wing Loong UAV which seem to have left al-Kadhim in October for an unidentified airbase.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Fighting are tough for Iraqi helicopter pilots

Iraq’s war on Islamic State has taken a heavy toll on the Iraqi army’s helicopter crews. And the battle of Mosul that began in October 2016 has only increased the pressure on the young aviation force, which formed with American assistance in 2007.

Many of the Iraqi army’s chopper crews fly from Erbil airport in Iraqi Kurdistan and Qayyarah airfield south of Mosul. The force suffered its latest loss on Oct. 29, 2016, when a Bell IA-407 belonging to the army’s 21 Squadron crashed in the Mukeshefah area north of Samarra.

We spoke to two pilots who’ve been fighting ISIS for more than two years.

Iraqi Army Chopper Pilot — ‘The Fighting Must Continue!’

Monday, November 28, 2016

Libyan National Army Air Force added a second 'Fitter' in its fleet

Following the seize of al-Watiya airbase in summer 2014 by the Libyan National Army (or LNA), LNA Air Force technicians and engineers started working on the refurbishing of former former Su-22s. Ten to twelve of these Su-22Ms were stored in shelters before the uprising and escaped the destruction by NATO because they were decommissioned.

LNA AF Su-22UM-3K in flight over al-Watiya AB

Friday, November 25, 2016

Les Emirats Arabes Unis en guerre en Libye

Au cours du mois de novembre, le Conseil des Révolutionnaires de la Shura de Benghazi, ou BRSC - un groupe ayant des liens avec Al-Qaïda - a publié des photos d’avions AT-802 "Air Tractor" et de drone de type MQ-9 Reaper de la force aérienne des Emirats Arabes Unis (UAEAF) en vol au-dessus de Ganfouda, un district de la ville de Benghazi dans l'est de la Libye.

IOMAX AT-802U "Air Tractor"de la force aérienne émirati envol au-dessus de Ganfouda le 12 novembre quelques minutes avant qu’il ne frappe

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Enquêtes Exclusives - La poudrière libyenne : menace aux portes de l'Europe

Dimanche 20 novembre, M6 diffusait l'émission Enquêtes Exclusives : La poudrière libyenne : menace aux portes de l'Europe.  Se déplacer dans un pays comme la Libye n'est pas aisé et comporte beaucoup de risques. Aussi, pour réaliser leur reportage les journalistes de la chaîne n'ont pas eu le choix que de s’assurer de la protection de l’Armée Nationale Libyenne fidèle au Général Khalifa Haftar.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Libya’s Chinook Helicopters Are Old as Hell

The Libya Dawn Air Force, one of two competing air arms in Libya, is overhauling two former Libyan air force CH-47C Chinook heavylift transport helicopters at Mitiga air base in Tripoli, with the goal of returning the twin-rotor copters — serial numbers LC-017 and, probably, LC-010 — to service in Libya’s grinding civil war.

The CH-47Cs are old … with an incredibly rich history.

Libya’s Chinook Helicopters Are Old as Hell - But they’re about to take flight again

Monday, October 31, 2016

Iraqi Army Aviation Bell IA-407 crashed North of Samarra

An Iraqi Army Aviation Bell IA-407 belonging to 21st Armed Reconnaissance Squadron crashed in Mukeshefah area North of Samarra at 140 km north of Baghdad on Saturday 29 October. The two crew members, pilot Hussein Ali Kadhim and First Lieutenant Ali Hafez were killed. This is the fifth Bell IA-407 lost in more than two years. One was captured at al-Mosul when Islamic States militants have taken the base on 9 June 2014. On 8 October 2014,  Capt Haidar Hamad Jaber and Capt Yazan Mohammed Abdel-Rahman al-Lami were KIA when their helicopter was shot down by FN-6 MANPADS near Baiji during support mission for a Mi-17. On 28 September 2015, Bell IA-407 serial number 'YI-125' was hit by ground fire and crash-landed west of COB Speicher. The crew was rescued by an EC635. On 17 February 2016, Maj Ahmed Nehru and 1st Lt Oumid were KIA when their helicopter was shot down near Amiriyat Al-Fallujah.

Update 4 Nov. 2016 : according to my colleague Marco Dijkshoorn, this Bell IA-407 was serial number 'YI-137' and may have belonged to 22nd Armed Reconnaissance Squadron, not 21st.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

A Fierce Air War Over Libya’s Oil Fields Has Killed Innocent Civilians

While merciless - frequently intentional - bombardment by Assadist and Russian air forces in Syria, which is causing dozens of civilian casualties every day, is finally catching public attention in the West, there are now reports about similar attacks being flown in Libya too. Contrary to Syria, where it is crystal clear who is flying such air strikes, the situation in Libya is quite murky.

On 20 September 2016, unidentified aircraft struck a leisure park at Nina Agricultural Project in Sokna, in Al-Jufrah district, 200 kilometres (125 miles) south of Sirte, killing at least seven people and injuring up to twenty others. The two armed factions, the Libyan National Army (LNA) and militia forces affiliated to the Government of National Accord (GNA), denied involvement and accused each others of the strike.

A Fierce Air War Over Libya’s Oil Fields Has Killed Innocent Civilians

Saturday, October 1, 2016

"Libyan airstrikes" situation update 19 - 30 September 2016

Two major events can be noticed during this period : the loss of Libyan National Army Air Force (LNA / AF) Mi-8T serial number '1432' (with three crew members and three passenger killed) and the death of civilian in an airstrike near al Jufrah by unidentified aircrafts.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

It is almost certain that Egypt and the UAE are directly intervening in the Libya conflict

On Sept. 25, 2016, the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council, or BRSC — a group with ties to Al Qaeda — published photos of air strikes that hit the Ganfouda area of Benghazi in eastern Libya. The group’s Sraya media arm claimed that a drone belonging to the United Arab Emirates was responsible for the bombings. And a week earlier in mid-September 2016, fighters from Ibrahim Jodran’s so-called Petroleum Facilities Guard claimed that either Egypt or the UAE bombed them near the town of Ras Lanuf, killing five fighters involved in a counterattack on Libyan National Army positions. The reports are just the latest in a growing body of evidence that Egypt and the UAE are directly intervening in the Libya conflict.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

An answer to and Mr Chris Biggers ad hominem attacks

On 20 September 2016, published on his website an update of Mr Chris Biggers article following a piece that was published on War Is Boring in August in which I made a criticism of his analysis. Offiziere presented me as "a military aviation enthusiast for over 25 years", that's true as readers of my blog can see here, but it is a little reductor seeing Offiziere presented Mr Biggers as a "10 years of experience in analyzing satellite imagery for government and clients". I also published around thirty articles in English and French specialized magazines (samples here), I am author/co-author of four books included three with Tom Cooper with whom I worked since at least five years. My latest book is Iraqi Air Power Reborn edited by Harpia Publishing.

In his update, Offiziere has used ad hominem attacks, while I only made a review of a content.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Which side will join the Libyan cadets who train in foreign Air Force Academies ?

In the last three years, perhaps more than 100 Libyan air force cadets have trained at foreign air force academies. Most of them began their training in 2012 and 2013 before the Libyan government split into two — and the two factions divided up Libya’s air force between them. So now here’s the problem. You’re a Libyan military pilot and you’ve just graduated from training abroad. Which air force do you join? The Government of National Accord’s Libya Dawn Air Force in Tripoli, or the Libyan National Army Air Force, which answers to Gen. Khalifa Haftar in Tobruk?

"Libyan airstrikes" situation update 1 - 18 September 2016

The first two weeks of September saw an increassing use of cluster bombs by Libyan National Army Air Force in Benghazi and the Oil Crescent which was captured between 11 and 13. No airstrikes were reported by Misrata Operation Room which is still supported by US bombings since 1st August. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

My publication in September

This month, I published in collaboration with Tom Cooper a big article (14 pages) in September issue of the new French military aviation magazine Airpower. We make a state of the situation in Libya, including the hypothetical engagement of French fighter-bombers in the air strikes, but also on the air forces of each side and the US strikes.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Libyan MiG-23ML has dropped two RBK-250s cluster bombs in Oil Crescend area today

Since the seize of oil terminal headquarters of the Oil Crescent between Saturday and Monday and Sidra and Ras Lanuf oil terminal towns from the central region’s Petroleum Facilities Guards (PFG), the Libyan National Army Air Force (LNA/AF) engaged its fighter jets for armed reconnaissance sortie in support of the ground forces to secure the oil area. This morning, the MiG-23ML serial '26453' was engaged in such missions in Brega, Ras Lanuf, Sidra and south of the ground forces after the port of Sidra. The aircraft was loaded with two SAMP French made bombs and two RBK-250s cluster bombs. Such munition were already used on Mi-8Ts the last weekend and on MiG-21s in Mid-August.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Libyan National Army still loads its Mi-8s with cluster bombs

New photos published last weekend confirmed that the Libyan National Army  Air Force (LNA/AF) still uses cluster bombs. The photos below show one Mi-8T helicopter loaded with a RBK-250 under the right stub wing on Saturday, September 10, evening. The same night, LNA/AF media confirmed that one of its Mi-8s carried out air strike near the Acyl resort targeting supposed concentrations of IS and armed allied militias. This is the seventh time that the use of cluster munitions is reported in Libya.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Who plagiarize who Mr Taghvaee ?

Following the publication of my article about Iraqi Su-25s on War Is Boring, Mr Babak Taghvaee accused me to have used his work without his permission and not have given the sources. I know Mr Taghvaee since at least two years. He is an Iranian author and journalist specialized in military aviation. We have always exchanged about Middle East Air Forces and Conflicts, especially Iraq and Syria, and more recently Libya. We have often exchanged on ACIG forum and by mail. In April 2015 issue of Combat Aircraft Monthly Magazine, I published an "Air Power Review" article about the new Iraqi Air Force using Mr Taghvaee's information about the ex-Iranian Frogfoot with his permission. At the end of the article I have of course thanked him for his help.

Monday, September 5, 2016

How many Su-25s operational in Iraqi AIr Force ?

A Sept. 2, 2016 analysis of satellite imagery from July seems to confirm that the Iraqi air force — the IqAF — maintains 21 Su-25 Frogfoot attack jets at Al Rashid air base.

According to the website Offiziere, the space-based photo suggests that two shipments of the rugged, twin-engine Su-25s — Russia’s answer to America’s A-10 Warthog — have occurred since the beginning of 2016.

Offiziere is wrong. But here’s how the website understandably arrived at that incorrect conclusion.

Let’s Account for All of Iraq’s Tank-Busting Jets - Counting Baghdad’s Su-25s is tricky business

Thursday, September 1, 2016

"Libyan airstrikes" situation update 10 - 31 August 2016

Following the death of commander of Misrata Air Force, Brigadier General Mukhtar Fakroun and Colonel Omar Dogha, in the crash of their L-39 near university of Sirte on 10th August, Air Force emergency operations room has commissioned pilot Mohammed Umesh as spokesman on 15th. Very few activities were reported by aircraft affiliated to GNA (Government of National Accord).

Saturday, August 27, 2016

New evidence of the using of cluster bombs in Libya

Official photos from the Libyan National Army, published on Aug. 15, 2016, indicate that the LNA is using cluster munitions in Libya.

The LNA, headed by Gen. Khalifa Haftar — a former officer in the regime of Muammar Gaddafi — has pledged allegiance to the House of Representatives faction in Tobruk, one of many competing political entities in Libya.

In May 2014, the LNA launched Operation Dignity, its ongoing campaign against Islamist armed groups in Benghazi and Derna. Now we can reasonably assert that this campaign involves cluster munitions, which spread small explosives over a wide area and risk disproportionately endangering civilians.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

SIGINT and reco missions over Iraq - warning Mig-25

53-BZ  with UN markings inflight during operation TARPAN in 2003
(Credit photo Adj Trestard, ERS 1/91)

In April 1992, the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 688, calling on Baghdad to cease its crackdown on Iraq’s rebellious Shia majority and “ensure that the human and political rights of all Iraqi citizens are respected.”

Operation Southern Watch, the U.S.-led coalition effort to patrol the air space over southern Iraq, began that August. Its goal — to protect the Shia in line with Resolution 688.

But as French pilots soon discovered, the Iraqi air force didn’t just roll over and let coalition planes operate unopposed over Iraqi territory.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

"Libyan airstrikes" situation update 21 July - 10 August 2016

This period was caracterized by the 'official' engagement of US aircrafts in the battle of Sirte on 1st August and the death of commander of Misrata Air Force, Brigadier General Mukhtar Fakroun and Colonel Omar Dogha, in the crash of their L-39 near university of Sirte and claimed shot down by IS on 10 August.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

"The two Libyan Air Forces" Who’s backing who ?

On May 16, 2016, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council expressed their readiness to lift the world body’s arms embargo on Libya in favor of the new Government of National Accord. For one reason. The GNA’s deputy prime minister Musa Al Kony had requested planes and helicopters to equip his forces fighting the Islamic State. The GNA relies on the Libyan Dawn Air Force, or LDAF, for its air power. But the LDAF is really suffering. The request highlighted Libya’s confusing politics. The GNA, based in Tripoli in western Libya, has many rivals. And arguably the strongest of these rivals is the House of Representatives in the eastern city of Tobruk.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Iraqi Air Force uses transports as auxiliary bombers

On July 17, 2016, the first photo appeared on social media depicting an Iraqi air force An-32B Cline transport aircraft carrying a bomb on an external pylon. It’s not the first time that transport aircraft have pulled double duty as bombers.

Erratum : Iraqi Air Power Reborn book

Following the publication of 'Iraqi Air Power Reborn', some readers reported some errors in the book. The list below is not fixed and will change over readers comments :

1 - Data are missing in the attrition table p76 :

The Mi-17 that made a hard landing at Tikrit on 26 June 2014 (see p61) is not reported in the table

2 - There are some contradiction between the text and the attrition table p76 :

The type of helicopter is reverse for the two losses of 6 and 19 January 2014 in the text p60. Data in the table are correct. The text should have been : 'On the 6th, a UH-1H crashed near Tikrit, killing its pilots Capt Mohammed Khaled Aziz and Lt Ahmed Ali Mohsen. On the 14th, helicopters intervened in Saklaouya, a city near Fallujah, against insurgents who had stormed the police station. On the 19th, Leith Yahya Al Karbalai and Sebah Abdel al-Hassan al-Gharibawi from the 4th Utility Squadron died in the crash of their Mi-17 at al-Habbaniyah AB'


Thursday, July 21, 2016

"Libyan airstrikes" situation update 9 - 20 July 2016

This period was characterized by the lost of one LNA AF Mi-17 from al-Abraq air base on 17th July killing three crew members (pilot Capt Omar Drissi, co-pilot Boubacar Omar al-Hassi and air engineer Fathi Warfali. The Sherkasi’s DBB (Defend Benghazi Brigades) Militia (also named Saraya Defend Benghazi or SDB) claimed to have down a Mi-35 'Hind' with a SA-7, but pictures of the wreckage published on the social media show clearly a Mi-17.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

My publication in July

This month, I published three articles in August issue of Combat Aircraft Monthly. Foremost, two short items in World News section about the second Iraqi 'Vipers' batch that began test flights and one of the two Libyan Mirage F1ED returned to sevice and finally lost. The major item is a Combat Report on operation 'Breaking Terrorism', the battle for the recovery of Fallujah in the hands of Islamic State since January 2014.

Friday, July 8, 2016

"Libyan airstrikes" situation update 2 - 8 July 2016

Very little communication on air strikes this week from GNA affiliated Air Force, but many were performed each day. The main information from the LNA Air Force side, is the lost of one of its two MiG-23BNs (probably serial number '4136') and especially one of its most experienced pilots, colonel Idriss Al Obeidi well known for his low pass onboard Floggers.