NATO Is Deploying Hellfires, Apaches And Bunkerbusters As The Libyan War Enters Endgame

With his wife and daughter gone, his son dead, close advisors defecting, and NATO forces slamming his holdouts, Muhammar Qaddafi must be feeling the strain of holding onto power.

In mid-May British Army Air Corps Apache AH Mk1 helicopter gunships launched Hellfire missiles at sea for the first time. Hellfires are precision, fire-and-forget warheads, accurate up to five miles away.

Days later Britain announced it was deploying the largest ship in its fleet, a helicopter transport, to the coast of Libya and sending the Apaches into the besieged city of Misrata.

To support its helicopter fleet, The Royal Air Force just received Enhanced Paveway III bombs at the Gioia Del Colle airbase in Southern Italy.

The 2,000 pound "bunker busting" bombs are designed to penetrate fortified and hardened structures while their accuracy minimizes collateral damage. These were being attached to the RAF's Typhoon and Tornado aircraft yesterday.

With the ordnance in place, NATO forces needed a little bit of time to focus on their mission.

Today they got it, when NATO announced unanimous approval for extending the strikes another 90 days from the June 27 deadline.

Even Russia sees the writing on the wall and late last week the Kremlin reversed its position and announced it was ready to mediate an end to Qaddafi's forty-year reign.

With no inclination to depart Libya, Qaddafi continues issuing guns to anyone from regions of support.

The fallen leader has promised chaos if he is deposed, and already the country is being pillaged with store owners afraid to open. All this while state-run TV announces that if NATO forces win, the rebels will kill all Africans in Libya. Propaganda and rumor abounds, with no one sure what's coming next.

If NATO preparations are any indication, the answer to that question could start hitting Libya sometime this week.

[Source: By Robert Johnson, Business Insider, 01Jun11]

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