Adm. Samuel Locklear, commander of Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn, said he has not seen any significant movement from the Libyan regime’s battered air forces, though he acknowledged that the Libyan fleet was already in poor shape even before coalition air and cruise missile strikes began last weekend. Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi “had a lot of equipment that was aged. Much of it was sitting parked on the runways and could not be used. He was, however, effectively employing a tactical air force . . . on the order of several dozen [helicopters],” said Locklear Tuesday from his command post aboard the USS Mount Whitney in the Mediterranean. He didn’t think Qaddafi’s remaining air assets would have any negative impact on the coalition. Locklear also said he continues to carefully monitor Qaddafi’s ground forces, especially the elite 32nd Brigade. (Locklear transcript)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.