USAF Portfolio Expands in Libya Operation

Air Force A-10 ground-attack platforms and AC-130 gunships have begun to support coalition air operations in Libya, said Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, Joint Staff director, Monday. “We have employed A-10s and AC-130s over the weekend,” he told reporters in the Pentagon during an update briefing on Operation Odyssey Dawn. Over the past several days, Gortney has been acknowledging by name the participation of more Air Force assets. Last Friday, he mentioned that EC-130H Compass Call and EC-130J Commando Solo platforms are conducting psychological operations by broadcasting messages to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s forces. He also identified E-3 AWACS airborne early warning, E-8C JSTARS ground-surveillance, and RQ-4 Global Hawk remotely piloted surveillance aircraft. Acknowledgment of the growing array of Air Force platforms comes at a time when the United States is transferring command of all air operations over Libya to NATO. “[M]aybe we aren’t flying the bulk of combat sorties anymore, but the US is now providing nearly 80 percent of all air refueling, almost 75 percent of aerial surveillance hours, and 100 percent of all electronic warfare missions,” Gortney said Monday. (Gortney March 28 transcript) (Gortney March 25 transcript)