Turkey’s warships use long-range anti-aircraft missiles against Haftar’s aircraft

ANKARA, (BM) – In recent days, Ankara has stepped up its participation in the Libyan conflict. The Turkish Navy began to support the troops of the Government of National Accord, which were defeated.

Their warship was attacked by an anti-aircraft missile system by the Libyan National Army (UAV) attack drone. The drone was far above the country’s territory and supported the offensive of the LAA forces of Khalifa Haftar. Experts say that earlier Turkey tried to pretend that it was not directly involved in the conflict in North Africa. However, the situation at the fronts is such that Ankara will have to provide support for the ally’s air defense directly with its ships, they believe.

Frigate vs drone

According to Izvestia, sources familiar with the situation, the situation of the government of Faiz Saraj remains critical. LNA troops have almost cut off the capital region from the border with Tunisia. In order to prevent a military defeat of the allies, Turkey had to go for direct military intervention.

On Wednesday, April 1, there was a video of an anti-aircraft missile launch by a large military ship located 55 km west of Tripoli. Soon, large fragments of ammunition were found in the area of ​​Al-Adzhaylat. They clearly visible marking RIM-66E-5, issuing Standard missile-1. This long-range air defense system is equipped with Turkish frigates of the Oliver Perry class, who are patrolling now near the combat zone.

Ankara made no official statements about the use of weapons by its fleet. Instead, army commander Sarajah said they were able to shoot down Field Marshal Haftar’s large reconnaissance and drone drone Wing Loong on their own in an area not far from which parts of the shell were found. Apparently, it was the drone that was the target of the rocket.

Despite the fighting and regular shelling of airports, civilian air traffic in Libya and near it over the Mediterranean remains.

Of course, the frigate’s actions with such powerful air defense systems in the flight area of ​​passenger airliners are in danger, Alexander Gorkov, former head of the Russian Air Force anti-aircraft missile forces, told Izvestia.

“The ship’s air defense systems should be included in the reconnaissance and warning system,” he noted. “If this is not done, then the probability of error is high. The air defense system radar will see the airliner, but it will not be able to determine what kind of aircraft is in the air.”

Unlike civilian radars, a Turkish ship cannot directly read transponder transponder data on civilian aircraft and does not have flight information that air traffic controllers have, the expert explained.

In 1988, the American cruiser Vincennes shot down an Iranian passenger Airbus 300 over the Persian Gulf, mistaking it for an attacking military aircraft. In the incident, a rocket of the same RIM-66 family was used, which the Turkish frigate used on April 1.

In recent decades, cases where warships use their air defense systems against a real enemy are rare.

Last year, the U.S. Navy announced a small Iranian drone shot down in the Gulf of Hormuz, which approached their ship. But he was struck not by missiles, but by electronic warfare.

Field Marshal on the offensive

Previously, Turkey tried to pretend that it was not directly involved in the conflict in North Africa. Even the shock drones that fight there are formally sold to the Government of National Accord (PNS). Libyan markings are applied to them, military expert Vladislav Shurygin told Izvestia.

“Now, west of Tripoli, PNS forces are pressed to the coast and they have nothing to defend against Haftar’s aircraft and drones,” the expert explained. “Turkey sent Hawk air defense batteries to the capital, but they were damaged by shelling, and the range of the complexes is not enough to cover the battle area. Therefore, Ankara will have to provide support for the ally’s air defense directly with its ships. It is unlikely that the rocket launched on April 1 will be the last.”

After the regime of temporary ceasefire collapsed, fighting in Libya unfolded in three main directions. In the capital, troops loyal to Haftaru are slowly advancing in the Abu Salim area. To the east of Tripoli, parts of them continue to advance towards the city of Misurata. The fall of the second largest settlement from those remaining in the hands of the PNS could be a decisive moment in this civil war.

To the west of the capital, between Tripoli and the border with Tunisia, there are battles over the coast. LNA troops are trying to completely block land routes to a neighboring state, from where the PNS receives contraband weapons. It also greatly complicates the situation of Saraj.

Battle for the air

The pro-Turkish government in Tripoli continues to rely on shock drones to deter the advance of the LNA. Despite successes, Haftar is unable to completely block the drones. Over the past three days, it was announced that five UAVs were destroyed, but photographs of only Turkish-made Bayraktar were presented.

Earlier it was reported that the forces of the VLA are used to combat the drones of the Pantsir air defense system, which they were supplied by the UAE.

Some of the drones were transferred from Tripoli to the airfield near Misurata. This allows you to restrain the LNA attack on this city and successfully attack columns of Haftar vehicles moving along deserted roads.

The field marshal is armed with several outdated aircraft, which are used for bombing attacks.

Among them – strike Su-22, as well as fighter MiG-23 and MiG-21. During the repulsion of the PNS attack on Al-Vatiya airbase on March 25, combat training L-39s were also involved. The manned aircraft complement several Chinese heavy-impact drones Wing Loong. Haftar troops were granted the UAE.

These planes and UAVs inflict regular attacks on Misurata and the local airfield to impede or destroy the actions of drones. On Tuesday, March 31, LNA representatives said they were able to destroy several Turkish officers and specialists. Ankara did not comment on this information.

It is the air superiority of Haftar’s forces in recent months that has been called the main reason for his military success.


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Editorial team / Izvestia / Anton Lavrov

The point of view expressed in this article is authorial and do not necessarily reflect BM`s editorial stance.