Operation Odyssey Dawn

Operation Odyssey Dawn

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Operation Odyssey Dawn was the U.S. code name
Code name
A code name or cryptonym is a word or name used clandestinely to refer to another name or word. Code names are often used for military purposes, or in espionage...

for the US part of the international military operation in Libya
2011 military intervention in Libya
On 19 March 2011, a multi-state coalition began a military intervention in Libya to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which was taken in response to events during the 2011 Libyan civil war...

 to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, on the situation in Libya, is a measure that was adopted on 17 March 2011. The Security Council resolution was proposed by France, Lebanon, and the United Kingdom....

. during the initial period of 19–31 March 2011, which continued afterwards under NATO command as Operation Unified Protector
Operation Unified Protector
Operation Unified Protector was an NATO operation enforcing United Nations Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973 concerning the 2011 Libyan civil war and adopted on 17 February and 17 March respectively...

. The initial operation implemented a no-fly zone
No-fly zone
A no-fly zone is a territory or an area over which aircraft are not permitted to fly. Such zones are usually set up in a military context, somewhat like a demilitarized zone in the sky, and usually prohibit military aircraft of a belligerent nation from operating in the region.-Iraq,...

 that was proposed during the 2011 Libyan civil war
2011 Libyan civil war
The 2011 Libyan civil war was an armed conflict in the North African state of Libya, fought between forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and those seeking to oust his government. The war was preceded by protests in Benghazi beginning on 15 February 2011, which led to clashes with security...

 to prevent government forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

 from carrying out air attacks on Anti-Gaddafi forces
Anti-Gaddafi forces
The anti-Gaddafi forces were Libyan groups that opposed and militarily defeated the government of Muammar Gaddafi, killing him in the process. These opposition forces included organised and armed militia groups, participants in the 2011 Libyan civil war, Libyan diplomats who switched their...

. On 19 March 2011, several countries prepared to take immediate military action at a summit in Paris. Operations commenced on the same day with a strike by French fighter jets, then U.S. and UK forces conducting strikes from ships and submarines via 110 Tomahawk cruise missile
Cruise missile
A cruise missile is a guided missile that carries an explosive payload and is propelled, usually by a jet engine, towards a land-based or sea-based target. Cruise missiles are designed to deliver a large warhead over long distances with high accuracy...

s and air assets
Military asset
In military usage, a military asset is a weapon or means of production of weapons or other defensive or offensive devices or capabilities.-Description:...

 bombing Gaddafi forces near Benghazi. The goal of coalition forces has been to impose a no-fly zone and to destroy forces that threaten civilians – in effect this has meant forces loyal to Gaddafi.

The U.S. initially had strategic command of the military intervention, coordinated missions between coalition members and set up Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn on the for the tactical command and control in the area of operations. but passed complete military command of the operation to NATO and took up a support role on 31 March 2011. Prior to that, an agreement to pass command of the arms embargo to NATO was reached on 23 March, and a handover of enforcement of the no-fly zone to NATO was agreed to on 24 March and became effective the following day. With the handover of coalition command to NATO, Operation Odyssey Dawn became the name for only the activities of U.S. forces, and the coalition's objectives continued to be carried out under Operation Unified Protector. However, NATO's objectives do not include aiding the rebel forces' efforts to take control of territory currently held by Gaddafi.

The British name for its military support of Resolution 1973 is Operation Ellamy
Operation Ellamy
Operation Ellamy was the codename for the United Kingdom participation in the 2011 military intervention in Libya. The operation was part of an international coalition aimed at enforcing a Libyan no-fly zone in accordance with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 which stipulated...

, the Canadian participation is Operation Mobile
Operation Mobile
Operation Mobile was the name given to Canadian Forces activities in the 2011 military intervention in Libya. The United States' counterpart to this was Operation Odyssey Dawn, the French counterpart was Opération Harmattan and the British counterpart was Operation Ellamy...

, and the French participation is Opération Harmattan
Opération Harmattan
Opération Harmattan is the codename for the French participation in the 2011 military intervention in Libya. It is named for the Harmattan, which are hot dry winds that blow over the Sahara, mostly between November and March. The United States' counterpart to this is Operation Odyssey Dawn, the...

. NATO's military activity is Operation Unified Protector
Operation Unified Protector
Operation Unified Protector was an NATO operation enforcing United Nations Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973 concerning the 2011 Libyan civil war and adopted on 17 February and 17 March respectively...

.

Command


The strategic command of Operation Odyssey Dawn was under the authority of General Carter Ham
Carter Ham
Carter F. Ham is a United States Army general, who serves as the second and current Commander, U.S. Africa Command. In that position, he has been in command of the initial 2011 military intervention in Libya....

, the Combatant Commander of the United States Africa Command
United States Africa Command
The United States Africa Command is one of nine Unified Combatant Commands of the United States Armed Forces, headquartered at Kelley Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany. It is responsible for U.S. military operations and military relations with 53 African nations – an area of responsibility covering all...

 (AFRICOM), a Unified Combatant Command
Unified Combatant Command
A Unified Combatant Command is a United States Department of Defense command that is composed of forces from at least two Military Departments and has a broad and continuing mission. These commands are established to provide effective command and control of U.S. military forces, regardless of...

 of the Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

. Tactical command in the theater of operations was under command of Admiral Sam Locklear
Samuel J. Locklear
Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, USN is current Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe which he concurrently serves as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa and NATO's Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples. He previously served as Director, Navy Staff from July 2009 to October 2010...

, the Commander of United States Naval Forces Europe
United States Naval Forces Europe
United States Naval Forces Europe is the United States Navy component of the United States European Command and provides forces for United States African Command....

 onboard the command ship USS Mount Whitney in the Mediterranean Sea. Major General Margaret H. Woodward
Margaret H. Woodward
Margaret H. Woodward is a major general of the US Air Force.As commander of the 17th Air Force and U.S. Air Forces Africa, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, she is responsible for all US air actions that involve Africa...

 was commander of US Air Force aircraft involved in the operation. On 21 March 2011, President Obama stated the U.S. military action would be scaled back soon and was considering handing over command of the operation to either France, the UK or NATO. On the 24 March 2011, NATO took command of enforcing the no-fly zone in Libya and was considering taking control of the rest of the mission. On 24 March 2011, the coalition agreed to have NATO command the no-fly zone, and the U.S. Department of Defense stated that the U.S. would relinquish command of Operation Odyssey Dawn as early as 28 March.

Deployed forces


Belgian Armed Forces
    • Belgian Air Component
      • Six F-16AM 15MLU Falcon fighter jets operating from Araxos Air Base
        Araxos
        Araxos , Latin form: Araxus is a village located in the municipal unit of Larissos in the northwestern part of Achaea, Greece. It is located on a road connecting south to Lappa and east to Lakkopetra and Kato Achaia and also a road to Kalogria and Metochi...

        , Greece Canadian Forces
        Canadian Forces
        The Canadian Forces , officially the Canadian Armed Forces , are the unified armed forces of Canada, as constituted by the National Defence Act, which states: "The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised by Canada and consist of one Service called the Canadian Armed Forces."...

    • Royal Canadian Air Force
      Royal Canadian Air Force
      The history of the Royal Canadian Air Force begins in 1920, when the air force was created as the Canadian Air Force . In 1924 the CAF was renamed the Royal Canadian Air Force and granted royal sanction by King George V. The RCAF existed as an independent service until 1968...

      • Total 440 military personnel deployed
      • Seven CF-18 Hornet fighter jets operating from Trapani-Birgi Airport, Italy
      • Two Airbus CC-150 Polaris air-to-air refueling tankers operating from Trapani-Birgi Airport, Italy
      • Two Lockheed CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol aircraft operating from Naval Air Station Sigonella
        Naval Air Station Sigonella
        Naval Air Station Sigonella , "The Hub of the Med", is a U.S. Navy installation at NATO Base Sigonella and an Italian Air Force base in Sicily, Italy. Although a tenant of the Italian Air Force, NAS Sigonella acts as landlord to more than 40 other U.S. commands and activities. It is located west...

        , Sicily, Italy
      • Two CC-177 Globemaster III heavy transports
      • two CC-130J Super Hercules tactical transports
    • Royal Canadian Navy
      Royal Canadian Navy
      The history of the Royal Canadian Navy goes back to 1910, when the naval force was created as the Naval Service of Canada and renamed a year later by King George V. The Royal Canadian Navy is one of the three environmental commands of the Canadian Forces...

      • Frigate
    • JTF2
      • There are reports that there are members of JTF2 working with Britain’s SAS and SBS on the ground in Libya. Danish Armed Forces
    • Royal Danish Air Force
      Royal Danish Air Force
      The Royal Danish Air Force is the air force of Denmark with the capability to undertake homeland defense and homeland security roles as well international operations.-History:...

      • Six F-16AM 15MLU Falcon fighter jets operating from Sigonella Air Base
        Naval Air Station Sigonella
        Naval Air Station Sigonella , "The Hub of the Med", is a U.S. Navy installation at NATO Base Sigonella and an Italian Air Force base in Sicily, Italy. Although a tenant of the Italian Air Force, NAS Sigonella acts as landlord to more than 40 other U.S. commands and activities. It is located west...

        , Italy
      • One C-130J-30 military transport aircraft Italian Armed Forces
    • Italian Air Force
      Italian Air Force
      The Italian Air Force has gone under different names in different periods:*Regia Aeronautica , from 1923 to June 1946*Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana, the air force of Italian Social Republic during World War II...

      • Four Tornado ECR
        Panavia Tornado
        The Panavia Tornado is a family of twin-engine, variable-sweep wing combat aircraft, which was jointly developed and manufactured by the United Kingdom, West Germany and Italy...

         SEAD planes operating from Trapani Air Base
      • Four F-16A 15ADF Falcon fighter as escort operating from Trapani Air Base
      • Two Tornado IDS
        Panavia Tornado
        The Panavia Tornado is a family of twin-engine, variable-sweep wing combat aircraft, which was jointly developed and manufactured by the United Kingdom, West Germany and Italy...

         in the air-to-air refueling role operating from Trapani Air Base (supporting the Italian contribution, but not under direct U.S. Command)
      • One C-130 J
        C-130J Super Hercules
        The Lockheed Martin C-130J "Super" Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. The C-130J is a comprehensive update of the venerable Lockheed C-130 Hercules, with new engines, flight deck, and other systems. The Hercules family has the longest continuous production run of any...

         in the air-to-air refueling role operating from Trapani Air Base (supporting the Italian contribution, but not under direct U.S. Command) Netherlands Armed Forces
    • Royal Netherlands Air Force
      Royal Netherlands Air Force
      The Royal Netherlands Air Force , Dutch Koninklijke Luchtmacht , is the military aviation branch of the Netherlands Armed Forces. Its ancestor, the Luchtvaartafdeling of the Dutch Army was founded on 1 July 1913, with four pilots...

      • Six F-16AM 15MLU Falcon fighter jets operating from Decimomannu Air Base
        Decimomannu Air Base
        Decimomannu Air Base is an Italian Air Force air force base located approximately north of Decimomannu a comune in the Province of Cagliari on the island of Sardinia in Italy....

        , Italy
      • One KDC10
        McDonnell Douglas DC-10
        The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 is a three-engine widebody jet airliner manufactured by McDonnell Douglas. The DC-10 has range for medium- to long-haul flights, capable of carrying a maximum 380 passengers. Its most distinguishing feature is the two turbofan engines mounted on underwing pylons and a...

         Tanker Aircraft Norwegian Armed Forces
        Norwegian Armed Forces
        The Norwegian Armed Forces numbers about 23,000 personnel, including civilian employees. According to mobilisation plans , the strength during full mobilisation would be approximately 83,000 combatant personnel. Norway has mandatory military service for men and voluntary service for women...

    • Royal Norwegian Air Force
      Royal Norwegian Air Force
      The Royal Norwegian Air Force is the air force of Norway. It was established as a separate arm of the Norwegian armed forces on 10 November 1944. The RNoAF's peace force is approximately 1,430 employees . 600 personnel also serve their draft period in the RNoAF...

      • Six F-16AM 15MLU Falcon fighter jets operating from Souda Air Base, Crete
        Crete
        Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

      • Two C-130J-30
        C-130J Super Hercules
        The Lockheed Martin C-130J "Super" Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. The C-130J is a comprehensive update of the venerable Lockheed C-130 Hercules, with new engines, flight deck, and other systems. The Hercules family has the longest continuous production run of any...

         military transport aircraft supporting the Norwegian forces. Qatar Armed Forces
    • Qatar Emiri Air Force
      • Six Mirage 2000-5EDA fighters jets operating from Souda Air Base, Crete
      • Two C-17 Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft Spanish Armed Forces
        Spanish Armed Forces
        The Spanish Armed Forces are the military forces of the Kingdom of Spain. The Spanish Armed Forces are a modern military force charged with defending the Kingdom's integrity and sovereignty...

    • Spanish Air Force
      Spanish Air Force
      -The early stages:Hot air balloons had been used with military purposes in Spain as far back as 1896. In 1905, with the help of Alfredo Kindelán, Leonardo Torres y Quevedo directed the construction of the first Spanish dirigible in the Army Military Aerostatics Service, created in 1896 and located...

      • Four EF-18AM Hornet fighters jets operating from Decimomannu Air Base
        Decimomannu Air Base
        Decimomannu Air Base is an Italian Air Force air force base located approximately north of Decimomannu a comune in the Province of Cagliari on the island of Sardinia in Italy....

        , Italy
      • One Boeing 707-331B(KC)
        Boeing 707
        The Boeing 707 is a four-engine narrow-body commercial passenger jet airliner developed by Boeing in the early 1950s. Its name is most commonly pronounced as "Seven Oh Seven". The first airline to operate the 707 was Pan American World Airways, inaugurating the type's first commercial flight on...

         tanker aircraft
      • One CN-235 maritime patrol aircraft
    • Spanish Navy
      Spanish Navy
      The Spanish Navy is the maritime branch of the Spanish Armed Forces, one of the oldest active naval forces in the world. The Armada is responsible for notable achievements in world history such as the discovery of Americas, the first world circumnavigation, and the discovery of a maritime path...

      • AEGIS
        Aegis
        An aegis is a large collar or cape worn in ancient times to display the protection provided by a high religious authority or the holder of a protective shield signifying the same, such as a bag-like garment that contained a shield. Sometimes the garment and the shield are merged, with a small...

         air defence frigate F-104 Méndez Núñez
        Álvaro de Bazán class frigate
        The Álvaro de Bazán class are a new class of Aegis combat system-equipped air defense frigates entering service with the Spanish Navy...

      • Attack submarine S-74 Tramontana
        Spanish submarine Tramontana (S74)
        Tramontana is an built for the Spanish Navy by Bazán at Cartagena, Spain. The submarine was launched in 1984, commissioned in 1985, and is currently active with the Spanish Navy....

         Union Defence Force
        Union Defence Force
        The Union Defence Force may refer to a former or current military organization:* the South African Army from 1912 to 1957* the military of the United Arab Emirates...

    • United Arab Emirates Air Force
      United Arab Emirates Air Force
      The United Arab Emirates Air Force is the air force of the United Arab Emirates . Its predecessor was established in 1968, when the Emirates were still under British rule. Since then, it has undergone a continual reorganization and expansion in terms of both capability and numbers of aircraft...

      • Six F-16E/F Block 60 Falcon fighter jets operating from Decimomannu Air Base
        Decimomannu Air Base
        Decimomannu Air Base is an Italian Air Force air force base located approximately north of Decimomannu a comune in the Province of Cagliari on the island of Sardinia in Italy....

        , Italy
      • Six Dassault Mirage 2000 fighter jets operating from Decimomannu Air Base
        Decimomannu Air Base
        Decimomannu Air Base is an Italian Air Force air force base located approximately north of Decimomannu a comune in the Province of Cagliari on the island of Sardinia in Italy....

        , Italy United States Armed Forces
        United States armed forces
        The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

    • United States Navy
      United States Navy
      The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

      • , the command ship of the United States Sixth Fleet
        • The Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group
          Amphibious Ready Group
          An Amphibious Readiness Group of the United States Navy consists of a Navy element—a group of warships known as an amphibious task force —and a landing force of United States Marines , in total about 5,000 people. Together, these elements and supporting units are trained, organized, and equipped...

          , consisting of:
          • , a
          • , an
          • embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit
            26th Marine Expeditionary Unit
            The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit is one of seven Marine Expeditionary Units currently in existence in the United States Marine Corps. The Marine Expeditionary Unit is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force with a strength of about 2,200 personnel. The MEU consists of four major parts: a command element,...

        • , an Arleigh Burke
          Arleigh Burke class destroyer
          The Arleigh Burke class of guided missile destroyers is the United States Navy's first class of destroyer built around the Aegis combat system and the SPY-1D multi-function phased array radar. The class is named for Admiral Arleigh "31-Knot" Burke, the most famous American destroyer officer of...

          -class guided missile destroyer
          Guided missile destroyer
          A guided missile destroyer is a destroyer designed to launch guided missiles. Many are also equipped to carry out anti-submarine, anti-air, and anti-surface operations. In the U.S...

        • , another Arleigh Burke
          Arleigh Burke class destroyer
          The Arleigh Burke class of guided missile destroyers is the United States Navy's first class of destroyer built around the Aegis combat system and the SPY-1D multi-function phased array radar. The class is named for Admiral Arleigh "31-Knot" Burke, the most famous American destroyer officer of...

          -class guided missile destroyer
          Guided missile destroyer
          A guided missile destroyer is a destroyer designed to launch guided missiles. Many are also equipped to carry out anti-submarine, anti-air, and anti-surface operations. In the U.S...

        • , another Arleigh Burke
          Arleigh Burke class destroyer
          The Arleigh Burke class of guided missile destroyers is the United States Navy's first class of destroyer built around the Aegis combat system and the SPY-1D multi-function phased array radar. The class is named for Admiral Arleigh "31-Knot" Burke, the most famous American destroyer officer of...

          -class guided missile destroyer
          Guided missile destroyer
          A guided missile destroyer is a destroyer designed to launch guided missiles. Many are also equipped to carry out anti-submarine, anti-air, and anti-surface operations. In the U.S...

        • , a Los Angeles
          Los Angeles class submarine
          The Los Angeles class, sometimes called the LA class or the 688 class, is a class of nuclear-powered fast attack submarines that forms the backbone of the United States submarine fleet. With 43 submarines on active duty and 19 retired, the Los Angeles class is the most numerous nuclear powered...

          -class nuclear attack submarine
        • , a second Los Angeles
          Los Angeles class submarine
          The Los Angeles class, sometimes called the LA class or the 688 class, is a class of nuclear-powered fast attack submarines that forms the backbone of the United States submarine fleet. With 43 submarines on active duty and 19 retired, the Los Angeles class is the most numerous nuclear powered...

          -class nuclear attack submarine
        • , an Ohio
          Ohio class submarine
          The Ohio class is a class of nuclear-powered submarines used by the United States Navy. The United States has 18 Ohio-class submarines:...

          -class cruise missile submarine
        • , a
        • , a
        • , a
        • The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group
          Amphibious Ready Group
          An Amphibious Readiness Group of the United States Navy consists of a Navy element—a group of warships known as an amphibious task force —and a landing force of United States Marines , in total about 5,000 people. Together, these elements and supporting units are trained, organized, and equipped...

          , consisting of , , and , left their home port of Naval Station Norfolk
          Naval Station Norfolk
          Naval Station Norfolk, in Norfolk, Virginia, is a base of the United States Navy, supporting naval forces in the United States Fleet Forces Command, those operating in the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and Indian Ocean...

           on 23 March, bound for Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune
          Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune
          Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is a United States military training facility in North Carolina. The base's of beaches make it a major area for amphibious assault training, and its location between two deep-water ports allows for fast deployments.The main base is supplemented by five satellite...

           in North Carolina
          North Carolina
          North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

           to pick up the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit
          22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit
          The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit is one of seven Marine Expeditionary Units currently in existence in the United States Marine Corps. The Marine Expeditionary Unit is a Marine Air Ground Task Force with a strength of about 2,200 personnel...

          . They planned to sail east around 30 March to relieve the 26th MEU in the Mediterranean Sea
          Mediterranean Sea
          The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

           two months before the projected deployment date.
      • Five EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft operating out of NAS Sigonella
        Naval Air Station Sigonella
        Naval Air Station Sigonella , "The Hub of the Med", is a U.S. Navy installation at NATO Base Sigonella and an Italian Air Force base in Sicily, Italy. Although a tenant of the Italian Air Force, NAS Sigonella acts as landlord to more than 40 other U.S. commands and activities. It is located west...

         and Aviano Air Base
        Aviano Air Base
        Aviano Air Base is a NATO Air Base under U.S. Air Force administration in northeastern Italy, in Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. It is located in Aviano municipality, at the foot of the Carnic Pre-Alps, or Southern Carnic Alps, about 15 kilometers from Pordenone.-Units:Aviano is hosted by the...

      • One EP-3E ELINT aircraft
      • Two P-3C Update 3 maritime surveillance aircraft
      • Two P-3C AIP maritime surveillance aircraft
    • United States Air Force
      United States Air Force
      The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

      • Three B-2 Spirit stealth bombers operating from Whiteman AFB.
      • Two B-1B bombers
      • Ten F-15E Strike Eagle strike fighters operating out of RAF Lakenheath
        RAF Lakenheath
        RAF Lakenheath, is a Royal Air Force military airbase near Lakenheath in Suffolk, England. Although an RAF station, it hosts United States Air Force units and personnel...

      • Eight F-16C Fighting Falcon multi-role fighters from Spangdahlem Air Base
        Spangdahlem Air Base
        Spangdahlem Air Base is a United States Air Force base located near the small German town of Spangdahlem, approximately 30 km NNE of the city of Trier, Rhineland-Palatinate.-Units:...

         started leaving for Aviano on 20 March
      • Two HH-60 Pave Hawk combat search and rescue
        Combat search and rescue
        Combat search and rescue are search and rescue operations that are carried out during war that are within or near combat zones.A CSAR mission may be carried out by a task force of helicopters, ground-attack aircraft, tankers and an airborne command post...

         helicopters from RAF Lakenheath
        RAF Lakenheath
        RAF Lakenheath, is a Royal Air Force military airbase near Lakenheath in Suffolk, England. Although an RAF station, it hosts United States Air Force units and personnel...

         operating from .
      • Three E-3 Sentry
        E-3 Sentry
        The Boeing E-3 Sentry is an airborne warning and control system developed by Boeing as the prime contractor. Derived from the Boeing 707, it provides all-weather surveillance, command, control and communications, and is used by the United States Air Force , NATO, Royal Air Force , French Air Force...

         airborne warning and control system (AWACS)
      • Three E-8C battle management/command and control aircraft
      • One EC-130H electronic warfare (communications jamming) aircraft
      • One EC-130J
        Lockheed EC-130
        The Lockheed Martin EC-130 series comprises several slightly different versions of the C-130 that have been and continue to be operated by the U.S. Air Force and, until the 1990s, the U.S...

         psychological operations aircraft
      • One RC-135V/W Rivet Joint signals intelligence aircraft
      • Two AC-130U
        Lockheed AC-130
        The Lockheed AC-130 gunship is a heavily-armed ground-attack aircraft variant of the C-130 Hercules transport plane. The basic airframe is manufactured by Lockheed, while Boeing is responsible for the conversion into a gunship and for aircraft support...

         gunships
      • Four KC-10A Extender
        KC-10 Extender
        The McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender is the military adaptation of the three-engined DC-10 airliner for the United States Air Force . The KC-10 incorporates military-specific equipment for its primary roles of transport and aerial refueling. It was developed to supplement the KC-135 Stratotanker...

         Aerial Refueling Tanker/Airlift Aircraft
      • Six A-10 Thunderbolt ground-attack aircraft
      • Global Hawk unmanned aerial surveillance vehicle
        Unmanned aerial vehicle
        An unmanned aerial vehicle , also known as a unmanned aircraft system , remotely piloted aircraft or unmanned aircraft, is a machine which functions either by the remote control of a navigator or pilot or autonomously, that is, as a self-directing entity...

      • Lockheed U-2
        Lockheed U-2
        The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed "Dragon Lady", is a single-engine, very high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft operated by the United States Air Force and previously flown by the Central Intelligence Agency . It provides day and night, very high-altitude , all-weather intelligence gathering...

         Reconnaissance aircraft
      • Predator/Reaper UAV
    • United States Marine Corps
      United States Marine Corps
      The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

      • Four AV-8B Harrier II ground attack fighters from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit
        26th Marine Expeditionary Unit
        The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit is one of seven Marine Expeditionary Units currently in existence in the United States Marine Corps. The Marine Expeditionary Unit is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force with a strength of about 2,200 personnel. The MEU consists of four major parts: a command element,...

        , operating off of
      • Over 400 Marines of 1st Battalion 2nd Marines
        1st Battalion 2nd Marines
        1st Battalion, 2nd Marines is an infantry battalion in the United States Marine Corps based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina consisting of approximately 900 Marines and Sailors...

         from Camp Lejeune, N.C. Deployed as the Air Contingency Battalion (ACB), on March 1, 2011 to serve as the new Battalion Landing Team for the 26th MEU. The ACB was attached to the 26th MEU on March 5, 2011 at NAS Souda Bay. This was the first time ACB has been used in almost a decade.
      • Two MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft from the 26th MEU participated in the pilot rescue.
      • Two CH-53E Super Stallions from the 26th MEU participated in the pilot rescue.
      • One KC-130J Hercules from the 26th MEU participated in the pilot rescue.
      • The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit
        22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit
        The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit is one of seven Marine Expeditionary Units currently in existence in the United States Marine Corps. The Marine Expeditionary Unit is a Marine Air Ground Task Force with a strength of about 2,200 personnel...

         awaits the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, who left their home port of Naval Station Norfolk
        Naval Station Norfolk
        Naval Station Norfolk, in Norfolk, Virginia, is a base of the United States Navy, supporting naval forces in the United States Fleet Forces Command, those operating in the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and Indian Ocean...

         early to sail east around 30 March in order to relieve the 26th MEU in the Mediterranean Sea
        Mediterranean Sea
        The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

         two months before the projected deployment date.
    • Central Intelligence Agency
      Central Intelligence Agency
      The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

      • CIA Operatives gathering military and political information

Summary of action

  • Day 1: 19 March 2011

21h: The first main strike involved the launch of 112 Tomahawk cruise missiles from U.S. and UK ships against shoreline air defenses of the Gaddafi regime. The U.S. Department of Defense reports that the dismantling of Libya's ability to hinder the enforcement of the UN no-fly zone was only the first of multiple stages in the operation. USMC Harriers participated in an air strike against a large military convoy outside Benghazi.
  • Day 2: 20 March 2011


Sustained anti-aircraft fire erupted in Tripoli at around 2:33 am Libyan time. Three B-2 Spirit bombers targeted 45 hardened aircraft shelters at an Libyan airfield near Sirte
Sirte
Sirte is a city in LibyaSirte may also refer to:* Sirte Declaration, a 1999 resolution to create the African Union* Sirte Oil Company, a Libyan oil companyIn geography:* Gulf of Sirte, alias for Gulf of Sidra on Libya's coast...

. At the same time, U.S. Air Force fighter jets conducted missions searching for Libyan ground forces to attack. U.S. Navy EA-18G Growler
EA-18G Growler
The Boeing EA-18G Growler is an American carrier-based electronic warfare aircraft, a specialized version of the two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet. The EA-18G will replace the Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowlers in service with the United States Navy. The Growler's electronic warfare capability is...

s were diverted from operations over Iraq and jammed Libyan radar and communications. No U.S. aircraft were lost during the missions. The warplanes included Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier IIs (attacking pro-Gaddafi's ground forces), Air Force B-2 Spirit stealth bombers, and F-15E Strike Eagle and F-16C Fighting Falcon fighter jets. Admiral
Admiral (United States)
In the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, admiral is a four-star flag officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. Admiral ranks above vice admiral and below Fleet Admiral in the Navy; the Coast Guard and the Public Health...

 Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is by law the highest ranking military officer in the United States Armed Forces, and is the principal military adviser to the President of the United States, the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council and the Secretary of Defense...

, states that there would be continuous allied air cover over Benghazi
Benghazi
Benghazi is the second largest city in Libya, the main city of the Cyrenaica region , and the former provisional capital of the National Transitional Council. The wider metropolitan area is also a district of Libya...

, and that the no-fly zone "is effectively in place". An EC-130J
Lockheed EC-130
The Lockheed Martin EC-130 series comprises several slightly different versions of the C-130 that have been and continue to be operated by the U.S. Air Force and, until the 1990s, the U.S...

 was recorded warning Libyan shipping "If you attempt to leave port, you will be attacked and destroyed immediately" in Arabic, French and English.
  • Day 3: 21 March 2011

All fixed SA-2 Guideline, SA-3 Goa and SA-5 Gammon sites were taken out. Only SA-6 Gainful, hand held SA-7 Grail and SA-8 Gecko mobile SAMs are still a possible threat to aircraft. In the early hours of the day a building from Moammar Gadhafi's compound in Tripoli was completely destroyed by a cruise missile. Twelve more cruise missiles were fired at command and air defense sites.
  • Day 4: 22 March 2011

At approximately 22:30 CET (evening of 21 March), a USAFE F-15E 91-0304 operating out of Aviano Air Base crashed about 25 miles (40 km) southwest of Benghazi. Both crew members ejected at high altitude and were subsequently separated. A MV-22 Osprey, supported by two AV-8Bs, two CH-53E Super Stallions, and a KC-130J Hercules from the 26th MEU
Meu
The Meu is an long river in the Côtes-d'Armor and Ille-et-Vilaine départements, north western France. Its source is at Saint-Vran, west of the village. It flows generally southeast...

 initially recovered the pilot, while the weapons officer
Weapon systems officer
A Weapon Systems Officer is an air Flight Officer directly involved in all air operations and weapon systems of the fighter in the United States Navy. A Weapon Systems Officer ("WSO", pronounced "wizzo") is an air Flight Officer directly involved in all air operations and weapon systems of the...

 was recovered later after being rescued by rebel forces in the area. Two Marine Harriers accompanying the rescue force dropped two 500 lb bombs at the request of the ejected pilot, prior to the MV-22 landing in an attempt to deter an unidentified group of people heading towards the area. The UK had a "peripheral involvement" in the rescue of the U.S. pilots.

Six local villagers, including a young boy, were reported to have been injured by gunfire from the rescuing U.S. forces, Although a Marine spokesperson aboard USS Kearsarge denied that shots were fired: "The Osprey is not armed, and the Marines barely got off the aircraft. I was in the landing center the whole time, where we were monitoring what was going on, and firing was never reported", Pentagon sources were later reported to have confirmed that shots were fired.

The source of the civilian casualties is still being investigated. Overnight, the U.S. bombed the wreckage of the downed F-15E "to prevent materials from getting into the wrong hands."

In a 24-hours period; 175 air sorties were conducted (113 US, 62 coalition). Around this time, the U.S. changed its target priorities from air defenses to Libyan ground forces.
  • Day 6: 24 March 2011


Royal Norwegian Air Force
Royal Norwegian Air Force
The Royal Norwegian Air Force is the air force of Norway. It was established as a separate arm of the Norwegian armed forces on 10 November 1944. The RNoAF's peace force is approximately 1,430 employees . 600 personnel also serve their draft period in the RNoAF...

 F-16s were assigned to the U.S. African command and Operation Odyssey Dawn. A number of Norwegian
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 F-16s took off from the Souda Bay
Souda Bay
Souda Bay is a bay and natural harbour on the northwest coast of the Greek island of Crete. The bay is about 15 km long and only two to four km wide, and a deep natural harbour. It is formed between the Akrotiri peninsula and Cape Drapano, and runs west to east...

 Air Base on the island of Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

, Greece for their first mission over Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

.
  • Day 7 25 March 2011

Three laser guided bombs were launched from 2 F-16s of the Royal Norwegian Airforce against Libyan tanks. F-16s from the Royal Norwegian Airforce bombed an airfield in Libya during the night. Coalition planes flew 164 sorties and coalition leaders reported damage to Gadhafi's ground forces.
  • Days 8 and 9 26 and 27 March 2011

Lockheed AC-130
Lockheed AC-130
The Lockheed AC-130 gunship is a heavily-armed ground-attack aircraft variant of the C-130 Hercules transport plane. The basic airframe is manufactured by Lockheed, while Boeing is responsible for the conversion into a gunship and for aircraft support...

 gunships and Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II ground attack aircraft began operations, attacking ground forces. These were the first aircraft used against troops; previous strikes had targeted command and anti-aircraft infrastructure. Two B-1 bombers from Ellsworth Air Force Base
Ellsworth Air Force Base
Ellsworth Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located approximately northeast of Rapid City, South Dakota just north of Box Elder, South Dakota....

 attacked undisclosed targets in Libya.

Attack submarine completed all assigned strike missions and has left the area for previous duties. The U.S. is responsible for 80% of air refueling, 75% of aerial surveillance hours and 100% of electronic warfare missions.
  • Days 10 and 11 28 and 29 March 2011


On 28 March, a USAF A-10 and a USN P-3 attack one Libyan Coast Guard vessel and two smaller craft. The P-3 fired AGM-65F Maverick missiles at a Vittoria-class patrol boat, forcing the crew to beach her. The A-10 strafed the other two smaller boats with its 30mm GAU-8 Avenger
GAU-8 Avenger
The General Electric GAU-8/A Avenger is a 30 mm, hydraulically-driven seven-barrel Gatling-type rotary cannon that is mounted on the United States Air Force's Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II. It is among the largest, heaviest and most powerful aircraft cannons in the United States military...

 cannon rounds, sinking one and forcing the crew to abandon the other. The Libyan vessels were attacked after U.S forces observed them firing into Misurata and at merchant vessels. The provided situational awareness for the aircraft by managing the airspace and maintaining the maritime picture.
  • Day 13 31 March 2011


From 06:00 GMT, NATO took sole command of air operations over Libya under Operation Unified Protector
Operation Unified Protector
Operation Unified Protector was an NATO operation enforcing United Nations Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973 concerning the 2011 Libyan civil war and adopted on 17 February and 17 March respectively...

, taking over from U.S. Africa Command.

Criticism



There has been criticism over the handling of the operation and the belief that the Obama administration failed to adequately consult the U.S. Congress. The Obama administration defended its handling of the Libyan crisis, drawing a clear line between military and political objectives. On 24 March White House Press Secretary Jay Carney
Jay Carney
James "Jay" Carney is an American journalist and President Barack Obama's second White House Press Secretary. Prior to his appointment as Press Secretary, replacing Robert Gibbs, he was director of communications to Vice President Joe Biden...

 told reporters "We are not engaged in militarily-driven regime change." Instead, the administration is engaged in "time-limited, scope-limited" action with other countries to protect civilians from forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi.

See also


  • Operation El Dorado Canyon – 1986 U.S. air-strikes against Libya
  • Operation Unified Protector
    Operation Unified Protector
    Operation Unified Protector was an NATO operation enforcing United Nations Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973 concerning the 2011 Libyan civil war and adopted on 17 February and 17 March respectively...

    – NATO operation for enforcement of UNSCR 1970 and 1973

External links