UK MoD: Libya Operational Update 11 July 2011

Major General Nick Pope, the Chief of the Defence Staff’s Communications Officer, said:

"Royal Air Force aircraft yesterday helped save the lives of Libyan civilians both by neutralising threats from Colonel Qadhafi’s forces and coordinating the provision of assistance to a group of refugees at sea.

"NATO air patrols were active across Libya, and in the course of these, RAF jets destroyed a regime armed vehicle identified near Brega in the east, and a multi-barrelled rocket launcher at Zlitan in the west. During the afternoon, an RAF E-3D Sentry was the duty Airborne Warning & Control System aircraft, providing airborne coordination of NATO operations, when a vessel was reported to be in distress some 75 miles off the Libyan coast. The Sentry crew were able to divert an allied maritime reconnaissance aircraft and a frigate to investigate. The vessel, listing with engine difficulties, had more than 60 refugees on board, believed to be fleeing from the regime-held town of Az Zawiyah, including a number of children and pregnant women. A civilian tug also responded promptly to the distress call. The NATO frigate was able to provide water and food to the vessel, which proved to be in no immediate danger, and has kept the authorities in Malta, Italy and Tunisia fully informed of the situation.

"Since the start of military operations on 19 March to enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1973, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Army Air Corps precision strikes have damaged or destroyed some 590 regime targets that were posing a threat to the people of Libya, ranging from main battle tanks and heavy artillery, to command bunkers and secret police facilities."