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Libyan Air Force

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« on: March 21, 2011, 07:27:35 am »

Libyan Air Force

Libyan Air Force Al Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Libiyya Active Country HQ 1970 -present

Okba Ben Nafi, Tripoli

Engagements Six-Day War 1967 Yom Kippur War 1973 Libyan–Egyptian War 1977 Chadian–Libyan conflict 1978-1987 Gulf of Sidra incidents 1981,1989 Libyan Revolt 2011 Insignia Roundel

Aircraft flown Attack Bomber Fighter Trainer Transport Su-22, J-21, Mi-14, Mi-24, Bell 206, Su-24 MiG-21, MiG-23, Mirage F1 SF-260, L-39, G-2, Yak-130 An-26, Falcon 20, Falcon 50, Gulfstream II, Il-76, L-410, C-130, Il-78 Midas, Bell 212, CH-47, Mi-8

The Libyan Air Force (Arabic: ‫ةيبيللا ةيوجلا تاوقلا‬‎,Berber: Adwas Alibyan Ujnna) is the air force of Libya, with an air force personnel estimated at 18,000–22,000 and an inventory of 374 combat capable aircraft.[1] There are 13 military airbases in Libya.[2] After U.S. forces had left Libya in 1970, Wheelus Air Base, a previous U.S. facility about seven miles from Tripoli, became a Libyan Air Force installation and was renamed Okba Ben Nafi Air Base. OBN AB housed the LPAF's headquarters and a large share of its major training facilities. LPAF Soviet-made MiG-17/19/25 fighters and Tu-22 bombers were based at Okba Ben Nafi Air Base. Of the combat aircraft, the United States Department of State estimated in 1983 that 50 percent remained in storage, including most of the MiG fighters and Tu-22 bombers.

Cold War
The air force was first established as the Royal Libyan Air Force (Al Quwwat al Jawwiya al Malakiya al Libiyya) in 1951. In 1970 it changed its name to the Libyan Arab Republic Air Force. During the Cold War, aircraft and personnel of the Soviet Air Force took residence at Okba Ben Nafi Air Base. With Soviet assistance, the Libyan Air Force was organized into one medium bomber squadron with Tupolev Tu-22s, three fighter interceptor squadrons, five forward ground attack squadrons, one counter-insurgency squadron, nine

Royal Libyan Air Force roundel.

Libyan Air Force helicopter squadrons, and three air defense brigades deploying SA-2, SA-3, and Crotale missiles.[3] In 1971, 11 civilian C-130's were delivered by the USA and converted in Italy to military versions. Four C-100-30's were purchased from the Philippines and Luxembourg in 1981. In 1976, 20 CH-47 Chinook heavy transport helicopters were acquired from Italy, 14 of which were transferred to the army in the 1990s. The Libyan Air Force operated a number of MiG-25, possibly more than 60 were delivered, consisting of MiG-25PD, MiG-25RBK, MiG-25PU and MiG-25RU variants. During the Libyan-Egyptian War in 1977 there were some skirmishes between Libyan and Egyptian fighters. Two LARAF MiG-23MS engaged two upgraded EAF MiG-21MF and one MiG-23MS was shot down by EAF Maj. Sal Mohammad. In the 1970s and 80s Libyan Migs and Tupolevs were common visitors to the international airspace, close to Italy and NATO bases. On July 19, 1980, a Libyan MiG-23 crashed on the Sila Mountains in Castelsilano, Calabria, southern Italy. On 27 June 1980 an Italian plane exploded while on route from Bologna to Palermo, off the island of Ustica. The most accepted theory is that the aircraft was shot down during a dogfight involving Libyan and NATO fighters in an attempted assassination of an important Libyan politician, who was flying in the same airspace that evening. The Libyan Arab Republic Air Force (LARAF) lost a Sidewinder, during the Second Gulf of Sidra incident total of four aircraft to United States Navy F-14 Tomcats in two incidents over the Gulf of Sidra, in 1981 and 1989. In addition, many planes were destroyed or damaged on the ground in 1986 when American planes attacked targets at Benghazi and Tripoli airports. The air force was extensively used in the fighting in Chad in the 1980s, in support of Libyan ground units. It was reported that many Libyan bombing raids were carried out at excessively high altitudes when met with anti-aircraft fire so the attacks did not play a decisive role. On 17 February 1986, in retaliation for the French Operation Epervier, a single LARAF Tu-22B attacked the airport at N'Djamena. The French air force bombed the Libyan air base at Ouadi Doum as retaliation. One Tu-22 bomber was shot down by captured SA-6 missile during an attack on an abandoned Libyan base on 8 August 1987. Another Tu-22 was lost on 7 September 1987, when a battery of French MIM-23 Hawk SAMs shot down one of the two LARAF bombers that were attacking N'Djamena. The Chadians seized Ouadi Doum base in 1987 and destroyed or captured two SF.260s, three Mi-25s, two Tu-22B bombers, eleven L-39 jets, two complete SA-8 SAM-batteries and a plethora of additional equipment, weapons, supplies and ammunition, a good deal of which was flown out to France and the USA within the next five days. Four USAF C-5 Galaxy transport aircraft were sent to N'Djamena to collect the captured Libyan equipment. On 5 September 1987 Chadian technicals crossed into Libya and attacked the Maaten al-Sarra Air Base which is 60 miles (97 km) in Libyan territory. The battle of Maaten al-Sarra was a major victory for Chad and several Libyan aircraft were destroyed on the ground with only minor Chadian casualties.[4] On 8 October 1987, an Su-22M-22K was shot down by a FIM-92A Stinger missile in northern Chad. The pilot, Capt. Diya al-Din, ejected and was captured. The LARAF immediately organized a recovery operation, and a Mig-23 Flogger was also shot down by another Stinger. In December 1988 a Libyan SF.260 was shot down over northern Chad by Chadian troops. The Libyan Arab Republic Air Force (LARAF) was also involved in combat against Tanzania during 1979 as part of the Uganda–Tanzania War to help its Ugandan allies, with a single Tu-22 flying an unsuccessful bombing mission
A USN F-14 has just destroyed a MiG-23 with an AIM-9

Libyan Air Force against the town of Mwanza. On the other side, the considerable Libyan cargo plane fleet, was apparently employed capably in Chad and elsewhere.

Post–Cold War
With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the elimination of military aid by the new Russian Federation, Soviet/Russian support was drastically curtailed. The last major delivery of Soviet aircraft was 15 Su-24 Fencers in March/April 1989. Much of Libyan air doctrine appears now to be of an ad hoc nature and contracted personnel from Yugoslavia, South Africa, Russia, North Korea and Pakistan provide piloting, maintenance and technical services. The 1990s drop in oil prices and UN embargo made purchase of modern equipment almost impossible. UN Su-22M-3K Fitter aircraft. sanctions were lifted in early 1999 and Libya started prospective negotiations with Russia about upgrades for its MiG-21s and MiG-25s while also expressing an interest in MiG-29s, MiG-31s and long-range SAMs. However, many of the transport and combat aircraft are in storage. In January 2008 Libya bought 4 ATR-42MP maritime patrol aircraft from Italy’s Alenia. The LARAF MiG-21s do not fly at all due to reported serviceability issues and of 170 MiG-23s delivered, only 30-50 are believed to be flyable aircraft. Those ratios may be similar for several other platforms.

Libyan Revolt
During the 2011 Libyan Revolt, Libyan Air Force warplanes and attack helicopters launched repeated airstrikes on protesters, reportedly targeting a funeral procession and a group of protesters trying to reach an army base.[5] [6] On 21 February 2011, two senior Libyan Air Force pilots defected and flew their Mirage F1[7] fighter jets to Malta and requested political asylum after defying orders to bomb protesters.[8] On 23 February 2011, pilot Abdessalam Attiyah al-Abdali and co-pilot Ali Omar al-Kadhafi, crew of a Sukhoi-22,[7] ejected with parachutes near Ajdabiya, 100 miles west of Benghazi, after refusing orders to bomb the city of Benghazi.[7] [9] Anti-Gaddafi forces and Syrian opposition groups claim that Syrian pilots were flying attacks for the Libyan government[10] . Rebels claim they have shot down Air Force jets over Brega and Ras Lanuf.[11] [12] [7] At Brega a Mirage F-1 was shot down[7] and at Ra's Lanuf a helicopter (probably a Mi-24).[7] Exactly how many and what types of aircraft have been shot down have yet to be confirmed by government or independent sources. Using air power, the Libyan army checked the opposition advance westwards, towards Bin Jawad in early March.[13] On March 13, 2011, Ali Atiyya, a colonel of the Libyan Air Force at the Mitiga military airport, near Tripoli defected and joined the revolution.[14]

Libyan Air Force

Military airports
Military airforce bases include [15] : • Mitiga, (near Tripoli): formerly known as Wheelus Air Base when the United States air force was there and Okba Ben Nafi when used by Soviet Union forces. • Maaten al-Sarra Air Base south of Libya • Benina (near Benghazi) under anti-Ghadafi forces • Misurata (see also: Misurata_Airport) • Sirt, controlled by forces loyal to Colonel Ghadafi • Ghadames • Sabha • Al Bayda, under anti-Ghadafi forces control • Tobruk, under anti-Ghadafi forces control • El Ademe, under anti-Ghadafi forces control • Ghat

Current air force equipment
Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service Notes

Dassault Mirage F1


Multi role fighter

Mirage F1BD/ED

1 (2 in Malta)

32 delivered in the seventies, most of them have disappeared. Some are based at Gamal Abdul El Nasser Air Base, south of Tobruk. In 2007, Dassault Aviation was awarded a contract to put 12 remaining airframes back into flying condition. Only four have been [16] refitted. Two were flown to Malta on 21 February 2011 by pilots who, after being instructed to bomb protesters, [17] chose instead to apply for asylum. [18] One shot down on 3 March 2011.

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23

 Soviet Union




Most are grounded

 Soviet Union

Ground MiG-23BN/MS/ML/UB 114 attack/interceptor/trainer

Most are grounded. 2011 civil war in February and March: some reported captured by rebels in air base in Benghazi February 2011. Four captured [19] by rebels at Tobruk air base. Four captured by rebels in hangar at [20] Misratah. One captured by rebels at [21] Al-Abrak. One lost on 23 February 2011 as the crew of two refused to follow an order to attack protesters and ejected out of their plane, which crashed near Ajdabiya, 100 miles west of [22] Benghazi.

Sukhoi Su-22

 Soviet Union

Ground attack

Sukhoi Su-22M3/UM-3K


Libyan Air Force

 Soviet Union Long range bomber Sukhoi Su-24MK 2

Sukhoi Su-24

One lost in a fire, One reported to have been shot down outside Ra's Lanuf on 5 March 2011 by [23] anti-Gaddafi rebels.

Soko J-21 Jastreb Aero L-39 Albatros Aermacchi SF.260


Light ground attack Aero L-39ZO SF.260WL/ML

13 110 19 One SF.260ML crushed under a tank at Misratah airport on February 23rd, [24] 2011. 2011 civil war in February and March: Four captured by rebels in hangar at [25] Misratah airport. On order (2010); Status up in balance after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announces ban on arms sales [26] to Libya.

 Czechoslovakia Light attack/trainer  Italy Basic trainer

Soko G-2 Galeb


Light attack/trainer


Yakovlev Yak-130


Jet trainer

Dassault Falcon 20 Antonov An-26 Gulfstream II Dassault Falcon 50 Ilyushin Il-76 Let L-410 Turbolet Lockheed C-130H Hercules Antonov An-124 Ilyushin Il-78 Mil Mi-24 Hind

 France  Soviet Union  USA  France  Soviet Union

Light transport Medium transport Light transport Light transport Heavy transport

3 10 1 1 17 15

 Czechoslovakia Light utility transport


Heavy transport


 Soviet Union  Soviet Union  Russia

Heavy transport Air to air refueller Heavy attack helicopter Mi-24A/Mi-25/Mi-35

2 4 37 Three capured by Chadian rebels in the 80s and sent to France and US for evaluation. Some source considers Mi-35; anyway, #853 destroyed by fire on the ground on 23 Feb 2011 or days [7] before #854 captured by rebels. Mi-24 shot down by anti-Gaddafi rebels in Misrata, 28 Feb 2011.. Mi-24 shot down anti-Gaddafi rebels in Ra's Lanuf, [27] 6 March 2011 2011 civil war in February and March: [28] One captured by rebels at Benghazi

Mil Mi-14


Medium utility helicopter Training helicopter


Bell 206 JetRanger Bell 212 Twin Huey Boeing CH-47 Chinook Mil Mi-8 Hip



Light transport helicopter Heavy transport helicopter Medium transport helicopter

Delivered from Italy


Delivered from Italy



Libyan Air Force

Medium transport helicopter ?

Mil Mi-17


Status up in balance after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announces [29] ban on arms sales to Libya. At least 2 have been reported captured by anti-government protesters and defected military units in Tobruk.

Lavochkin SA-2

 Soviet Union

Air defence SAM


Isayev SA-3 SA-6

 Soviet Union  Soviet Union

Air defence SAM Air defence SAM

10 43

Captured aircraft
Aircraft Origin Type No. Versions Captured Notes

Westland Lynx

 United Kingdom

ASW, SAR and MEDEVAC duties


Dutch Navy helicopter captured along with its crew of 3 on 27 [30] February 2011, during an attempted civilian rescue mission.

Retired Aircraft
• Dassault Mirage V[31] • MiG-25 [32] • Boeing 707 • Tupolev Tu-22 - Grounded due to lack of spare parts. • Aeritalia G222 • Aerospatiale Super Frelon
Libyan MiG-25

[1] Military Balance 2010. International Institute for Strategic Studies. 2010. p. 263. [2] Middle East Military Balance: Libya (http:/ / www. tau. ac. il/ jcss/ balance/ Libya. pdf) [3] Library of Congress Country Study Libya (http:/ / lcweb2. loc. gov/ cgi-bin/ query/ r?frd/ cstdy:@field(DOCID+ ly0149)), Chapter 5:National Security, 1987 [4] "THE WORLD: CHAD; NDJAMENA SENDS TROOPS INTO LIBYA" (http:/ / query. nytimes. com/ gst/ fullpage. html?res=9B0DEED81131F930A2575AC0A961948260). New York Times. September 13, 1987. . Retrieved 11 March 2011. [5] "Report: Libya air force bombs protesters heading for army base - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News" (http:/ / www. haaretz. com/ news/ international/ report-libya-air-force-bombs-protesters-heading-for-army-base-1. 344775). 2008-04-02. . Retrieved 2011-02-21. [6] Yasmine Ryan. "Report: Libyan protesters fired on - Africa" (http:/ / english. aljazeera. net/ news/ africa/ 2011/ 02/ 201122116042447579. html). Al Jazeera English. . Retrieved 2011-02-21. [7] "Libyan Air Force during the revolt" (http:/ / aircraft. zurf. info/ article/ libyan-air-force-during-revolt). Zurf Military Aircraft. . Retrieved 8 March 2011. [8] "Updated: Libyan fighter jets arrive in Malta" (http:/ / www. timesofmalta. com/ articles/ view/ 20110221/ local/ two-libyan-fighter-jets-arrive-in-malta-two-helicopters-land). . Retrieved 2011-02-21. [9] "Libya pilot rejects Benghazi bombing, ditches plane" (http:/ / english. ahram. org. eg/ NewsContent/ 2/ 8/ 6298/ World/ Region/ Libya-pilot-rejects-Benghazi-bombing,-ditches-plan. aspx). . Retrieved 25 February 2011. [10] "Syrian pilots said to be flying Libyan fighter jets" (http:/ / www. worldtribune. com/ worldtribune/ WTARC/ 2011/ me_libya0257_03_10. asp). World Tribune. March 10, 2011. . Retrieved 11 March 2011. [11] http:/ / www. youtube. com/ watch?v=me_AtWpu9nI [12] http:/ / www. thestar. com/ news/ world/ article/ 947638--the-star-in-libya-rebels-quash-gadhafi-raid [13] http:/ / www. bbc. co. uk/ news/ world-africa-12673956 [14] http:/ / www. libyafeb17. com/ 2011/ 03/ crowd-mourns-ali-hassan-al-jabir/ [15] http:/ / www. globalsecurity. org/ military/ world/ libya/ airfields. htm

Libyan Air Force
[16] "La Libye n'a plus que deux Mirage F1 en état de vol" (http:/ / www. marianne2. fr/ blogsecretdefense/ La-Libye-n-a-plus-que-deux-Mirage-F1-en-etat-de-vol_a142. html). . Retrieved 25 February 2011. [17] "Libyan fighter jets arrive in Malta" (http:/ / www. timesofmalta. com/ articles/ view/ 20110221/ local/ two-libyan-fighter-jets-arrive-in-malta-two-helicopters-land). . Retrieved 25 February 2011. [18] "The Star in Libya: Rebels quash Gadhafi raid" (http:/ / www. thestar. com/ news/ world/ article/ 947638--the-star-in-libya-rebels-quash-gadhafi-raid). . Retrieved 5 March 2011. [19] http:/ / www. youtube. com/ watch?v=Y0P-vz4xp1s& feature=related [20] http:/ / www. youtube. com/ watch?v=0orW5K8Xoas& feature=related [21] http:/ / www. guardian. co. uk/ world/ gallery/ 2011/ feb/ 24/ libya-unrest-in-pictures#/ ?picture=372053001& index=11 [22] "Libya pilot ‘rejects Benghazi raid, ditches plane’" (http:/ / www. dawn. com/ 2011/ 02/ 23/ libya-pilot-rejects-benghazi-raid-ditches-plane. html). . Retrieved 2011-02-23. [23] "Gaddafi and rebel forces in heavy clashes in town of Zawiya" (http:/ / www. telegraph. co. uk/ news/ worldnews/ africaandindianocean/ libya/ 8363927/ Gaddafi-and-rebel-forces-in-heavy-clashes-in-town-of-Zawiya. html). . Retrieved 6 March 2011. [24] http:/ / aviation-safety. net/ wikibase/ wiki. php?id=94933 [25] http:/ / www. youtube. com/ watch?v=0orW5K8Xoas& feature=related [26] "Russia bans arms sales to Libya" (http:/ / english. aljazeera. net/ news/ europe/ 2011/ 03/ 20113107287576160. html). . Retrieved 10 March 2011. [27] "Libya rebels say shoot down helicopter in east" (http:/ / www. reuters. com/ article/ 2011/ 03/ 06/ libya-east-helicopter-idUSLDE72506H20110306). . Retrieved 6 March 2011. [28] http:/ / www. bbc. co. uk/ news/ world-africa-12588839 [29] "Russia bans arms sales to Libya" (http:/ / english. aljazeera. net/ news/ europe/ 2011/ 03/ 20113107287576160. html). . Retrieved 10 March 2011. [30] BBC News item (retrieved 3 March 2011) (http:/ / www. bbc. co. uk/ news/ world-europe-12633415) [31] Libyan Mirages in Use for Pakistan AF Spares, Air Forces Monthly, June 2008 issue, p. 32 [32] Libya Opens Up Air Forces Monthly, February 2007, p. 4 & 69

World Aircraft Information Files. Brightstar Publishing, London. File 337 Sheet 03

Further reading
• Libyan Air Force article, Air Forces Monthly, September 2010

External links
• Libyan Air Force ( - • Libyan Air Forces - Historical Listings ( • Libyan Detachment in Malta ( - • Photos of Libyan military aircraft ( - Air Force&distinct_entry=true) - • (French) • Al Quwwatal Jawwiya al Jamahiriya (LARAF) (

Article Sources and Contributors

Article Sources and Contributors
Libyan Air Force  Source:  Contributors: AircraftZurf, Akashiii, Ala.foum, Aldis90, Alexandr92, Ammar shaker, Andeep3450, Asabbagh, Axeman89, Belabau23, Benos, Buckshot06, CommonsDelinker, Creo11, DatbenIkke, Dbachmann, Degen Earthfast, EZ1234, Echuck215, EggyNL, Eurocopter, FayssalF, Fratrep, Greenshed, High Contrast, Hudicourt, Iranian F-14A Tomcat, KConWiki, Keldoud, KelleyCook, Kimdime, Kos93, Krellis, Levineps, LibAFfan, Libforces, Liotier, Lovetravel86, Lukas A. Mall, Lynbarn, MCQknight, Malcolma, Mauls, MilborneOne, MisterSpike, MrGRA, Namiba, Nanobear, Noclador, Nohomers48, Nono64, Nukes4Tots, OOODDD, Patrick Rogel, Philadelphia 2009, PrincessofLlyr, Pumov, Qasibr, Rampagingguppy, Revas, Rjwilmsi, Sandstig, SpudHawg948, Tamizi ts, Tioperci, Tourbillon, Victor12, Wikieditoroftoday, Wolcott, Xpowermen, Youssefsan, 192 anonymous edits

Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors
File:Flag of Libya.svg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: 16@r, Ajraddatz, Anime Addict AA, AnonMoos, Avala, Azylber, Bapho, EugeneZelenko, Flad, Fred J, Fry1989, Homo lupus, Idh0854, J.delanoy, JR98664, Klemen Kocjancic, MaggotMaster, Maks Stirlitz, Mattes, Nematavka, Neq00, Olavfin, Ouloedmonds1, Paradoctor, Reisio, Rocket000, Simetrical, Str4nd, Superm401, Trijnstel, Udonknome, Vzb83, Wutsje, X!, Yiftach T, Zscout370, 19 anonymous edits Image:Libyan Air Force roundel.svg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: F l a n k e r File:Royal Libyan Air Force roundel.svg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: F l a n k e r File:MiG23 Kill.jpg  Source:  License: unknown  Contributors: User:Hagman1983 File:Libyan Su-22M-3K.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: U.S. Navy photo. File:Flag of France.svg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: User:SKopp, User:SKopp, User:SKopp, User:SKopp, User:SKopp, User:SKopp File:Flag of the Soviet Union.svg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: A1, Alex Smotrov, Alvis Jean, Art-top, BagnoHax, Denniss, EugeneZelenko, F l a n k e r, Fred J, Fry1989, G.dallorto, Garynysmon, Herbythyme, Homo lupus, Jake Wartenberg, MaggotMaster, Ms2ger, Nightstallion, Pianist, R-41, Rainforest tropicana, Sebyugez, Solbris, Storkk, Str4nd, Tabasco, ThomasPusch, Toben, Twilight Chill, Zscout370, Серп, 55 anonymous edits File:Flag of SFR Yugoslavia.svg  Source:  License: unknown  Contributors: Zscout370 at en.wikipedia File:Flag of Czechoslovakia.svg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: (of code) File:Flag of Italy.svg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: see below File:Flag of Russia.svg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Zscout370 File:Flag of the United States.svg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: User:Dbenbenn, User:Indolences, User:Jacobolus, User:Technion, User:Zscout370 File:Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: User:Zscout370 File:Figuur1.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain
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