The media department for the militias defending Libya’s capital city released photographs on 30 April that showed a Russian-made unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that had been recovered.
Operation ‘Volcano of Anger’, which represents the militias aligned with the Government of National Accord (GNA), said the UAV was shot down east of the central coastal city of Sirte. It identified the operator as the “rebel war criminal militia”, an apparent reference to the Libyan National Army (LNA) faction that is trying to capture Tripoli.
Similar aircraft have been recovered in eastern Ukraine and Syria, with Ukrainian authorities identifying the type as the Orlan-10 used by the Russian military. However, it is different from the Orlan-10 seen in Russian service, having a tail with two horizontal stabilisers rather than one.
The UAV recovered in Libya appeared to be carrying the same electro-optical payload with an array of 12 lenses as seen on ones recovered in other conflict zones.
LNA leader Khalifa Haftar, a former Gaddafi-era general who now claims the rank of marshal, is seen as having close ties with Russia, having visited Moscow at least twice in recent years and the aircraft carrier Kuznetsov when it was in the Mediterranean in 2017.
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