Military Capabilities

Western air forces increase surveillance flights around Libya

02 May 2019

Open-source monitoring of air traffic has shown an increase in flights by surveillance aircraft operating by NATO members over the central Mediterranean during April.

The flights off the coast of western Libya have included ones by aircraft flown by the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force (NAEW&CF), as well as the French, Italian, UK, and US air forces, indicated an increased interest in the north African country since the Libyan National Army (LNA), the country's most powerful faction, launched an attempt to take Tripoli from an alliance of militias aligned with the Government of National Accord (GNA).

Open-source ADS-B transponder data shows Boeing E-3A Sentry aircraft operated by the NAEW&CF flew at least nine missions south of Malta from 13-30 April from the unit's home base at Geilenkirchen in Germany, putting them in a good position to monitor aircraft flying over Libya.

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