Backgrounder: Weapons in joint operation in Libya

09:35, March 21, 2011      

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A French Dassault Rafale combat aircraft is seen in this photo released by ECPAD (French Defence communication and audiovisual production agency) as it prepares to take off from Saint-Dizier military base, eastern France, March 19, 2011, on a mission to overfly Libya. (Xinhua/Reuters)

France, the United States, Britain, Canada and Italy conducted a joint military operation to attack Libya Saturday night.

French warplanes and Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from the United States and British warships and submarines attacked the Libyan capital of Tripoli and more than 20 coastal targets.

The following are military assets of the five nations that are used or could be used against Libyan government troops:

The Tomahawk cruise missile, developed by the United States, could be launched from both surface ships and submerged submarines.

The Tomahawk missile, which travels fast and has invisible flight performance, is traditionally used for strikes against high value, heavily defended targets.

The United States used Tomahawks in the Gulf War in 1991 for the first time. Then they have played an important role in several other military operations.

The Rafale multirole warplane is a France-developed twin-jet combat aircraft capable of carrying out a wide range of short and long-rang missions, including ground and sea attacks, air defense and air superiority, and high-accuracy strike or nuclear strike deterrence.

Mirage 2000, also developed by France, is a multirole lightweight fighter. Its main tasks are interception and air superiority.

With outstanding equipment, Mirage 2000 could attack several targets when carrying out military operations.

France's Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, which is considered as the flagship of the French Navy, is the second largest European carrier.

The ship carries a battle group including three frigates, a fuel-supply ship and an attack submarine.

This time, the carrier Charles de Gaulle has over 20 warplanes on board, including fighter jets such as Mirage, Super Etendard, HawkEye early warning aircraft and jet helicopters.

Besides, Britain's Stormshadow missiles participated in the coordinated strike on Saturday against Libyan air defense.

Meanwhile, British Typhoon jets, HMS Cumberland and HMS Westminster frigates, France's at least one AWACS surveillance aircraft, Canadian HMCS Charlottetown warship and Italian Tornada fighters are also standing by to support the operations.

Source: Xinhua
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