Drones may already be flying over Libya hunting insurgents who attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi

Sep 12 2012 - 2 Comments

Even if, citing U.S. officials, the CNN has just reported that unmanned aerial vehicles will begin flying over Benghazi in the next few days, American drones may already be flying surveillances flights over eastern Libya following the attack at the U.S. consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed by anti-U.S. mob.

The U.S. Air Force drones can be particularly useful to discover jihadi encampments and targets that may be tied to the attack to the Benghazi consulate.

CNN’s Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr reported that the proposal for use of drones could be approved shortly by the DoD and the White House, however, ISR (intelligence surveillance reconnaissance) have continued to take place over Northern Africa, where U.S. spyplanes, most probably looking for terrorists camps and smuggled weapons travelling towards Egypt, have been reported (and spotted) months after Operation Unified Protector had ended.

Since the first drones to operate in the Libyan airspace during 2011’s Air War were the U.S. RQ-4Bs belonging to the 9th Operations Group/Detachment 4th of the US Air Force, based at Naval Air Station Sigonella, in Sicily, the main operating base of the NATO Air Ground Surveillance Global Hawk program, it is quite likely that, if not already flying high-altitude surveillance flights over eastern Libya, these will be the first UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) to seek and hunt insurgents.

Unless, the Pentagon decides to attack them once detected (instead of leaving them to the Libyan forces), as it happens in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen: in this case, the unarmed Global Hawks will have to be supported/replaced by weaponized Predator or Reaper drones like those that have already operated in Libya (taking part to the operation that led to the capture and death of Gaddafi).

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

  • Digitaldave

    The RQ-4 has no role here. I do not think you understand the mission of the GH mate. Just because it is close by and had a role during a previous widespread conflict over the same area does not mean it has any role in a mission to hunt down 24 terrorists. There is no strategic picture here, only tactical drones would be of limited use that have streaming video and engagement capability is a plus now. This is a humerous leap to conclusion sir with zero factual basis. Why not just say the Navy SEALs will probably take out the guys that did it too while you are at it. Too much of this type of senseless reasoning on here, it hurts your street credentials.

    • http://theaviationist.com/ David Cenciotti

      We are not discussing whether the GH has a role here, we are saying that they have never ceased flying over Libya.
      This is not a matter of proximity: Global Hawks have been monitored by Maltese aircraft spotters flying routinely into the Libyan FIRs.