It looks like the aircraft (or most of them) launched from Egyptian airbases (although Cairo has always denied a direct involvement in Libya) with UAE Air Force providing aircrews, attack planes and aerial refuelers.
The first airstrikes hit various Islamist militias positions in Tripoli including an ammo depot. A second round of strikes concentrated in the southern part of the city where vehicles and rocket launchers were bombed.
Libyan authorities were unable to establish which was behind the mysterious airstrikes even if some debris, including a fin of the guidance kit for Mk 82s, pointed towards air forces equipped with aircraft capable to drop GBU-12 Paveway II 500-pound laser-guided bombs.
Now, American officials have unveiled the U.S. has collected enough evidence to determine UAE planes carried out the attacks.
U.S. Embassy “relocation” was supported by F-16, MV-22 Osprey as well as EP-3E Aries II aircraft
The US embassy in Tripoli, Libya, was evacuated with staff “relocated” to Tunisia in the early hours of Saturday Jul. 26 amid continuing clashes between rival militias in the capital and fighting at the airport.
Although the DoD said both F-16s and MV-22 Ospreys and ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) aircraft supported the evacuation, it did not unveil U.S. Navy EP-3E ARIES II signal intelligence platforms were involved in the operation.
The ARIES II is a highly modified version of the P-3C that became famous on Apr. 1, 2001 when one such planes and its crew were detained for 11 days following a collision with a Chinese J-8IIM fighter (that crashed causing the death of the pilot) and the subsequent emergency landing at Ligshui airbase, in Hainan island.
The U.S. Navy spyplane, most probably operating out of Sigonella, Italy, was already spotted over Libya in 2012. At the time there were rumors the aircraft was involved in operations aimed at detecting and tracking smuggled weapons travelling towards Egypt and destined to Gaza.
Below, an image of an F-16 (from Aviano airbase?) circling over Tripoli.
NATO Tiger Meet is an annual exercise that gathers squadrons sporting Tiger (or feline) emblems. Planes that attend it, usually get painted in tiger outfits. As happened during 2014 edition in Germany.
NATO Tiger Meet (NTM) is a two-week multi-national mid-size exercise that includes all types of air-to-air and air-to-ground and a wide variety of support missions, comprising CSAR and large COMAOs (Composite Air Operations).
NTM2014 (with spotters days on Jun. 19 and 23) was held at Schleswig – Jagel, in northern Germany.
The other Stratotanker refueled Swedish Air Force JAS 39 Gripens by means of the hose released by the underwing pods. The so-called hose and drogue system is used for aircraft equipped with the IFR (In Flight Refueling) probe (U.S. Navy standard) whereas the rigid, telescoping tube with movable flight control surfaces (the “boom”) is used to refuel those aircraft equipped with the U.S. Air Force standard AAR (Air-to-Air Refueling) receptacle.
Noteworthy, the U.S. planes depicted in the footage carry (dummy) missiles, whilst Swedish Gripens are unarmed.