Italian PSYOPS mission over Libya

May 18 2011 - 7 Comments

On May 17, 2011, an Italian Air Force C-130J, departed in the morning from Pisa airbase, dropped about 400.000 leaflets over Tripoli, Libya. As reported by ANSA news agency, leaflets contained a message addressed to the Libyan people directly from the NTC (National Transition Council) that had asked Italy to deliver it to counter Gaddafi’s regime propaganda in Libya’s capital city.
The text of the message was:

Libya is one and its capital is Tripoli. Today we ask you to join and to take the right and wise decision. Join our revolution. Let’s build Libya away from Gaddafi. A unified, free, democratic Libya.

The mission was planned by the COI (Comando Operativo di vertice Interforze – Italian Joint Operative Command) and was conducted by personnel belonging to both the 28° Rgmt “Pavia, based in Pesaro and specialized in “operative communication”), the ItAF and the Intelligence Service. The airdrop took place from 7.000 mt (20.000 ft – the crew had to wear oxygen masks to operate at that altitude) from a position that was calculated taking into consideration many factors, among which the air temperature and humidity, the aircraft airspeed, the wind direction and intensity etc. Leaflets took up to 3 hours to touch the ground in Tripoli and surrounding areas.
The PSYOPS sortie was an Italian mission, not part of Unified Protector, even if NATO was obviously informed about the operation and supported it.

Even if Italy has conducted similar missions in Afghanistan using helicopters, this was the first time that the ItAF performed a PSYOPS mission dropping leaflets over a foreign capital since 1918 raid over Wien by Gabriele D’Annunzio (Aug. 9, 1918).

  • kaaposc

    “Let’s built”? Whose typo is this? :)

  • Slevin

    Impressive numbers.. i really hope we get to see some footage from the ground, wonder how a sky full of leaflets looks like.

  • PSYOPS never work..

  • Tore

    Ah, so that is what air mail means…

  • carl

    psyops may never work, but it will send a unifiying message to a city under seige and fear , friday midday gadaffi is all but gone now.

  • STT

    Reminds me of the early days in Afghanistan… One would think PSYOP would be done in a different way these days… I just came back from Libya and would definetly have done it very differently…