Meanwhile, U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier jump jets continue to pound Daesh in Libya

160824-N-VK310-041 MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Aug. 24, 2016) An AV-8B Harrier, from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), takes off from the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) Aug. 24, 2016. The 22nd MEU, embarked on Wasp, is conducting precision air strikes in support of the Libyan Government of National Accord-aligned forces against Daesh targets in Sirte, Libya, as part of Operation Odyssey Lightning. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael Molina/Released)

USMC Harriers aboard USS Wasp launch “frequent” airstrikes against ISIS in Libya.

Operation Odyssey Lightning kicked off on Aug. 1, when the U.S. launched a new round of air strikes against Islamic State positions in northern Libya following a request by the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) to support GNA-affiliated forces seeking to defeat Daesh in Sirte.

Although the first raids were conducted by U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drones as well as by AH-1W helicopters operating from the U.S. amphibious assault ship USS Wasp, since then, the majority of the attacks were launched by the AV-8B and AV-8B+ Harriers with the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 264 (Reinforced) – VMM-264, the composite squadron that constitute the Aviation Combat Element of the 22nd MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit).

From the beginning of Operation Odyssey Lightning to Aug. 29, the U.S. aircraft have completed 92 airstrikes.

The STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) aircraft have carried out Precision Guided Munition attacks on a wide variety of targets, including Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device, trucks with mounted heavy artillery, supply trucks and many “enemy fighting positions.”

Based on the images released by AFRICOM so far, the Jump Jets (both AV-8B and AV-8B+ variants) have almost always carried 500-pound GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) along with two drop tanks (with the AV-8B+ carrying also the Litening targeting pod) during day and night missions.

The following videos show some interesting footage filmed on the flight deck of USS Wasp during the Libya air campaign.

Noteworthy, six British handlers from Culdrose, UK, are serving aboard the amphibious assault ship to get real life experience of safely operating fast jets and helicopters on a flight deck and prepare to what they’ll be doing on HMS Queen Elizabeth in a couple of time.


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.