US military confronts Gaddafi with Tank busters
US military has deployed Tank buster aircraft in Libya in a dramatic step up of its assault on Gaddafi's ground forces to destroy his big armada of tanks, mobile missiles and artillery guns, to force his early exit.world Updated: Mar 29, 2011 17:14 IST
US military has deployed Tank buster aircraft in Libya in a dramatic step up of its assault on Gaddafi's ground forces to destroy his big armada of tanks, mobile missiles and artillery guns, to force his early exit.
The AC-130 flying gunships and A-10 attack aircrafts have launched missions on Libya over the weekend, dragging US deeper into the chaotic fight in the country, though President Barack Obama announced today that Washington would play a "limited role" in UN sanctioned operations against the North African state.
The slow moving and low flying aircraft, dubbed as Tank busters have largely been instrumental in reversing the march of Libyan strongman's armoured columns on the rebels strongholds in the country's east, Washington Post reported.
The aircraft only made their appearance on the battle field after the momentum was wrested by faster moving B-2 stealth bombers and F-15 tomcats and British and French Tornadoes, Typhoons and Rafales, who destroyed Gaddafi's airforce.
These aircraft armed with heavy machine guns and cannons that rake the ground and allow the planes to pulverise dug in Libyan ground forces and convoys in closer proximity to civilian areas.
Quoting Pentagon officials, the Post said, the Tank busters were being used to step up pressure on Libyan ground troops, who have retreated from the rebels advance and fortified around several cities east of Tripoli.
Military officials consider AC-130s and A-10s well suited to attacks in built-up areas, although their use has led to civilian deaths.
Unlike fighter jets and bombers, which typically carry 500 or 1,000 pound bombs, the Tank busters deliver more discriminate but still devastating machine-gun fire.
The AC-130s were used to great effect during the two US forces offensives in Fallujah in Iraq and in Afghanistan, where they were used as 'cave busters' in the hunt for world's most elusive terrorist Osama bin Laden in Tora Bora.
The fixed-wing gunships were developed from Hercules C-130 transport aircraft for use in Vietnam, putting pilots at greater risk than fighter jets, but they have been used in virtually every US military combat operation since then.
The US military feels that the Tank busters may well prove to be the nadir of Gaddafi forcing his early exit from power once the gunships destroy his armada of tanks, heavy artillery guns, mobile missiles and other fire-power.