France and Italy contributed unarmed UAVs to NATO’s Libya operation

Heron TP

From Aviation International News:  [French air force commander General Jean-Paul] Palomeros told the Dubai Air Chiefs Conference last November that “at least 30” medium-altitude long endurance (MALE) UAVs should have been deployed to support the NATO air action over Libya last year. . . ."

In fact, the U.S. provided just a few MQ-1 Predators for the Libyan operation. Those aircraft were joined later in the campaign by French Harfangs (Israeli Herons adapted by EADS) and Italian MQ-9 Reapers. But there were problems in coordinating these operations, for instance, when a French Harfang was tasked to takeover the monitoring of a mobile target from a Predator. The Harfang was being flown from a nearby ground station, whereas the Predator was controlled from thousands of miles away in the US.

From Aviation International News: [O]nly the American Predators fired weapons–Hellfire missiles on more than 100 occasions.   (photo: UAS Vision)

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