US considers more firepower to hit Gadhafi forces

A 40mm cannon and 105mm howitzer protruding from an AC-130.

From Richard Lardner, the AP:  Even after a week of U.S.-led air strikes, forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi are a potent threat to civilians, say Pentagon officials who are considering expanding the firepower and airborne surveillance systems in the military campaign.

"Every day, the pressure on Gadhafi and his regime is increasing," President Barack Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday, aired just after Libyan rebels regained control of the eastern city of Ajdabiya. It was the first major turnaround in an uprising that once appeared on the verge of defeat. …

Among the weapons under consideration for use in Libya is the Air Force’s AC-130 gunship, armed with cannons that shoot from the side doors. Other possibilities are helicopters and drones that fly lower and slower and can spot more than fast-moving jet fighters. …

American officials have said they won’t drop bombs in cities to avoid killing or wounding civilians – a central pillar of the operation. Yet they want to hit the enemy in contested urban areas.  (photo: Michael Block)

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