Marine SuperCobras join the fight against ISIL in Libya

Washington Post:
After nearly a month of airstrikes against the Islamic State fighters dug in around the Libyan city of Sirte, U.S. helicopter gunships have been dispatched to help root out the extremist group from some of the denser parts of the city.

A U.S. defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing operations, said Marine AH-1W SuperCobra helicopters participated in strikes against the Islamic State over the weekend. According to a U.S. Africa Command release, U.S. forces conducted nine strikes from Friday to Sunday, targeting Islamic State fighting positions and vehicles.

[Who in Libya will the U.S. send weapons to? It’s complicated, says a top general.]

The Islamic State fighters have retreated “to the densest, most built-up part of the city,” the official said. “[The AH-1] is a platform that lends itself well to that kind of mission.”

Helicopter gunships are usually best directed to their targets when they receive directions from combat air controllers on the ground, known as JTACs. While the United States has a small detachment of Special Operations forces in Sirte, most of the targeting information for the airstrikes there is being relayed to U.S. forces through Libyan government troops.
The Marines inherited the SuperCobras from the army when they got Apache gunships.  The Supercobras were introduced late in the Vietnam war so they are probably older than thMarineses who fly them.

For this particular enemy and this particular location they are probably serviceable for the mission at hand.


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