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29 March 2011 Last updated at 10:13 ET
Libya no-fly zone: Coalition firepower
Western and Arab leaders met in Paris to agree how to enforce the UN resolution
A joint operation to enforce a UN-backed no-fly zone over Libya is under way - aimed at protecting Libyan civilians from government forces.
France, in diplomatic terms, has been one of the main promoters of UN Security Council resolution 1973 allowing the use of force, and French aircraft were the first to operate over Libya.
But the US and Britain have also been key players, with a barrage of missiles launched from US and British ships and submarines as well as from the air.
While the US has been overseeing the operation, Nato has confirmed it will take over responsibility in the next few days.
Canada, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Qatar and, most recently, the UAE are also offering military support.
Country-by-country involvement
Key hardware
Usual role
Libya deployment
Dassault RafaleA multi-role, twin-engined delta wing aircraft capable of mounting air defence, ground attack, and reconnaissance missionsCrew: One/two
Max speed: Mach 1.8
Weapons: Air-to-ground missile, including Apache and Exocet, air-to-air missiles and anti-ship missiles
France has mobilised about 100 warplanes - mainly Rafale and Mirage - and they were the first to operate over Libya, some striking Libyan targets
Mirage 2000Again a multi-role fighter, the descendant of the famous Mirage III of the 1960s - the first European aircraft to exceed Mach 2 in level flightCrew: One/two
Max speed: Mach 2.2
Weapons: Built-in twin 30mm revolver-type cannons (Defa 554), air-to-air missiles
Mirage 2000 jets have also been on missions
Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrierFlagship of the French navy, the nuclear-powered 38,000-tonne aircraft carrier can deploy 40 combat planes that can conduct 100 air missions a dayCrew: 1,150 ship's crew, 550 aircrew, 50 air support staff
Max speed: 27 knots (50 km/h)
Weapons: Surface-to-air Aster 15 and Mistral missiles, 20mm guns(Nexter)
The carrier was deployed to the region from Toulon, in the south of France, accompanied by the anti-submarine frigate Dupleix, the Aconit frigate and a refuelling ship, La Meuse
Key hardware
Usual role
Libya deployment
A-10 WarthogSimple, effective and survivable twin-engine jet aircraft that can be used against all ground targets, including tanks and other armoured vehicles. A-10 - close air support, A-10C - airborne forward air controlCrew: One
Max speed: 420mph
Weapons: 30 mm GAU-8/A seven-barrel Gatling gun; up to 16,000 pounds (7,200 kilograms) of mixed ordnance including cluster bombs, Maverick missiles, and laser-guided bombs
Six A-10 planes are in operation. These craft and the AC-130 are specially designed for what's known as close air support of ground forces. Their weaponry also means they could be used to attack targets in built-up areas
AC-130The main missions of the AC-130H Spectre and AC-130U Spooky are close air support, air interdiction and force protectionCrew: 13 (Five officers, eight enlisted)
Max speed: 300 mph
Weapons: 40mm and 105mm cannons
Two of these heavily armed aircraft have been deployed over Libya. They have side-firing weapons integrated with sophisticated sensor, navigation and fire control systems to provide what the US Air Force describe as "surgical firepower or area saturation during extended loiter periods, at night and in adverse weather"
B1-B LancerLong-range, multi-role, heavy bomberCrew: Four (aircraft commander, copilot, and two weapon systems officers)
Max speed: Mach 1.2 (at sea level)
Weapons: Capacity to carry up to 75,000lbs of munitions including general purpose bombs, Quick Strike naval mines, cluster munitions, Joint Direct Attack Munitions and Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles
The B-1 is the backbone of America's long-range bomber force. It carries the largest payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the US Air Force inventory. Two of these planes have been in use over Libya
B-2 stealth bomberA long-range, multi-role heavy bomber capable of staying airborne for many hours. Its shape is part of its stealth design to minimise its appearance on enemy radarCrew: Two
Max speed: High subsonic
Weapons: Capacity to carry up to 40,000lb of weapons (conventional and nuclear), precision-guided munitions, gravity bombs and maritime weapons
The bombers took part in a series of dawn raids - some of the first strikes on Libya
EC-130J Commando SoloConducts information operations, psychological operations and civil affairs broadcasts in AM, FM, HF, TV and military communications bandsCrew: 11 - flight crew plus two loadmasters and five electronic communications systems operators
Max speed: 335 mph
Weapons: N/A
A specially-modified four-engine Hercules transport, this aircraft has been used to relay messages to Col Gaddafi's forces, warning them to leave their equipment and go home
F-16The F-16 "Fighting Falcon" is a compact, multi-role jetCrew: One
Max speed: Mach 2
Weapons: Capable of deploying a range of weapons, including air-to-air Sidewinders and air-to-ground Maverick missiles, plus a range of bombs and rockets
US F-16s are stationed at the Sigonella air base in Sicily, southern Italy
F-15E Strike EagleThe F-15E is designed for bombing raids behind enemy lines, but can also be used for air support near allied forces as well as air-to-air combatCrew: Two
Max speed: Mach 2.5
Weapons: Capable of firing air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles and laser-guided weapons, including Mavericks
Operated by the US military from bases in Europe
E-3 Sentry (Awacs)The E-3 Sentry is an airborne warning and control system, or Awacs, aircraftCrew: Flight crew of four plus mission crew of 13-19
Systems: Command and control battle management system for surveillance, target detection, and tracking
Awacs are currently being used by the US as well as Nato, the UK and France in Libya
RC-135The RC-135 is a reconnaissance aircraft, based at Offutt Air Force Base, NebraskaCrew: Flight crew of five (three pilots, two navigators) plus mission flight crew of 21-27
Systems: Sensor suite for reconnaissance and communications
Aviation expert Paul Eden says the aircraft will be in Libya "sniffing for electromagnetic emissions from air defence radars"
RQ-4 Global HawkProvides intelligence, surveillance and reconnaisance to support armed forces on the ground and in the air.Max speed: 391 mphGlobal Hawk used above Libya battle fields where it is able to locate armoured forces and their location. It sends the coordinates to analysts at a ground station, which passes on the information to a command center for targeting
USS Mount WhitneyA sophisticated command, control, communications, computer and intelligence shipCrew: Ship can carry 450 personnel
Max speed: 23 knots
Weapons: Armed with two 20mm weapons systems, rockets, 25mm chain guns and .50-caliber machine guns
Washington has deployed 11 ships and submarines, according to the Pentagon,
including the USS Mount Whitney, which is acting as the main command ship for the joint operation
USS Providence, Scranton and FloridaNuclear-powered attack submarinesUSS Providence
Crew: Four officers and 115 enlisted men
Max speed: Surfaced - 20 knots; Submerged - 20+ knots
Weapons: The submarine class features a potent weapons array, including the Tomahawk missile
A barrage of cruise missiles
was fired at Libyan targets from USS Providence, Scranton and Florida at the start of the operation, as well as from destroyers USS Stout and USS Barry
Tomahawk missileLong-range weapon designed to hit strategic targets with minimum collateral damageWarhead: Able to deliver a 1,000lb (450kg) warhead Range: About 1,000 miles (1,600km)US and British warships and submarines launched Tomahawk missiles at the start of the operation
Key hardware
Usual role
Libya deployment
Typhoon - EurofighterThe RAF's Typhoon, or Eurofighter, is an agile aircraft which can be used in air-to-air combat, and can also attack targets on the groundCrew: One
Max speed: Mach 2
Weapons: Air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM and ASRAAM), Brimstone anti-tank weapons and laser-guided bombs (Paveway II and Enhanced Paveway II)
Ten Typhoons are in place in the southern Italian air base of Gioia del Colle. They have been patrolling the no-fly zone in their air combat role
TornadoThe Tornado GR4 is mainly used as a strike or attack aircraftCrew: Two
Max speed: Mach 1.3
Weapons: Storm Shadow cruise missiles, air-to-ground Brimstone missiles, air-to-air Sidewinders, laser-guided bombs, general purpose bombs, 27mm cannon (Mauser)
British Tornados, flying from RAF Marham in Norfolk, have carried out bombing missions on targets around Tripoli. Four are now in Gioia del Colle in southern Italy
NimrodNimrod R1 reconnaissance aircraft are used for surveillance operations. It can sit over an area, flying at low speeds for long periods - which can be extended by mid-air refuelling. They are to be scrapped after the UK withdraws its forces from Afghanistan.Crew: 29
Max speed: 360 knots
The reconnaissance aircraft are involved in surveillance operations in Libya
SentinelThe reconnaissance aircraft are fitted with radar and monitoring systems which can be used to track and target enemy ground forces.Crew: Five
Max speed: Mach 0.89
Systems: High-resolution radar system Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and target identifyer Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI)
The Sentinel is being used for reconnaissance in Libya
Storm ShadowDeployed from Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 ground attack aircraft, the Storm Shadow is a conventionally armed cruise missileWarhead: Armed with conventional explosive warhead
Range: Can be launched 155 miles (250km) from its target
The British government has confirmed the RAF dropped Storm Shadow missiles from Tornado jets over the weekend at the start of the operation
Logistical support: C-130 and C-17Transport aircraft, used to move personnel and equipmentC-130 Hercules
Aircrew: Six
Max speed: 310 knots
C-17 Globemaster
Aircrew: Three
Max speed: 550 knots
The aircraft are being used to deliver UK personnel, equipment and stores to the various operating bases in the Mediterranean
HMS Cumberland and HMS WestminsterRoyal Navy frigates, Type 22 and 23Max speed: 28-30 knots
Weapons: 114mm gun (MK 8), close-in weapons system (Goalkeeper), anti-missile system (Sea Wolf), missile launchers (Quad Harpoon), decoy launchers defending against radar-guided weapons
HMS Cumberland and HMS Westminster are in the region ready to support operations, the British government has said
HMS TriumphOne of the UK's Trafalgar class nuclear submarines and originally commissioned in 1991, HMS Triumph finished a five-year upgrade in 2009Weapons: Tomahawk cruise missiles and Spearfish torpedoes mean this sub can launch air strikes and attack ships on the sea's surfaceHMS Triumph fired its cruise missiles at the start of the coalition's action to enforce the UN backed no-fly zone
Key hardware
Usual role
Libya deployment
CF-18 HornetThe Canadian Armed Forces' front-line multi-role fighter, a version of the US F-18 Hornet. It is used for air superiority and tactical supportMax speed: Mach 1.7
Crew: One/two
Weapons: 20mm cannon (Vulcan), sniper pod for detecting and identifying targets, Sidewinder heat-seeking air-to-air missiles
Canada has committed six Hornets to help enforce the no-fly zone. The Canadian jets are flying on sorties from Sicily
HMCS CharlottetownA Halifax-class frigate, with a crew of over 200, capable of deploying a Sea King helicopterMax speed: Over 30 knots
Weapons: Surface-to-air Sea Sparrow missiles and anti-ship Harpoon missiles enable the warship to attack other ships and aircraft
The Canadian frigate was originally deployed to the region to evacuate Canadian citizens from Libya, it now stands ready to help enforce UN Resolution 1973
CP-140 AuroraOriginally designed for anti-submarine warfare, the CP-140 Aurora is a specialist in sea-based surveillance operationsMax speed: 750km/h
Crew: Up to 10
Range: 9,000km
Canada has deployed two CP-140s to conduct strategic maritime surveillance to support UN Resolution 1973; transport and refuelling aircraft have also been supplied
Key hardware
Usual role
Libya deployment
F-16A multi-role fighter aircraftAs aboveItaly has offered four F-16s; Denmark six; Belgium six and Norway six. Italy has also mobilised Tornado jets and offered the coalition use of seven air bases
Key hardware
Usual role
Libya deployment
F-18Used as an interceptor and as an all-weather attack aircraftAs aboveSpain has deployed four F-18s, which have been used on missions over Libya. The country has also deployed a warship, a maritime patrol plane and a submarine
Key hardware
Usual role
Libya deployment
MirageMulti-role fighter - as aboveAs aboveQatar has offered four Mirage aircraft to patrol the no-fly zone. It was the first Arab state to commit military assets
Key hardware
Usual role
Libya deployment
F-16 and MirageMulti-role fighters - as aboveAs aboveThe UAE has agreed to send six F-16 and six Mirage fighters to help enforce the no-fly zone. It offered military assistance almost a week after the operation began
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