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U.S. Used Strategic Bombers Against Libya

A quick symphony of planning allowed USAF’s heavy bombers to strike 150 targets in Libya. On March, five Air Force bombers—three B-2s and two B-1Bs—attacked targets in Libya as part of NATO’s mission to protect civilians from government attack in that country’s uprising and civil war. On the first night of the operation, March 19, three B-2s of the 509th Bomb Wing struck 45 targets at an airfield in Ghardabiya, Libya. Photos of the airfield released by the Pentagon the next day showed hardened aircraft shelters at that base struck with great precision. All were collapsed or showed blackened trails emanating from their entrances, confirming that whatever was inside exploded and burned. The B-2s flew directly from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri and recovered there as well, as they had done in previous operations in Afghanistan and Serbia. Just days later, B-1Bs destroyed ammunition depots, combat aircraft and vehicle maintenance facilities, command and control buildings, and Libyan air defense sites. The B-1s, too, attacked Libya directly from their base in the continental US, but recovered in Europe before striking at more targets en route to home base. Collectively, the bombers destroyed nearly 150 targets. All the aircraft returned home unscathed. The missions marked a number of organizational and operational firsts for the Air Force, especially with regard to how USAF coordinates the planning and execution of long-range strikes. The operation marked the first global strike mission under the direction of US Strategic Command and its relatively new air component, Air Force Global Strike Command. It was the first combat operation for US Africa Command...

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