Monday, March 14, 2011

An Evaluation of Libya’s Air Defenses

Sean O’Connor, an amateur blogger, has provided a fascinating look at Libya’s air-defense network, based on analysis of satellite imagery provided by Google Earth and other sources.

This, in the words of the Politico website which highlighted the blog on March 11, is “one of the most detailed rundowns about Qadhafi's SAMs and other defenses you'll find on the open-source web.”

The blog also provides other analyses of military installations (Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia etc.), again based on satellite imagery, that are of wide interest and merit larger circulation.

His introduction to Libya’s air-defense network is that “Libya possesses one of the most robust air defense networks on the African continent, falling second only to Egypt in terms of coverage and operational systems. Libyan strategic SAM assets are primarily arrayed along the coastline, ostensibly defending the bulk of the Libyan population and preventing foreign incursion into Libyan airspace.”

And his conclusion, written in May 2010, is that,

“at the end of the day, the Libyan strategic SAM network requires a massive infusion of new technology to remain viable in the twenty first century. It was not capable of repelling an attack over twenty years ago, and there is no reason to suspect that it will be capable of such action today. Libya is reportedly negotiating for the purchase of advanced S-300PMU-2 (SA-20B Gargoyle) SAM systems from Russia, which would go a long way towards modernizing the network and restoring its effectiveness.

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