General Question

mattbrowne's avatar

Why doesn't the coalition in Libya use more helicopters to deal with Gaddafi's artillery and tanks?

Asked by mattbrowne (31585points) March 26th, 2011

Just wondering. Fighter jets do have limitations.

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8 Answers

jaytkay's avatar

I would guess their range is too short and they fly too low and too slow. Also there are (I think) no seaborne attack helicopters. The Apache tank killers used by the US and UK require large ground crews and facilities.

mattbrowne's avatar

Thanks for the link @LostInParadise. This sounds promising.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Two things, Helicopters have shorter ranges, and are more vulnerable to ground fire than jets.

A more suitable platform would be the Air Forces A10.

Riggerman's avatar

Marine Corps, Navy, Army, and Airforce Roatary Wing aircraft can all be based off of Seaborn Carriers and have the capabilities of destroying hard ground targets such as armor, bunkers, and artillary. Besides Gahdaffi would not risk causing an incident with a foreign nation or leauge of nations that would be an act of war causing him to lose power. He is simply trying to quash a rebellion attempting to take him out of power. Fixed Wing fighter jets allow for ground and air targets to be engaged with the same equipment enforcing the no-fly-zone emplaced on Lybia as well as destroying ground targets.

flutherother's avatar

And why not use drones? They can linger out of sight and keep a surreptitious eye on things.

jerv's avatar

I believe that @WestRiverrat pretty much hit it on the head. An A-10 Warthog has a titanium bathtub for a cockpit and can remain airborne with a surprising portion of the plane shot off whereas most helicopters can be taken down by small arms fire and even the toughest can’t compare. Considering that they move so much slower than jets, they are more likely to get hit as well; More hits plus less ability to take hits equals poor survivability.

Besides, nothing says “Bend over!” like seven barrels spewing large caliber depleted uranium slugs so quickly that they are almost nose to tail. Yeah, rockets are neat, but a GAU-8 Avenger will really fuck up someone’s day.

@Riggerman Yes, they can, but the real trick is making it back for a landing ;)
Other than that, you are right though.

mattbrowne's avatar

In the meantime the fighter jets alone seem to have a significant effect with Gaddafi forces retreating westward. But eventually when it’s about power in Tripolis an A-10 Warthog might be part of the solution. There’s a lot of talk about Gaddafi taking revenge instigation a Lockerbie-type assault in Europe. In this case it would be seen as an attack on a NATO country and we are legally entitled to defend outselves which means taking Gaddafi out. I think it will go in this direction.

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