UAE on brink of deploying fighter aircraft to Libya battlefield


New satellite imagery from Terra Server dated September 24 and November 10 this year has shown accelerating construction on Al-Khadim airbase in Al-Marj, eastern Libya, War is Boring reported on Friday.

The website added that the new images are strong evidence that the United Arab Emirates is preparing to intervene even more in the grinding Libyan civil war.

“The imagery of Al-Khadim, located in Al Marj province, depicts a new large parking area and aircraft shelters that could accommodate jet fighters.” The website added.

Since June 2016, the Emirates have based AT-802 turboprop attack planes and Chinese-made Wing Loong drones at the base, according to the report, which also added that The Emirati fleet has flown air strikes and reconnaissance missions in support of the so-called Libyan National Army troops led by Khalifa Haftar and allegedly fighting Islamist groups in Benghazi.

“The new shelters are big enough to host fighter jets including F-16s, Mirage 2000s and even Rafales. Work on the shelters seems to have paused between February and September 2017, at a time when Egypt was ramping up its own support of the LNA, perhaps easing pressure on the UAE to work quickly. The Egyptian air force has deployed fighters, helicopters and Wing Loong drones to western Egypt to patrol the border and attack militants in Libya.” War is Boring explained.

The website explained that the speed with which the work is progressing at Al-Khadim underscores how seriously the LNA and its foreign allies take the ISIS take threat in the region. With Egypt fighting on two fronts, the UAE is clearly planning on a much bigger deployment in Libya to support anti-Islamist forces.

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