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Marine Harriers Strike ISIS Targets in Libya from USS Wasp

 An AV-8B Harrier II with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 264 (Reinforced), 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), lands on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD-1) on July 18, 2016. US Marine Corps

An AV-8B Harrier II with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 264 (Reinforced), 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), lands on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD-1) on July 18, 2016. US Marine Corps

Marine AV-8B Harriers operating from USS Wasp (LHD-1) have struck ISIS targets Libya, two U.S. defense officials confirmed to USNI News on Wednesday.

Beginning on Aug. 1, 2016, the U.S. has launched a mix of manned and unmanned air strikes on ISIS targets near Sirte, Libya. Harriers from Wasp have been launched at least five times in the first two days to strike targets near the port city, a U.S. official confirmed to USNI News on Wednesday.

The Harrier strikes were first reported by The Virginian-Pilot.

The strikes were conducted on the behalf of the Libyan Government of National Accord, “seeking to defeat ISIL in its primary stronghold in Libya,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said on Monday.
“These strikes were authorized by the president following a recommendation from Secretary Carter and Chairman Dunford. They are consistent with our approach to combating ISIL by working with capable and motivated local forces. GNA-aligned forces have had success in recapturing territory from ISIL thus far around Sirte, and additional U.S. strikes will continue to target ISIL in Sirte in order to enable the GNA to make a decisive, strategic advance.”
On Wednesday, the Italian government said it would consider allowing U.S. forces to launch strikes from Naval Air Station Sigonella.

“The government is ready to positively evaluate any request for use of bases and air space if that would be functional to a more rapid and effective conclusion to the operation underway,” Roberta Pinotti said on Wednesday, according to Fox News.
Italy has not yet agreed to allow U.S. offensive strike against Libyan targets from the air base on Sicily.

The Wasp Amphibious Ready Group – consisting of Wasp, USS San Antonio (LPD 17), both homeported at Naval Station Norfolk, and amphibious dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41), homeported at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia.

The trio deployed in June with the 2,200 of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.

  • sferrin

    But, but, I was told the USN would never perform an airstrike from Gators.

    • Merlin

      I think we will see a lot more Gator airstrikes in the future. Big-deck carriers are awesome, but we don’t have enough of them and they are expensive to operate.

      • DaSaint

        Agreed. Particularly once the Lightning II starts filling deployable units.

      • sferrin

        I was being facetious. One of the “arguments” the anti-F-35 crowd tries to use against the F-35B is that the US would never perform an airstrike from sea unless there were CVNs around, “therefore there is no need for the F-35B”.

        • DaSaint

          This meshes well with the ‘Distributed Leathality’ concept. Gators being strike platforms exponentially increases the strike options and for possible fores increases the risk from any US naval group.

          Now if you could make the landing deck of an LCS JSF compatible….then any LCS could have stealth steike capability. Just a thought.

          • Donald Carey

            Still trying to find a use for the LCS – good luck with that.

          • DaSaint

            I’m the eternal optimist. I can see iit now…a modified Independence class with a vertical elevator, 1 SH-60, 2 Fire Scouts, and 2 JSFs. Dreaming…

          • El_Sid

            Well that’s kinda where they are going with TERN, albeit on a smaller scale – spec calls for taking a 600lb payload out to 900nm.

    • DaSaint

      The USN didn’t perform airstrikes…the USMC did.

      • sferrin

        Do you want a brownie button? Obviously I meant “no airstrikes from Gators” in general.

        • George Smith

          Why do the “gators” have Harriers on them if not for “air strikes”?

  • Sons of Liberty

    And they didn’t it it was marine aviation. But I am suprised it’s been a year since the F35B was declared IOC and a perfect low threat environment to test it real world.

    • Spencer Whitson

      Why would they want to do that? They know it drops bombs just fine, that’s what they’ve been testing this past decade. Instead, they’re using their time more productively, trying to figure out exactly how they want to use them in high threat environments and what its full capabilities are in those more dangerous situations. They’re writing the rulebook on how to fly these things, and you want them to stop doing that and instead waste their time doing something a Harrier is perfectly capable of?

      • Sons of Liberty

        Yes agreed but if you hear and read General Carlisle he says it’s ready today. Maybe our so called leadership needs to stop the PR BS and shoot straight on the F35.

        “It’s a complex system with teething problems but we are in the home stretch and will continue to work to ensure its a worthy airframe that we can be proud of…”

        Instead we get Carlisle PR political BS the conflicts with his own systems program lead. I can see why he was past over for chief after his crazy disingenuous comments.

        • Spencer Whitson

          It IS ready for combat. If required, it could be used today. But it isn’t required to. Because of that, the various branches of the US military have decided to use them in a more efficient way. THAT is what IOC means. But no, you have decided that the F-35 is somehow worthless for not being used as you want, and are waging your own PR war because of this.

    • IOC doesnt mean all weapons ready to drop

      • Sons of Liberty

        No ioc only means a load out of either (2) GBU31s & (2) GBU12s or (2) anraams

  • John B. Morgen

    The AV-8Bs are just as good as the A-10s, and the military should [NOT] replace them for the more expensive F-35Bs too quickly.

  • publius_maximus_III

    Well this is certainly some timely news. I just watched the movie “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” on Netflix last night.

    These airstrikes couldn’t have happened to a more deserving bunch of low-life scumbags. Now if we can just persuade our NATO ally, Italy, to get with the program.

    JMO

  • Hraisha

    Just dropping this line to inform you, there’s resolution in us since 2001, authorize to launch strike any where in the world in order to protecte us interest and to stop ISIS from spread! Yet there’s no government in Libya to be called.
    US, UK & France all of them have interest in Libyan OIL and GAS, nothing else.