Published on 25 May 2011 Sections

Apache deployment to Libya is a given

Wattisham Flying Station in the rolling fields and hedges of Suffolk – green beyond belief for army aircrews returning from Afghanistan here, as they did this weekend. The army insists today’s media visit to film Apache helicopters here has nothing to do with mounting speculation that these aircraft will soon be blowing things up in Libya.

Wattisham Flying Station in the rolling fields and hedges of Suffolk – green beyond belief for army aircrews returning from Afghanistan here, as they did this weekend.

The army insists today’s media visit to film Apache helicopters here has nothing to do with mounting speculation that these aircraft will soon be blowing things up in Libya.

Well. Not these Apaches. The Army Air Corps already has a maritime strike force of Apaches sitting on the deck of HMS Ocean in the Med. They will soon, it seems, be attacking Libya.

Those Apaches are already technically prepared for operation at sea – mostly protecting these machines from salt water. Sea and helicopters do not mix well.

Nobody’s admitting it officially at least not today. But the deployment’s a given. France has beefed up her Apache force off Libya. The US – with its  man in London – has bizarrely already thanked the Brits for sending more choppers to harass The Colonel.

So – the choreography may be out of step – but the Apaches are almost certainly going to war in Libya.

With that, say many, will come another inching forward in an ever- creeping mission there.

From no intervention…to a no-fly zone…to the SAS… To David Cameron promising “no boots on the ground”…then admitting military advisors would go in..to increased bombing…and now it seems, to strike helicopters.

Politically difficult – militarily obvious: fast fixed wing jets give a partial surveillance picture – Apaches hang around and complete the picture.

Often with Hellfire missiles.