With the ending of the Ganfouda district battle, the LNA units which were involved are receiving « new missions ». Some leaks are already published on social networks regarding the 212 infantry battalion having a new position assigned close to Derna, in order to fight the Mujahideen Shura Council of Derna (MSCD). The war led by Libyan National Army is far from finishing or coming to an end. There are fronts south of Derna, in the Oil Crescent, near Tamanhint airbase (north of Sabha)… Since two weeks, LNA / LNA AF operations have been substantial intensified near Derna.
Even under embargo, operational military activities in Libya follow a sustained rhythm regardless of the recent lose of LNA AF warplanes and helicopters. LNA led by Khalifa Haftar is already assisted by UAE airplanes, based in Al Khadim airbase and piloted by private contractors. The Guardian reported on March 14, the presence of Russians Special Forces in eastern Egypt, near Marsa Matruh. An US official, General Waldhauser, told a few days ago to Senate that Russia tries to exert an influence in Libya.
In order for LNA led by Khalifa Haftar to continue their path in this war, they could ask help from the « old friend », Egypt. There is an intriguingly linked with an airbase based in Egypt, localized at 45km in north of Siwa oasis and at 43km fro, the Libyan border.
The airbase of approximately 45km² seems to be well protected given the barriers around it. Some interesting details can be seen with the satellite imagery.
South of the base, there can be seen something similar to a « camp » with buildings, vehicles and contains. The picture below shows a road with a direct connection to the hangars area and then what looks like a possible airport strip. The infrastructures could accommodate Egyptian military units or / and other forces.
Outside the « airport area »; there is an area recently quite used by the forces. Between October and December 2016 a road has been built linking directly the camp to this area. It resembles a practice area or fire range.
As revealed by the pictures, they’re getting new infrastructure on this possible base. In the south of the airport strip, they’re building what seems like a new strip, there is a difference noticeable in the three months’ period between December 2016 and March 2017.
An interesting detail on the « airbase » is the presence of at least three UAVs Wing Loong (4.000 km range) in front of the hangar, as reported by satellite imagery dated February 23, 2017.
Another screenshot dating from March 1, 2017 shows no Wing Loon in front of the same hangar. It would be interesting to know why there are those UAVs in Uthman airbase, opposite direction of Sinai.
Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council (BRSC) group, via his official media Saraya, has reported a « foreign plane » targeted its militants in Ganfouda district. Recently, Al Fath media, a pro-BRSC media, stated few days ago a « Camcopter » and an « MQ-9 Reaper » were over Al Sabri and Suq Al Hout districts in Benghazi, without any prove. Neither of the aircraft belongs to LNA.
A source fighting alongside Saraya Defend Benghazi in Jufrah, told to Freedom of Writing, that Egyptian aircraft, unknown type, was involved in the offensive to retake oil facilities carried out by LNA in March.
Other pictures showing helicopters type « Mi-17 » in front of the hangars in north west of the airbase. The picture at left is dated from February 23, 2017 and the one at right dated from March 1, 2017.
Last batch of pictures with Mi-17 and CH-47 helicopters on the Egyptian airbase.
So far there is no information confirming or denying a foreign presence in this airbase but it could be interesting to know the prospects of this, just in case of an expansion of the airforce.
Special thanks to Sa’ka regarding some interesting information on the helicopters.
By Tom FNX.
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