Suffolk: Wattisham based Apache helicopters will be sent to Libya
SUFFOLK based Apache helicopters will be sent to Libya within 24 hours, it has emerged.
The aircraft, which are based at Wattisham Airfield near Stowmarket, are to join in the campaign against dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
MI6 has told David Cameron it has discovered that Gaddafi’s behaviour is becoming even more erratic as Nato strikes take their toll.
Gaddafi has now not been seen in public since May 11, and his commanders have apparently stopped using telephones for fear of being overheard.
An inability to communicate is hampering their ability to fight, according to a senior UK diplomatic source, and there is also evidence of further defections from the military.
The intelligence is understood to have persuaded the Prime Minister that the time is right to “turn the screw”.
Mr Cameron, Defence Secretary Liam Fox and military chiefs have agreed to put four Apache attack helicopters at the disposal of the Nato operation, alongside existing warplane deployments.
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The deadly aircraft can carry out strikes at closer quarters, reducing the potential for collateral damage and allowing a wider range of targets to be taken on. They are expected to be used against Gaddafi’s troops in built-up areas of Misrata.
The Apaches could begin operating from HMS Ocean, which is in the Mediterranean, almost immediately.
Earlier, Mr Cameron and French president Nicolas Sarkozy discussed the situation at the G8 summit in France, with both leaders agreeing that the pressure on Gaddafi must be increased.