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Apaches get ready to help protect Libyan civilians

27 May 11

Ministers agreed in principle yesterday to make UK Apache Attack Helicopters available to NATO as part of Operation Unified Protector which aims to protect civilians in Libya under threat of attack.

Four helicopters operating from HMS Ocean will allow operational commanders to target Gaddafi's forces in line with United Security Council Resolution 1973 where they continue to pose a threat to the civilian population.

Apache will provide additional flexibility to NATO commanders who will decide when and how the aircraft are to be used.

An MOD spokesman said:

"Apache has shown how effective it is in Afghanistan, and its use in Libya would only increase the pressure on the regime to end its persecution of the Libyan people."

RAF aircraft have maintained intensive air missions all week as part of Operation Unified Protector. See Related News for more on this.

Apache, the British Army's attack helicopter, is flown on operations by 3 and 4 Regiments Army Air Corps, based at Wattisham in Suffolk.The helicopter just this week clocked up a landmark 100,000 flying hours, a third of which have been flown on operations in Afghanistan.

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